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Music related. How important is it?

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Depends on the songs.

 

If they are all blues songs of similar tempos, I'd say pretty important. Unless you want to run them all together as some sort of medley/mash up thing.

 

If you're going from a rock song to a disco song? I'd say not at all.

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Not important at all; your average listener doesn't notice.

 

Now if you play too many songs with very similar tempos, that could be an issue.

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Not important at all; your average listener doesn't notice.

 

Now if you play too many songs with very similar tempos, that could be an issue.

 

Yeah. I say so too. Tempo is way more important than key. Still if I noticed that our first five songs in the first set were in the same key, I'd suggest to my bandmates that we swap one of them with something of a similar tempo in a different key.

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Not important at all; your average listener doesn't notice.

 

Now if you play too many songs with very similar tempos, that could be an issue.

 

When I plot out a set list, I'm thinking borh in terms of key and tempo, and I try to have the set mirror a compositional form, as far as tension/release goes.

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Yeah. I say so too. Tempo is way more important than key. Still if I noticed that our first five songs in the first set were in the same key, I'd suggest to my bandmates that we swap one of them with something of a similar tempo in a different key.

 

I'm with E-Money that the average listener doesn't notice. In the pantheon of "this song sounds too much like the last one", the key of the song is probably the last thing the average listener will connect on. I would also say it matters less if you have any time gap between songs. If you're stopping for even 5-10 seconds? I seriously doubt the key of the song will matter at all.

 

My band does a lot of medleys where we cram bits and pieces of a bunch of songs together with similar tempos. On the opposite end of that spectrum, I used to believe it was important to have the songs be in the same key or at least be in keys relative to each other so that the transitions between songs would be as smooth as possible. Or maybe modulate up a key to add extra excitement to the medley.

 

But I found out that it really doesn't matter. At least not in the manner that we play things and the audiences we play for. No doubt type of material and audience you are playing for are factors as well.

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I'm with E-Money that the average listener doesn't notice. In the pantheon of "this song sounds too much like the last one", the key of the song is probably the last thing the average listener will connect on. I would also say it matters less if you have any time gap between songs. If you're stopping for even 5-10 seconds? I seriously doubt the key of the song will matter at all.

 

My band does a lot of medleys where we cram bits and pieces of a bunch of songs together with similar tempos. On the opposite end of that spectrum, I used to believe it was important to have the songs be in the same key or at least be in keys relative to each other so that the transitions between songs would be as smooth as possible. Or maybe modulate up a key to add extra excitement to the medley.

 

But I found out that it really doesn't matter. At least not in the manner that we play things and the audiences we play for. No doubt type of material and audience you are playing for are factors as well.

 

On one occasion my improvising free form trio opened up for a ten piece show band. The thing I noticed about the show band was how tightly scripted everything was - especially in contrast to the opening act. What really stood out was the transitions between the songs - some of which bordered on brilliance.

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On one occasion my improvising free form trio opened up for a ten piece show band. The thing I noticed about the show band was how tightly scripted everything was - especially in contrast to the opening act. What really stood out was the transitions between the songs - some of which bordered on brilliance.

 

I've thought about starting a band where all of the transitions between songs were brilliant, but all of the songs suck.

Couldn't find anybody interested in joining so I scrapped the idea.

You can use it if you want, just make sure I get to see a video or hear some audio of your performance.

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On one occasion my improvising free form trio opened up for a ten piece show band. The thing I noticed about the show band was how tightly scripted everything was - especially in contrast to the opening act. What really stood out was the transitions between the songs - some of which bordered on brilliance.

 

I don't know if we have any transitions that I would say border on brilliance, but when doing covers there is nothing that says you can't be creative with arrangements. You don't want to make things unrecognizable, of course, but I think far too many bands take the "play it just like the record" thing way too far. Just hire a DJ if you only want a band that's going to sound like one.

 

 

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When I plot out a set list, I'm thinking borh in terms of key and tempo, and I try to have the set mirror a compositional form, as far as tension/release goes.

 

What are you - some kind of a musician or something? ;)

 

 

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Wait- So in addition to the 3 chords, you’re saying there’s more than one key?

:philpalm:

 

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If the audience is primarily musicians then I might be concerned about it, otherwise no big deal. JMHO YMMV

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I've never considered key whatsoever. Maybe it might register subconsciously in some subtle way, but I've never seen any evidence of it.

 

We were just putting a set list together the other day actually and trying to pick out all the categories we were going to sort by. Tempos obviously. Genre, because we're kinda all over the road there. I also consider energy to be distinct from tempo although I'd probably have a hard time describing it.

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Posted (edited)

The idea is to take your audience on a journey, and create a magical experience for them. Math is fine, but it may or may not be relevant to accomplishing this goal. There’s key and tempo, but there’s also style, genre, feel, energy, and other factors.

There is no substitute for trying out your set(s) on a live audience to see what works and what doesn’t. From this you’ll gain experience. From experience, you’ll learn how to make a good show, or one that can be great, with a few tweaks.

Edited by jorhay1
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The idea is to take your audience on a journey, and create a magical experience for them. Math is fine, but it may or may not be relevant to accomplishing this goal. There’s key and tempo, but there’s also style, genre, feel, energy, and other factors.

There is no substitute for trying out your set(s) on a live audience to see what works and what doesn’t. From this you’ll gain experience. From experience, you’ll learn how to make a good show, or one that can be great, with a few tweaks.

 

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I play solo guitar in a half dozen different tunings.

I don't want to be re-tuning after every piece, so I generally play those in the setlist in that particular tuning before moving on to a different tuning.

However, there are two pieces in different tunings (one in Open D; the other in Drop D) that I would never play back-to-back due to the similarities in tempo and key.

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I think a crowd notices something amuck, even if they can't articulate what it is, if a band plays 10 songs in a row, all in G.

 

I read Paul Simon talk about arranging songs on an album release so that if the first song is in E, the second is in F, or G, the next in G or A, then a big jump to D, back to C, and he said even just the key changes will help to draw the listener in.

 

My current band does country dance music. So we focus much more on tempo, get 'em dancin, keep 'em dancin, give 'em a rest, etc.

 

But both are important, IMO.

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Not important at all; your average listener doesn't notice.

 

Now if you play too many songs with very similar tempos, that could be an issue.

It worked for the Ramones.

 

 

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Don't worry. Your audience is on their phones, talking with friends, watching TV at the bar. Real music people are few and far between, depending on the genre and venue.

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The idea is to take your audience on a journey, and create a magical experience for them. Math is fine, but it may or may not be relevant to accomplishing this goal. There’s key and tempo, but there’s also style, genre, feel, energy, and other factors.

There is no substitute for trying out your set(s) on a live audience to see what works and what doesn’t. From this you’ll gain experience. From experience, you’ll learn how to make a good show, or one that can be great, with a few tweaks.

The first goal should be to make noise that people can hear. A lot of sound systems are junk or the venue is junk. So much of the time I hear the bass drowning out everything else. Mixers are big on bass these days, it seems.

 

 

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How important is it to not have too many songs in the same key back to back in your set list?

 

Paramount, with the vocal range to complement it.

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The first goal should be to make noise that people can hear. A lot of sound systems are junk or the venue is junk. So much of the time I hear the bass drowning out everything else. Mixers are big on bass these days, it seems.

 

 

Absolutely agreed. This is giving credit to where credit is due.

Major respect to the production managers, lighting geniuses, audio techs, stage hands, gaffers, riggers, ect.

After the actual ‘real heroes’ (that risk their lives to save others), these guys are the real heroes.

 

Note:

the guys and ladies actually on stage should also get some kind of credit....

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