A Song Is Not A Beat

Posts 1 - 25 of 42
  1. 795768
    Cyto : Mon 27th May 2013 : 6 years ago

    It really gets on my nerves whenever people refer to my music as 'beats'. A beat is a quarter note, not an entire piece. One guy asked me if I made any actual songs and not just 'beats', when all I make is instrumental stuff (to an extent).

    I blame it on hip hop and similar genres where there is a limit on the instrumental section so that they can reinforce the vocals, as that is the main attraction.

    But a BEAT isn't a SONG and an INSTRUMENTAL is a SONG. Jeebus. It bugs me so much!

  2. 782612
    40A : Mon 27th May 2013 : 6 years ago



    A short poem or other set of words set to music or meant to be sung.
    Singing or vocal music: "the young men broke into song".


    According to the definition, a piece must have vocals to be classified as a song. So no, an instrumental can not be a "song", it's just a melody. "Beats" are also melodies. Any musical composition without vocals are... melodies.

    But since "melody" is such an ambiguous word it's easier to describe it with specific terminology in relation to the context it's being used in. Or... just call it music.

    If i were looking for an original melody for a movie, it would be called a "sound track". If i were looking for a melody i could rap on, it would be called a "beat". If i were to describe melodies playing in unison, it would be called an "ensemble", etc, etc..

  3. 111346
    Planetjazzbass : Mon 27th May 2013 : 6 years ago

    I gave up attempting to rationalize how contemporary language (or what passes for it)describes,categorizes or
    even perceives things these days..I do like the idea of blaming everything on HipHop though! lol

  4. 828980
    Burtsbluesboxes : Mon 27th May 2013 : 6 years ago

    Yeah, it's all the fault of Hip Hop! who can keep up with all the new slang terms for music now a days!

  5. 944056
    Darkreine : Mon 27th May 2013 : 6 years ago

    I think your definition @40a was probably written by Henry VIII and I don't mean DJHenry8 either! But I agree a song has to be sung, I usually refer to what I do as a track, unless I'm singing on it. But then a track is usually where one instrument would sit in a composition!! So who the hell knows and who the hell cares really?

    Hip Hop? Spit spot.

  6. 423563
    2secondimpression : Mon 27th May 2013 : 6 years ago

    its all about context.

    Senario 1: I'm sat with Mozart at his dinner table talking about his music.

    "ohhh, yes. I quite agree sir that note is very off beat."

    Senario 2: I'm complementing Will.I.A.M on his new material.

    "that beat is dope, super double dope."

    track= song= beat=tune=music

    Therefore it's all music and as said before "Who the hell cares cares" (Darkreine)

  7. 566750
    Maxomunz : Mon 27th May 2013 : 6 years ago

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't a beat a measure. So really we should call them a measure instead of a beat. Then maybe it's actually more proper to call an instrumental a beat than it is to call a quarter note a beat.
    I'm probably wrong. I took like a week of music theory and I suddenly think I'm Beethoven.

  8. 566750
    Maxomunz : Mon 27th May 2013 : 6 years ago

    Yup, I am wrong. A measure is a bar :P

  9. 851137
    crucethus : Mon 27th May 2013 : 6 years ago

    Correct Music Theory terms:
    Cantata= Song (Sung) Cantata refers to music with vocalizations. Later it was shortened to song from the conjugation of singing, sort of a slang for the time.
    The correct term for an instrumental piece in general is called a sonata.
    Beat:T he beat or pulse in a piece of music is the regular rhythmic pattern of the music.

    That being said.
    of course people will change terms to fit their needs. Hip Hop strongly uses borrowed sounds and phrases. It makes it seem less innocuous to say I am looking for a beat to use, instead of saying I am looking to rip off a known instrumental and put words over it. It's just a euphemism to make it seem better. That also being said, phrases and sonata's have been ripped off by other (classical) composers throughout the ages as well.
    and on the subject of phrases, that would be the correct term for loop as well, but Phraserman would seem an awkward name for the site.
    Language evolves, changes and becomes unique over time. that’s just a fact of life!

  10. 601456
    thephilosofist : Mon 27th May 2013 : 6 years ago

    If you work with anyone who is musically untrained in the modern era of production, you must be pretty mad a lot of the time...

  11. 208341
    drmistersir : Mon 27th May 2013 : 6 years ago

    and jam comes in jars...

    and drum brakes help stop your tuck

    and a dope beat must be assault on a slow kid

    and scales are for telling how much wieght you need to lose

    and keys are for locks

    ...i would try not to think too hard about it
    just take heart when you hear someone talk all theory propper... i took three years of theory

    and still sound like an idiot

  12. 605560
    RichieWinn : Mon 27th May 2013 : 6 years ago


    Definition - melody sung or played with musical instrument

    Instrumentals are therefore NOT songs.

    Quod erat demonstrandum

  13. 851137
    crucethus : Mon 27th May 2013 : 6 years ago

    @thephilosophist. no, it doesn't make me mad at all, It's a great opportunity for both artists to learn each others phrases and terms.what makes me mad is when is when people get caught up in the specifics and demanding things be described as this or that only. I am comfortable if people want to call instrumentals, beats, songs, sonatas, tracks, jams,licks,dubs, backing tracks, and any other thing that they might want to call it just as long as we both know what they mean.

    @ Richie ,non logice , in your definition you quote a song is a melody sung (voice) OR played with a musical instrument (no voice) ergot Instrumentals would be songs as well based on the logic of the definition you wrote? Explicaverit?

    @drmistersir, I only took 2 years of theory and basically I am a self taught keyboardist (synthesiser), and you don't sound like an idiot at all.

  14. 776955
    Billydragon1 : Mon 27th May 2013 : 6 years ago

    You guys are all too smart for me. I'm gonna go and sit in the corner and eat me some humble pie, and doodle!

  15. 791019
    Mataleao : Tue 28th May 2013 : 6 years ago

    I failed the music theory class I never enrolled in, but I'm pretty sure this is overanalyzation in motion. Yeah I said, "overanalyzation."

  16. 770897
    CABASO : Tue 28th May 2013 : 6 years ago

    Phat groove - An area of skinfold found mostly on larger, female members of the hip hop community.

    Anyone got any more?

  17. 883744
    ElectronBlue : Tue 28th May 2013 : 6 years ago

    A beat. Area patrolled by a policeman looking for dodgy gear going for a song.

  18. 944056
    Darkreine : Tue 28th May 2013 : 6 years ago

    Billy, 12string, you guys crack me up. This is a whole lotta somethin outa nothin as the song instrumental, beat, sonata, track, jam, lick, dub, backing track goes.

  19. 795768
    Cyto : Tue 28th May 2013 : 6 years ago

    Call me old fashioned, but I still disagree with the 'beat = instrumental' belief.

  20. 795768
    Cyto : Tue 28th May 2013 : 6 years ago

    All but a few of my songs aren't meant for someone to sing along to, or write lyrics to. They are finished musical pieces, so they are a song. Symphonies have no vocal content for the most part, but they are still songs. It doesn't matter if vocals are in a song or not, it can still be a song. I didn't come here for people to tell me incorrect definitions, I came hear to the 'rant and raves' forum to simply rant about something that irks me.

  21. 739907
    stem0man : Wed 29th May 2013 : 6 years ago

    A wise man says, with one sound comes all sounds. Many sounds makes instrument. Many instruments make music industry. The band on stage mearly listens to the music that is played somewhere else in the heads of the imprisoned. Your body is the uniform of your captor...

    I'd just call them "tunes". Most people expect singing when they hear the word "song". Like: "Sing song a ling long"

  22. 438673
    DJSchmeeJ : Wed 29th May 2013 : 6 years ago

    Yeah, I see your point... just like calling a singer (or a looper) a MUSICIAN. I feel that a musician is one who plays an instrument and makes music (not beats). But hey, a muscian by any other name still makes a lot of flippin noise!

  23. 739907
    stem0man : Wed 29th May 2013 : 6 years ago

    Sorry bout that earlier post, I watched "The Octagon" and "Circle of Iron" the last couple of weeks...

    Other words are:
    Track: "Yo, check out my new track"
    Instrus: "Yo, check out my new instru"
    Sounds: "Hey, dude, check out my new sounds."
    Be-Bop: "Hey, check out my crazy be-bop."
    Clanger: "Check out this clanger braugh."

    Also, even if your tune has vocals, saying, "Check out my new song." can be confusing as most people would expect that you were singing...at least where I'm from...

  24. 795768
    Cyto : Wed 29th May 2013 : 6 years ago

    If it's music, and it's a finished piece, it's a song. Even if it's just a few drum loops for 3 minutes, if the artist finished it, it's a song. But that doesn't mean it has to be a GOOD song..

  25. 940729
    MarvellicAmbience : Wed 29th May 2013 : 6 years ago

    Guys guys! Instrumentals are Backing Tracks (Usually), Songs are Instrumentals with vocals (Usually singing) and a beat is for these weed junkies that use Mashine on the iPad to meat their music....

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