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Poll: How long should a tune be to attract listeners?

Clivey

Senior Member
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907
Wow . Great thread resurrection.. I can see things a bit different now, particularly in light of my more recent efforts at storytelling where the message is more important than the bottle carrying it. Instrumental music doesn`t have any restraints so we have to provide that element,

Pete Thomas composes a lot for TV so has probably a great deal of experience in this side of things where there are severe restraints in place.
 
OP
Wade Cornell

Wade Cornell

Well-Known Member
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1,799
Amusing to see this resurrected after such a long time and some interesting thoughts on the subject.
 

Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
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2,553
I find for vocals that if they catch my attention in the first bit I can usually stay with them for 3-5 minutes depending..... good breaks good development etc.

for more complex pieces (composed orchestral, big band, whether With or without ad lib solos or written soli). If it keeps my attention I will stay with it....if it becomes tedious IMO then I’m gone
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,198
As noted by others, years ago and today, it's about context and genre to a degree.

I think folks have been interpreting Wade's initial query in 2 ways:

1) how long do you think a song should be to avoid the listener bailing on it....?

2) how long is the available 'window of opportunity' ...IN a composition....to 'hook' a listener 'in' to sticking with the tune...or losing their attention ?

I interpreted the question as meaning 2).

On Pop/Rock, I'll give it a minute to get interesting/enjoyable. In Jazz Fusion/Funk about the same.

In Straight-Ahead Jazz, 3 minutes or so.....in (ugh) Smooth Jazz.....25 seconds....

Classical....2 or 3 minutes....


My band just played a great gig up in Truth or Consequences NM over the weekend (yes, you Eurofolk...it's really the name of the town). It could have gone either way as our repertoire is a bit unusual and 'challenging', quite honestly (best described as "Groovier Side of Rock with some R&B, Fusion, Lounge and World music thrown in". Then add bilingual songs to that (Spanish/English).
We have a number of instrumental tunes which are from the heyday of Jazz Fusion, and we have to carefully mix those in with the familiar Pop/Rock/Pop R&B stuff. This is a challenge when formulating the set list. The Tune MAY be funky and danceable as all heck...but the fact is, 100 out of 100 bar patrons these days are NOT going to recognize "Listen Here" or a Jeff Lorber Fusion tune.
Also the town is in the middle of nowhere really, literally 50 minutes from the next town and 90 minutes from any 'substantial city' N or S...absolutely nothing E nor W for a long time....and within the town the venue is the ONLY drinking/nitespot.
On weekends, its its Hot Springs which attract daytrippers and overniters.
So this was a situation where at start of night the place IS gonna be packed - the job of the band is to keep it that way. It'd be a bad scene if the music actually did not 'hook' the patrons and they emptied the place.
People were dancing on around...70% of our tunes. It WAS interesting to see - when one song ended which had the floor pretty full - how long they 'gave' the next song to keep 'em motivated enough to stay on the floor...vs. go sit down or get another drink, etc.
It wasn't long...perhaps a minute maximum, in most cases more like 15-30 seconds...so in a venue like that, long intros would have been a really BAD idea . Ours are not....the material lends itself to getting to the theme/lyrics/melody really quickly.

No doubt it also has to do with the familiarity of the song to a degree (although we were pleasantly surprised that people stayed on the floor for both "Listen Here" and "Lily Was Here")...but the subject of tune familiarity may (or may not) be a digression here....
 
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randulo

Playing alto 25 months
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3,490
Yes, dancing is a whole other issue, and time between songs as well. I played exclusively in bars for the first few years, and people danced to the covers we played. It's a whole other context though, because people don't want the tune to end too soon if they're grooving with their love. In that case 5 to 7 minutes is probably pretty good.
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,198
Yes, I didn't mean to necessarily associate 'dancing' with 'enjoying' the tune. We were just as pleased that, in between dancing, folks sat down to listen to the songs they didn't dance to. This of course made the proprietors quite happy, as the evening was 3 full sets worth of music so we were keeping folks in there, or sounded enticing enough from the street to re-cycle in patrons... for 3+ hours.....
It was more about keeping their attention and extending their good time. Made us feel very good, as musicians, that we 'connected' like that.
 

Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,553
What I observe is that when the dance core of the audience seem to know and “get off” on a tune they will get up and dance. If the next songs are good to dance to with a mix of familiar and less familiar they will continue dancing. One dud (no matter how well played) and the floor empties. A minute is probably generous as the attention time
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,198
What I observe is that when the dance core of the audience seem to know and “get off” on a tune they will get up and dance. If the next songs are good to dance to with a mix of familiar and less familiar they will continue dancing. One dud (no matter how well played) and the floor empties. A minute is probably generous as the attention time
Absolutely...and the interesting (and at times frustrating/perplexing) thing can be, sometimes....

...the "dud" can be a song the band never expected would "dud".....

....and (as in the aforementioned gig) the tune which the band considered a bit risky ....actually really connected with that certain crowd....
 

Halfers

Finger Flapper
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Absolutely...and the interesting (and at times frustrating/perplexing) thing can be, sometimes....

...the "dud" can be a song the band never expected would "dud".....

....and (as in the aforementioned gig) the tune which the band considered a bit risky ....actually really connected with that certain crowd....
Reflected in my humble experience. And that can swap round from gig to gig, crowd to crowd. I suspect it has something to do with a combination of ley lines, the proportion of ladies in the audience and their average consumption of Prosecco/Gin/other such trendy booze du jour..
 
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