Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length

Does decline in quality coincide with a drop in testosterone level?

Is it any wonder why once-great bands eventually have a steady decline and fall? Or why a lot of the greatest musical endeavors in metal are embarked upon by young males in their prime?

Maybe so many shitty indie-metal bands are coming out lately because of something in the water. Birth control hormones? Bisphenol A? Lack of exercise and red meat? Too much beer (containing phytoetsrogens)? Alcohol in general (inhibits proliferation of free testosterone)?

No wonder Wolves In The Throne Room are connected with indie hipsters (fashionista/crusty vegans enjoy this kind of faux black metal) and they came from Seattle.


I think this connection has been made before somewhere but I can't recall the name of the thread.

In the hypothetic:

Let's assume good music (incl. metal music and other styles) coincides with high testosterone levels during prenatal development in the musician(s) who composed it, as well as having higher free blood testosterone levels.

Quote
Manning recruited 54 male musicians from a British symphony orchestra. He discovered that these men had significantly lower 2D:4D ratios than controls -- they had a very "masculine" ratio. Even more striking, when he compared the top-ranked "first" musicians with their lower-ranked colleagues -- a measure of their relative ability-the former had significantly lower 2D:4D ratios. Could testosterone really predispose the brain to be more tuned in to music? Manning thinks so.

The vast majority of musicians (especially metal musicians) are male. With the above evidence, this is no coincidence.

Testosterone is a significant "motivator" hormone in men, contributing to mental and physical energy. Highly-motivated and extroverted men have higher levels of testosterone.

This may be independent to the prenatal testosterone levels, since there are a significant number of asocial and relatively "depressed" or "unmotivated" metal musicians - this could be a sign of low testosterone.

Why productivity fades with age: The crime–genius connection by Satoshi Kanazawa, Department of Psychology, University of Canterbury.

Satoshi had this to say...

The age–genius curves among jazz musicians, painters and authors are also similar to the age–crime curve.

Further, marriage has a strong desistance effect on both crime and genius.

I argue that this is because both crime and genius stem from mens evolved psychological mechanism which compels them to be highly competitive in early adulthood but - turns off - when they get married and have children.

Fluctuating levels of testosterone, which decreases when men get married and have children, can provide the biochemical microfoundation for this psychological mechanism.

[...]

He mentions marriage and children as the primary reason behind this decline, but as we all know, there are many other causes.

The take home message of the paper is, once you hit a certain benchmark, be it age, marriage, or whatever, T levels drop, and you lose your edge, your drive, and your mental sharpness.

You settle, become complacent, and less creative.

(these statements are based off of this paper. (PDF version with charts)

Another point: Complex music (beyond the complexity of your typical pop/rock structure) takes navigational and memory capacity to process and comprehend. People with high levels of testosterone (males) benefit from good visual-spatial skills. I have no evidence of the connection but I'm sure there needs to be some present capacity for a person's mind to be able to digest and build those musical structures.


But in seriousness: Comments, inqiries or contributions to this thread?

Hmm. I never really thought about that. I can't see any reason why it should be wrong.. I always thought the 'manlier' musicians had much more of a stage personality (Hetfield compared to Hammett)

When an artist looses the vision it's more psychological burnout than physical, not that the two are totally unrelated, but I'm also wondeing why we would consider metal or any other profound art overtly masculine in the first place, more likely it's a balance of energy.

but I'm also wondeing why we would consider metal or any other profound art overtly masculine in the first place, more likely it's a balance of energy.

The art itself isn't necessarily masculine. A lot of black metal seems to have a "feminine" touch to it (it's probably the ambient stuff) and it's very welcome to my ears.

The artists are, or at least appear to be, in their prime -- hence the vague idea that metal musicians with higher testosterone will be able to produce greater works of art. Who knows how big Beethoven's balls were.

Good works of art will evoke both the feminine and masculine when necessary.

I don't think the rise of this indie metal stuff requires any extravagant explanation involving claims about testosterone. I think the indie metal phenomenon is largely a case of outsiders adopting some of the sonic characteristics and imagery of metal, but I don't see how some kind of drop in testosterone would explain why a bunch of weekenders have decided to appropriate metal for their own purposes. There are of course genre insiders who buy into this indie influence and even create such music, but metal has always been going through these phases of self-loathing. I think more familiar social explanations of these kinds of things are more plausible.

*Reads something on wikipedia*

*Acts like its the sole descriptor of any phenomena I don't like*

I don't think the rise of this indie metal stuff requires any extravagant explanation involving claims about testosterone.

That claim looked like a joke to me. I found it funny. Who really knows if it's true or not?

I don't think AIDS was claiming low levels of testosterone as an absolute cause or an explanation for metal turning into shit, but it wouldn't be a surprise to us if it coincided with a drop in testosterone. Aspies like to read into things a bit much.

I think it's a definite possibility that good music coincides with testosterone and is not necessarily directly caused by it. Healthy, intelligent men have good levels of testosterone. It's just another indicator of good health.

I actually feel that you are most likely on to something here my good man. Let me cite the newest of ozzy osbournes album works... Anyway, I feel that this is probably directly related in quite a few cases, however it is also affected by too much/ a lack OF emotional trauma in the artists life. Also perhaps the drugs and other mind altering substances in the artists life have a direct affect on the quality and or subject of music that an artist pushes out, nice post.

Given the works that classical composers produced as middle-aged and old men, I'm inclined to believe it has a lot more to do with the economic realities of recorded music (strike while the iron is hot or you'll never get another advance).  There's just nothing about the structure of the music business as it exists that is conducive to helping artists nurture and grow their talents.

Given the works that classical composers produced as middle-aged and old men, I'm inclined to believe it has a lot more to do with the economic realities of recorded music (strike while the iron is hot or you'll never get another advance).  There's just nothing about the structure of the music business as it exists that is conducive to helping artists nurture and grow their talents.


Very true, which is why there has to be that initial drive for music so to speak. It must remain throughout the career, and the rigors of this business simply kill it for some of those who simply came to play music they love. It's a sad, but all too real conflict in the music world.

Good thread. I've often wondered this myself. I found myself mellowing after I had kids and what I know about the hormone changes a family causes made me really wonder to the point I've theorized test replacement therapy might benefit metal bands looking to keep the edge.

Given the works that classical composers produced as middle-aged and old men, I'm inclined to believe it has a lot more to do with the economic realities of recorded music (strike while the iron is hot or you'll never get another advance).  There's just nothing about the structure of the music business as it exists that is conducive to helping artists nurture and grow their talents.


Very true, which is why there has to be that initial drive for music so to speak. It must remain throughout the career, and the rigors of this business simply kill it for some of those who simply came to play music they love. It's a sad, but all too real conflict in the music world.

I wouldn't doubt if part of the mess were due to the music industry. It must be a testosterone-killer to have to kiss someone's ass instead of following your passion and will.

I also wouldn't be surprised if those musicians maintained their manly fortitude into their later years.

Good thread. I've often wondered this myself. I found myself mellowing after I had kids and what I know about the hormone changes a family causes made me really wonder to the point I've theorized test replacement therapy might benefit metal bands looking to keep the edge.

Testosterone replacement seems a bit extreme. There's some minor dietary and lifestyle changes that can be made to help boost testosterone.

The hormone changes may come from stability and comfort. I believe that as long as you maintain and exert dominance and control in your life (as part of a regular, healthy struggle), your testosterone should be fine.

The relationship between testosterone and attitude is almost reciprocal. If you have balls, you'll have a strong will. If you gain a strong will, you'll gain the balls to back it up.

Mind = matter = mind = matter
Practicing Certain Poses Creates a Sense of Power

Given the works that classical composers produced as middle-aged and old men, I'm inclined to believe it has a lot more to do with the economic realities of recorded music (strike while the iron is hot or you'll never get another advance).  There's just nothing about the structure of the music business as it exists that is conducive to helping artists nurture and grow their talents.


I've pondered this as well, but these were not dissidents, or was there an inherent anger or aggressiveness intrinsic to the success of their music. The goals of our music and theirs are alike in spirit from our perspective, but ultimately very, very different.

Given the works that classical composers produced as middle-aged and old men, I'm inclined to believe it has a lot more to do with the economic realities of recorded music (strike while the iron is hot or you'll never get another advance).  There's just nothing about the structure of the music business as it exists that is conducive to helping artists nurture and grow their talents.


Very true, which is why there has to be that initial drive for music so to speak. It must remain throughout the career, and the rigors of this business simply kill it for some of those who simply came to play music they love. It's a sad, but all too real conflict in the music world.

I wouldn't doubt if part of the mess were due to the music industry. It must be a testosterone-killer to have to kiss someone's ass instead of following your passion and will.

I also wouldn't be surprised if those musicians maintained their manly fortitude into their later years.

Good thread. I've often wondered this myself. I found myself mellowing after I had kids and what I know about the hormone changes a family causes made me really wonder to the point I've theorized test replacement therapy might benefit metal bands looking to keep the edge.

Testosterone replacement seems a bit extreme. There's some minor dietary and lifestyle changes that can be made to help boost testosterone.

The hormone changes may come from stability and comfort. I believe that as long as you maintain and exert dominance and control in your life (as part of a regular, healthy struggle), your testosterone should be fine.

The relationship between testosterone and attitude is almost reciprocal. If you have balls, you'll have a strong will. If you gain a strong will, you'll gain the balls to back it up.

Mind = matter = mind = matter
Practicing Certain Poses Creates a Sense of Power

I don't doubt any of this, but when you're a band like Metallica or Slayer, it's probably time to stick a needle in your ass. My HRT idea is also partially based on the fact some notable athletes and martial artists I follow have found ways to skirt the aging process and continue to compete with young men while in their late 30s and 40s through such means. If it helps fighters stay young, maybe it could help Morbid Angel not suck anymore. Although, I don't know if HRT replaces lost braincells.

NHA

Quote
After the subjects had finished their poses, they were given $2 with the option of keeping it or gambling it on the roll of a die. Depending on the outcome, the subjects could double their money or lose it.

...

The high-power posers were more likely to risk their $2 for the chance to double it: Eighty-six percent took the gamble, compared with 60 percent of the low-power posers. They also reported feeling more powerful and in charge than did the low-power posers.

Posture does seem to have a noticeable effect on your mood but holy shit what a retarded test that is.