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Why not create your own metal music?

Re: Why not create your own metal music?
July 05, 2011, 02:44:16 AM
I do. It's just absolutely crap.

Sometimes I'll come up with something I see as brilliant but I can't put any direction to it, and with a lot of my good-flowing music the actual riffs are just crap.

But then of course I know nothing about music at all

Re: Why not create your own metal music?
July 05, 2011, 05:48:00 AM
I'm basically creating logical "cycles" of chords within "cycles" of "phrases" to make riffs, then using variations in the "phrases" to make forward-moving narrative to match some fucked up poetry I've been writing. Pretty abstract, and I'm not really familiar with how to describe what I'm doing("phrases" and "cycles" probably don't match the actual definitions, im not classically trained), but this is a serious undertaking.


>mfw nobody knows what I'm talking about

I think I understand this.  A friend of mine wrote a piece in this manner as an exercise in music theory (for the sheer hell of it).  It sounded pretty odd, but there was a nice symmetry to it, because his aim was to have at least one phrase per note in the scale (starting on C, ending on C').  As with anything so clinically composed, it didn't really convey much beyond its own form, but it's a style of composition which I think could be used to great effect.

Do you have anything written down yet, any recordings?

Re: Why not create your own metal music?
July 05, 2011, 06:06:22 PM
I'm basically creating logical "cycles" of chords within "cycles" of "phrases" to make riffs, then using variations in the "phrases" to make forward-moving narrative to match some fucked up poetry I've been writing. Pretty abstract, and I'm not really familiar with how to describe what I'm doing("phrases" and "cycles" probably don't match the actual definitions, im not classically trained), but this is a serious undertaking.


>mfw nobody knows what I'm talking about

I think I understand this.  A friend of mine wrote a piece in this manner as an exercise in music theory (for the sheer hell of it).  It sounded pretty odd, but there was a nice symmetry to it, because his aim was to have at least one phrase per note in the scale (starting on C, ending on C').  As with anything so clinically composed, it didn't really convey much beyond its own form, but it's a style of composition which I think could be used to great effect.

Do you have anything written down yet, any recordings?

That definately doesn't match my idea of a "phrase". I don't know what C or C' is either lol. No knowledge of music theory, except for the basic idea of a "narrative", and every now and then I'm able to grasp the ambient "cyclic" structures. I am working on making it organic and expressive as soon as i perfect the actual structural base first. Working from the ground up if you will.

I have the poetry written down in a notebook somewhere with an outline of the basic idea, but no recordings yet except of a few excersizes in technique and a nearly completed narrative-ish improvisational piece i did when i was high, and cant remember.

Re: Why not create your own metal music?
July 06, 2011, 10:49:09 PM

That definately doesn't match my idea of a "phrase". I don't know what C or C' is either lol. No knowledge of music theory, except for the basic idea of a "narrative", and every now and then I'm able to grasp the ambient "cyclic" structures. I am working on making it organic and expressive as soon as i perfect the actual structural base first. Working from the ground up if you will.

1 semester of basic music theory will cost you about $200 at your local community college. After that 1 little semester is over, you'd come back and read your post I have just quoted and you'll think to yourself "who the fuck was I kidding when I thought I could compose competent music without even knowing what the most rudimentary music theory knowledge. Boy, what a pretentious douche bag I was".


I don't understand peoples' reluctance to learn basic music theory. The argument I always hear is something like "but I don't want my originality/innate creativity to be destroyed by the system, man. I want to stay pure." When you hear people say shit like that, or when you hear from music majors that their music degree destroyed their creativity - what they are really saying is that after getting an education, they realized how god awful shitty and untalented they were and "oh shit well music college destroyed my creativity, man."

Re: Why not create your own metal music?
July 07, 2011, 06:05:12 PM

That definately doesn't match my idea of a "phrase". I don't know what C or C' is either lol. No knowledge of music theory, except for the basic idea of a "narrative", and every now and then I'm able to grasp the ambient "cyclic" structures. I am working on making it organic and expressive as soon as i perfect the actual structural base first. Working from the ground up if you will.

1 semester of basic music theory will cost you about $200 at your local community college. After that 1 little semester is over, you'd come back and read your post I have just quoted and you'll think to yourself "who the fuck was I kidding when I thought I could compose competent music without even knowing what the most rudimentary music theory knowledge. Boy, what a pretentious douche bag I was".


I don't understand peoples' reluctance to learn basic music theory. The argument I always hear is something like "but I don't want my originality/innate creativity to be destroyed by the system, man. I want to stay pure." When you hear people say shit like that, or when you hear from music majors that their music degree destroyed their creativity - what they are really saying is that after getting an education, they realized how god awful shitty and untalented they were and "oh shit well music college destroyed my creativity, man."

Am I really being pretentious if I openly admit I have no experience with music theory? I wonder if Luc Lemay ever looks back on The Erosion of Sanity, and thinks "God, i was such a douchebag!". I don't have any problem with picking up some knowledge of theory one day, but right now I think i can build what i want to build without it, but I'm obviously inept at articulating it.

Re: Why not create your own metal music?
July 07, 2011, 06:16:37 PM
"I'm going to build a house.  Now, I have no knowledge whatsoever of architecture, brickmaking, bricklaying, geology, geography, or any of the fields/skills necessary for house-building, but I guess I'll just feel it out along the way."

Learning music theory is basically taking the shortcut to anything you might work out on your own.  The wonderful thing about music is that someone's already thought of it all before, at least in terms of basic principles - learn those, and use them as building blocks to create something truly, consciously, worthwhile.

Re: Why not create your own metal music?
July 07, 2011, 07:06:03 PM
But my house has a definate shape in my mind ):. Maybe the way i described what im building was too pretentious sounding, like Bondage got hung up on. Here's a graph to outline what I'm trying to say(keep in mind there can be any number of "phrases" and chords/notes per riff, and I usually try to incorperate some of my limited knowledge of melody.)

RIFF 1:

"phrase" 1:
chord/note 1
chord/note 2
chord/note 3

"phrase" 2:
chord/note 4
chord/note 5
chord/note 6


RIFF 2:

"phrase" 2:
chord/note 5
chord/note 6
chord/note 4

"phrase" 1:
chord/note 2
chord/note 3
chord/note 1


RIFF 3:

"phrase" 1:
chord/note 3
chord/note 1
chord/note 2

"phrase" 2:
chord/note 6
chord/note 5
chord/note 4

the chords/notes cycle within the "phrases", and the "phrases" cycle within the riff. the riffs might cycle within the song, but i havent taken the time to work that out. If this isn't conscious, I give up and will definately study some theory.

Re: Why not create your own metal music?
July 07, 2011, 07:56:21 PM
People who say you need to know theory are full of crap, this is coming from someone who majors in music theory.  If you are composing classical music then yes, you need to know theory, but metal is much closer to a folk tradition, like any folk tradition, the transmission is aural.  Abstract theory in the classical sense is not useful in metal.

Re: Why not create your own metal music?
July 07, 2011, 09:29:08 PM
People who say you need to know theory are full of crap, this is coming from someone who majors in music theory.  If you are composing classical music then yes, you need to know theory, but metal is much closer to a folk tradition, like any folk tradition, the transmission is aural.  Abstract theory in the classical sense is not useful in metal.

Not knowing music theory is a hindrance to your growth as an artist. You can only go so far. Sure, you can point out examples of musicians who have created beautiful and competent music without knowing any music theory. But really as an artist are you willing to voluntarily restrict yourself? I mean, you want to create music, do you not? When you sit down with your guitar, ask yourself "am I am metal guitarist, or am I an artist?" If you just want to be a metal guitarist, then hey by all means allow your inherent anti-intellectualism to come forth and say fuck music theory, who needs it right?

But fuck almighty, this anti-music-theory anti-intellectualism is so fucking pedestrian, so pathetic. Do you spend every day in the pursuit of excellence in what you've chosen? As a struggling artist myself, I try to learn as much as I can; to explore every expanse, every nook and cranny; every piece of knowledge -- for it will lead to my improvement as an artist. Improvement and perfection should be your goal as an artist - if you aren't struggling to become better at what you do, then what is the point of doing it?

Re: Why not create your own metal music?
July 07, 2011, 10:05:44 PM
People who say you need to know theory are full of crap, this is coming from someone who majors in music theory.  If you are composing classical music then yes, you need to know theory, but metal is much closer to a folk tradition, like any folk tradition, the transmission is aural.  Abstract theory in the classical sense is not useful in metal.

Not knowing music theory is a hindrance to your growth as an artist. You can only go so far. Sure, you can point out examples of musicians who have created beautiful and competent music without knowing any music theory. But really as an artist are you willing to voluntarily restrict yourself? I mean, you want to create music, do you not? When you sit down with your guitar, ask yourself "am I am metal guitarist, or am I an artist?" If you just want to be a metal guitarist, then hey by all means allow your inherent anti-intellectualism to come forth and say fuck music theory, who needs it right?

But fuck almighty, this anti-music-theory anti-intellectualism is so fucking pedestrian, so pathetic. Do you spend every day in the pursuit of excellence in what you've chosen? As a struggling artist myself, I try to learn as much as I can; to explore every expanse, every nook and cranny; every piece of knowledge -- for it will lead to my improvement as an artist. Improvement and perfection should be your goal as an artist - if you aren't struggling to become better at what you do, then what is the point of doing it?


There doesn't seem to be any "anti-music theory" sentiment. They are just saying that metal, as being akin to folk music, simply does not require it. When you feel that your natural ideas need expansion through already established theory, then you can learn the theory to prevent stagnation (the example of Luc Lemay was mentioned). Until you hit a dead-end, you are free to create however you wish. There's no reason why you need learn theory first, and then add your ideas into it, rather than putting your ideas down first, and adding theory later.

Re: Why not create your own metal music?
July 08, 2011, 12:27:53 AM
Exactly, people here want metal to be classical music, but it is not, it is folk music.  That is why the last and most significant movement in metal took it significantly closer to the evocative nature of folk music.  The abstraction of classicism is a hindrance for metal, especially nowadays as it cannot be separated from a pretentious intellectualism that pollutes modern universities.  The best works of metal are actually far better than anything that came of of intellectual institutions in the same era.  I think people are making the mistake of thinking that classical theory reveals objective truths about music, when it is simply a way of describing certain types of music, and it is not suitable for others.

Take the following example, I was recently talking to my friend who is also a music major.  He came from Croatia and was trained as a folk musician from an early age.  He told me that during the first two years of his degree he thought he was learning to understand music, but only later did he realise that he had forgotten too much of his own heritage in the process.  I must admit he is still a classical musician, but he now spends more time playing in folk ensembles than he did when he first started studying classical music.  He also tells me that he has to consciously try to ignore classical theory when playing folk music, to the extent that this is possible. 

Re: Why not create your own metal music?
July 08, 2011, 04:29:12 AM
This is why we need to establish a Metal Music Theory.

Re: Why not create your own metal music?
July 08, 2011, 04:58:57 AM
Regardless if they know it or not, or are too modest to admit it, the better players who do not formally learn any theory usually intuitively figure it out for themselves without consciously recognising it.

Re: Why not create your own metal music?
July 08, 2011, 05:47:37 AM
Much folk music that isn't really old originally was classical (or whatever was the equivalent artistic tradition at that time), or was influenced notably by it. The comparison to Croatian folk music is hardly appropriate -- "learning to understand music" by applying theory of a later era to that of a far earlier one (12-tone theory to Mozart, for instance), shows misunderstanding on your friend's part.

Re: Why not create your own metal music?
July 08, 2011, 07:48:22 PM
Much folk music that isn't really old originally was classical (or whatever was the equivalent artistic tradition at that time), or was influenced notably by it. The comparison to Croatian folk music is hardly appropriate -- "learning to understand music" by applying theory of a later era to that of a far earlier one (12-tone theory to Mozart, for instance), shows misunderstanding on your friend's part.

The comparison is relevant because it shows that a particular music theory is not applicable outside of its own domain.  Theory for the most part only comes into being after the music which is is designed to explain, it is not a formula for creation. 

Craft is important for any musician, but for a metal musician craft is not doing counterpoint exercises.  I suppose I am not strictly against the foundation of 'metal theory', but I do not see much benefit in this, most musical traditions are aurally transmitted.  I tend to think that metal technique has already been developed to the extent where it is suitable to communicate the essential message of the genre, but no one seems satisfied with that, this is part of the progressivist disease which has plagued European societies since the Renaissance.  In eastern artistic traditions, the need to constantly develop and change an art-form is seen as a sign of inadequacy, we already have everything we need, but we would rather distract ourselves with 'intellectual entertainment' than allow ourselves to contemplate the essential.