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Modal music?

Modal music?
October 07, 2006, 02:37:12 PM
From Coco P. Dalbert's post:

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Erik Hinds plays acoustic 7-string fretless guitar and lives in a solar-powered house.

What makes fretless guitar important?

From unfretted.com:

The philosophy behind the fretless guitar is very simple. It is an attempt to go back in time to when music was played "in tune". It may seem a strange purpose; to play an instrument which is so difficult to play in tune, with the idea of being able to actually play more in tune. The reason why the fretless guitar is ideally suited to playing in tune, and the fretted guitar is not, is that although it may seem very easy to play the fretted guitar in tune, this is actually an illusion. It is virtually impossible to play the fretted guitar in tune. It may very difficult to play the fretless guitar perfectly in tune, but it is possible, whereas with a fretted guitar it is not.

It took me a very long time to realise that it is not possible to tune a fretted guitar perfectly. Honestly, for years I thought my ears were defective, although the truth is the opposite - I was able to pickup on the fretted guitars tuning limitations before I could intellectually understand the underlying reasons for that.

What I mean by going "back in time" to when music was played "in tune" means going back to a time before the invention of the equal tempered tuning system. The piano is the perfect example of an instrument designed to be tuned in equal temperment - thus the piano also is an "out of tune" instrument.

So the key point here is really a question of tuning systems; equal tempered vs. natural tuning. The equal tempered tuning system was invented as a way to play music which uses "harmony" on just one instument (guitar or piano for example). So you may be asking; what is "equal temperment"? and, what is "harmony"?

Harmony is when music uses chords and is able to modulate into different keys. Music which uses the "pre-harmony" or "natural", or "untempered" tuning systems, like the Indian musical system, is and can only be played in one key. This is the major drawback - that is assuming that you are addicted to hearing chordal movement in music. Indian music has no chordal movement and therefore is grounded in one key permanently - therefore all of the intervals can be placed exactly where the ear wants to hear them without the risk that if you modulate into another key, a particular note placing might not then sound good in the new key.


What makes this relevant to the study of nihilism?

From Epicenters of Justice by Drew Hempel:

While using music theory to precisely model the nothingness, nodes and waves from which all harmony arises may not seem particularly outstanding, the concept, as will be further shown, can be applied to all of reality with revolutionary effects. When investigating the true import of beats phenomena, the founder of social systems theory, Gregory Bateson, asks: "Do we, in fact, carry around with us...samples of various sorts of regularity against which we can try the information (news of regular difference) that comes in from outside?" [John Grinder and Richard Bandler label these sorts 'Complex Equivalence'] Philosopher David Loy in Nonduality explains that "...if there were only one thing [the multidimensional harmonic wave], with nothing 'outside' it, then that one would not be aware of itself as one. The phenomenological experience would be of no thing/nothing."

Better than the Slayer original?

Here are the tunes: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/erikhinds3


I've always liked the ancient Greek ideal in music. Keyless, like medieval music it was made of overlaid melodies, sometimes almost like a fugue. What made it so great? Emphasis was on music representing life, telling a story, which is something wrecked by the simple nature of key changes (D is the "sad" key, so we get sad, etc). Metal, especially death and black metal, is often "keyless" in a similar way.


Re: Modal music?
October 09, 2006, 09:34:03 PM
not to nitpick but I'm going to nitpick

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I've always liked the ancient Greek ideal in music. Keyless, like medieval music it was made of overlaid melodies, sometimes almost like a fugue.

1) "Keyless" is really a bad word to use when describing modal music.
2) We can only speculate on the precise nature of ancient music. It was probably diatonic, probably monophonic and the social context was probably more important than what was being sung or played, though that last one has always been the case pretty much until the 18th century.
3) Most medieval music was monodic or otherwise texturally nothing to shout home about unless you're referring to late Medieval/Renaissance polyphony.
4) If you're refering to the latter, a fugue is a very particular subset of contrapuntal writing.

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What made it so great? Emphasis was on music representing life, telling a story, which is something wrecked by the simple nature of key changes (D is the "sad" key, so we get sad, etc).

If anything, modulation greatly enhances and expands whatever programmatic properties a piece of music may have.

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Metal, especially death and black metal, is often "keyless" in a similar way.

If by keyless you mean modal, then yeah. And it's sometimes tonal, too. On occasion it eschews functional tonality alltogether but the lazy fucks still won't stop riding that open-E. You could refer to to that reliance on open strings as a highly truncated echo of just intonation, but that's really a stretch.

Re: Modal music?
October 10, 2006, 01:51:46 PM
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If anything, modulation greatly enhances and expands whatever programmatic properties a piece of music may have.


But does it enhance the whole piece? It's a cheap method :)

Re: Modal music?
October 14, 2006, 11:36:08 PM
This great, intelligent musical discussion of metal!
Very hard to find.

The beauty of Heavy Metal music is that its really only limited by imagination in the sense that it does not nessecarly adhere to notes in a key, set structures or even phrasing.

These attributes in Metal music were defining factors in its sound, it left an open endedness that allowed a lot of expression from non-musically trained musicians.

But it was also a pitfall, since it allowed everday idiots to make bands with little musical training. These bands were merly imitating sounds and had none of the imagination. As a result of the lack of artistry it allowed idiots to become fans.

So maybe metal needs to become a bit more harder to imitate...... but without loosing its modal based musicality, or perhaps a new sort of expression is to defeat this?!

euronymous

Re: Modal music?
October 15, 2006, 02:57:49 AM
Quote
This great, intelligent musical discussion of metal!
Very hard to find.

The beauty of Heavy Metal music is that its really only limited by imagination in the sense that it does not nessecarly adhere to notes in a key, set structures or even phrasing.

These attributes in Metal music were defining factors in its sound, it left an open endedness that allowed a lot of expression from non-musically trained musicians.

But it was also a pitfall, since it allowed everday idiots to make bands with little musical training. These bands were merly imitating sounds and had none of the imagination. As a result of the lack of artistry it allowed idiots to become fans.

So maybe metal needs to become a bit more harder to imitate...... but without loosing its modal based musicality, or perhaps a new sort of expression is to defeat this?!



Truly hard to find indeed: so great and intelligent that there are only three replies in a week, as mine doesn't count, of course.


Re: Modal music?
October 18, 2006, 01:36:00 PM
It does seem that as metal bands get more experienced, they also educate themselves more in how the music is 'supposed' to sound and that is about when they 'sell out' or just lose their original spirit.  Is there a decent way to learn musical theory without taking away the soul of music?  Actually, I think why a lot of bands turn to the traditional music education is probably an attempt to try and get the original enthusiasm and artistic value back and seems to contribute a lot to the opposite, the band's downfall.

Annihilaytorr

Re: Modal music?
October 19, 2006, 04:40:06 PM
I think a great example of that is the career of Carcass.

Re: Modal music?
October 24, 2006, 01:58:57 PM
...and Enslaved