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Lack of theoretical rigor in metal

Re: Lack of theoretical rigor in metal
January 04, 2007, 12:06:46 AM
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Metal doesn't have any ideas because you can only go so far on natural talent and a handful of lessons - this is why nearly all the great metal bands end up creative burnouts after a handful of albums, whereas composers with a strong theoretical foundation never stop growing and eventually enter their masterful "late era" - they have more tools at their disposal with which to shape and derive ideas as well as a more fertile bed from which to draw new ones.


Exactly. We all wonder why 1st and 2nd albums are almost unfailingly the best - this is the reason. Gorguts was able to become overcome this trend only through Lemay's diligence. It's erroneous to assume he wouldn't have commenced casual study before entering into formal music education.

Re: Lack of theoretical rigor in metal
January 04, 2007, 08:42:50 AM
And yet, his practical understanding regressed as his formal knowledge increased.

The lesson of the classical era is that formal training is meaningless and practical experience is everything.  Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, Schumann etc. had little or no formal training by modern standards - they learned not through study, but through the act of composing itself.  They were not students of 'theory' they were creators of a practice that theory could only describe.  Theory leads to Cage, not Wagner, Sculptured, not Burzum.

Fuck that.

Re: Lack of theoretical rigor in metal
January 04, 2007, 08:45:26 AM
I think their understanding of theory was just superior that of the modern time. In their view, theory was a way of learning music as a language, but did not substitute for content. They were artists first, musicians second. Now, our artists aren't artists. They're instrument players.

Re: Lack of theoretical rigor in metal
January 04, 2007, 09:00:28 AM
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I think their understanding of theory was just superior that of the modern time. In their view, theory was a way of learning music as a language, but did not substitute for content. They were artists first, musicians second. Now, our artists aren't artists. They're instrument players.


There's a reason for that:

Classical theory dealt with the fundamental aspects of creation: ideals.   In the Classical era, that meant a 'theory' built around balance, elegance and reason, for the Romantics, it meant a creative 'theory' of passion, power and Will.

Modern music theory is something else entirely.  It is unconcerned with ideal, and centrally concerned with technique, which is why modern theory has produced many techniques (serialism, modalism etc.) but no movements in art.

Re: Lack of theoretical rigor in metal
January 04, 2007, 10:57:33 AM
Theory is descriptive and anybody who uses it purely as a prescriptive device probably won't make very convincing music - I don't think anybody in this thread would ever argue otherwise. Serialism is a movement. So is minimalism and post-minimalism. While I might concede that there is an almost conspiratorial need in many music departments to push only Boulez/Carter/Stockhausen clones while everything else gets snubbed as populist or "not serious", anybody who's anybody (including Boulez, Carter and Stockhausen) has very specific reasons for composing in the idiom that they do, be it misguided futurism, historical necessity, avoidance of sentimentality/rejection of past tradition, comprehensibility, some self-conscious and seemingly contradictory attempt to reattain naivete - the list goes on, but "following the rules cause that's how I was taught" isn't likely to be anywhere near the top.

Rameau wrote his Treatise on Harmony back in 1722 and there's plenty of theoretical tracts from the Renaissance and even Medieval eras. Bach's WTC is largely didactic in nature. The problem isn't with theory, but our present method of music education, our cultural impoverishment as a whole. I'm fond of this excerpt from a Morton Feldman interview:

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TM: What new or emerging trends or composers do you feel have been important for the ’70s and ’80s?

MF: Nothing, we had nothing in the ’70s. We had—

TM: Or even the ’60s?

MF: We had popular music, like Steve Reich or Philip Glass, but they’re show business. Serious stuff, if I may use that word, experimental stuff, if I may use that word, nothing, nothing. Cage and myself are still doing the most interesting work. The young people are a disaster.

TM: Why is this?

MF: They shouldn’t be in the field. It’s a field that requires immense talent. They have no ideas. What the hell they’re doing there, I have no idea. I taught a seminar on my own—I mean I loved the kids, I suppose. They’re not kids anymore, they’re your age, doctorate program. I said, “You like those crazy Arabs that tie yourself up with dynamite and you crash into a building?” I said, “My God, you’re not going to crash in here.” I said, “We have it fixed—it happens about ten years after your doctorate degree.” I want everybody to get out of music. It’s too difficult. It requires immense talent for ideas, when not to use ideas. And a feeling for instruments, and a feeling for sound, and a natural feeling for proportion, not a didactic feeling for proportion, all these things. It’s very, very difficult. It’s very, very difficult. Music is very, very difficult. I don't even think it should be taught in universities anymore.

TM: Well, what should happen to it?

MF: I think it should disappear from academic life, because the tendency is to be very academic even without academic life.

TM: You yourself teach!

MF: I teach...I don’t know what I do. I don’t know what I do. What is teaching? Teaching is in a sense what happened with Hindemith. This is the story about Hindemith and Yale: He says to somebody, “You know, I invented a system where you can be stupid and get good results?” That was the whole idea—finding ways to make it democratic. It’s not democratic. I mean, composition is not democratic.

http://www.research.umbc.edu/~tmoore/interview_frame.html

Re: Lack of theoretical rigor in metal
January 04, 2007, 11:29:06 AM
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 Serialism is a movement. So is minimalism and post-minimalism.


Serialism is a compositional technique that can be (and is) applied to everything from chamber music, to jazz, to metal.  Movements distill to ideals, and typically cross lines of media (Romanticism in music was matched by Romantic/Gothic literature, and the Pre-Raphaelites in painting, Classicism in music was matched by neo-Classicism in architecture, painting and sculpture) and Versailles was the counterpart to Bach)   Serialism is no more a 'movement' than counterpoint is.  Minimalism and post-minimalism are closer to being movements, but even here, they are far more unified by technique than by shared ideals.


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While I might concede that there is an almost conspiratorial need in many music departments to push only Boulez/Carter/Stockhausen clones while everything else gets snubbed as populist or "not serious", anybody who's anybody (including Boulez, Carter and Stockhausen) has very specific reasons for composing in the idiom that they do, be it misguided futurism, historical necessity, avoidance of sentimentality/rejection of past tradition, comprehensibility, some self-conscious and seemingly contradictory attempt to reattain naivete - the list goes on, but "following the rules cause that's how I was taught" isn't likely to be anywhere near the top.


But "breaking the rules because that's what is expected" is.

Re: Lack of theoretical rigor in metal
January 04, 2007, 11:43:05 AM
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Rameau wrote his Treatise on Harmony back in 1722 and there's plenty of theoretical tracts from the Renaissance and even Medieval eras. Bach's WTC is largely didactic in nature.


Newton published Principia Mathematica in 1687, but it would take another century or more before physics really emerged as a discipline seperate from "natural philosophy" or, for that matter, engineering, alchemy and philosophy.  The emergence of theory as the sine qua non of musical education is a 20th century social phenomenon, and it's reached the point where in academic music departments where Schönberg's publications about twelve-tone composition are treated as more important than his compositions themselves, an attitude that is the intellectual equivalent of disembowelling yourself to take a dump.

Re: Lack of theoretical rigor in metal
January 04, 2007, 01:42:19 PM
learning at universities (for music) is the same today as it was in the 17th hundreds, but since people are unequal there art will also be just that

Re: Lack of theoretical rigor in metal
January 04, 2007, 05:19:05 PM
Academicism, or the study of interpreted meaning to music theory, is not musical theory itself. It's a wank job for idiots like Schoenberg.

Re: Lack of theoretical rigor in metal
January 07, 2007, 10:18:57 AM
i doubt only knowing what music means is going to help you more then actual music theory, and in fact any man that makes thrilling music will have some concept on the values in various styles of music

Re: Lack of theoretical rigor in metal
January 07, 2007, 01:44:22 PM
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i doubt only knowing what music means is going to help you more then actual music theory, and in fact any man that makes thrilling music will have some concept on the values in various styles of music


Isn't music theory explaining the techniques of art, but not a tool for discovering how art itself works? It's like knowing grammar. It helps. Even the most primitive bands have some sense of musical grammar. And various styles? Give me a break. There is one music theory, and listening to rock/jazz will only dull your senses.

Re: Lack of theoretical rigor in metal
January 07, 2007, 01:53:23 PM
why will listening to jazz dull your sense, to learn to write big band jazz is just as hard as writing a symphony, in fact jazz in many ways can be more complex then a lot of classical music

music theory doesn't tell a person the techniques for making art, it tells them a techniques for making music, how they change that into art is through inspiration and genius

Re: Lack of theoretical rigor in metal
January 07, 2007, 02:34:41 PM
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in fact jazz in many ways can be more complex then a lot of classical music  


Please give examples of jazz that is as complex to write as Beethoven's seventh symphony.


Re: Lack of theoretical rigor in metal
January 07, 2007, 07:32:06 PM
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Please give examples of jazz that is as complex to write as Beethoven's seventh symphony.



please give examples of metal that are as complex to write as beethovens seventh symphony.

why so dogmatic?

Re: Lack of theoretical rigor in metal
January 07, 2007, 07:38:38 PM
classical  ranges to some extremely simple pieces, as in simple beyond gorgoroth to unbelievable complex as in many of Bach's much more complex works  

Most jazz isn't very complicated, even big band jazz can be simple but can be very complex, if you will have seen the theory for jazz it is often far more difficult to grasp then classical, classical theory is very predictable but jazz has enough dissonance within it to make learning and applying it much more difficult  

Both classical and jazz are as complex or as simple as the composer chose to make them

There is a reason why jazz composers go to a jazz school just as classical composer go to a classically based school