Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length

Lack of theoretical rigor in metal

Re: Lack of theoretical rigor in metal
January 03, 2007, 12:56:00 AM
Quote

Most of whom didn't emerge from the conservatories - much like the great writers of the last century (and this one) by and large didn't come out of academic literary departments.  

Even then, the 20th century didn't produce a single composer fit to hold jocks of Wagner, Beethoven, Schumann, Bach etc.


There are a couple of exceptions, noteably Prokofiev. But I would like to just add that theory will not provide creative genious, or spirit or whatever you want to call it - this seems to be a product of culture and random fluke genes. Theory  will only provide a gifted person with the ability to complete his works on a grander scale.

As for if theory is necessary for metal, I think it will be if it's to grow. If something is to become bigger and greater the first thing it needs is that simple ideas shouldn't be reinvented by every band.

Re: Lack of theoretical rigor in metal
January 03, 2007, 01:13:43 AM
esoteric you took my quote out of context, i was saying those things are achieved when one has learned theory and can apply it practically

Re: Lack of theoretical rigor in metal
January 03, 2007, 01:42:58 AM
Quote
Systematic music theory is a product of the 20th century


Tell that to Mozart.  "Systematic music theory" was the backbone of classical music from the point it left the somewhat haphazard melodic ideas of the middle ages, and particularly during the classical period (Haydn, Mozart, early Beethoven).  I would agree that it was, in a sense, made more academic in the 20th century as the rules, built up since the middle ages, were consciously and intentionally broken.

Possibly I misunderstood, but I have to wonder why you would say that.

Re: Lack of theoretical rigor in metal
January 03, 2007, 01:53:21 AM
In response to the original question, it seems to me that the best metal has been produced by individuals who have somehow found a casual appreciation, but innate sense for classical music and theory.  Usually, this means being raised in a household where classical music is appreciated.  I would say that the reason the vast majority of current metal is so bad is that the bands are outflanking this ideal in one of two directions.  Either they turn their backs on the complexities and effort involved in understanding and incorporating classical elements into their music in the interest of keeping the "passion," "fury," and "ingenuity" (novelty) in their music.  Or bands overthink the whole thing, focusing entirely too much on technicalities and missing the point entirely (Deathspell Omega, Dream Theater).  Admittedly though, some bands have been able to make either approach work, but they're the outliers (Blasphemy on one side, Gorguts and Sacramentum on the other).  

This was a little jumbled; I hope it was of some relevence.

Re: Lack of theoretical rigor in metal
January 03, 2007, 08:31:51 AM
Quote
Gorguts?  Luc Lemay went to conservatory between the writing and recording of "Obscura", meaning that he had formal theoretical knowledge for FWTH.


The key here is timing - the material was written (that is, created) before his stint in conservatory.

There's nothing inherently wrong with theory, but the idea that learning theory can somehow substitute for having ideas is ludicrous, metal isn't dying because it doesn't have enough theory, it's dying because it doesn't have any ideas.

Re: Lack of theoretical rigor in metal
January 03, 2007, 08:37:40 AM
Quote

Tell that to Mozart.  "Systematic music theory" was the backbone of classical music from the point it left the somewhat haphazard melodic ideas of the middle ages, and particularly during the classical period (Haydn, Mozart, early Beethoven).  I would agree that it was, in a sense, made more academic in the 20th century as the rules, built up since the middle ages, were consciously and intentionally broken.

Possibly I misunderstood, but I have to wonder why you would say that.


The 'rules' of classical theory were conventions of practice, not formal 'rules' articulated in an academic setting.  Music theory as a formal practice really begins with Schoenberg, which is when 'theory' moved from a describtive science to an experimental one (that is, when it became a formal discipline seperate from music criticism).

Re: Lack of theoretical rigor in metal
January 03, 2007, 09:17:14 AM
Quote

The key here is timing - the material was written (that is, created) before his stint in conservatory.

There's nothing inherently wrong with theory, but the idea that learning theory can somehow substitute for having ideas is ludicrous, metal isn't dying because it doesn't have enough theory, it's dying because it doesn't have any ideas.

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.

Re: Lack of theoretical rigor in metal
January 03, 2007, 10:30:39 AM
Quote

The key here is timing - the material was written (that is, created) before his stint in conservatory.

From Wisdom to Hate wasn't.

Re: Lack of theoretical rigor in metal
January 03, 2007, 12:00:54 PM
Quote
From Wisdom to Hate wasn't.


And it suffers in comparison to Obscura, does it not?

Re: Lack of theoretical rigor in metal
January 03, 2007, 12:04:12 PM
Quote
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.



That's an artifact of the economics of recorded music.  The emphasis on novelty means that you have to strike while the iron is hot, or your record deal will vanish.

End result: a life's worth of ideas are crammed in abbreviated form into 3-4 years of work.

Re: Lack of theoretical rigor in metal
January 03, 2007, 12:24:10 PM
Quote

And it suffers in comparison to Obscura, does it not?

But it slaughters the shit out of just about everything that isn't Obscura (including TEoS and Considered Dead).

Re: Lack of theoretical rigor in metal
January 03, 2007, 12:25:33 PM
Quote
But it slaughters the shit out of just about everything that isn't Obscura (including TEoS and Considered Dead).


True - but it does so for reasons rooted in what the band was doing during the writing phase of Obscura.

Re: Lack of theoretical rigor in metal
January 03, 2007, 12:27:43 PM
Not certain I agree, since the writing processes for the two albums, according to Luc, were completely different.

Re: Lack of theoretical rigor in metal
January 03, 2007, 12:33:57 PM
But the best elements are holdovers from Obscura, while the weaknesses lie in the attempts to get cute and recombine the old style and the new one (the classic mix-and-match fallacy of so much academic 'music').

Re: Lack of theoretical rigor in metal
January 03, 2007, 01:08:21 PM
Quote
But it slaughters the shit out of just about everything that isn't Obscura (including TEoS and Considered Dead).


Well, it depends on which aspect of an album you're looking at.

Obscura is brilliant because it is so original in its sound. From Wisdom to Hate is brilliant in its structure.

If we look at these albums through a Classical lens, From Wisdom to Hate is the superior album. Every sound on that album is perfectly placed, and there is equal emotion to match its logic.