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Metal: a different technicality

Metal: a different technicality
January 21, 2007, 10:28:47 PM
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I listen to metal not so much because of the lyrics, but because of the aggression, soul, and technical virtuosity the better bands display. Sure there are bad metal bands, but the best death, black, and even "conventional" metal bands can play circles around nearly all musicians from other genres. Anyone who disagrees with this has never tried to play Morbid Angel, Cryptopsy, or Emperor on the guitar or drums.

I played classical guitar for many years. It didn't take me too long to learn some of the more intricate pieces by composers such as Bach (lute suites) and Francisco Tarrega well enough to perform them in front of several hundred people at recitals. I've also played metal on the electric guitar for about the same length of time, and to this day I have difficulty playing stuff by the more technical bands. That stuff is ridiculously hard to play -- WAY harder than classical music.

Regarding the "cookie monster" or shrieked vocals, I can certainly understand how a lot of people are turned off by that. My elderly mother, for example, listens mainly to classical music, but actually likes a lot of the instrumental music by bands like Emperor. She just doesn't like the vocals. There are bands that use "clean" vocals too, though, or that use both styles here and there.


Original Dissent

I think he's mostly right.

Re: Metal: a different technicality
January 22, 2007, 05:22:51 PM
With classical music a lot of technical traing goes into it. When composing it is based around writing the music down and seeing how it looks on paper. Metal musicians don't do this, they tend to just mess around on guitars until it sounds right, this means that they often don't appreciate just how hard some of the stuff they're playing is.

It's like the choice between learning the theory and using that to write music, in short using the rules to come up with music. And the other choice is free styling it and seeing what happens.

Re: Metal: a different technicality
January 22, 2007, 09:14:45 PM
the only reason classical musicians are so skilled is because it is very hard to play well in a group of 100 + people and sound very good, if but one person is out of time it drags down the performance of the entire orchestra

to be able to play well is one thing, but to be able to play well in a group is another thing entirely

Re: Metal: a different technicality
January 22, 2007, 09:29:27 PM
I imagine that there's just no more time anymore for musicans to write the music on paper.  Everything is dead-line in this day of age.  Plus, you know Metallers, there probably stoned or something while they're sitting down making songs together.  Who is goin to bother writing stuff down, or even try to learn how to write it down, when they're stoned.  

Re: Metal: a different technicality
January 24, 2007, 07:13:11 PM
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the only reason classical musicians are so skilled is because it is very hard to play well in a group of 100 + people and sound very good, if but one person is out of time it drags down the performance of the entire orchestra


That and the fact that their improvisation is structured, which means it's a LOT harder than the relatively random jazz, blues, rock stuff.


Re: Metal: a different technicality
January 25, 2007, 01:47:17 AM
improvisation can be as simple or as complicated as you want, so you cant say one kind of improvisation is more difficult from another because its just as difficult as the performer chooses it to be

But classical musicians aren't trained to improvise, hence why so few do, but i find the structured nature of it makes it exceedingly easy to improvise on because there is always a clear guideline about what to do and more importantly what to do next

although Bach could improvise extremely well (some of his works are improvised and he would write them down latter) he is perhaps the most talented performer and composer ever so to set him as some sort of goal is unrealistic

Re: Metal: a different technicality
January 25, 2007, 10:38:18 AM
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the only reason classical musicians are so skilled is because it is very hard to play well in a group of 100 + people and sound very good, if but one person is out of time it drags down the performance of the entire orchestra

to be able to play well is one thing, but to be able to play well in a group is another thing entirely


Metal musicians tend to play in a group as well though, granted it's a smaller group, but the music tends to be more challenging. It also depends on how you prefer to play music, whether you prefer free styling it to see what happens, or whether you prefer ordering and structuring the music. I play piano myself, and i started out never bothering to read music well and just came up with my own stuff based on scales. Now i regret this cos i have to spend more time over reading music. I'm getting better, but it means i have to learn the structure of music and how it looks on paper from scratch, despite having played piano in a less systematic way for some years.  

Re: Metal: a different technicality
January 25, 2007, 05:19:36 PM
but metal always has a constant percussion, it is very difficult to have such a huge group without any underlying beat, granted they have a conductor but this visual aid is not as helpful as a drum kit to metal musicians

Re: Metal: a different technicality
January 25, 2007, 06:38:27 PM
I don't want this to lead to a debate about which is more difficult to play, metal or classical, cos that's just ridiculous, they're both difficult for different reasons. My point was that someone who has sat down and learnt the theory and can read music fluently may struggle when it comes to playing some of the stuff that talented metal musicians come up with, cos they don't consider what it looks like on paper. At the same time a metal musician who has never learnt how to read music would find it equally difficult to play sheet music, to play within the rules of sheet music etc etc.

Re: Metal: a different technicality
January 25, 2007, 07:54:26 PM
no my point was never which is more difficult to play, my point was simple why classical musicians are always (and i do mean always) very skilled players

Re: Metal: a different technicality
January 25, 2007, 08:56:04 PM
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improvisation can be as simple or as complicated as you want, so you cant say one kind of improvisation is more difficult from another because its just as difficult as the performer chooses it to be


No agreement here.

Structured improvisation has a changing background pattern in which there must be a certain type of expression; it's not easy.

Unstructured improvisation is following a chord progression with no guidelines except verse-chorus as the piece develops; it's not hard.

Like rhyming poetry versus "free verse."

Re: Metal: a different technicality
February 20, 2007, 05:06:05 PM
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With classical music a lot of technical traing goes into it. When composing it is based around writing the music down and seeing how it looks on paper. Metal musicians don't do this, they tend to just mess around on guitars until it sounds right, this means that they often don't appreciate just how hard some of the stuff they're playing is.

I agree with this to some degree, but this entire thread is full of people generalizing a populous group.  I guess thats expected, but I am sure a lot of bands have stated that they have a very different approach.  Im sure your really technical bands write a lot of it down, expecially newer technical bands.  I understand that a lot of you guys tend to avoid newer metal, but if you listen to some of the newer technical bands, youll see that a lot of their songs have parts that are completely different but still somehow find a way to fit together like a complex puzzle.  I think for music like that, they MUST have written it down at some point, because theres just too much going on for a person to remember right away.  The point is that there are always exceptions, and I think they should be celebrated a little more.

Also, Im sure a lot of bands use tabbing programs in the newer music.  I personally use Guitar Pro, basically to check whether my thoughts complement eachother in the ways I intended.  Or you can manipulate things youve written to make them have more of a technical feel while still achieving the same general feeling they had to start with.

Re: Metal: a different technicality
February 21, 2007, 09:36:26 AM
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the only reason classical musicians are so skilled is because it is very hard to play well in a group of 100 + people and sound very good, if but one person is out of time it drags down the performance of the entire orchestra

to be able to play well is one thing, but to be able to play well in a group is another thing entirely


Precisely i think the same could be said about Mike Portnoy.

Re: Metal: a different technicality
February 21, 2007, 10:27:11 PM
metal musicians are definately more skilled. in metal, the music is simple, but the musicians have to be talented. in classical music, it's all abotu how complicated the song is. that's why only the conductors get recognition in classical music. they have to write a very complicated song with over 100 different parts. so it's the song structure that is very difficult, the individual skills of each musician in an orchestra is not that important. the only thing they need is being able to keep track of all the music so they have perfect timing. in metal, the song structure is much simpler, there's only 4 or 5 parts usually. so individual talent is much more important.

Re: Metal: a different technicality
February 21, 2007, 10:44:33 PM
the skill of the musician is extremely important in classical music, you cant have large groups of people who are poor musicians to perform even the most simple piece of music and make it sound well, members of orchestras have to surrender small parts of there lives before performances to literally live with the orchestra. Everything has to be perfect, and of course with so few national level orchestras you could have thousands to audition (if you were say the London symphony orchestras) and they are obviously only going to give parts to the most talented performers (especially for things like first violin and keyboard instruments)

and of course there are some extremely technical classical works