Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length

Metal music theory

Re: Metal music theory
June 11, 2009, 03:56:59 AM
The problem is:

-There is a lot of metal that is tonal and cyclical in structure
-There is a lot of rock that is atonal and narrative

What do we do? Are we going to call tonal metal rock music? Half of metal is in the aesthetics: Black Sabbath showed us the theory wasn't so important as the spirit. This is why i'd be in favour of calling metal rock, even if some of its characteristics are as the original poster described. Maybe one day it will become its own genre but for now it's a subgenre of rock. It'll take more than a couple of decades for it to become a genre of its own, much like romanticism's divergence from classical.

Re: Metal music theory
June 11, 2009, 04:09:30 AM
The problem is:

-There is a lot of metal that is tonal and cyclical in structure
-There is a lot of rock that is atonal and narrative

What do we do? Are we going to call tonal metal rock music? Half of metal is in the aesthetics: Black Sabbath showed us the theory wasn't so important as the spirit. This is why i'd be in favour of calling metal rock, even if some of its characteristics are as the original poster described. Maybe one day it will become its own genre but for now it's a subgenre of rock. It'll take more than a couple of decades for it to become a genre of its own, much like romanticism's divergence from classical.

You're correct, if you examine the metal genre as a whole. I, when speaking of the quality of heavy metal, focus predominantly upon the artists that through the summation of their parts create artistic material. Sure, Dream Theater and Opeth may not be cyclical in structure, and Psyopus may be atonal, but does it arrange melody like poetry in which all parts are pathways to the point? Traditional music was a mastery of this, and I feel that metal also accomplished this, albeit in varying degrees. Perhaps I speak for too small a demographic though, and when speaking about metal perhaps we should analyze the genre as a whole; which is essentially rock music.

Re: Metal music theory
June 11, 2009, 08:02:23 PM
-There is a lot of rock that is atonal and narrative

What's an example here? The only thing close is King Crimson, and I dunno if I'd say that's atonal.

Re: Metal music theory
June 12, 2009, 08:57:51 PM
-There is a lot of rock that is atonal and narrative

What's an example here? The only thing close is King Crimson, and I dunno if I'd say that's atonal.
Sections can be atonal, doesn't have to be whole albums or even songs.

King Crimson wasn't the only prog rock group in existence, but outside of that framework, early Sonic Youth sticks out like a sore thumb. Countless no-wave, post-hardcore, math rock, post-rock and things vaguely allied with those styles fit both the criteria of non-tonal/non-binary form.

Re: Metal music theory
June 12, 2009, 10:37:29 PM
-There is a lot of rock that is atonal and narrative

What's an example here? The only thing close is King Crimson, and I dunno if I'd say that's atonal.

Captain Beefheart perhaps?

Re: Metal music theory
June 12, 2009, 11:20:37 PM
Faust from Germany? Is krautrock even rock music?

Re: Metal music theory
June 12, 2009, 11:58:07 PM
The excerpts (1 black metal 1 death metal for each chord) so far are as follows:

Non Functional Harmony:

root +p5th:

Ildjarn-Nidhogg:  Mørklagt Sti
Massacra: Nearer to Death

root+tritone:

Averse Sefira: Detonation
Internecine: Hallowed Guidance

root+m3rd:

Darkthrone: En Vind av Sorg
At The Gates: The Red in The Sky is Ours

root+M3rd:

Immortal: The Sun no Longer Rises (+M7th's)
Timeghoul: Boiling in the Hourglass

Functional Harmony:

Emperor: Cosmic Keys to My Creations and Times (tentative)
Arsis: The Sadistic Motives Behind Bereavement Letters

Each clip is about 20 seconds, edited to the part in the song where the chords appear, and faded in on that part, to tell the listener when to start paying attention.

I still need both a death metal and black metal example of root+P4th chords (I don't want to repeat bands, or else the death metal choice here would be simple: Timeghoul). Suggestions?

I also think a section at the end showing a few songs that incorporate all of these chords could be cool. Crimson Massacre, Gorguts, and Morbid Angel would be my picks here.

If someone is willing to donate their coding skills, I'll send them the files.

Re: Metal music theory
June 13, 2009, 02:13:28 AM
For root + perfect fourth, "Forgotten Centuries" by Emperor (first chord in the riff that alternates between lead and chord/rhythm playing about half-way though the song) is an obvious black metal example.  I'm having a hard time coming up with death metal examples, but that's probably because I play much more black metal than death metal.  A slightly more esoteric, but more well known example, would be the first chord in "Transilvanian Hunger" by Darkthrone, although the fourth is played an octave high (!)- that first riff also contains examples of root + m3rd, root + M2nd (!), root + m6th, and is one of the few metal riffs that's entirely in one key (A minor).

Also, although you've left them out, root + m6ths are pretty common in black metal- a few examples are "My Journey to the Stars" (riff 2) by Burzum, "Crushing the Scepter" (first fast riff) by Gorgoroth, and almost every song on "Transilvanian Hunger" by Darkthrone (perhaps most prevalent in "Slottet I Det Fjerne").

Also, don't negelect the barre-chord minor traids heard in songs like "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas" by Mayhem, practically every song on "Under Ein Blodraud Maane" by Manes, and "Thule" by Thorns. 

Re: Metal music theory
June 13, 2009, 05:23:56 AM
-There is a lot of rock that is atonal and narrative

What's an example here? The only thing close is King Crimson, and I dunno if I'd say that's atonal.

Captain Beefheart perhaps?

Yes, I was about to use them as an example. It's actually very similar to metal if you listen closely.

Re: Metal music theory
June 25, 2009, 02:45:12 AM
This should really be made a feature on the site.

Re: Metal music theory
June 25, 2009, 06:20:43 PM
This should really be made a feature on the site.

In progress.

Re: Metal music theory
June 25, 2009, 09:43:48 PM
Yes, we are expanding the scope of the project a bit, but I am mostly left with only weekends to work on it, so progress remains slow but steady.

We are mostly just looking to flesh out the band examples a bit and provide some documentation of what's going on with certain bands aside from simply throwing in an MP3 of a couple songs.

More to come as the project nears completion.

Re: Metal music theory
June 25, 2009, 10:55:33 PM
I cannot wait to see this music theory fully realized. It reminds me of the time when I first studied music theory and when I walked out of that class for the last time I was dissecting the great classics. What a feeling that was!

Re: Metal music theory
July 08, 2009, 06:15:19 PM
Useful terms:

Quote
stro·phe  (strf)
n.
1.
a. The first of a pair of stanzas of alternating form on which the structure of a given poem is based.
b. A stanza containing irregular lines.
2. The first division of the triad constituting a section of a Pindaric ode.
3.
a. The first movement of the chorus in classical Greek drama while turning from one side of the orchestra to the other.
b. The part of a choral ode sung while this movement is executed.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/strophe

Quote
through-com·posed (thrkm-pzd)
adj.
Having a different melody for each strophe.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/through-composed

Re: Metal music theory
July 08, 2009, 09:05:10 PM
A simpler definition of through-composed music would be:

1. Music that lacks defined sections and/or repetition.

This is one of the things that really separates classical music from rock music, as rock music is hugely dependent on having sectional repetition to create "hooks."

The through-composed style is definitely a major roadblock for people who are conditioned to the verbatim repetition used in rock music.

Instead of cycling through the same 2 or 3 parts in a continuous loop, the "hooks" in classical music are usually something less obvious like a rhythmic/melodic motive that is constantly redeveloped as the composition cycles through many keys, modes and meters.

Basically, through-composed = repetition without redundancy.