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Messages - Eleison

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Interzone / Re: Who/What is Satan?
« on: December 05, 2013, 11:29:07 PM »
Blake and Milton saw for him a role in the mythology of heaven, much like Judas Iscariot (or from earlier Jewish traditions, the scapegoat, or ritual sacrifice designed to take guilt away from the population and kill its host, driving it into the spirit realm).

Some see Satan as an analogy for hubris, but this only works if you see God as an "order," or divine mathematics and celestial balance, and thus Satan as the individualistic withdrawal from the order of reality into the order of the Self, at which point he has become a delusional figure. If sin is error, Satan is the justification for sin (denial of reality).

These are the two most common esoteric interpretations of Satan.  However the latter is superior as it transcends the anthropomorphic (exoteric) interpretation of God.  In this case Satan is something we all carry within ourselves (Ego) rather than an external figure.  It is only this interpretation that can be called truly metaphysical.  Obviously both points of view go beyond that of the majority of adherents of Abrahamic faiths, this does not invalidate them or the more common understanding of these religions.  The real crisis of the monotheistic traditions, and more specifically Western Christianity (Catholic, Protestant), is that they no longer possess a valid esoteric tradition and thus live on as a husk without a kernel so to speak.  This can be clearly witnessed by their total abandonment of traditional forms in architecture, art and the liturgy, as well as their adoption of the modernist counterfeits of these and modernist modes of thought.

Interzone / Re: Coursera introductory classes on Classical music
« on: December 04, 2013, 08:44:03 AM »
I'll get these down in a list.
For the moment I am using Harmony and Voice Leading, by Edward Aldwell, Carl Schachter, and Allen Cadwallader.
I think I should finish this one first before venturing into deeper territory, no?

I don't know the text but I would say if you're learning and finding it useful then there is no reason to move on.  Schoenberg's Structural Functions of Harmony is not a beginners' harmony book.  It presupposes a knowledge of basic diatonic and chromatic harmony and standard modulation patterns.

I probably should have mentioned is that the Schoenberg texts are primarily aimed at people who wish not only to analyse music but to compose it.  Thus the level of detail is significantly greater than what is often presented.  Also, for anyone who wishes to compose music for classical instruments an orchestration textbook is a must.  I use the one by Walter Piston although I hear there are several other good ones available.

Metal / Re: Most metal albums are too long...
« on: December 04, 2013, 02:02:44 AM »
and.....mmm...what is your opinion about Nuclear Assault - Handle with Care?? not enter in the concept...

Haven't heard it...

I think albums should be more ‘solid’, not necessarily shorter or longer in duration. Certain parts of songs could be expanded on while others are de-emphasised. There is also, as you say, much to be gained in developing beyond the typical song/album format altogether.

On the other hand, an album like Filosofem or Ildjarn’s Strength and Anger is perhaps overly repetitious and in the end goes nowhere but I just like getting lost in this particular sound. Maybe it has potential. I also love the way Sarcofago sound like they couldn't play the riffs any faster, as though the quicker it was done the better.

Yes, as I think about it more I think my OP could be revised to say that the approach to creating metal albums needs to completely get rid of the "collection of songs" mentality, which usually involves repeating the same basic idea multiple times, and needs to move towards creating a single medium - large scale work with related parts.

The point you make about enjoying certain albums even though their overall structure is lacking is a significant one.  Since I enjoy the aesthetic and general mood of many metal bands, it's easy to be less critical than I should be.  For example, I have been listening to Gorguts' Obscura over the past few days with a view to creating string quartet arrangements for some of the tracks.  Since all of the songs are excellent in their own right and there is a sense of structure binding the whole album together, I had never really thought to criticize this work, however, if I was being truly objective I would have to say that probably at least 4 of the 12 tracks are not necessary and in fact actually impede the listener from experiencing the work as a unified whole.  This is a good example since in this case there is an attempt being made to create an album as a single work, however this process is still impeded by the compulsion to repeat ideas too much by including multiple tracks that are very similar.

I think it is hard for real metalheads to be as critical as they should be since our appreciation for the genre can easily blind us to its flaws.  Some of my friends with backgrounds in classical music whom I have introduced to metal tend to be much more critical of its compositional weaknesses than I am even though they recognise its superiority to most popular music.

I've agreed with this for a while.  I tend to like EPs over most of a band's output for this reason.  Decide's first 3 albums are a good standard for most metal albums.  If a metal album is over 30 minutes, their is usually 10 minutes of filler in it.

I remember reading about an exchange between Schoenberg and Berg which I think should serve as an example to many.  Berg, upon completing the first movement of his Piano Sonata Op. 1 told Schoenberg (who was his composition teacher) that he had no inspiration for ideas for any more movements.  In reply Schoenberg told him that if he had no further ideas this must mean that the piece was finished, so Berg published the Sonata as a single movement work.  It is obvious that many bands disregard this principle and continue writing for an album long after they are out of ideas due a misplaced notion that it must be of a certain length.

Metal / Most metal albums are too long...
« on: December 03, 2013, 11:40:30 PM »
This was a thought that occurred to me over the last few days.  It seems to me that, even in very good metal albums, there are nearly always tracks that are redundant insofar as they are not necessary in order for the album to express its concept.  I could take any number of canonical metal albums, take out half the tracks and end up with a more focused work of art.

It seems that metal still suffers from the popular music syndrome of thinking of an album as a collection of individual songs, enough to fill a CD.  This is in stark contrast the the classical way of organising music where you have a series of contrasting movements, each integral to the structure of the work.  In the Classical period 3-4 movements was the norm and these movements usually had different forms, tempi, keys etc. 

Hvis Lyset Tar Oss is one of the very few albums that touches on this concept, each track is an integral part of the structure of the overall work.

In my mind if you have more than two tracks on an album which essentially follow the same basic structure and concept, then you have redundancy.  People creating metal should stop worrying about trying to write enough music to match preconceived notions of how long an album should be and simply focus their best ideas into stronger tracks that don't repeat too much of what is found on other tracks in the same work.  If this means 10 - 20 min works then so be it.  It should be remembered that in classical music being able to write small-scale works was always considered a pre-requisite for writing larger works, which are often just more drawn out versions of their smaller counterparts.

Interzone / Re: Coursera introductory classes on Classical music
« on: December 03, 2013, 02:55:19 PM »
Learning from books is what I do best; videos are the next best thing.

If you can read music and have a basic knowledge of form and harmony, the best way to quickly gain a really detailed understanding of classical theory is by studying Schoenberg's three books; Fundamentals of Musical Composition, Structural Functions of Harmony and Preliminary Exercises in Counterpoint.  They pack an incredible amount of information into relatively small texts and are the best source I have found for an in depth study of classical theory.  I can honestly say that I learned more from these three books in a couple of months than I did in three years studying music at uni.  The counterpoint book can be quite hard to find and can be replaced by another counterpoint textbook since it's a fairly straightforward subject, but the other two are indispensable.

Amazon links...

Fundamentals of Musical Composition

Structural Functions of Harmony

Preliminary Exercises in Counterpoint

Metal / Re: An idea: Obscura for string quartet?
« on: December 02, 2013, 05:28:40 AM »
Usually I have a look for any tabs that are available to start off with. No point starting from scratch if you don't have to.  Transcribing metal by ear is very time consuming so I tend to avoid it if I can, although I don't mind doing it if there is no alternative.

Anyway, I'll send you a pm regarding this topic for further discussion.

Metal / Re: An idea: Obscura for string quartet?
« on: December 02, 2013, 03:31:20 AM »
Well, I did major in music composition. 

Well, then the moment I get a song down on paper, the first thing I'll do is inform you and share it for you to revise.

As it turns out I do have a transcription for the title track in a piano score, although I would need to revise it thoroughly to be suitable for performance.  I've commenced work an an arrangement for string quartet although it will take a little longer than I had anticipated.  The main difficulty is finding ways to avoid literal repetition when you have a riff repeated 4 or more times.  This kind of repetition is common in metal and almost goes unnoticed but sounds very clumsy when done with classical instrumentation.

This might be a good time to suggest a rebirth of the metal score project that we had here a few years ago.  I had done some work in that regard but I lost most of it when megaupload went down.  My arrangement skills are much better now than they were then so if anyone else is interested in working with me I'll have plenty of free time over the next month or so to kickstart this project.

Metal / Re: An idea: Obscura for string quartet?
« on: November 29, 2013, 01:20:39 PM »
Well, I did major in music composition.  Although I haven't been directly involved in the classical music scene here for a couple of years so getting anything recorded may take some time.

Anyway, I think I actually did an arrangement of the title track from Obscura for piano a few years ago.  But I've been through several computers since then and I may not be able to find the score.  If I can I will start from there, otherwise I will decide on a track to start with tomorrow.

Metal / Re: An idea: Obscura for string quartet?
« on: November 29, 2013, 11:39:37 AM »
I've toyed around with a few of these before.  String quartet is a fairly good medium for transcribing metal, although if you don't have some experience writing for string quartet it's unlikely that you will realize the full potential of the medium.  If I get time over the next couple of days I'll try transcribing something from that album.

Interzone / Re: Meditation: the dangers.
« on: November 26, 2013, 12:05:50 PM »
I would imagine that you would have to put yourself in extreme discomfort over a long period of time to do the kind of damage that Crow is talking about.

Interzone / Re: Meditation: the dangers.
« on: November 26, 2013, 09:46:11 AM »
Well the physiology of your method of meditation must be quite different to mine.  I find I begin with a relaxed, somewhat deep (though not excessively so) breathing, which becomes increasingly shallow as I enter into a meditative state.  After about half-an-hour I reach a stage where it feels like I am barely breathing at all.

Metal / Re: Tristan und Isolde - Prelude
« on: November 25, 2013, 01:21:22 PM »
It should also be noted that Wagner is not "pure music".  Taking it out of context as such is bound to strip it of its content.  This is a case where the music and the text are truly inseparable in terms of the overall effect.

Metal / Re: Tristan und Isolde - Prelude
« on: November 25, 2013, 05:35:25 AM »
Isolde's Liebestod (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLoHcB8A63M) at the ending of that opera is even better than the prelude.  In this opera Wagner basically reached the limits of what classical theory allows without devolving into chaos as some of his successors did.

Metal / Re: Decibel 100 best black metal albums
« on: November 24, 2013, 05:27:23 PM »
The fact that there are plenty of people who would consider the original list to be reasonable says alot about why black metal is what it is nowadays.  The sad thing is that there is so much garbage being praised by so-called metal fans that it becomes extremely difficult for anything of real quality to get enough exposure.

Interzone / Re: Roger Scruton
« on: November 24, 2013, 05:23:45 PM »
...including the 'anti-harmonic' power chord...

I like some of Scruton's work but this is pretty dumb.  It implies that metal should use functional harmonies in the same way that classical music does, thereby imposing the rules of one style on another.  This argument would also condemn pre-classical western music and pretty much any non-western music.

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