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Messages - DeathDealer

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Metal / Schubert String Quartet #14 - let's compare two interpretations
« on: February 23, 2011, 10:29:57 PM »
I've posted two interpretations of Schubert's Death and the Maiden Quartet (#14) in audiofile.

I'll focus on quartet #14 to narrow the discussion. I hope you will listen to both versions, and join in with your own thoughts on the matter.

I got the Takács recording first, a couple of weeks ago. My initial impression was that they played very energetically, even forcefully at times. However, I felt that they glossed over some elements by favouring  a "long line" approach to interpretation, where the musical figures (short patterns of notes) are not given individual importance but are instead strung together in a more legato fashion to put into focus the overarching musical phrase.

In contrast, I first heard the Melos recording today. While the sound is not as clear and distinct, and the energy level is not as intense, I like how they give each musical figure its own emphasis. In the first movement in particular, the slower tempo and the distinctiveness of each figure let the music breathe more, and give the intense moments more gravity. And the emphasis on individual figures doesn't seem to weaken the sense of the overarching musical phrase, which leads me to conclude that there is indeed something lost in the Takács interpretation.

Since the Melos Quartett recording is very new to me, I'll listen to the two some more in the next few days to see how my thoughts evolve.

Any thoughts?

Metal / Re: We should change this into a gossip channel
« on: February 23, 2011, 07:06:42 PM »
Well, I don't know much about music theory or the construction of classical. Hence, I feel I wouldn't contribute much to the discussions in the classical forum. I do really appreciate the subforum though; as there's a good amount of interesting discussion which takes place. I lurk to learn.

I still do enjoy the classical I have, but its a genre I've really only started listening to heavily within the past 2-3 years.

I understand, but would that you didn't fear discussing classical music because you are new to it; also, when will you no longer be "new", at 5 years?! Knowledge of theory is not in the least necessary in order to share one's thoughts about the music, I can assure you of that.

Metal listeners coming to classical tend to overlook a huge chunk of the listening experience: the variety of interpretations. The nature of metal tends to make structure the differentiator between quality and crap. In classical, much weeding out has been done by the formal training requirements to compose, and by historical distance. Furthermore, classical structure is at once simpler and more complex (fixed forms vs. treatment of melody, harmony, texture, etc.) and therefore cannot be appreciated in the exact same way as in metal without overlooking important elements.

In metal, interpretation is fixed by the creator. It's like movies, and remakes/covers usually miss what made the original great. But classical is like theater. There is no fixed, official version. Each time it is played, it relies on the skill and sensibility of the interpreter. And while it can be a matter of taste, there are also objectively better and worse interpretations.

In progressing from metal to classical, I recommend obtaining more than a single version of a favourite work. This trains the ear in critical listening, points to future listening possibilities by a good soloist or ensemble, and enables a newcomer to participate in meaningful non-technical discussions.

Interzone / Re: H.P. Lovecraft: warrior to rediscover the modern soul
« on: January 21, 2011, 03:49:42 AM »
I think it's interesting, but if you think about it, a person whose greatest conviction is that of absolute materialism nothing-has-meaning is in my mind a little flawed, for if he thinks nothing can bring salvation from this state then how come he's spending so much time thinking or grieving about it? It's like he knows there's something but cannot grasp it, otherwise what's the point?

The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.

-The Call of Cthulhu

Interzone / Non-anally retentive prison bitches unite
« on: December 09, 2010, 04:23:17 AM »
Getting a wikipedo article is of such importance that it's worth committing petty vandalism? Get your priorities straight.

Metal / Re: In metal: Nailing down compositional form and structure
« on: December 06, 2010, 05:39:15 AM »
Regarding compositional form and structure, classical music is rather simple when viewed from a very high level. The most important form, the sonata form, consists essentially of exposition-development-recapitulation (metal example: Iron Maiden - Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner). Pretty simple for such a complex genre.

This is why Beethoven and friends didn't need to write out complex structural plans. They're actually simple, usable off-the-rack, and easy to tweak as necessary. The hard part is coming up with good basic musical ideas, and how to treat them to create chaos, suspense, climax (all of which can only exist in contrast with their opposites- hint hint), and end in satisfying resolution. This is the stuff Beethoven filled countless notebooks with (pics: http://tinyurl.com/2brff3a).

As an aside, Sacramentum have always impressed me as masters of riff-flow, especially on Far Away From The Sun.

Perhaps this "Practical Guide to Musical Composition" might be of some help : https://www.webdepot.umontreal.ca/Usagers/belkina/MonDepotPublic/bk/index.html

Metal / Re: Classical is non-ambient in structure
« on: November 25, 2010, 05:52:15 PM »
Beethoven's Sixth Symphony is undeniably ambient(some would say fractal) in nature:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gV7t9XmQn8

I agree on the "mood" part of ambient: the sixth is entirely programmatic. However, the "fractal" part eludes me; do you mean the repetition of motifs? If I remember correctly, the themes stay confined to their individual movements, and besides the 4th, each movement follows an established classical structure (sonata, rondo, etc.).

Metal / Re: Classical is non-ambient in structure
« on: November 24, 2010, 05:24:08 PM »
Ambient and classical did meet, for several centuries, in western sacred music, especially the early stuff (12th-15th centuries). Ex: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vADjiznPm0

I also believe this is where metal would be headed should the ideas in that article be implemented. On a practical level, the primary consonances of early music (fourths and fifths) are the ones that sound good under distortion (ex: power chords). And on the philosophical level, the best of metal is mystical in essence, in that it seeks to grasp the ultimate reality of things.

Interzone / Re: The vuvuzela meme
« on: July 08, 2010, 12:22:53 AM »

Metal / Scarlatti and Interpretation
« on: April 30, 2010, 11:21:20 PM »
THIS SEARCH brought up plenty.

On the first few listens: these pieces sound very dense and busy, and persist with an irritating air of tedium (this comes next, and now I've got to play it, and so on).  The execution almost belies the structure, or at least the latter stifles the former.

The harpsichord's relative lack of emotivity may be partially to blame.  I also get the impression that musicians will generally appreciate the mechanical side of these pieces while shrugging off the lack of sincerity - a perception I've known many to express in summary of Liszt and Paganini.

These pieces are interesting but lack direction, sincerity, and that certain "oomph" the right combination of the two result in.

EDIT: With regards to the above,  I'd be interested to consider the thoughts of a few seasoned classical enthusiasts since I (and I'm guessing others) are wading in shallow waters but haven't yet dove in, so to speak.  If there's nothing more to say then obviously don't.

Arctic Sun:

For Scarlatti, I recommend this user's playlists: http://www.youtube.com/user/Trinitrotolaissance

You'll find albums by Pierre Hantai, Enrico Baiano, and Pieter-Jan Belder.

I suspect your impression of tedium comes from the tediousness of the interpretation rather than the notes on the page, the same way identical words can be dull or moving depending on the orator.

To prove my point on the importance of interpretation, here's Telemann's Fantasie #3 played by:

Frank Brüggen, who understands what he's playing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQatlvFvGdM
Nina Perlove, who doesn't: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n25mDmcBC6E

With this in mind, here are different interpretations of K 248:

Belder: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKwwRJslLfE
Baiano: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOUFpG07c5w
Hantai: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4m089Z06EU

and let's not forget another important player of Scarlatti, Scott Ross: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlzPRzEaREc

There's also much to say on the changes in overall stylistic assumptions between then and today, but enough for now.

Interzone / Re: Musicians are the impediment to good music
« on: March 23, 2010, 06:53:01 PM »
I can relate to this in an inverse manner. The gist, geist, or spirit of something comes quickly to me, but the instrumentation or using language to articulate an idea is more difficult, often cumbersome.

I’ll throw a few ideas around; don’t wear the hat if it doesn’t fit.

Perhaps you just need practice and technique to get over the difficult aspects of putting music together. So, the plan is not to produce masterworks of eternal greatness today, but to train, to hone skills and master a chosen idiom. Crawl, walk, run: the more original and ambitious production will come easier when you no longer have difficulty in articulating ideas.

I’m assuming you’re working in a non-literate music genre, where there’s virtually no theory to learn from. Emulation, or imitating with the intention to surpass, is a tried and true process. To attempt to better the best at their own game is an excellent way to assimilate their knowledge. Identify what constitutes the best (your models), and one-up their work. Forget about originality, focus on quality and improvement, emulate shamelessly.

On the approach to “composing”: Do you conceive a work from the bottom up or the top down? (from general to specific or the inverse? Ex: find a cool idea/riff, then build a song around it, or plot out a song structure then fill in the ideas?) Try the one you tend not to do for a change. Do you write from the highest voice down or the lowest voice up? Rhythm before melody or vice versa (if it's a separate thing at all)? Again, maybe try doing things differently and see what happens. You might end up adding some good tools to your toolbox.

What do you think of working in “forme fixe”? example: ABba abAB abbaA
Here, A is a musical idea, B is a different one, and a & b are variations of A & B (the various “a”s would be different variations, not identical). Song and poetry have many more stock forms ready for use. As an exercise, by having a form provided for, you can focus on musical invention and variation techniques (read up on variation, there are many tricks to try out). Or, in the spirit of emulation, map out and re-use a favourite existing structure as-is or with improvement. And all the while you build a personal library of musical material that you can cannibalize later for other works.

But these techniques still require some basic musical invention, coming up with good basic ideas/riffs. If you aren’t happy with what you come up with at the moment, steal from the best. Maybe it will become easier over time, maybe not, but when the sum of the parts is great, no one cares where the parts came from.

So, with the little I know about your situation, I hope not to be too far off the mark and that you find some of these ideas worthwhile.

Interzone / Re: Musicians are the impediment to good music
« on: March 22, 2010, 05:42:29 PM »
well if we need a higher order of super-composer who combines virtuosity with a higher focus on structure and concept, then how about Bach or later piano works of Beethoven?

The original post focused on the contemporary though. Dead guys are easily made into heroes (e.g. Kurt Cobain, Michael Jackson). Find me a "super-composer" who's alive... impossible.

I don't want old stuff all the time, I also want good, new music, but those super-technical musicians don't deliver because they don't give their music a soul.

Besides, we're not even really talking about "composers" since in non-classical music, performer and composer tend to be one and the same; what musicians play is generally what they come up with themselves. Cover bands get no respect.

Metal / Re: Symphonies and Chamber Music
« on: March 22, 2010, 04:53:08 PM »
Excellent observation. The symphony has a lot going for it: volume, length, size, scope, prestige. Those are impressive, moreso when all added together, and it's easy not to go beyond the symphony and to miss out on some great music, from the same period and from others.

Interzone / Re: Musicians are the impediment to good music
« on: March 22, 2010, 04:12:17 PM »
I see the best “musicking” (the combined result of composing and performing, not necessarily by the same person) as a moving performance of well-structured music. Playing skill is a tool to achieve that goal, not an end in itself. Those virtuosos are blinded by their hubris.

About Paganini, I'd say he has sacrificed too much musicality in the name of virtuosity to keep my interest beyond the very occasional listen, which is still leagues better than those mentioned by Herr Konserv.

Interzone / Re: The problem of writing about music
« on: March 05, 2010, 06:36:09 PM »
A super-quick history of "good music":

1600-1800: good music arouses the emotions
1800-now: good music expresses artistic genius

This reflects both what composers & performers sought to achieve with music and what audiences expected out of music.

So, this contemporary listener dissects Mozart's works, and is disappointed. He expects to find an original, genius artist. Instead, he finds a skilled craftsman, using clever technique to consistently produce functional, quality works. But where's the genius?! I was promised genius!!

Now, let's compare with Beethoven... wow!! the composer who most shaped contemporary notions of greatness matches my notions of greatness perfectly!! hmmm...

Metal / Re: Burzum - Belus
« on: March 03, 2010, 05:25:21 PM »
If this new album is not up to par or not how you would like it, then simply put let us see your musical efforts.

I went to a restaurant and I didn't like it. Do I have to cook you dinner to tell you that?

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