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Melody In Music

Discussion in 'General Metal Discussion' started by anonymousnick2001, Oct 18, 2004.

  1. anonymousnick2001

    anonymousnick2001 World's Greatest Vocalist

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    Just some food for thought, considering I've been around less frequently in past weeks.

    Is melody necessary in music? I have a difficult time listening to music that is lacking in melody. I can appreciate dissonance, atonality, and the respective atmospheres associated with each, but is it bad that I tend to prefer music that has identifiable melody?

    I'm not talking about catchiness, which in actuality is just melody which connects with the majority of ears(subjectively, I find Burzum/Venom/Darkthrone/Mayhem and similar minimalist black metal bands quite catchy at times...same for death bands like Suffocation/Dying Fetus/Withered Earth).

    Just wondering what the general consensus was...
     
  2. Caelum Adustum

    Caelum Adustum Call me Ishmael

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    Short answer: Yes, melody is necessary.
     
  3. NAD

    NAD What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse

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    No, it is not necessary. One can argue that music without melody is noise though, which it may be.
     
  4. polarity

    polarity New Metal Member

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    I'm not really sure, given that I listen to no music without melody. Even bands such as Suffocation have a degree of melody, although their production obscures it. I guess some industrial music has no melody, which could be part of the reason why, for all my attempting to get into it, I've never been able to. So I guess I like melody in music, but I don't think it's an objective necessity. Music can be just as well-written without melody.
     
  5. genocide roach

    genocide roach DOOOOOOOOOOM

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    as avant garde and other modern composers have proven, melody is relative, as is everything else in music. so depending how pretentious you are, you can say that pounding on your computer has a melody and is therefor music
    ~gR~
     
  6. BlizzardOZ

    BlizzardOZ Pro MetalHead

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    Melody is very important to me.
    that's actually why I love Maiden so much! :hotjump: :worship:
     
  7. skullz666

    skullz666 Nuke em now!

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    Its relative,do you think its important?

    If you do then youre likely to have lighter weight bands in your collection.

    My collection is really diverse,i like dream theatre but i also like cannible corpse,they are completely different,however dream theatre sometimes do death metal riffs they go all over the place with some of thier stuff thats why i like them,one minute they sound like elton john the next minute it sounds like megadeth.

    Black metal works well with melody,and i dont think id like it much without it,so its what works with the music- relative to what you like to hear.
    If deicide decided to go all melodic and nu-metal or some shit itd not work even if you like melodic bands.
     
  8. no country for old wainds

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    Melody is essential, in metal and classical at least.
     
  9. anonymousnick2001

    anonymousnick2001 World's Greatest Vocalist

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    Can melodies be judged?

    I myself can hear good and bad melodies.

    Iron Maiden's Rime Of The Ancient Mariner - GOOD Melody

    Europe's Final Countdown - REALLY BAD Melody
     
  10. no country for old wainds

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    It can't be denied that some melodies invoke certain things objectively - just listen to Thousand Swords with an experienced ear and tell me you can't hear Pagan war flooding through the melodies. There's subjectivity involved in terms of which sound better to the ear obviously, but there's objectivity in what things sound like, thus melodies can be judged when put in context to what the album is attempting to achieve.

    I don't like splitting certain elements of music away from the whole though, seeing as the impact of a melody is very much dependant on structure and rhythm etc. For example, if you asked me which is my favourite melody on "With Fear I Kiss The Burning Darkness" I'd say "Break of Autumn, 3 and a half seconds in" without hesitation, but only because it provides such an epic climax to what's gone before, it means little all on its own.
     
  11. polarity

    polarity New Metal Member

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    If the melody invokes an image objectively, why does it require an experienced ear?
     
  12. Slayed Necros

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    It's not entirely necessary for me, but it is prefered, especially within metal. I can't think of many bands I listen to who don't utilize melodies.
     
  13. no country for old wainds

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    Because music has developed to mean certain things since day one, and people need prior knowledge to know what those things are. One can only be objective when putting things in context to a template, like people have said before, and the musical template is the way music has developed over the last however-many-years.

    Indeed, the first discussion I ever remember having with you was about this very subject, and I brought up the idea of certain sound-progressions causing certain reactions in every human mind. I still don't have proof for this, but these days I presume it's more a case of people having been similarly socially conditioned within their culture over a period of time, which I think is what you may have suggested back then.
     
  14. polarity

    polarity New Metal Member

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    Oh okay. I agree, to an extent, but I wouldn't call that objective. It may be true that certain symbols invoke the same images in every member of the same culture, but it's still a product of socialization, i.e. if you played the same music to someone who has grown up in isolation on a desert island, they would not have the same interpretation of it as us.
     
  15. anonymousnick2001

    anonymousnick2001 World's Greatest Vocalist

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    Actually, I think remember that discussion. I agree with Polarity on this one, although I really do see the point you're making, GoD. It's just...I fear that the template system only works as a result of socialization like Polarity mentioned. It's due to cultural literacy that an A harmonic minor scale evokes images of eternal sands and flying carpets. Although much of the music from the Middle East has that sound, it's only through those of us who've seen Aladdin that the concept of association has arisen. Someone living on a desert island could interpret those melodies as something different entirely.

    Listening to Graveland's Thousand Swords did not instill me with any sense of pagan hoorah, although I'm familiar with the emotion put into the aesthetic, and what I can only assume are folkish melodies incorporated into the mix which have pagan heritage. When I listen to a band like Einherjer or Amon Amarth, I don't get a Viking vibe. Only deeply ingrained musical leitmotifs apply to me. Bands like Orphaned Land or Nile really drive the Eastern vibe home because I've been exposed to the minor scale and associated it with that culture all my life. The same with the tone/timbre of the sitar or the pan flute or the steel drum. They bring about the sense of Vedic/Hindu ritual or Calypso island breeze because the cultures have become synonymous with how specific those instruments and styles are to those cultures.

    The concept of melody which seems to be universal is the major-minor transition and unstable blends creating moods of tension or pensiveness. Some say Stravinsky's Rite of Spring was engineering to instill audiences with the despair of the girl ritually dancing to death. Had I not known the back story, I would have only gotten the raw, primal bludgeoning of the piece and nothing more. In fact, the notion that minor chords are depressing and major keys happy are only emphasized by TV commericals and Looney Tunes shows which implement those switches so well that they are now almost naturally accepted.

    The composer Gustav Mahler led a traumatic childhood. One day, when his mother was being severely beaten by his stepfather, he ran out into the street, where an organ grinder was playing a merry tune. For the rest of his life, Mahler associated happy-sounding music with intense trauma. Many of his Symphonies have beautifully happy melodies in them, but they are expressions of his pain and anguish. Just some more food for thought...

    Does anyone have problems with catchy melodies? That may seem like a rather odd question, but there seems to be an almost allergic reaction to pop hooks among more underground listeners. I value pop music because I also see music as entertainment in addition to art, but I feel that many don't share this view. Can a melody define the artistic worth of a piece of music? Can a melody be too accessible?
     
  16. Episteme

    Episteme Member

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    ^ agreed. How we perceive melody depends on our cultural context, though it would also depend on our knowledge and interest in the different backgrounds or objectives of the songwriter or composer.

    When I first heard Graveland's Thousand Swords I had an image of a Scandinavian forest even before I knew of Graveland's medieval favourability. I though had some knowledge of the folkish music available from that side of the world and had heard some of it. The same goes with bands with Eastern melodies. With bands like Orphaned Land it was easier for me to identify with their middle eastern sounds because I had been exposed to it since I was little.

    I agree with Erik's post on the production and timbre of the musical instruments. Production adds alot to the atmosphere and even leaves the listener's imagination go wild. Imagine Thousand Swords without that raw sound and the sound samples behind the riffs. It wouldn't be much of a "pagan" album now would it? Orphaned Land's music wouldn't be very middle eastern as well if they hadn't included instruments from the middle east.

    With that said, I think melodies from all over the world follow a similar scalar structure with a few variations. Think about it, a few semitones, maybe a tone here and there with 3 semitones inserted. If a composer from the other end of the world(not from the West) did enough changes in his composition he'd be close to producing something that Stravinsky did, but of course it would sound different because of the timbre of the instrument. We limit alot of our music in terms of 12 notes so it's hard to change.

    Either way, I like melodies in music and I like atonality to a certain extent. To me every form of music has melody, you just have to listen hard enough.
     
  17. Christie_fell

    Christie_fell Oh, the pain.

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    Melody is good.
     
  18. Cythraul

    Cythraul Active Member

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    Without melody you get degenerate shite like rap, industrial, and Schoenberg. Excellent thread by the way.
     
  19. stefan86

    stefan86 invariably off-topic

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    Melody can be a positive thing as well as a negative thing.

    Bands with melody in a positive sense: Dissection, Katatonia, Dismember, Death, The Crown
    Bands with melody in a negative sense: In Flames, Soilwork, Norther (insert any lame-ass melometal shit with maidenriffs here)

    My main point is that melodies that actually display emotions are really awesome, and that crappy nintendomelodies already used 500 times suck.
     
  20. Cervantes

    Cervantes The undead general

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    You can argue about melody in music but in my opinion it's necesery but in certain amount and it mustn't be simple. If a song is very melodic and simple then after 5 times of listening to it, you will get bored
     

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