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Discussion in 'Opeth (Archived)' started by Botfly, May 13, 2005.
thats not what he was saying at all...did you even read his post?
it wasnt a reply intended for the original post, rather the one a couple of posts up,he clearly states that mike uses major chords when he should be using minor chords? or something about the music calling for a certain chord.
I skimmed through it,but bullshit threads like these dont really keep my attention too well to be honest.
[SARCASM] You're as naive as Mikael's chord composure [/SARCASM]
nice word,did you just learn it?
I find it to be the most suitable connotation for the debate presented.
Actually ya, just learned it when Mikael was talking about Ending Credits in the Lamentations DVD. It's become a sacred word to me, now.
I don't think the lack of major chords means Mikael's songwriting is naive at all. I think you're overstating their importance/necessity.
I think Mike is an excellent songwriter, in that he very craftily writes music that supplements the lyrics. For example, in 'The Funeral Portrait,' a song about insanity/being gripped by murderous rage, the end is written in 3/4 to give that typical evil genius waltz sound and the solo is very emotive to that end too (hard to exactly describe, but listen to it and you'll know what I mean). These kind of subtleties are the mark of good songwriting, and Mike does this often.
Now, since the music and lyrics are often intertwined, and since the lyrics are usually depressive or dark, it follows that the music would also be depressive and dark, thus minor chords most of the time. But of the few Opeth songs that lyrically have a little dash of hope in them, Mike DOES use major chords.
'For Absent Friends' has a major chord in it, and it is used at the end of a phrase, but is followed by another minor chord. This creates a feeling of happiness, then immediately thereafter sadness, presumably having something to do with good memories of friends, but then the remembrance that they are absent. Even is an instrumental song Mike is able to evoke images and feelings of concrete things, based only on the title and how the music goes.
I could probably find other examples but I've rambled on too long.
I had a real long response to this but this site just decided to become one big faggot all of a sudden. Basically, almost all musicians are naive somewhat whether they know alot of music theory or just play by ear having perfect pitch. Mikael is a more creative/emotional player who has perfect pitch and plays by ear. People knock on him because he writes long songs with some theoretical mistakes...thing is, those long songs are bound to have a couple theoretical errors coming from an artistic musician. I'd seriously like to see some of these theory junkies write something as emotional or as creative as akerfeldt. No I'm not talking about 16th notes of pointless shredding over a generic power metal riff sorry guys. I'm talking a very long, emotional, well thought out song that dosen't sound like Dream Theater. If you really think deep about all this, simple little theory "mistakes" Mikael may have is really not a problem at all. Think hard...it's a god damned chord progression. I'm sure if I got my 4 track out with alot of effects and did nothing but inverted power chords...I could make something really interesting and melancholic. Music represents the soul, heart and attitude towards everyday life. it's purely sound...rock n roll should be composed well, but it dosen't have to be perfectly conventional...like compositions of the 16th century.
i wasnt referring to the original post either. i was referring to the same post you are. i just dont think you read what he was saying accurately.
i dont mean to burst your bubble...but im almost positive he coined the song title after the genesis and/or gilgamesh songs of the same name. Both of which are short melodic songs similar to the Opeth piece.
Doesn't mean I'm wrong
I believe I read somewhere that Mike has never had any formal training. I've been playing guitar for 3-4 years and I can pretty much play any or all Opeth/Metallica/Slayer, etc. songs; I also took a music theory course in high school this year. I've never had any formal guitar lessons, but from theory, I do know that key signatures include a pattern of major and minor chords, as you said.
The thing about Opeth is that I don't think any one song follows just one key signature, they're off the wall. Therefor, anything can go really, I think Mike just plays it by ear and screws with a part until it sounds good. Usually, when something sounds good in music, it's following some theory rule that can be applied to almost anything. That's basically all there is to it. But to sit there and play by the rules will get you lifeless music.
If he were naive and really didn't know what he was doing, there'd be songs that would sound like shit and all screwed up, together with songs that sound fluid, although still off the wall. Since you can't really name a bad song from Opeth, from his 15 to 20 years of playing guitar and listening to a wide array of music as he claims (some of which most likely is musically "smart"), I'd give him the benefit of the doubt.
I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed that too... (BTW Genesis' For Absent Friends is awesome to play on the guitar.)
How about an Opeth vs. Rush discussion from the real musicians here. I've been a big Rush fan for over 20 years, granted I don't claim to know everything about them...but if I'm not mistaken, Geddy, Alex, and Neil all have college degrees in music. I was only a half-assed drummer and singer myself(tried piano and was OK, tried guitar and sucked), so I can't speak on the guitar issues...but certainly can draw a comparison in the sounds. Both have incredible talent and creativity...but where's the difference in the education vs. no education? What does it matter really?
Sometimes classically trained musicians are the biggest fucktards. Many are incapable of improvisation or composition because all the textbook theory they know is geared toward reproducing Bach's chorales. A lot of them are better historians than musicians. Not to say that classical training is bad, but anyone who is saying that Tonal Harmony 3rd Edition is the only proper way to compose is going to be a terrible, terrible artist. The only thing that person will be able to do is what amounts to covers of 400 year old work.
Botfly, I heavilly disagree with you.
I know theory quite well, and I am always amazed to see Opeth, for instance, create a melodi with 6 sem-tones in a row but still keep it very melodic and not gay-chromatic. The deal in that case is changing color to the chords, even in wrong ways, like using both major and minor of the same chord.
The real deal is: Mikael knows absolutely NO THEORY (just watch the drapery lesson vid where he can't name the chords) which leads to the songs being written simply by ear, fooling around if you wish. To me this removes unneeded limits. If you love correct theory, take a listen to Dream Theater or so, where even the most complex part is built around common theory.
The bottom line is to stop being anal and keep the complains for things actually sounding -bad- not seeming to be naive.
I haven't read through the whole of the thread, just the few first posts, but aye, I'm still gonna post my opinion.
Musical theory is, by any means, only a tool. But if it isn't the darnest most useful musical tool ever, then someone please hit me. If you want people to appreciate your music, you need to know what sounds good together. You can't just mix anything, because in the end it IS going to sound dissonant. Real musicians will open up to many styles of music, many different instruments, and will eventually try to mix those when they compose - this is where musical theory gets important. With this effective tool, you'll be able to mix up anything and still get a good sound, without necessarily having every instrument playing the same note at the same time (like the bass+guitar riffs we have today in most of the heavy metal, just look at children of bodom).
Or you can ride the gravy train and just listen to one type of music, write ridiculously repetitive riffs with open 6th string rhytmic patterns on palm mute, combined with an annoyingly as repetitive blast beat (you know, the at the gates kind of riffs), and on the overall do something that's as unoriginal as all the shit that's out there.
Musical theory is also a langage amongst musicians. By knowing it, you can communicate with people playing other instruments than guitar, because... well, a violin player doesn't have a fucking clue about what a "3 on the 4th string" is.
Bottom line : Musical theory is essential in getting your very own sound. It's also essential for guitar players who may want to discuss playing music with something else than a second guitar. And remember : Open up, there's a lot of music out there, so many different types, it's impossible that you don't find at least one other type which pleases you. A real musician is going to play music, not just metal for people who want to beat themselves up in a trash pit.
EDIT : Mac Attack is also absolutely right, but these people are no better than people listening to pink floyd only, or to metal only. As I said, open up. Having musical theory still doesn't make you a true musician if you can't use this tool to express yourself in your music.
Rush is an exception to almost every rule in modern music...they are truly a unique and special band. Needless to say Rush > Opeth...for me at least...when it comes down to it. However, both bands have done everything theyve wanted to do, and have been successful in their own way at what they do.