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The Chasm and Symphony X: The Neoclassical Spectrum

Discussion in 'General Metal Discussion' started by anonymousnick2001, Mar 10, 2005.

  1. Episteme

    Episteme Member

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    So are my parents :tickled:
     
  2. Cythraul

    Cythraul Active Member

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    Hey you changed your name!!! Cool name.
     
  3. Episteme

    Episteme Member

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    Yep, it's the name of my band. :D
     
  4. Reign in Acai

    Reign in Acai Gnats before thy gums

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    When I think neo-classical I think of elend and autumn tears. You can pretty much argue any statement. And my statement is that the Chasm are not neo classical, even if they borrow compositional elements from such. If it doesn't sound classical. It's not fucking classical! I can jerk off while taking a piss. But if the end result is piss and not semen. Then i'm fucking pissing. Am I not?!?!?!
     
  5. no country for old wainds

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    Doesn't it go everywhere? :err:
     
  6. Cythraul

    Cythraul Active Member

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    I agree. The Chasm is hardly neoclassical. I don't give a fuck about what sort of harmonies they utilize. That's like saying jazz and gregorian chants are the same thing simply because they're modal. I also don't give a fuck about the fact that their songs aren't structured verse/chorus. Their songs still aren't structured like a classical composition.
     
  7. etotheipiequalsminus1

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    Metal incorporating classical elements does not necessarily mean better. In fact it can come off rather cheesy. I know no one expressly stated this but I think it was in the air.
     
  8. anonymousnick2001

    anonymousnick2001 World's Greatest Vocalist

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    Do you mean sonata or rondo form?
     
  9. jazzdj

    jazzdj New Metal Member

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    I think it helps if you distinguish different ways that one genre can be influenced or sound like another. Some people seem to be concentrating on one way, while others are considering other ways. It seems to me there are at least 3 categories in which metal can be compared to classical or other musical forms.

    1) Overt sound and instrumentation. This is probably what most people listen for and it's the most obvious and easy, yet not always the best method. For example, Therion uses obvious classical sounds with symphonic/string sections, and develops themes in a classical way. But you can overly generalize here and come to a false conclusion along the lines of "anything with a violin" sounds classical. To use another genre I'm much more familiar with, you can get the "anything with a sax = jazz" syndrome, and mistakenly call Kenny G jazz. (Which is vastly more evil than any death/black metal I've ever heard! :yuk: )

    2) Compositional techniques and styles. I don't really have the musical theory to get into detail on this. For example, certain styles of metal strike me as very "baroque" in that they seem to have very formalized structures and musically depend on technical exercises, scales etc. Malmsteen may be one example of this. I'm sure there are plenty of bands in the prog family tree that would fall into this, but don't overtly sound classical because they're doing it on different instruments and with different song structures.

    3) Thematic use of existing material, i.e. playing/quoting "Thus Spake Zarathustra" (2001 theme), Beethoven's 5th, or other well known themes. In other words, "sampling" in some fashion, which isn't necessarily a direct form of neo-genre-ism, but can give the feel of the quoted genre. This probably doesn't stand on its own but would need to have elements of 1 or 2 above to qualify.
     
  10. anonymousnick2001

    anonymousnick2001 World's Greatest Vocalist

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    ^ Interesting postulations. I agree with #3.
     
  11. Cythraul

    Cythraul Active Member

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    both.
     
  12. Barking Pumpkin

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    That's a great way to write it out.
     
  13. Planetary Eulogy

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    "Classical" isn't a set of techniques, or a way of structuring music, rather it is a mindset applied to music.

    But even from a purely technical perspective, you are simply incorrect. The narrative song structures favored by The Chasm are quite typical of Romantic-era compositions, particularly drawing from the operatic and tone poem traditions. This is different than say, Burzum's use of a more symphonic approach (the evolutionary development of themes in repetition), but it is no less tied to a tradition that is, broadly speaking, "classical."
     
  14. Cythraul

    Cythraul Active Member

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    Bullshit! This is just another way that you anus sheep attempt to elevate low-culture products to the realm of high art. The Classical period can be summed up in certain forms and techniques. If you're referring to the classical tradition in a more broad manner, encompassing Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, etc. then "neo-classical", in the sense that you mean to use it, is a butchering of an already defined term.

    The narrative structure alone does not warrant the tag "neo-classical." I could play blues progressions in a narrative structure and it wouldn't relate at all to classical. The fact that The Chasm uses diatonic, westernized melody and harmony does not warrant said label either. Their approach to melody and harmony is nowhere near the developed style of any of the eras of the great classical tradition. Root/fifth power chords = metal, not classical. Haphazardly structured voice-leading = metal/ popular music. Recurring themes without development = popular music, not classical. Also, Burzum has very little to do with the symphonic approach. In Burzum's music, the themes are barely developed; they are repeated over and over. In symphonic music, the themes are developed throughout the composition. Also, Burzum's approach to harmonic structuring is born out of the metal tradition, not the classical tradition (see heavy use of root/fifth chords). Your interpretation of metal as some kind of atavistic revisiting of classical idioms is little more than a low culture appropriation of a high art form.
     
  15. Planetary Eulogy

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    The distinction between "low culture" and "high art" is an anachronistic art school snobbery that has its roots in the way music is mediated in the 20th century, and nothing to do with the 1000+ year history of "classical" music. The real distinction has always been between art and product, and The Chasm are fits in the former category.

    And please, don't be obtuse, "classical" music in every day usage refers to far more than just the music that came out of Vienna between the middle of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th

    You could, in which case, it would certainly be structurally influenced by classical music. In any event you're missing the point, "classical" music is a coherent tradition not at the level of technique or structure (which have varied enormously throughout the centuries), rather, it has been united by the conceptual similarities of all "classical" music over the last 1500 years or so. So the relationship of your hypothetical narrative blues experiment to classical has a whole lot more to do with the content of the music than the form it takes. And, of course, it's a silly comparison anyway, since that's not how blues musicians play anyway.

    The Chasm's music is more harmonically and tonally diverse than almost any Baroque composer's work (and more diverse than many classical composers as well). Chord progressions in the work of Bach and Handel are nearly as predictable as the progressions in the blues. Anyone with real exposure to Baroque music can hum the root of the next chord in pretty much any Baroque piece, even if they've never heard it before. Most pre-Beethoven Classical music is nearly as predictable. Real variation in tone and harmony didn't enter until the rise of Romanticism.

    Not really true, much classical music doesn't develop themes at all, rather, they repeat an identical theme, changing only the instrument it is played on or altering the dynamics. The evolution of themes in Burzum's work is subtle, and requires closer listening, but Varg was working in a medium (recorded music) that allowed for closer listening. Classical composers were composing for live performance, so they had to use more overt "stage tricks" (playing with dynamics or shifting keys) or it would simply be lost to the audience.

    So it would appear without a close listen, mostly because Varg didn't use the usual signifiers of the classical era (key changes, alternating instruments or major dynamic changes) that let people know "Hey, we're altering the theme here."

    It depends on which part of the 'classical tradition' you're talking about. Tonal and harmonic tendencies similar to Burzum's are quite common in medieval and Renaissance music, and crop up again during the Romantic era (in the latter case due to wholesale borrowings from folk music traditions, which had tended to retain many of the elements of medieval and early modern music [so much for a 'low culture/high culture' dichotomy in the classical tradition]). There's a reason that much of Burzum's music shares an uncanny affinity with the music of Dead Can Dance circa 1985-1990 (a time when DCD was experimenting with medieval and Renaissance music).
     
  16. Cythraul

    Cythraul Active Member

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    Not true. There are fundamental differences in structure, technique and approach between the music of say folk or "low culture" and that of "high culture." Wait a second. Did I offend you? Are you offended by heirarchy?

    Please name these conceptual similarities.

    No buddy. I'm merely showing that form by itself does not confer the distinction "classical" upon a band whose aesthetic and presentation is too far off from classical to be referred to as "neoclassical."

    Yeah, obviously. What's your point?

    What. The. Fuck. Are. You. Talking. About? Themes are developed throughout the composition and restated in their original form or an altered form during recapitulation. There are quite a few techniques to achieve this goal. Themes are not simply restated in their original form throughout the entirety of the composition. The Baroque and Classical approaches are testament against your point.

    Oh yes, the development of classical composition is merely a collection of clever "stage tricks." :Smug: Oh and I don't think Varg Vikernes was really that deliberate when composing his music. " Hey I'm working in a medium that allows for closer listening. I guess I can utilize more subtlety in my thematic development." Get real. It's fucking black metal.

    There are a hell of a lot more ways to alter a theme than what you listed.

    Oh yeah, Burzum's trade off between ridiculously basic melodic content, power chord rock riffs and little to no attention payed to harmonic construction has a whole lot to do with medieval and Renaissance music.
     
  17. Erik

    Erik New Metal Member

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    It's true that there are fundamental differences between written music, art music etc. played by notes and verbally transmitted music played by ear (folk, anything derived from blues/rock etc) -- art/product is largely another matter -- but the conception that one is fundamentally better than the other (i.e. "high art" > "low culture") is indeed snobbery at best and should be avoided, so no hierarchy here please, merely distinction. The Chasm is indeed "low culture" by common definition but a The Chasm album is hardly less of a work of art than a classical symphony; with all the nuances allowed by modern technique and media, there are intricacies completely alien to classical music in The Chasm that could never be notated, that are on a wholly different -- not necessarily lower -- level than written art music.
     
  18. etotheipiequalsminus1

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    get over it guys, metal is not classical music. even if it were aspiring towards it, surely metal is just a compromise when you can just listen to classical music instead? also note that classical does not mean high art. there are hundereds upon hundereds of mediocre classical composers aswell...
     
  19. R.I.P.2

    R.I.P.2 just say hi

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    Of course metal is not classical music, but some bands do take certain classical influences. Metal is the closest genre to Classical that currently exists. Cythraul and Morny, you are both right to an extent about themes. Some (especially composers from the Classical era) use an identical theme but change the instrument or dynamics, whereas a lot of Romantic music focuses on taking one theme and developing it throughout the piece. Oh, and modulations and changes in dynamics are far from just overt stage tricks - saying so makes it look like you're going against your whole argument of "music is art not entertainment".
     
  20. Planetary Eulogy

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    I'm using the term "stage tricks" in a non-pejorative sense. In the same way that stage acting requires broader gestures and a more over-the-top emoting than screen acting, music composed primarily for live performance needs more overt signifiers as the audience will never be able to give it the kind of close listen attainable to audiences of recorded music.
     

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