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The Void and You - A Technical Reference

Discussion in 'Dark Tranquillity' started by stizzleomnibus, Feb 24, 2010.

  1. stizzleomnibus

    stizzleomnibus Decisively Human

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    A – 0:00

    This intro starts with a guitar fade-in, followed by the main theme. The drums play a double-bass roll with some additional accents on the snare while the guitars play in support of the synth melody. The synth is the centerpiece of the section. The first portion of the melody is followed immediately by a sliding downward note which terminates in the second measure of the melody.

    The synth used is monophonic. Essentially, the synth only plays one note at a time. Playing a second note does not cause the synth to re-sound (like picking a new note on a guitar, or playing another key on a piano), but rather causes the pitch to shift rapidly towards the new tone. This gives the “glissando” effect of sliding from one note to the next, rather than “punching” out the melody (as with a piano). It may be easier to hear this effect in the intro to Senses Tied.

    The fill (0:19) is in 3-3-2 syncopation, which sets up the next section.

    B – 0:21

    This section alternates, two measures at a time, between quiet and loud orchestrations. The rhythm of the quiet section is the 3-3-2 syncopation, sharply punctuated by the guitar, with the keys playing the harmony in the background. This harmony uses a common technique: the keys play upward through the notes of the chord, but restart the sequence of notes on the beats of the syncopation. This repetition of the chord gives the quiet measures a “constrained” feeling, as the same notes repeat without developing into a melody.

    The loud measures of the section are contrasted against this. The guitars play through the whole measure, which returns the dominant rhythm to the drums and lessens the strength of the beat. This creates smoothness after the preceding section. The synth plays a generally ascending melody, “soaring” out of the constriction of the quiet measures while referencing the same rhythm.

    A (Chorus) – 0:38

    This section is the same as above, but with vocals.

    C – 0:55

    Here, the drums switch to double-time (effectively doubling the tempo). The guitar riff is very melodic, except for the last few notes which are a flat, rapid grind. The end of the guitar riff is sharply punctuated by the drums.

    The section changes (1:03), with the one guitar hammering out the beat. The drums switch to playing only the quarter notes (with the bass drum used for embellishment). This ends the double-time feel in the drums and provides a moment of pure, heavy rhythm before continuing.

    D - 1:12

    This section features a melody played in tandem between both guitars and the keys. After the brightness or aggression of previous sections, the descending melody here is somewhat sad. The keys feature a piano tone, adding sharpness to each note of the melody relative to the monophonic synth used elsewhere in the song.

    The final notes of the melody (1:18 and 1:26) create a moment of tension immediately before the end of the riff. The first time, this tension resolves in the repeating riff. After the second iteration, the tension at the end of this rich melody resolves into the sharp, dry tones of the next section.

    B – 1:28

    C – 1:45

    E (Bridge) - 2:02

    This section is based off of the D section. The lead guitar begins by playing the same melody, but gradually develops into a small solo. The core of the solo (2:10) is played over a double-bass roll.

    The end of this section (2:19) features a return of the guitar/key melody of the D section, but played over a fill which is more reminiscent of the B section. The fill that begins here is two measures of 3-3-2 syncopation, played on the snare drum, with the accents appearing mostly on the cymbals and bass drum. The sharp accents of the rhythm guitar in this section resemble the syncopated B riff. This two-measure fill is broken by two measures of normal 4/4.

    A – 2:36

    B – 2:53

    The ending of this section is extended (3:10). The soaring keyboard melody of the B section repeats quietly at the end, unaccompanied except for the drums fill that transitions to the next section. This technique puts the energy of the song momentarily on hold before exploding into the chorus.

    A – 3:13

    The full chorus plays twice here, ending the song.

    The drums are similar to earlier versions, but place snare notes on every quarter note, rather than just the backbeat. During the repeat of the chorus, this is extended slightly by an extra snare note on the last 8th note of measure, pounding fiercely into the next measure.
     
  2. Villain

    Villain Doctor BenQuillity

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    He's not alone - I'm sure there are more than a few people reading this thread again and again. It's just very hard (at least for me) to actually find anything constructive to say, beyond the obvious "awesome work, dude!" :worship:

    Once you get to the lyrics proper, I promise to offer my two cents to the discussion. Not that I know much more about them, but at least I'm not as horribly ignorant of the English language as I am of the music theory.

    -Villain
     
  3. Maxim1110

    Maxim1110 Member

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    Well yeah that's right. I can keep saying it's great and all but that gets repetitive after a while.
     
  4. rahvin

    rahvin keeper of the flame

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    I'm thinking about helping if/when it gets to the lyrics part, and of course I support it with my tremendous, awe-inspiring moderator powers. But, considering, I know a big fat zero about music so I better shut up otherwise.

    Edited because I was beaten by Villain, who said the same thing and I forgot because I'm a drunk.
     
  5. stizzleomnibus

    stizzleomnibus Decisively Human

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    Well, everybody just jump in there at once. It's totally cool if no one has anything to add, and we certainly don't need to plug the thread with meta-commentary. I just thought that maybe everyone had lost interest, since I hadn't heard from anyone in eleven days. It's a long and technical work, so I would have dozed off some time around The Fatalist if I was reading it.

    I hope that I am not holding back discussion that people really want to have over the lyrics. I'm rewriting nearly everything as I go, so I'm working as fast as I can (accounting for my 70 hour school/work week). If lyrics are something that you really want to talk about, I'll probably take another month to get there. I don't know if that should go here, since I'm planning on tackling that "technically" as well. That is, I'm going to focus on themes, motifs, and references, rather than "this song touched me because..." It's not that I want to destroy the art through cold analysis, but I think the machine is more beautiful from the inside.

    Anyway, Her Silent Language in a day or so. This one should be educational.
     
  6. rahvin

    rahvin keeper of the flame

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    You aren't, as far as I'm concerned. I'm a huge lyrics buff (yes, a technical approach is preferred) but I also feel like I've exhausted my energies in the past debating themes and pointing out how cool it really was that, in addition to some pretty brainy stuff, DT actually had themes, and quite coherent ones to boot.

    It would certainly be interesting to track the progress of (mostly) Mikael's poetry through the years - some subjects have disappeared, others have surfaced more prominently - yet with a few exceptions the newer material is quite straightforward and doesn't rely on metaphors or similes as much. I'd guess that some of the more cryptic passages might just be recollections of private episodes we're only supposed to relate to via the images they evoke, and not exactly understand literally. This makes for an interesting style, but it might be hard to discuss it at length.
     
  7. Cuthalion

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    What you are doing here is simply amazing and i really really really appreciate it.
    In the years that i have been lurking this forum i don't think that there has ever been anyone who had the energy and inspiration to contribute with so much original content and precision. I really admire that, and now, when i finally received my copy of "We are the void" i am planning on carefully reading everything that you have written in this thread, so please DO continue this :)
     
  8. Caotico

    Caotico Member

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    Well, in case some more encouragement is needed, us band members are keeping a curious eye on the thread. Good work!
     
  9. stizzleomnibus

    stizzleomnibus Decisively Human

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    Why? Have you already forgotten writing the album? :p

    Thank you. That means a very great deal to me. I will do my best not to disappoint!
     
  10. stizzleomnibus

    stizzleomnibus Decisively Human

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    A – 0:00

    This is a unique opening. It is common in many genres, including metal, to open with an exposition of a theme from the song. HSL does, but very rapidly, evolving the section several times without fully coalescing into the mature groove (which will appear in the chorus). The section ends unexpectedly, and enters the verse.

    In the opening, the key melody plays the body of the main theme, absent the second synth which will appear in the chorus. The guitars play measure-length chords in support of the keys. The splash cymbal in the drums accents the off-time 8th notes of the key melody (discussed further in the chorus).

    The intro begins to coalesce (0:08), going so far as to form an actual beat, but abandons it in favor of the verse. Over the fill that closes out the section (0:12), the keys add a hint of the second synth melody appearing in the chorus.

    B (Verse 1) – 0:16

    After the rich intro, this verse is very sparse. The narrower sonic spectrum is like a breath of fresh air, making room for the lush vocals. While the drums and bass carry the rhythm, the guitar which emerges from the verse plays a solitary melody far above it. The deep, rich singing adds to the unique atmosphere.

    The verse evolves slightly (0:24), adding the second guitar, soft tones on the synths, and an extra vocal line. The pitches on the new instruments add harmony to section. While the actual notes played do not change much, the enhanced textures build towards the chorus.

    C (Chorus) – 0:32

    The theme introduced in the intro returns, with the composition more developed to support it. The guitars play steadily through the measure, while the drums maintain a constant pulse of 8th notes.

    The primary melody in the keys plays repeated notes on upbeats (the 8th notes between beats) which adds a unique echo effect.

    |X - - - - - X - |X x - x - x X o |
    |- x - x - x - o |- - - - - - - - |
    |1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + |1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + |


    In the above chart, the first line measure is an expanded version of the key rhythm, depicting the “echoes” on a separate line. The second measure shown is identical, but condensed to a single line. The 'o' in the above diagram is an unaccented note in the melody which transitions to the next chord.

    The second synth is monophonic, and plays a rhythm similar to the quiet part of the verse in At the Point of Ignition, using 3-3-2 syncopation to play through the chord. Here, however, each measure has different chord. The syncopation is depicted below.

    |X x x X x x X x |
    |1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + |


    Combining the two parts gives the following:

    8th Ct:|1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 |1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 |
    Rt Hnd:|X x - x - x X o |X x - x - x X o |
    Lf Hnd:|X x x X x x X x |X x x X x x X x |
    Count :|1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + |1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + |


    In the above chart, 'Count' is the basic count for the song, while the '8th Ct' is the simple way of counting the notes in 3-3-2 syncopation. While this chart is useless for capturing the true complexity of the melody, it does expose some interesting overlap in the two distinct rhythms that comprise the melody.

    Specifically, the accented '1' and '4' in the melody fall perfectly over the beats of the 3-3-2 syncopation. It is also interesting to note that the “echoes” in the right hand melody play over different notes of the supporting synth melody.

    B – 0:47

    Much like the transition from A to B, moving from the chorus back to B has the same effect of clearing the “wall of sound.” and replacing it with a more mellow space.

    The first line of this verse is embellished, sung much more deeply than usual, with a chilling intensity. The vocals smooth out to their original tone as they move towards the chorus.

    C – 1:03

    D – 1:19

    This melodic section features a dual guitar lead. This is played over a drum/bass combo similar to the B section, though the drums place a snare note on every beat here.

    Instead of creating space for the vocals, guitars are the dominant instrument. The guitars do not play a many notes, instead hanging on particular tones. The notes which are held for longer periods of time create an agogic accent, which is a technical term for a note which is held for longer than others. This form of accent, much like a traditional dynamic accent (playing louder or sharper) adds weight to the note.

    E (Verse 2) – 1:35

    The drums continue the same rhythm, while the keys switch to playing a similar melody to that of the guitars in the previous section. The guitars switch to a heavier grind, played in tandem with the rhythm of the drums.

    A unique aspect of this section is the vocal technique employed to utilize the rhythm. While the drums and the guitars play 16th notes leading into certain beats, the vocals singing over the top actually mimic this by singing “into” certain words, using a quiet growl that starts a moment early and builds into the pronunciation of the lyric on the beat. The specific words for which this technique is used are, in order: “Eyes,” “A (light),” and “out”.

    Theory - F section

    This section represents the album's first shift in time signature. It is important to note that the tempo (speed at which notes are played) does not change, but rather the number of notes in each measure is modified.

    Time signatures are notated as X/Y, where the X is the number of beats, while Y is the subdivision which forms the beat. 4/4, the standard musical measure (used in the rest of the song), contains 4 beats, each of which is a quarter note. Because each quarter note is divided into two 8th notes, 4/4 can also be notated as 8/8. They are identical in practice, but technically 4/4 contains and counts four beats, while 8/8 uses eight. The 5/8 used in this section contains five beats, each of which is an 8th note. Here is a comparison of 4/4 and 8/8:

    8/8:|1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 |
    4/4:|1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - |


    The measures occupy the same space on the page and similarly in time while playing. Here is a comparison of 4/4 and 5/8 (with bad formatting):

    5/8:|1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 |
    4/4:|1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - |



    5/8 is considered an asymmetric time signature because it has an odd number of beats. As evidenced above, the two time signatures do not overlap, each measure ending at different times.* The key to transitioning from one section to the next, however, is the one thing that does line up: the 8th notes. The 8th notes in the 4/4 section and the 5/8 section are played at the same tempo, allowing the musicians to transition uniformly. Again, there is no tempo shift, just a shift in how many notes are played in a particular block.

    (*The measures could overlap, but: finding the number of each measure to play before they end simultaneously involves treating the signatures as fractions, finding the least common denominator, and determining the multiples that will give you common numerators. Here, eight measures of 5/8 and five measures of 4/4 each contain the same number of notes [40 8th notes]. This isn't really relevant to this song.)

    Further complicating this section is the fact that it is not played by counting out five even beats, but instead using syncopation. To understand this syncopation, it will be necessary to again divide the measure. 5/8 thus becomes 10/16 (10/16 is probably more accurate, but the notes are too fast to count properly either way).

    Beats :|x-x-x-x-x-|x-x-x-x-x-|
    Rhythm:|x--x--x-x-|x--x--x-x-|
    Count :|1 2 3 4 5 |1 2 3 4 5 |
    R Lngt:|3_ 3_ 2 2 |3_ 3_ 2 2 |


    In this chart, 'Beats' represents the 8th notes that form the non-syncopated beats, 'Rhythm' depicts the notes actually accented by the syncopation, 'Count' describes the proper count of beats in 5/8, and 'R Lngt', while useless in performance or listening, shows the length of each beat in the syncopated rhythm (measured in 16th notes, depicted by the number of '-').

    The chart also does a reasonable job depicting what is actually played: in carrying over the 8th notes from the preceding section, the cymbals in this section actually play on those notes on the Beats line. The bass drum and snare take turns accenting the notes which make up the syncopated rhythm.

    Reading from the Rhythm Length on the chart, we can easily see that this syncopation is 3-3-2-2, each number representing a quantity of 16th notes. While that looks similar to the 3-3-2 used elsewhere, the two are so completely different that the comparison should be ignored altogether.

    It is absolutely critical to note that the blocks of 3 in this syncopation are not conventional triplets. A triplet, in common usage, places three slightly accelerated notes into a space that would normally be occupied by two. These notes are not accelerated; each of the 3 16th notes which makes up a '3' beat has the same value as the 16th notes that make up a '2'. In fact, it is this evenness at the granular 16th note level that makes the larger rhythm uneven. The first two “beats” in each measure are followed by two faster beats.

    (To be unnecessarily pedantic, two measures of 5/8 can be counted as a single measure of 10/8. This works for this section, as there are always even numbers of measures. 5/8 has been selected because the syncopation repeats in the space of 5 8th notes, and because the time signature may be more familiar to long-time DT listeners. Further, 10/8 can be reduced to 5/4, which works fine for the guitars in the first few measures, but creates incredible complexity in describing the syncopation.)

    F – 1:51

    The transition to 5/8 is incredibly difficult. It is easiest on the drums because of the constant 8th note ticks on cymbals, into which the syncopation can be inserted. The guitars play a minimal melody, which only truly plays over the syncopation at the end of the measure, while the keys play throughout the measure. This creates a small gap of “simple” 5/8 before the more active, complex rhythms develop.

    The first few measures give the listener time to acclimate to the rhythm before it it ramps up. Under the melody instruments, the drums use familiar technique, dividing the accents of the syncopation between the bass drum, snare, and a splash cymbal. This diversity in orchestration at first makes the beat difficult to follow, but it is easy to pick up on if you know the rhythm and anticipate the timing of the beats.

    After the melodic introduction, the song switches to a more active interpretation of the syncopated rhythm (2:12). The accents in the drums become more prominent, and the melody in the guitars matches them note-for-note. The drums in each section of 5/8 play the accents on different parts of the kit, and the melody of the guitar changes such that the same tones are played of the bass and snare each time. The pattern of bass and snare notes follows.

    S:|---x----x-|------x---|
    B:|x-----x---|x--x----x-|
    C:|1 2 3 4 5 |1 2 3 4 5 |


    The section evolves again (2:17), introducing shredding to the guitars. The pattern of the drums evens out, playing a new beat:

    S:|---x--x--x|---x--x--x|
    B:|xxx--*--x-|xxx--*--x-|
    C:|1 2 3 4 5 |1 2 3 4 5 |


    The '*' above is a rapid double-pedal kick, an approximate equivalent of a ruff that might be played on a snare drum. These final measures are particularly interesting because they hint at the triplet confusion mentioned above: the three bass drum notes playing into the first snare note certainly sound like a triplet, and there are three of them. They function much the same from a performance perspective (containing odd numbers of notes and requiring alternating sticking/picking), but they are not accelerated.

    E – 2:22

    The return to the standard 4/4 is soothing after the aggressive groove preceding it.

    D – 2:38

    B – 2:54

    C – 3:10

    Didactic Notes:

    One of things that stands out with regard to Her Silent Language is the meaningful use of a non-standard time signature. While it is common is in some genres (progressive rock, mathcore) to use odd time signatures to create inconceivably complex music, that tends to have the effect of needlessly complicating the song and confusing listeners while creating no tangible musical benefit.

    Here, the melody played during the 5/8 section would be impossible without the unique rhythm of the measure. Notes would have to be played to different values to fit in any other. At the same time, the complexity adds a great deal of interest to the groove. Despite the uniqueness, the rhythm is still strong and consistent enough to be perceived by untrained listeners. While the time shift may be slightly disorienting at first, it is comprehensible within seconds.

    The technique of transitioning into and out of time signatures using a common element (here, the 8th notes and consistent tempo) is also important. Without it, transitions would have to be executed by a single instrument counting out the new rhythm for the rest of the band.

    Anyone considering exploring non-standard time signatures should consider experimenting with slower tempos and simpler signatures. There are a number of instances of 9/8 (intro to Format C: for Cortex, outro to Damage Done) and at least one of 6/8 (verse of The Treason Wall) on Damage Done, and examples of 7/8 on Haven (chorus of Feast of Burden) and Character (bridge in My Negation). Another example of the rapid 5/8 here can be found on Projector (througout On Your Time), and a slow version can be found on Haven (after the first chorus of At Loss for Words).

    The tandem melodies played by the keys also make an interesting study, in that the two seemingly unrelated rhythms have a very effective interaction.
     
  11. stizzleomnibus

    stizzleomnibus Decisively Human

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    A - 0:00

    The intro to Arkhangelsk is incredibly beautiful. The opening keyboard melody is set against a unique and slightly unsettling ambiance. While it would be impossible to fully describe the melody, certain observations can be made.

    The counting of the drums underneath the piano melody accents the most important notes in the melody. This rhythm is notated below, along with moments at which the harmony (a synth in the background) changes.

    Melody :|----x-----x---x-|--------x----x--|----x-----x---x-|--------x----x--|
    Harmony:|X-----------X---|X---------------|X---------------|X---------------|
    Count..:|1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + |1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + |1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + |1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + |


    Of note is the fact that the two highest moments in the melody (the second half of the first measure) actually fall just before the changes in the harmony line. This pattern in shifting and overlapping tones demonstrates the basic science of tonality, elevated to an incredibly powerful level.

    The interplay of the harmony and melody creates unique changes in mood. These shifts occur so rapidly that they form into a single, emotionally-confusing atmosphere, rather than forming separate moments in the song. That is, we are not presented with simple moods such as “happy” or “sad,” but rather a mood which is a combination of feelings. It might be described as a mix of fear, hope, and resignation.

    The almost peaceful moment in the final measure slowly gives way to the gradually increasing intensity of the supporting synth. In the following measures it is played as a tonal shift in the guitars (on the third beat).

    The melody repeats, but ends with two quick cymbal pulses that signal the introduction of the band (0:16). The melody is unchanged, with the guitars adding a new intensity to the supporting harmony. The drums create an incredibly heavy rhythm here, notable for its seemingly slow tempo. The sparse notes in this beat make each one more powerful, an effect which is enhanced by the addition of carefully placed cymbal crashes. The wide gap between the notes that make up the back beat causes the ear to latch onto the hi-hat notes in between, treating them as though they were beats.

    For simplicity, I have chosen to notate the piece as though it had a rapid tempo, but plays in half time. This simplifies the count and prevents the appearance of 32nd notes in faster sections.

    The fill which ends this section (0:28) is two quick measures in the 3-3-2 syncopation, setting up the rhythm of the next section.

    B (Verse) – 0:32

    This verse, in contrast to the melodic intro, is flat and rhythmic. It continues the 3-3-2 syncopation introduced at the end of the preceding section, though the beats are played alternately between snare and bass drum, making them slightly harder to find. Rather than the slow, deliberate evenness of the intro, the drums and guitar hammer rapidly into oddly timed beats.

    The fill transitioning out of the verse (0:48) ramps up towards the chorus, with rising tones in the guitars and synths. The drums play in straight 8th notes, dispelling the syncopation.

    C (Chorus) – 0:52

    Much like the introduction, the slow tempo of the chorus causes stress on the notes between those of the backbeat. The syncopation from the verse is gone, replaced by an even rhythm over which the guitars and synths play in an alternating fashion.

    The synth melody shifts only on the primary beats (1 and 3, or the quarter notes depending on the counting interval), repeatedly shifting from low to high tones. The guitar accents the upbeats between the notes of the synth melody.

    This is an interesting effect, used commonly in dance music. In straight 4/4 rhythms, the downbeat (on which the synth shifts tone) would be the primary beat (or downbeat), while the 8th notes in between form a lesser intermediary beat (the upbeat).* Typically, in this rhythm, the listener “drops” into the downbeat, but in this instance every second downbeat in the synth is actually a higher pitched tone. While the synth tone shifts back and forth, the guitars play consistently through each measure.

    (*Here is the basic disco beat. Similarly, you could try In Flames' Only For the Weak around 0:22, where the drums maintain the downbeats and the guitars play the upbeats.)

    The tension is further built by the haunting tones of the synth, as well as a very gothic atmosphere (similar to Dream Oblivion).

    A – 1:24

    While this melody was imposing the first time, it almost comes across as gentle when played immediately after the chorus.

    B + Solo - 1:40

    This verse alternates small blocks of guitar melody with the vocals. The final measure (1:52) is different in this instance, ending the lead guitar melody and creating a slight pause in tension before building back into the chorus. The drum buildup is a played in 16th notes, rather than the 8ths in the previous chorus.

    C - 2:00

    D – 2:32

    The second chorus, rather than resolving into the A section, instead lets its accumulated tension hang in the air. The drum beat disappears immediately, replaced by time keeping using a series of cymbal crashes. Beneath the loud, chaotic guitar, a new melody begins to build. The distorted guitar slowly fades to nothing, allowing the quieter melody to finally play uninterrupted several times (2:49).

    The secondary melody fully develops, led by the keys (2:56). The drums enter in double time, playing evenly through the section. Rather than droning over the top (as in the introduction of this melody) the distorted guitar work is more cooperative with melody of the keys.

    D + Solo – 3:12

    This section is essentially a continuation of D, with the vocals giving way to a small guitar solo. The drums switch to placing snare notes on every beat, while continuing the evenness of the original D section with alternating bass drum notes.

    C – 3:28

    For the final chorus, the drums maintain the pounding double-time beat. Here, however, it smooths out into a double-bass roll as in previous choruses. Maintaining the double-time feel underneath the otherwise standard chorus gives a feeling of increased energy without actually modifying the rest of the composition. For the listener, it is almost difficult to tell why this chorus sounds more urgent than before.

    Notes:

    They should have sent a poet.
     
  12. DisplayofCharacter

    DisplayofCharacter Are You Scared Enough?

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    I don't think compliments get redundant so keep up the amazing work. Its really the homestretch and I'm really excited to hear about the next three songs (god forbid you do the bonus tracks haha) so I'll just wait with baited breath. :p
     
  13. stizzleomnibus

    stizzleomnibus Decisively Human

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    A - 0:00

    After the slow tempos of Arkhangelsk, I Am the Void starts fast. In classic DT style, the opening riff is comprised of melody interrupted by fast shredding. Unlike the more familiar interpretation of this riffing style, the melody and shredding occupy a very narrow pitch range, rather than placing the melody notes at a higher pitch than the grind. This gives the entire riff a flatter, more integrated feeling, and is largely responsible for the "thrash" feel.

    B (Verse) - 0:18

    This verse features similar riffing to the intro, but this time emphasizing the melody notes outside of the grind. These notes are higher in pitch, and contrasted to palm-muted grinding. The extended tones in the guitars which end the repeats of the melody (0:21 and 0:26) are matched by the synths, adding depth to the transitions.

    The tempo of the section changes (0:29), with the drums dropping the blast beat in favor of a double-bass roll, effectively halving the tempo. The guitars and synths play the same music over the top, despite the half-time feel.

    The blast beat returns, and a new riff is introduced at the end of the verse (0:40). This riff is much sharper than the preceding one. It is played in the space of four measures, peaking at the end of the second measure. The tension peaks here, and is dissolved at the end of the fourth measure which segues into the chorus.

    C (Chorus) - 0:50

    This chorus is unique because it begins with less intensity than the rest of the song. Gradual transformations in the chorus will increase its power, but it never reaches the energy of the rest of the song. This is partly because of the lowered tempo, but mostly due to the relatively mellow guitar work. While it lacks the frantic energy of the verses, it opts instead for a greater melodic depth.

    The dual guitars in the opening play an offset rhythm, depicted below. The accents in the rhythm guitar are played directly on the beat, while the lead guitar plays notes leading into this beat.

    G1:|--xx--xx--xxx---|--xx--xx--xxx---|
    G2:|X---X---X-xxX---|X---X---X-xxX---|
    CT:|1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + |1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + |


    For once, this chart is accurate because it depicts a perfectly monotonal riff. Because of the stereo separation of the two guitars, the alternating pattern has the effect of "throwing" the rhythm from one ear to the other. This interplay creates a unique heaviness: rather than relying on melodic shifts or a heavier beat, the sonic separation and offset playing emphasizes the beat. This effect is broken slightly in the end of the measure when the two guitars play in unison, giving extra punch to the fourth beat before remaining tacit until the first beat of the next measure.

    Over the top of this riff, the keys play the main chorus melody. This melody reaches its peak when it is joined by the guitars (0:59). At this moment, the guitars play in unison ends the stereo separation of the preceding riff, creating a perceptible unity in the melody.

    The chorus melody is repeated again (1:03), but this time one guitar joins the melody of the keys while the other continues to play the grind from the first iteration of the melody. Both guitars again join the synths in playing the end of the melody (1:08).

    A - 1:17

    B - 1:26

    C - 1:58

    D (Bridge) – 2:25

    This section begins with the stereo-separated thrash riff from the chorus. When the melody kicks in, the rhythm guitar plays the riff from the end of the verse (which first appears at 0:40) while the solo plays over it. Rather than the blast beat which would normally accompany this riff, the drums maintain a double-bass roll through the solo.

    The bridge ends with an amalgamation of the stereo riff and the thrash intro (2:50). The drums play a new beat, in which the 32nd note kicks in the drums match the pulses of the guitars. In the first two measures, the lead guitar plays the last few descending notes of the solo. The final two measures (2:55) play the grind at first, but end with a flourish taken from the A section thrash riff.

    A - 2:59

    B - 3:07

    C - 3:28

    Like the bridge, this chorus ends with a measure which is half the chorus grind riff and half notes from the intro. The notes from the intro riff, rather than leading into the full melody, play into nothingness and abruptly end the song.

    Notes:

    This song has one of the more distinct structures on the album. The beginning of the chorus is masked slightly because it begins with less melody and intensity than the rest of the song. This isn't unusual for a DT song, but most down-tempo choruses would be introduced with a more intentional build up. The low-key chorus, along with the consistent structure of sections (A-B-C in order, repeatedly), gives the impression of cycling steadily through predetermined parts without stark divisions of chorus and verse.

    The stereo riff which begins the chorus is a particularly interesting moment in the song. Generally, the heaviness in metal comes from directing the listener towards beats. This can be accomplished through narrow melodies or heavy guitar work. Here, however, it is accomplished by leading the ear into the riff with one guitar while the other grinds out the beat itself.
     
  14. stizzleomnibus

    stizzleomnibus Decisively Human

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    A - 0:00

    The intro riff to Surface the infinite begins with three identical measures, each playing a series of ascending notes. The guitars change on each quarter note, an effect which is enhanced by the pulse of the drums. The fourth measure of the riff begins at a lower pitch and ends on a higher one, creating a wider tonal shift in the ascent. The combination of straight 16th note playing in the guitars and drums gives the section a perfectly even feel.

    There are several interesting fills used in the drums here. While the bass drum and cymbals continue uninterrupted, the unique pattern of accents in the snare creates a fill. Two examples are notated below:

    |X---X---X--X--X-|X-X--X--X--X--X-|
    |1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + |1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + |
    |--------3--3--2-|2-3--3--3--3--2-|


    The second half of the first measure above is a fill in the familiar 3-3-2 syncopation (0:04). The second measure depicts the fill that ends the section, and contains a syncopation of 2-3-3/3-3-2 (0:16). While the drums switch to simple counting in the next section, the guitar continues playing this rhythm.

    B (Verse) - 0:18

    This verse begins with just the guitars over cymbal counting, breaking from the evenness of the intro. The harsh guitar riff is less melodic than the preceding riff, though it borrows the rhythm of the drum fill at the end of the A section.

    When the drums enter fully, they play an incredibly fast blast beat (0:27). This is essentially the same as a normal blast beat, but the cymbal and bass drum play every 16th note while the snare plays the 32nd notes in between.

    C – 0:36

    At the beginning of this section, the drums play a normal blast beat (half the speed of the one in the previous section). The riff is much more melodic than the previous one, and plays a much simpler rhythm based on 8th notes. Interestingly, in the four measures in this section, the riff does not repeat and instead plays through one continuous evolution before moving into the chorus.

    D (Chorus) – 0:45

    The introduction of synths in the chorus immediately gives it more impact than the preceding sections. The drums return the rhythm to the quarter note pulse from the A section, halving the tempo relative to the B and C sections. Similarly, the drums make use of fills first seen in A.

    The synth melody plays in a repeated rhythm, but the harmony played creates a sharp shift in tone in the second half of the melody (0:50), which changes again in the following measure.

    B - 1:02

    C - 1:20

    D - 1:29

    A – 1:47

    This version of the A section begins with just the guitar playing. This "bottomless" arrangement gives the impression of the melody playing over empty air. Small, dexterous flourishes in the drums “ground” the guitar melody at the beginning of each measure, the lowest point in the melody.

    The section eventually returns to the full orchestration seen in the intro (1:57).

    E (Bridge) – 2:05

    This bridge smoothly carries over the rhythm of the preceding section for a small guitar solo. The end of the solo (2:14) brings an abrupt stop to the song. The keys enter, playing a pulsing rhythm in half-time. The band joins (2:17). The backbeat of the drums is enhanced by a

    The melody of this section is a reference to Deionarra's Theme from Planescape: Torment.

    B - 2:52

    C - 3:10

    D – 3:19

    After the last word in the C section, the song falls silent except for the synths which quietly play the chorus melody. The listener expects the C section to flow directly into the chorus, as in each preceding instance, but the song instead plays a very subdued version of the melody. This creates a moment of tension by suspending the normal flow of the song and replacing it with beautiful, quiet moment. The drums enter (3:26) and build until the song explodes into the full chorus. This final occurrence of the chorus is the most powerful in the song, as it develops out of the most tense moment of foreshadowing and provides the greatest moment of contrast.

    Notes:

    The two quiet moments in the song (1:47 and 3:19) are important in this song, as they both convey the sense of emptiness implied in "the infinite" and "the void." The first features the guitar singing out over nothing but its own reverberations. The second primes the listener for the chorus, but does so by pausing "time" in the song. The failure to resolve into the full chorus, as well as the harmonic sophistication of the melody, creates a breathless moment which would be peaceful except for the titanic energy before and after.
     
  15. stizzleomnibus

    stizzleomnibus Decisively Human

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    A (Verse) - 0:00

    Iridium begins with a verse, rather than a unique intro. The single guitar which opens the song is joined by the other instruments (0:18), but continues playing the same thing through the remainder of the verse. The melody is unchanged with the exception of a handful of chord changes which add a disturbing, dissonant quality to the composition. This monotonous consistency leaves the listener with a sense of monotonous repetition, soon to be violently shaken. After the last line of the verse (0:53), there is no fill or other indication of a transition. All instruments disappear except for the original guitar, which continues the same melody, quietly. Unaware.

    B (Chorus) - 0:55

    The violent explosion of the chorus is unexpected after the softness of the verse. This intensity is partially due to the contrast between the two parts, but the power of the instrumentation also contributes. The drums use the same double-bass roll used in other high energy choruses, while the guitars grind out the melody. The sound of the synths is incredibly rich and heavy. The chorus is introduced with a dubbed scream which, while unusual for a DT song, adds an incredibly effective impact.

    The melody of which the chorus is composed is unique. For the entire duration of the chorus, it never repeats itself, evolving and shifting constantly. The tones in the first eight measures are incredibly ominous. Beginning in the ninth measure (1:13), the melody suddenly becomes very warm before returning to the darker tone in the thirteenth measure (1:22).* While these are the two largest shifts, and the most distinct bright or dark moments, the entire melody is composed of complex tonal shifts similar to the intro to Arkhangelsk.

    (*Again, to avoid 32nd notes in the bass drum, I'm counting this as half time in a fast measure. If you're counting the snare as a back beat (2 & 4), 'nine' and 'thirteen' above should be 'five' and 'seven'.)

    C - 1:31

    The massive energy of the chorus quickly fades, replaced with a spacey, descending melody in the keys. The instrumentation sounds as though it might be a heavily modulated piano. A series of cymbal flourishes leads into the full introduction of the drums and bass before reentering the verse.

    A' - 1:50

    While this verse maintains the simple, consistent clean guitar heard in the first verse, the distorted guitar adds an extra layer to the composition. In the opening measures, the second guitar hammers out the beat. At the moments where the clean guitar changes to more dissonant chords (1:59 and 2:18), the distorted guitar lets notes ring through the measure. This reduces the emphasis on the rhythm and allows the strangeness of the chord changes to shine through.

    Unlike the first transition from A to B, this section includes a small drum fill to carry the listener into the chorus.

    B - 2:26

    D (Bridge) - 3:03

    The keyboard melody from C returns, but this time as a complement to a guitar melody. Like the clean guitar from the A section, this melody is based on repetition. This creates a familiar, unified moment for the listener, which is then slowly developed.

    The melody evolves first by growing louder and adding a pinch harmonic at the end of the melody (3:21). At the same time, the distorted rhythm guitar is added, playing rhythmic accents to complement the lead. The second evolution occurs when both guitars join together (3:39), enhancing the melody and removing the heavy rhythmic character of the rhythm guitar in the section immediately prior. This version of the melody has a slightly different ending as well, repeating the notes at the end of the melody in the same place that the pinch harmonic had been placed earlier.

    Like the A' section, this bridge transitions into the chorus with a small fill.

    B – 3:58

    This chorus plays initially like previous ones, but with extra measures. After the normal chorus, an extension to the melody is added.(4:35). This mournful conclusion is half the length of the normal chorus, which is an unusual division in music. Rather than playing the chorus twice, these extra measures continue the pattern of playing one extended, non-repeating melody line. This makes these measures completely unique in the song.

    The final lyrics of the normal chorus are repeated over this section.

    C (Outro) - 4:52

    The end of the final chorus returns to the descending keyboard melody. This extended exit is accompanied by a few small melodies in the keys, as well as electronic noise. This is a familiar technique (similar to At Loss for Words or Winter Triangle), creating a sound which is more “atmosphere” than music, but completely foreign. The electronic ambiance dose not resemble a familiar terrestrial environment. Eventually, everything disappears except for the descending arpeggio which itself fades out, ending the main album.
     
  16. stizzleomnibus

    stizzleomnibus Decisively Human

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    A – 0:00

    This opening theme is the most active in the song. The peaks in the melody are ornamented by rapid pull offs, creating swift moments of tonal descent.

    B – 0:25

    This melody is much more reserved than the intro. The lower pitch and smaller range give it a more subdued tone. The most notable thing about this moment in the song is the lack of ornamentation relative to the other themes.

    C – 0:37

    This theme is something of a hybrid of the other two. While it maintains the subdued tonal character of the B Section, it implements some of the dexterous ornamentation from the A section.

    The fourth and fifth notes of this section (0:39) are identical, creating an effect known as anticipation: the off-beat note forecasts the pitch of the following note on the beat.

    A - 0:49

    B - 1:13

    C - 1:25

    In this iteration of the C section, the effects on the guitar start to become more prominent, eventually overwhelming it.

    A - 1:37

    Only half of this A section plays before the harmony resolves and the guitar dissolves into noise.

    Notes:

    Star of Nothingness is a running duel between electronics and instrumentation. The entire song has a layer of ambiance behind it, which slowly grows to overwhelm the guitar. While the melody cycles, the song's linear evolution is in the balance. As the ambiance grows, the effects on the guitar become more prominent, eventually reversing the notes (though the melody continues to play forward normally).

    The most interesting aspects to the guitar work would require digging into each note individually, so I will summarize them here. Techniques such as hammer ons and pull offs create notes which are slightly less percussive (and therefore, weaker) than picked notes. The various themes in the song play beats differently. The A section, for example, tends to de-emphasize beats beats by playing weaker techniques. This causes the melody to sound somewhat “unbound” to the grounding rhythm. The B section, in contrast, is fully picked, and lacks the same fluid feel.

    The entire song is in 3/4, which I believe is a first for DT. Certain parts could be described as 3/4, but would be better described as 6/8 or 12/8. The key here is the emphasis on a slow (quarter-note) count of 3, rather than the tendency to count to two blocks of three in 6/8.
     
  17. stizzleomnibus

    stizzleomnibus Decisively Human

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    Theory - Compound time

    To Where Fires Cannot Feed is in compound time. This means that each subdivision of time contains three beats, rather than two. Essentially, the meter of this song is 4/4 with triplets. For the sake of simplicity, we will call it 12/8 (4/4 is normally 8/8; three 8ths to a beat gives us 12/8). Each measure of 12/8 can be expressed as 24/16, and the 24 16th notes will be our test for equality in the varying measures below.

    If there are three 8th notes to a beat, there must be six 16th notes. This is where compound meter becomes tricky. The placement of accents in each of these sextuplets creates vastly different effects in the song. The compound meter must include blocks of threes on one level, and blocks of two on another. These blocks create the unique "compound effect" of the meter. Below, two variations of the meter are described:

    Version 1 - Counting three 8th notes (each a length of two 16ths):

    Accents : |X-x-x-X-x-x-X-x-x-X-x-x-|
    N. Count: |1 + a 2 + a 3 + a 4 + a |
    8th Count:|1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 |


    In this chart, each quarter note contains three accents ('x'), with the quarter notes themselves accented ('X'). Each of these notes is comprised of two 16th notes, based upon the number of ticks occupied.

    There are four blocks three 8th notes, each 8th being two 16ths (4 x 3 x 2 = 24). There are more strong 8ths per beat, but each is comprised of a familiar, simple block of 2.

    Version 2 - Counting two 8th notes (each a length of three 16ths):

    Accents : |X--x--X--x--X--x--X--x--|
    N. Count: |1 + a 2 + a 3 + a 4 + a |
    8th Count:|1..+..2..+..3..+..4..+..|


    There are four blocks of two 8th notes, each 8th being three 16ths (4 x 2 x 3 = 24). There are fewer strong 8ths per beat, but each is comprised of a compound block of 3.

    The second version is extremely appealing in metal, as it places the compound effect on the 16th note level, provide an interesting space in which to build unique shredding riffs. At the same time, note the
    pattern of accents: four evenly placed beats with four even intermediary beats. On its own (without compound 16th notes played in between), this sounds identical to 4/4. It is also worthwhile to note that the 2nd example shown above actually demonstrates double-time feel in a compound meter.

    These distinct uses of 12/8 are described here, as To Where Fires Cannot Feed uses both.

    A - 0:00

    This section serves as a "launch pad" for the rest of the song. The guitar and bass play the main theme of the song quietly. This creates contrast to the more bombastic interpretation of the theme to follow. Note the pattern of chord changes here, as it will occur at various times throughout the song.

    The rhythm played by the instruments most resembles the first usage compound time demonstrated above.

    B (Verse 1) - 0:16

    Here, the rhythm shifts to the second compound time example shown above. Because of the placement of accents, the tempo effectively doubles. While this part of the song is played in double-time, it shares the harmonic rhythm of the section above. That is, each chord change is in the same place during each part, even though there are twice as many accents in the instrumentation.

    The guitars play smoothly through this section. The drums make use of the compound 16ths to provide the accents to this even rhythm, bringing out the beats without causing the riff to sound punctuated.

    C (Verse 2) - 0:32

    In this section, the smooth guitar work is replaced with rapid arpeggios, playing up and down through a series a chords. The tight guitar work is accented by remarkably precise drumming. The sharp combination of ride cymbal and bass drum notes, played perfectly over every note in the guitars creates the effect of accenting every note. In the B section, the guitars played every 16th note in the measure, but it had a smooth flow; here, the sharp and constant impacts of the drums give every note punch despite the evenness normal introduced in playing every note.

    Rather than play the drumbeat through the section in the simplest fashion, this passage is adorned with a number of extra touches, from splash cymbal notes to mini-fills on the toms.

    B' - 0:48

    This version of the B section is generally identical to the earlier one. The only real difference is the addition of an extra synth melody played above the rest of the instruments.

    C' - 1:04

    In this version of the C section, the guitars are different. Rather than the rapid arpeggios originally played, one guitar plays rapid shredding, interrupted by the other notes of the chord to form a small melody. The other guitar plays the block chords behind it.

    D - 1:20

    The D section uses a similar guitar rhythm to the one introduced in C'. Instead of the series of chords in the preceding section, it repeats the same chord, creating a heavy, non-melodic grind. Chord changes, played along with the other guitar and synths end the passage (1:26). Note that these chords which fill out the riff are played on the keys by the introduction of the arpeggio which will accompany the repeat.

    The repeat of the section adds a rapid arpeggio in the keys. The arpeggio, like the guitars grinding away below it, cycles through the same chord several times before playing the chords that end the section.

    B '- 1:36

    E - 1:52

    Here, the tempo of the song is half that used in the rest. The drums accent half as many beats, but continue playing the counting in the cymbals on the same beats. This effectively places the song in 4/4, but with the oddly-spaced 8th notes creating a shuffle feel.

    At the same time that the drums become sparse, the rapid, even guitar work of the previous section is replaced by drawn out chords. This creates a small moment of dramatic tension in the song, separated from the rapid technical work played elsewhere.

    From this basis, the keys play a slow, somber melody. The even notes of the piano are a byproduct of the 4/4 similarity described above and in the intro. The spacing of the notes leaves no hint that they are played in a song composed in 12/8.

    F - 2:08

    All instrumentation disappears except for the keys, joined shortly by the drums (2:24). The rhythm here, after all the compound chaos in the rest of the song, is actually in straight 4/4. This is significant because it completely changes the feel of the song. After flowing counts of three throughout the rest of the song, the simple two-counts here sound almost mechanical.

    Also significant in this transition is the impossibility of notating it. The beats of this section match perfectly with the beats in the rest of the song. However, given the editorial decision to describe the song in compound double-time, the "8th notes" in the piano would actually fall somewhere on odd 32nd notes in the notation shown in the introduction.

    G (Solo) - 2:40

    This section aggressively restores the 12/8 feel, while maintaining the beat of the previous section.

    This solo is an excellent example of a reserved DT solo. It begins slow, then picks up steam as it goes on, shortly moving into the next section without interrupting the flow of the song.

    The rhythm guitar riff here is new to the song. The chords played are taken directly from the A and B sections, but the specific orchestration of the riff is much sharper and more rhythmic.

    E + Solo - 2:56

    This section is based off of the E section played above, but with both guitars playing playing a rapidly tapped melody which forms the conclusion of the solo. Because both guitars are playing such a high-pitched melody, the mid-levels of the song are empty. This gives a similar “clear air” feel as in the verses of Her Silent Language.

    Halfway through the section (3:04), one guitar switches to playing the chords of the section, filling the sonic gap between the other instruments. The ending is interesting, in that it actually adds in a single odd measure to create a gap before moving on with the song (3:12).

    G – 3:14

    This section is essentially the G that originally accompanied the opening section. Here, however, it functions as a verse. It still inherits the harmony of the A and B sections, but it uses harsher grind of the first G section.

    D - 3:30

    Notes:

    From the solo onwards, the smooth B section, as well as the less-smooth but still even C section, which effectively introduces the song is not seen again. As a result, everything after the chorus, while harmonically referencing the earlier moments of the song, is much harsher and more rhythmic.

    This song possesses one of the more unique structures on WAtV. The B section originally lacks the extra synth melody which will accompany it in all later iterations. This simplifies the opening of the song, while the lead that comes in later serves to elevate the energy of the B section to match the more technical Cs that surround it. The introduction of a guitar riff in a solo, which is later used on its own is also an interesting choice. As described above, the G section that appears towards the end of the song, instead of the smoother B section, maintains the cold, rhythmic feel of the song's conclusion.
     
  18. stizzleomnibus

    stizzleomnibus Decisively Human

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    A - 0:00

    The intro to Out of Gravity is tricky and difficult to count. The guitar plays in patterns of two notes at a time, given the impression of playing in simple time (three measures of 4/4). However, these notes alternate oddly over the counted notes which are in compound time (specifically, 12/8). The cymbal counting is depicted below, with the '~' representing the roll at the end.

    Cymbal:|x-----x-----------x-----|------x-----x-~~~~~~~~~~|
    Count :|1 + + 2 + + 3 + + 4 + + |1 + + 2 + + 3 + + 4 + + |


    Note that the guitar patterns are offset, creating an interesting stereoscopic effect as the two melody lines play against each other.

    B - 0:11

    The full band enters. While the drums carry the compound meter, the bass drum follows the syncopation of the guitars. The piano over the top plays the smooth, flowing count of the compound meter.

    C (Verse 1) - 0:27

    The sharp, rhythmic syncopation of the guitars is replaced by drawn out chords. The melody in this section is very slight, and focuses on moving between chords.

    When reciting this song in my head without hearing it, the final word of the line "what took you from me" seems to be wailed, even though the growl is the same as the rest of the line. The effect comes from the way that the ear perceives simultaneous sounds, subconsciously combining the pinch harmonic behind the word with the delivery of the word itself.

    D (Verse 2) - 0:42

    Here the drums play every 16th note, giving the section an even feel. The lead guitar plays a rapid melody composed of so many notes that it's almost difficult to follow. Listening to the melody without really focusing on it allows the melody to emerge from the chaos.

    The drums almost play this section in double time, as the ornamentation on the cymbals accents notes between those accented by the snare.

    The fill that ends the section, in both the drums and rhythm guitar, introduces rapid triplets at the 16th note level, which forecasts the complex meter of the next section.

    E (Chorus) - 0:57

    Here, the beat changes significantly. Instead of accenting the first note in blocks of three 8th notes to form a beat, the final 8th note in each group of three is accented. It becomes necessary, then, to count each 8th note as a beat. The resulting feel is that of a waltz, a traditional dance meter composed of three beats. Waltzes are notated in 3/4 to emphasize the blocks of three. In this instance, the quarter notes of a 3/4 measure would be equivalent to the 8th notes in the 12/8 of the rest of the song. This common element allows the sections to be bridged smoothly during performance.

    The rhythm element of the keys features blocks of three over the drums, with a second melody playing over the top. This melody plays over the blocks of three such that it forms a shuffle, a common element of the waltz feel.

    In the notes for To Where Fires Cannot Feed, I described various divisions of compound time as requiring divisions of either a) two 8th notes, each of three 16ths in length, or b) three 8th notes, each of two 16ths. This was a lie of convenience. It is possible, though incredibly rare, to compound a compound meter. That is, three 8th notes in a block, each of which is composed of three 16th notes. In this instance, each block of three has a value of 9/16. In traditional waltz meter, 9/8. If the 12/8 of the rest of the song is continued here, each measure is equivalent to 36/16.

    In the present case, the keys follow the 8th notes, while the guitars and bass drum grind away in the extra layer of compound notes. A notation of one cycle of the drums follows; the guitars follow the bass drum perfectly.

    Cr|x--x--x--|x--x--x--|x--x--x--|x--x--x--|
    SD|------x--|------x--|------x--|---x--x--|
    BD|xxxxxx---|xxxxxx---|---xxx---|xxx------|
    Ct|1--2--3--|1--2--3--|1--2--3--|1--2--3--|


    In the above notation, each measure is a count of three. If all four measures are packed into one, the result is the same 12/8 as the rest of the song. In blocks of three, it represents the waltz feel (each numeral could be an 8th or quarter note; it's arbitrary). Note that each beat is comprised of three 16th notes denoted by '-'.

    Adding to the interesting composition of this section is the fact that the four measures shown above, which form the basic template for this section, play in three times, then repeat for another three. This is extremely unusual, as song sections are generally comprised of even numbers of measures.

    In short, this composition contains
    - two iterations of the section, each composed of
    - three repetitions of pattern which is
    - four measures of
    - three beats which each have a length of
    - three 16th notes.

    For reference, the vast majority of music uses blocks of four measures of four beats and four 16th notes. Each instance of the number three in the above list is a deviation from music convention.

    D - 1:20

    E - 1:50

    F (Solo 1) - 2:13

    This solo resembles the one in The Fatalist, in that it is based on a repeating melody. This melody is played through twice each time, with two different endings. The first two beats of each measure are identical, but the first measure ends with the melody dropping an octave and playing in tandem with the rhythm guitar (2:15), while the second measure ends in an ascending melody before repeating.

    In the first iteration, the lead melody plays over a short, percussive interlude by the drums and guitar (2:13). The second iteration plays after the introduction of a beat filled with ornamentation on the drums (2:20). The third iteration introduces rapid pull offs into the guitar pattern (2:27).

    Note that, like the E section, this solo plays through three iterations, each comprised of two 12/8 measures.

    G (Verse 3) - 2:35

    This verse is new. After the furious technicality and dramatic chord changes of the preceding section, the smooth and even feel of this section is soothing, creating a small moment of tension and contrast between the two solos.

    H1 (Solo 2) - 2:51

    This solo is introduced quietly, beginning with a moment of contrast between the pounding rhythm guitars and quiet lead. The opening melody played by the clean guitar resembles that played in the F section, including the part of the melody played in tandem with the rhythm guitar (2:53). The melody plays through two measures in 12/8, before taking a third measure to build into the proper solo. Three measures is a very unusual number for any section of a song.

    H2 - 3:01

    The rhythm guitar begins playing a riff which is very similar to the B section, grinding on notes in between those of the snare (3:01).

    The melody of the lead guitar is a more typical solo: bombastic and non-repeating. It builds through several iterations before returning to the song. Specifically, it plays through two sections of four measures each (the second set of four begins at 3:16).

    C - 3:32

    D - 3:48

    E - 4:03

    In this iteration of the chorus, the even triplets in the keys are missing. As a result, the sound is somewhat hollow, with a sonic gap between the hyper-technical grind and the soft shuffle of the melody.

    Notes:

    The waltz feel in the chorus of Out of Gravity is unique. Careful attention to the two melodies in the keys makes the unique rhythm apparent, but the ability to import the groove without actually creating an anachronistic-sounding waltz is impressive.

    The numbers in Out of Gravity are very strange. The chorus and first solo are based off of repetitions of three measures, rather than the symmetrical four that are expected. The second solo is introduced by two measures which reference the pattern of the first solo, but has a third which functions as a ramp into the solo proper, itself composed of conventional blocks of four.

    Aside from the interesting occurrences of threes in the arrangement of the song, the entire thing is in compound time (12/8 in my counting above, or twice as many measures of 6/8 if you prefer), introducing threes at that level as well. This is more of a stylistic choice. On the technical level, the chorus exhibits an impressive compounding of its own compound meter, introducing threes at an even lower level. Interestingly, the song could be reinterpreted without this last layer of compounding, as the notes used are purely rhythmic and would not distort the melody if rearranged into duplets ("twos").

    Reading meaning from non-lingual art forms is almost always doomed to failure, but one wonders if there is not some hidden meaning to the repetition of threes. In some ancient cultures, quantities of one and two were definite, whereas three and beyond was simply "a great amount." Multiples of three, then, represent layers of magnitude, with great amounts of great amounts multiplying geometrically towards infinity. Or something.
     
  19. stizzleomnibus

    stizzleomnibus Decisively Human

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    A – 0:00

    In this intro, the keys and one guitar using an e-bow play a sparse melody over the work of the drums and the other guitar. The rhythm guitar plays a pattern of straight sixteenth notes. The first and third beats of the measure are accented by rapid 32nd notes, while the second and fourth beats are accented tonally. The guitar pattern breaks in a few places (such as 0:06), returning emphasis to the drums for the end of the pattern. The 32nd note grind is also used as a fill in the section. Since the 32nd note blocks act as accents, they actually add punch to the melody, which descends as they play (0:11).

    B (Verse) – 0:25

    The grind of the guitar gives way to quiet, clean guitar work. The sonic contrast makes this a mellow moment in the song. While the drums carry the same beat from one section to the next, the ambiance of this section is composed of steady bass work and light guitar chords.

    C (Verse 2) – 0:37

    This section of the verse is more active than the preceding one. A new guitar lead is introduced, playing a more defined melody than in the previous section.

    D (Pre-Chorus) – 0:49

    Here, the song switches to double time. The guitars begin shredding out the rhythm while a rolling synth melody plays over the top.

    E (Chorus) – 1:01

    The tempo returns to its original pace. The pounding rhythm in the drums adds weight to each 16th note played in the double-bass roll, while the snare drum plays either on the beat or on odd 16th notes which set up anticipation for the beat.

    The first few notes are played by just the guitars, which move from one pitch to second over which the keys play short blocks of descending notes. In the second iteration of the section, one guitar begins playing the melody of the keys, but at a lower pitch, partially cloaked by the other guitar (1:13).

    F – 1:25

    The melody of this section is very similar to that of the C section. Here it is played with more aggression and distortion. Similarly, rather than the hanging tones and partial melody heard earlier, here it is developed into a tight metal grove before returning to the chorus.

    D – 1:37

    This time, the D section plays through twice, ending the first time with a roll on the toms (1:47). While the previous section also ended with a fill that transitioned smoothly, this one ends by simply pounding out the 3rd and 4th beats of the final measure. This causes a break in the flow from one section to the next. While this is generally avoided, it helps to bridge these two sections which are in different time signature (simple vs. compound). Further, since the D section is in double time and thus placing beats on every 8th note, this fill helps to center the rhythm on the quarter notes in preparation for the next section.

    G (Bridge) – 2:01

    Apart from the return to the normal tempo, begun in the fill ending the previous section, this is also in compound time. The rhythm used is based off of adding compound 16th notes to the 8th notes of the previous section (as opposed to adding extra 8th notes). This allows the two different time signatures to overlap, as they share quarter and 8th notes. The guitars play chords over the section while the keys play a short, simple melody, using the 8th notes of the measures.

    The section switches to a double time groove (2:13). This is much the same as switching to double time in a simple meter (i.e. the transition from C to D). However, it is now impossible for the instruments to avoid playing the compound meter, as the next division of time below the beat is in threes. Here, it manifests in the shredding of the guitars. The keys continue as before, now using synthesized strings instead of piano. The melody of the keys does not share the double time transition, playing at the same rate as before.

    The section returns to its original compound meter (2:25) with the addition of lyrics before continuing onward.

    A – 2:37

    This section ends the compound time of the bridge section, returning the song to simple time. Reintroduction of the lone guitar grind emphasizes the difference between the smooth feel of the slow compound time and the sharp, rhythmic grooves in simple time.

    Unlike the original A section, this one features an extended intro. The rhythm guitar enters alone. The first and third beats are still accented with the 32nd note grinds, but the tonal accents are otherwise ignored. The entire intro, then, is composed of a single note. The gaps for emphasizing the drums (like the drums themselves) are also gone. The second guitar joins the grind (2:40) before the original, full A section riff is reintroduced (2:42).

    B - 2:55

    F - 3:01

    This F section, based off of the C section, takes its place as the second half of this verse.

    D – 3:13

    E – 3:25

    Notes:

    Here are some attempts at illustrating the math of switching from simple time to compound time, and then performing a double time transition in both simple and compound time. I've done this entirely using drum tablature, as the drums most clearly signal the location of notes (through cymbals and snare).

    To begin, here is what simple time looks like (most sections):

    C|x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-|
    S|----x-------x---|
    B|x-------x-------|
    c|1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + |


    Now, with the addition of double time in the second measure (D section):

    C|x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-|x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-|
    S|----x-------x---|--x---x---x---x-|
    B|x-------x-------|x---x---x---x---|
    c|1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + |1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + |


    Here is the first simple time example, notated in compound time (showing where the new notes will pop up). Note that each 8th note is now comprised of three `-` (G section):

    This is played exactly the same as the first simple time example: nothing is played on the extra notes just yet, and the 8th notes overlap. The ticks just represent smaller divisions of time.

    C|x--x--x--x--x--x--x--x--|
    S|------x-----------x-----|
    B|x-----------x-----------|
    c|1 + + 2 + + 3 + + 4 + + |
    <-This counting is meaningless in this form of compound time.

    Now, the compound notated beat shown in double time (G section):

    C|x--x--x--x--x--x--x--x--|x--x--x--x--x--x--x--x--|
    S|------x-----------x-----|---x-----x-----x-----x--|
    B|x-----------x-----------|x-----x-----x-----x-----|
    c|1 + + 2 + + 3 + + 4 + + |1 + + 2 + + 3 + + 4 + + |


    These are the two basic patterns used in the G section:

    C|x--x--x--x--x--x--x--x--|x--x--x--x--x--x--x--x--|
    S|------x-----------x-----|---x-----x-----x-----x--|
    B|xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx|x-x---x-x---x-x---x-x---|
    c|1 + + 2 + + 3 + + 4 + + |1 + + 2 + + 3 + + 4 + + |
     
  20. stizzleomnibus

    stizzleomnibus Decisively Human

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    The following passages are a compilation of speculation, conjecture, caffeine overdoses, and WAGs. They should not be taken seriously by anyone. There is wide space available for the interpretation of abstract lyrics; no assumption should be made that any of the following is correct or even particularly logical. You're welcome to disagree, and finding your own meaning and inspiration in the lyrics is encouraged.

    “Persona,” “narrator,” and “speaker” are used interchangeably. They refer to the person speaking words. “Protagonist” refers to the character undergoing the metaphysical journey of the album. He doesn't speak in most songs, but words are directed to him. I think Stanne uses 2nd-person phrasing to address the protagonist/himself to add punch to his lyrics: “Your thoughts are broken” is an accusation, “My thoughts are broken” would be more of a whine or confession.

    I have Americanized all spellings. Due to epic historical accident, punctuation marks go inside of quotation marks in America, but outside for the rest of the world. I would prefer outside, personally, but I have gone American on that point as well.

    We Are the Void contains 2,701 words, not counting titles. The following contains 7,168, though I have quoted liberally from the master.

    "I'm sorry I wrote you such a long letter; I didn't have time to write a short one." — Blaise Pascal
     

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