Conlang YouTube, Metal Music, Emotions, Etc. [Split]

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Salmoneus
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Re: (EE) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Salmoneus »

Khemehekis wrote:
04 Feb 2020 07:08
It's also harder to discern the mood of a musical piece, it seems, when there's not a human voice singing it.
I find the opposite.

But also: really!?

Listen to this...

and (at least a few minutes of) this..

and then this...


Most people would say I think that one of those pieces was (other than some bits in the middle) exultant, that one displayed grief and defiance, and that one depicted anxious fear and anger. Do you not think you could guess which one was which?

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Re: (EE) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Khemehekis »

Salmoneus wrote:
18 Feb 2020 01:25
Listen to this...

and (at least a few minutes of) this..

and then this...


Most people would say I think that one of those pieces was (other than some bits in the middle) exultant, that one displayed grief and defiance, and that one depicted anxious fear and anger. Do you not think you could guess which one was which?
I would say that the Saint-Saëns piece was the exultant one, the "Schindler's List" violin piece was the grieving one, and the Shostakovich piece displayed anxious fear and anger.

However, I should point out that these pieces were played on some rather expressive instruments, such as pianos and violins. Deformed Elephant Surgery's "Human Being" was just a bunch of machine-processed, indecipherable grinding . . . er, noise.
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Re: (EE) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Khemehekis »

Salmoneus wrote:
17 Feb 2020 23:08
Vlürch wrote:
13 Feb 2020 15:42
Makes sense, I just assumed there couldn't be anyone who's on the internet who hasn't heard of them since they were mentioned literally everywhere when they released their first album.
Just to broaden your horizons a little bit: I've heard the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix, and I've heard OF Taylor Swift, though I'm not aware of having actually heard any of her music. But I haven't heard of anybody else talked about on this thread.
Here are what the rest of the artists mentioned (or at least, the ones I've heard of) sound like:

Imagine Dragons -- "Whatever It Takes" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOsM-DYAEhY

Bastille -- "Pompeii" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F90Cw4l-8NY

Justin Bieber -- "Baby" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kffacxfA7G4

Adele -- "Set Fire to the Rain" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9bB8csLSug

Pink -- "So What?" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJfFZqTlWrQ

Black Sabbath -- "Iron Man" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5s7_WbiR79E (Their lead singer, Ozzy Osbourne, had a reality show with his family members c. 2002)

N*SYNC -- "It's Gonna Be Me" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQMlWwIXg3M

Britney Spears -- ". . . Baby One More Time" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-u5WLJ9Yk4 (Her name was the #1 most searched for topic on the Internet in 2000 -- can the Internet hype surrounding BabyMetal stack up to that?)

Evanescence -- "Bring Me to Life" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YxaaGgTQYM

KoRn -- "Freak on a Leash" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRGrNDV2mKc

Limp Bizkit -- "Rearranged" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QWOc0HnItM

Linkin Park -- "One More Light" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tm8LGxTLtQk

Mike + the Mechanics -- "The Living Years" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hr64MxYpgk

Freddy Cannon -- "Palisades Park" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnKIkBWMFkA

The Beach Boys -- "Good Vibrations" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eab_beh07HU (They are cultural legends in my home state of California)

The Grateful Dead -- "Touch of Grey" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzvk0fWtCs0 (They don't get much airplay, but their followers, called Deadheads, are part of the hippie stereotype in the U.S., and their Kermit-the-Frog-collared multicolor teddy bears and top-hatted skeletons are recognizable symbols)

Phish -- "You Enjoy Myself" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsLfa9RsV9Y (None of their songs get much airplay, but they have name recognition in the U.S. as an archetypal "hippie band", much like the Grateful Dead . . . ironically, though, the band did not exist until the eighties)

Greyson Michael Chance's 2010 rendition of "Paparazzi" by Lady Gaga (the viral video that launched his career) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxDlC7YV5is

Unknown Mortal Orchestra -- "Hunnybee" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJrKlSkxRHA

Tori Amos -- "Jackie's Strength" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7WET8khBc4

Marcy Playground -- They were a one-hit wonder who did a song called "Sex and Candy" in 1998. I don't want to search for the song on YouTube, since the video has a tarantula in it and I don't want to see the tarantula in the thumbnails, but you can type it in on YouTube if you're curious as to what they sound like.
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Re: (EE) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Vlürch »

Salmoneus wrote:
17 Feb 2020 23:04
Nothing every happens for no reason. And nobody ever 'wants' something 'for no reason' - wanting something and having a reason for something (even if it's not a reason that would make sense to others) are practically synonymous. People don't have no emotions - although some are more or less emotionally stable, and some are better at describing (or more willing to truthfully describe) their emotions. Ice-cold robot killer people don't really exist - although some people pretend to be them because it looks better, or feels better, than admitting their feelings.
That's probably technically true, but isn't it possible that there are people who genuinely believe that they're "ice-cold robot killer people" because they don't know why they are the way they are, and believe that they want to kill people for no reason even if they subconsciously have some weird kind of a reason? That's not to say they're completely emotionless, but if they don't consciously know why they kill and in the eyes of others it seems like they do it for no reason... I mean, I guess your point still stands and even the "ultimate psychopaths" would still not be completely devoid of emotions.

But still, would they (as in the "emotionally out of touch to the extent where they want to kill people but don't even know why they want to kill" type) be likely to want to make or listen to music, especially something that conveys emotions? Maybe some of them would, but I kinda doubt most would.
Salmoneus wrote:
17 Feb 2020 23:04
If a child wants to kill their family, it's generally because:
Maybe I'm just misremembering, but IIRC the girl in the documentary was saying she had no idea why she wanted to kill her family but that she just had a strong urge to do so; she hadn't actually done it (at least at the time the documentary was made, hopefully not after it either). I tried to find it on Youtube (since that's where I watched it) but couldn't, unfortunately it seems like it's either been deleted or I just suck at searching, but it was pretty old judging by the poor quality (presumably VHS rip) and the girl was maybe 9-ish years old and wore some kind of multicoloured shirt and her eyes were kinda creepy in a "piercing" way if you have any idea who it was about... probably not very helpful unless you've watched the documentary yourself, though... [>_<]
Salmoneus wrote:
17 Feb 2020 23:04
Even among serial killers, the type who act cool and controlled (even though internally they're not) are the minority - most are impulsive and compulsive. And indeed, even the 'controlled' ones are generally just acting on impulse, but able to delay gratification of that impulse to take into account immediate consequences. The cost-benefit analysis of a seriously antisocial career is so unfavourable that very few people not overwhelmed by a compulsive drive would ever make that choice.
Well yeah, but what about those who seem emotionless but just snap for seemingly no reason? The only example I can think of is some murderer I remember either reading about or watching a documentary about who was quoted as saying something like "if you come near me, I'll have to kill you even if I don't want to" to prison guards. Obviously that's paraphrasing, I don't remember the exact quote, but it was some dude who's kept in solitary confinement. IIRC he was one of the people that was drawn inspiration from for Hannibal Lecter?
Salmoneus wrote:
17 Feb 2020 23:04
As we get further away from the core experience of teenage rebellion in the 1980s, it will be increasingly hard for metal to sustain itself as a genre. Not, of course, that it'll just vanish. But it's already lose most of its popularity, and it will tend to lose its distinctiveness and gradually blend into everything else, with only a small hardcore who reject change.
Eh... I wasn't yet even born in the eighties so I can't speak from firsthand experience, but based on everything I know I'd disagree on metal being less popular; if anything, it seems like it's more popular than ever before (in the sense that more people are into it in terms of numbers), even if it's not as mainstream as it was for a brief period of time, but I'm pretty sure it's on its way to getting there on a larger scale than the previous mainstream metal booms. There are more people in the world as a whole so the percentage of people who're into metal is probably lower, but more kids are getting into metal every day all over the world and bands are combining different subgenres and influences from non-metal genres to broaden metal, which may imply what you said (that it'll gradually blend into everything else) but it could also imply that metal is simply establishing an even wider range that by one definition could even make it "more metal".

I mean, sure, the traditional type of heavy metal has lost most of its popularity, but it has given birth to so many subgenres and more subgenres keep being born from those subgenres. They may be "less metal" than traditional heavy metal by one definition, but that's the same kind of mindset that was why so many claimed that deathcore isn't metal when it was at its peak, but it could be argued that deathcore has influenced practically every modern metal band formed since 2011 or whatever to some degree. It could even be argued that deathcore is more metal than death metal, that death metal is more metal than thrash metal, and that thrash metal is more metal than traditional heavy metal. Personally I think they're all equally metal and the entire argument is pointless and a waste of time, but if the definition of metal is "heavy music with distorted guitars and all that shit", then that would make either deathcore or drone doom the ultimate metal, and there are people who unironically say Black Sabbath doesn't even count as metal anymore... imho they're idiots, but the argument does make sense if a new standard for what's metal and what's not metal is set and history is disregarded entirely.

All of that is kind of pointless and tangential, but the point is that metal keeps growing. The current year's standard average modern metal didn't really exist (at least as a concrete thing) until recently and it has brought together so many of the subgenres, meaning it can easily become the new standard giving birth to new branching and evolution just like traditional heavy metal back in the day. By some definitions some of the resulting new subgenres won't be metal anymore, but that's just how the cycle repeats, and they're likely to be accepted as metal eventually by the wider metal community. If it's the metal community that accepts them as metal, why wouldn't they still be called metal?
Salmoneus wrote:
17 Feb 2020 23:08
Just to broaden your horizons a little bit: I've heard the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix, and I've heard OF Taylor Swift, though I'm not aware of having actually heard any of her music. But I haven't heard of anybody else talked about on this thread.
[:O]
Salmoneus wrote:
18 Feb 2020 01:25
and then this...
Fuck yeah, this is among my top three favourite classical pieces ever and the most intense modern classical piece by far, capturing any and all types of distress more perfectly than any other music ever made! [:D] (The other two are Mozart's Lacrimosa and Verdi's Dies Irae, not that anyone cares but I always think "but what are the other two?" if someone mentions something being one of their top three something...)
Khemehekis wrote:
18 Feb 2020 02:08
Deformed Elephant Surgery's "Human Being" was just a bunch of machine-processed, indecipherable grinding . . . er, noise.
Honest question, please don't be offended: do you think all music has to be emotional? If you do, fair enough, but I don't. That song (and the entire album) was literally meant to be exactly what you say, "a bunch of machine-processed, indecipherable grinding . . . er, noise" because that's the appeal of that particular genre. It's not the kind of music that's meant to make you feel something, it's just loud and aggressive for the sake of being loud and aggressive. If you listen to goregrind and expect to hear an emotional masterpiece, that's like watching a found footage horror film and expecting Titanic.

Not that that song is entirely goregrind, it's not, but it's still mostly goregrind. There's also that it's just really badly made even by goregrind standards, but I mean, I was 15 and not even taking it seriously...

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Re: (EE) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by qwed117 »

Spoiler:
Vlürch wrote:
19 Feb 2020 20:30
Salmoneus wrote:
17 Feb 2020 23:04
Nothing every happens for no reason. And nobody ever 'wants' something 'for no reason' - wanting something and having a reason for something (even if it's not a reason that would make sense to others) are practically synonymous. People don't have no emotions - although some are more or less emotionally stable, and some are better at describing (or more willing to truthfully describe) their emotions. Ice-cold robot killer people don't really exist - although some people pretend to be them because it looks better, or feels better, than admitting their feelings.
That's probably technically true, but isn't it possible that there are people who genuinely believe that they're "ice-cold robot killer people" because they don't know why they are the way they are, and believe that they want to kill people for no reason even if they subconsciously have some weird kind of a reason? That's not to say they're completely emotionless, but if they don't consciously know why they kill and in the eyes of others it seems like they do it for no reason... I mean, I guess your point still stands and even the "ultimate psychopaths" would still not be completely devoid of emotions.

But still, would they (as in the "emotionally out of touch to the extent where they want to kill people but don't even know why they want to kill" type) be likely to want to make or listen to music, especially something that conveys emotions? Maybe some of them would, but I kinda doubt most would.
Salmoneus wrote:
17 Feb 2020 23:04
If a child wants to kill their family, it's generally because:
Maybe I'm just misremembering, but IIRC the girl in the documentary was saying she had no idea why she wanted to kill her family but that she just had a strong urge to do so; she hadn't actually done it (at least at the time the documentary was made, hopefully not after it either). I tried to find it on Youtube (since that's where I watched it) but couldn't, unfortunately it seems like it's either been deleted or I just suck at searching, but it was pretty old judging by the poor quality (presumably VHS rip) and the girl was maybe 9-ish years old and wore some kind of multicoloured shirt and her eyes were kinda creepy in a "piercing" way if you have any idea who it was about... probably not very helpful unless you've watched the documentary yourself, though... [>_<]
Salmoneus wrote:
17 Feb 2020 23:04
Even among serial killers, the type who act cool and controlled (even though internally they're not) are the minority - most are impulsive and compulsive. And indeed, even the 'controlled' ones are generally just acting on impulse, but able to delay gratification of that impulse to take into account immediate consequences. The cost-benefit analysis of a seriously antisocial career is so unfavourable that very few people not overwhelmed by a compulsive drive would ever make that choice.
Well yeah, but what about those who seem emotionless but just snap for seemingly no reason? The only example I can think of is some murderer I remember either reading about or watching a documentary about who was quoted as saying something like "if you come near me, I'll have to kill you even if I don't want to" to prison guards. Obviously that's paraphrasing, I don't remember the exact quote, but it was some dude who's kept in solitary confinement. IIRC he was one of the people that was drawn inspiration from for Hannibal Lecter?
Very interesting discussion, but like I'm pretty sure that bloodlust is considered an emotion, as is curiosity and boredom and by some measures play, all of which can be engaged in what we might think of as "dispassionate murder"
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Re: (EE) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Salmoneus »

Vlürch wrote:
19 Feb 2020 20:30

That's probably technically true, but isn't it possible that there are people who genuinely believe that they're "ice-cold robot killer people" because they don't know why they are the way they are, and believe that they want to kill people for no reason even if they subconsciously have some weird kind of a reason? That's not to say they're completely emotionless, but if they don't consciously know why they kill and in the eyes of others it seems like they do it for no reason... I mean, I guess your point still stands and even the "ultimate psychopaths" would still not be completely devoid of emotions.

But still, would they (as in the "emotionally out of touch to the extent where they want to kill people but don't even know why they want to kill" type) be likely to want to make or listen to music, especially something that conveys emotions? Maybe some of them would, but I kinda doubt most would.

Maybe I'm just misremembering, but IIRC the girl in the documentary was saying she had no idea why she wanted to kill her family but that she just had a strong urge to do so; she hadn't actually done it (at least at the time the documentary was made, hopefully not after it either). I tried to find it on Youtube (since that's where I watched it) but couldn't, unfortunately it seems like it's either been deleted or I just suck at searching, but it was pretty old judging by the poor quality (presumably VHS rip) and the girl was maybe 9-ish years old and wore some kind of multicoloured shirt and her eyes were kinda creepy in a "piercing" way if you have any idea who it was about... probably not very helpful unless you've watched the documentary yourself, though... [>_<]

Well yeah, but what about those who seem emotionless but just snap for seemingly no reason? The only example I can think of is some murderer I remember either reading about or watching a documentary about who was quoted as saying something like "if you come near me, I'll have to kill you even if I don't want to" to prison guards. Obviously that's paraphrasing, I don't remember the exact quote, but it was some dude who's kept in solitary confinement. IIRC he was one of the people that was drawn inspiration from for Hannibal Lecter?
OK, I'm not sure why you're so fixated on this ideal, but you're clearly more into this conversation than I am.

Yes, people can be insane in all sorts of ways, and I'm not going to tell you that your Perfect Sexy Ultimate Serial Killer cannot possibly exist. I'm just saying that that's not what antisocial people (including serial killers) are actually like in the overwhelming majority of cases. I doubt you could find any clear example of your ideal, and at least the famous ones I've heard about aren't/weren't like that - although you evidently are a lot more into serial killers than I am, so it's entirely possible there's someone I haven't heard about. But in general the point remains: serial killers aren't sexy super-cool super-intelligent villains, they're grubby, pitiful, troubled, and generally of medium to low intelligence.

There are certainly people who act for reasons they don't entirely understand themselves - to some extent all of us do. If they completely don't understand their reasons, however - if it seems to them that they act for no reason - that's a very serious and very rare mental disorder. There's no reason, though, why that would be coupled with apathy.

However, people may often claim to not be in control of themselves, because they're bluffing. If someone says to you, "if you come near me I'll kill you, I can't help myself", what they're really saying is "I am so irrational that if if you do something I don't like, I'll become violent even if it's not in my rational interests - so don't think you can game me!", which is a powerful negotiating tactic (it's North Korea's, and now America's, foreign policy). But people who ACTUALLY suffer complete psychotic breaks in a predictable way like that are vanishingly rare.

And I've no idea what that has to do with music appreciation...
I mean, sure, the traditional type of heavy metal has lost most of its popularity, but it has given birth to so many subgenres and more subgenres keep being born from those subgenres. They may be "less metal" than traditional heavy metal by one definition[...] Personally I think they're all equally metal [...]
By some definitions some of the resulting new subgenres won't be metal anymore, but that's just how the cycle repeats, and they're likely to be accepted as metal eventually by the wider metal community. If it's the metal community that accepts them as metal, why wouldn't they still be called metal?
Because if all music is "equally metal", then no music is metal. There's no point anybody identifying as liking "metal" if that doesn't narrow it down at all. A genre has to be niche, because otherwise there's no point using the label.

Here's a historical example: imagine being in the 1950s, and asking "I wonder what rock'n'roll will be like in 50 years?" Well, there's two ways to answer that. You can define "rock'n'roll" as all of the subgenres that have branched out from rock'n'roll... in which case, the answer is "there's no meaningful answer", because ALL pop music (with the possible exception of some hip hop, and I guess some old-style blues - and those are so heavily influenced that they probably count too) is basically just a subgenre that's branched out from rock'n'roll. Metal itself is clearly, in a historical sense, a subgenre of rock'n'roll - but in my experience most fan of metal don't say that they're into rock'n'roll. What would be the point? Likewise, rock'n'roll is historically a subgenre that (mostly) branched out of European classical music, but most pop music fans don't say they're fans of classical music. Similarly, if you let everything be "equally metal", then there's no benefit to calling anything metal, so they won't.

Alternatively, you could define "rock'n'roll" as "music that sounds similar to original rock'n'roll and is still called rock'n'roll by its fans"... in which case rock'n'roll fifty years later was mostly just old recordings of rock'n'roll from fifty years older, plus cover bands and a few imitators.
if the definition of metal is "heavy music with distorted guitars and all that shit", then that would make either deathcore or drone doom the ultimate metal
If that's the definition of metal, then you'd also have to include the Beatles, Hendrix, the Stones and the Who, among many others. Unless you're putting a lot of weight on the rather vague concept of "heavy".

[I thought the definition of metal was having growly-whispery vocals? That's the best I could make out last time I asked. I suspect the real definition is "anything liked by people who say they like metal", which means the music 'genre' is an epiphenomenon of the subcultural group. But again, subcultural groups tend to come and go. Which is why you can't go to a music shop counter these days and ask for "Teddy boy music"...]
Salmoneus wrote:
17 Feb 2020 23:08
Just to broaden your horizons a little bit: I've heard the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix, and I've heard OF Taylor Swift, though I'm not aware of having actually heard any of her music. But I haven't heard of anybody else talked about on this thread.
[:O]
Because I thought it would be obvious, but clearly wasn't to Khemekis: when I said 'on this thread', I really just meant 'in this current discussion', I hadn't gone through every post ever posted in this thread. Several of Khemekis' people I have indeed heard of (although very few have I knowingly heard anything by).

Fuck yeah, this is among my top three favourite classical pieces ever and the most intense modern classical piece by far, capturing any and all types of distress more perfectly than any other music ever made!
Well, I'm glad you like it. But I can't help but think of O'Briain's line about how whenever he hears people talking about what the best film ever made is, he's reminded of his children saying "no, Stegosaurus is the best dinosaur!" - I mean, there's a LOT of music been made, and many types of distress (I assume you mean an anxious distress, rather than grief distress). And modernism is basically all about distress.

The good news is, Shostakovich wrote a lot, and between Stalinism and WWII, a lot of it is pretty raw. Another famous, accessible example is the "portrait of Stalin" in the tenth symphony.You may also be interested in things like his 14th symphony (a cycle of death-songs). On which note, I think one of the most distressed works is Mahler's Songs on the Death of Children - here's the last song.

Other very intense modern pieces include things like the sonorist Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima or the minimalist Night Chorus from The Death of Klinghoffer. And of course the godfather of all horror scores, the Rite of Spring itself (Sacrifical Dance).
[:D] (The other two are Mozart's Lacrimosa and Verdi's Dies Irae, not that anyone cares but I always think "but what are the other two?" if someone mentions something being one of their top three something...)
Two requiems and a memorial to the victims of dictatorship. You're not exactly bucking the metal-fan stereotypes! What, no Denn Alles Fleisch?
Honest question, please don't be offended: do you think all music has to be emotional? If you do, fair enough, but I don't. That song (and the entire album) was literally meant to be exactly what you say, "a bunch of machine-processed, indecipherable grinding . . . er, noise" because that's the appeal of that particular genre. It's not the kind of music that's meant to make you feel something, it's just loud and aggressive for the sake of being loud and aggressive.
I'm surprised you stick to something as euphonious as metal, when the avant garde is sitting right there being pointlesslesly noisy! How about Cage's HRPSCHD or Young's Poem for Chairs, Tables, Benches etc or Two Sounds?

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Re: (EE) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

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Salmoneus wrote:
20 Feb 2020 18:15
if the definition of metal is "heavy music with distorted guitars and all that shit", then that would make either deathcore or drone doom the ultimate metal
If that's the definition of metal, then you'd also have to include the Beatles, Hendrix, the Stones and the Who, among many others. Unless you're putting a lot of weight on the rather vague concept of "heavy".

[I thought the definition of metal was having growly-whispery vocals? That's the best I could make out last time I asked.
Um. That sounds like the definition of some angry teenager who's really into one or two subgenres and fixated on the idea of only those counting as "true" metal. [¬.¬] But no, vocal style absolutely does not work as a definition of metal; there's everything from the death growl to female opera singers to a parrot. Ozzy Osbourne of Black Sabbath (which is generally considered the first heavy metal band) just kind of yells, especially on the first albums.

And yes, in fact, I'm pretty sure the Beatles, Hendrix, the Stones and the Who, or at least some of their songs, have all been listed as precursors of metal. The distinction between metal and other kinds of rock is based on the concept of "heavy", and yes, it is vague (and I think it's been getting vaguer as metal has become more mainstream and elements from it have spilled over into other genres). In general, I'd say metal tends to feature heavier distortion, heavier drum beats (lots of cymbals, sixteenth-notes on the bass drums, etc.), longer and more complex songs, and often darker lyrical themes than "lighter" rock - but there's no clear dividing line, and I don't know why there should be.

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Re: (EE) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by sangi39 »

Xonen wrote:
20 Feb 2020 19:38
Salmoneus wrote:
20 Feb 2020 18:15
if the definition of metal is "heavy music with distorted guitars and all that shit", then that would make either deathcore or drone doom the ultimate metal
If that's the definition of metal, then you'd also have to include the Beatles, Hendrix, the Stones and the Who, among many others. Unless you're putting a lot of weight on the rather vague concept of "heavy".

[I thought the definition of metal was having growly-whispery vocals? That's the best I could make out last time I asked.
Um. That sounds like the definition of some angry teenager who's really into one or two subgenres and fixated on the idea of only those counting as "true" metal. [¬.¬] But no, vocal style absolutely does not work as a definition of metal; there's everything from the death growl to female opera singers to a parrot. Ozzy Osbourne of Black Sabbath (which is generally considered the first heavy metal band) just kind of yells, especially on the first albums.

And yes, in fact, I'm pretty sure the Beatles, Hendrix, the Stones and the Who, or at least some of their songs, have all been listed as precursors of metal. The distinction between metal and other kinds of rock is based on the concept of "heavy", and yes, it is vague (and I think it's been getting vaguer as metal has become more mainstream and elements from it have spilled over into other genres). In general, I'd say metal tends to feature heavier distortion, heavier drum beats (lots of cymbals, sixteenth-notes on the bass drums, etc.), longer and more complex songs, and often darker lyrical themes than "lighter" rock - but there's no clear dividing line, and I don't know why there should be.
Metal is definitely a genre that's... fuzzy (and it keeps getting fuzzier). As far as I've seen, what defines the "core" of metal seems to be:

a) Heavy reliance on distorted electrical guitars, with heavy the bass guitar and relatively large drum kits to provide more "volume".
b) The use of "metal riffs", although the definition of this seems to vary, and "power chords" to create "heavy" or "thick" sounds.
c) Lyrical themes which often focus on the extreme ends of emotions or on darker topics (so extreme loneliness, hate, death, war, etc.)

Different bands which are typically labelled as "metal" will employ these to different degrees (they might add or remove instruments, are emphasise different ones to give different feels), or even forego them entirely (Korpiklaani, for example, tends to be fairly... "upbeat" with it's lyrics, and are most well-known for their focus on alcohol as a central theme, while bands like Wind Rose have lyrics firmly rooted in fantasy).

The vocal style, I think, is less important than them being "emphatic", whether that be simply loud (in the case of Black Sabbath), growling (forming the main vocal style of death metal), screeched/screamed (black metal) or operatic (as is the case in symphonic metal, and in gothic metal where it most often constrasts with growling or screaming).

Same with tempo. While metal is predominantly known for being fast-paced (focusing on the "barrage of sound" again), there are also genres like doom metal which aim for a slower tempo, but turn up the distortion and use of lower tuning systems to give a "muddy" feel, which often compliments melancholic clean vocals or lightly growled vocals alongside lyrical themes that seem rather pessimistic, focusing on pain, death, despair, grief, etc.

Then there are bands like System of a Down, or genres like NDH, that could be classed as "metal" (sometimes(?)), but lie right out in the very fuzzy regions of the whole thing that it just isn't clear whether it is or not.
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Re: (EE) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by alynnidalar »

Salmoneus wrote:
20 Feb 2020 18:15
I mean, sure, the traditional type of heavy metal has lost most of its popularity, but it has given birth to so many subgenres and more subgenres keep being born from those subgenres. They may be "less metal" than traditional heavy metal by one definition[...] Personally I think they're all equally metal [...]
By some definitions some of the resulting new subgenres won't be metal anymore, but that's just how the cycle repeats, and they're likely to be accepted as metal eventually by the wider metal community. If it's the metal community that accepts them as metal, why wouldn't they still be called metal?
Because if all music is "equally metal", then no music is metal. There's no point anybody identifying as liking "metal" if that doesn't narrow it down at all. A genre has to be niche, because otherwise there's no point using the label.

Here's a historical example: imagine being in the 1950s, and asking "I wonder what rock'n'roll will be like in 50 years?" Well, there's two ways to answer that. You can define "rock'n'roll" as all of the subgenres that have branched out from rock'n'roll... in which case, the answer is "there's no meaningful answer", because ALL pop music (with the possible exception of some hip hop, and I guess some old-style blues - and those are so heavily influenced that they probably count too) is basically just a subgenre that's branched out from rock'n'roll. Metal itself is clearly, in a historical sense, a subgenre of rock'n'roll - but in my experience most fan of metal don't say that they're into rock'n'roll. What would be the point? Likewise, rock'n'roll is historically a subgenre that (mostly) branched out of European classical music, but most pop music fans don't say they're fans of classical music. Similarly, if you let everything be "equally metal", then there's no benefit to calling anything metal, so they won't.

Alternatively, you could define "rock'n'roll" as "music that sounds similar to original rock'n'roll and is still called rock'n'roll by its fans"... in which case rock'n'roll fifty years later was mostly just old recordings of rock'n'roll from fifty years older, plus cover bands and a few imitators.
There's a third possibility that you don't seem to be mentioning here: that music genres get reclassified over time, while using the same names. We still talk about "rock music" even though what we today call "rock music" is not a lot like what we called "rock music" fifty years ago.

Metal is the same way. What we call "metal" today (which is a supergenre, let's be clear, encompassing many niche genres) is obviously not the same thing we called "metal" fifty years ago. The metal of fifty years ago was a root that sprouted into many branches. Not all of those branches are still called "metal", but some of them are. I see no reason why this process couldn't continue into the future. IMO it's perfectly reasonable to go, "assuming we have a classification we call 'metal' fifty years in the future, what will the things in that core classification consist of?"
[I thought the definition of metal was having growly-whispery vocals? That's the best I could make out last time I asked. I suspect the real definition is "anything liked by people who say they like metal", which means the music 'genre' is an epiphenomenon of the subcultural group. But again, subcultural groups tend to come and go. Which is why you can't go to a music shop counter these days and ask for "Teddy boy music"...]
It's like obscenity, man. I know it when I see it.

(But you can say the same thing about most broad genres, tbh. Define rock for me. Define pop music for me, without saying "music that is popular", because lots of rock music is popular but we don't call it pop. There's certainly trends in metal (heavy drums and guitar, dark themes, power chords, growled vocals), but a song can still be recognizably metal even if it doesn't include every one of the signifiers of metal. Perhaps you could think of metal like a salad. There's lots of ingredients you can put together to make a salad, but you don't need all of them for something to definably be a salad... you just need enough for someone to look at it and go, yeah, that's a salad. You can kinda pick and choose.)

(also, and I mean this in the nicest possible way, if you genuinely believe that most metal songs have growled vocals, you... don't know a lot about metal and its subgenres. EDIT: Ghost Love Score by Nightwish is a great example; Nightwish is arguably the symphonic metal band. Almost all of their vocals are clean (that is, not growled))

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Re: (EE) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Salmoneus »

alynnidalar wrote:
21 Feb 2020 16:29
I see no reason why this process couldn't continue into the future. IMO it's perfectly reasonable to go, "assuming we have a classification we call 'metal' fifty years in the future, what will the things in that core classification consist of?"
The question makes sense, but there's no coherent way to answer it - if the meaning does continue to shift, it's essentially random chance upon what subgenre it will alight.
Define rock for me. Define pop music for me, without saying "music that is popular", because lots of rock music is popular but we don't call it pop.
Well... actually, I do. And so do a lot of people. Sure, most people distinguish pop from rock (although I must admit, I don't really know how or why - I have some sense of what rock is, but no sense of what pop is as a genre, beyond whatever happens to be popular in a given year and isn't easily identifiable as anything else). But it's also common to treat rock as a subgenre of pop when talking about music in a broader context, or in historical terms (just as metal is a subgenre of rock - rock so hard that it's metal).

[What is rock music? I guess my instinct would be to say... conservative pop? It tends to remain closer to the timbre of earlier pop - drums, electric guitars, and relatively spartan production, with a semi-live sound. Vocals tend to be more conservative too, accents closer to natural, and a slightly shouty timbre*. Melodies are still a bit closer to classical/romantic patterns (while pop has drifted more toward a mediaevalesque chant contour); there's a strong and often relatively complex rhythm picked out both by drums and by bass instruments. Harmonies again are more conservative and closer to classical models, with more variety, and often colour touches borrowed from jazz and blues (assuming we're not counting 'punk rock', which in its early form was almost gallante in its harmonic simplicity (I've no idea what later punk is meant to be)). Tempo tends to be a fairly steady allegro, sometimes dropping to andante (whereas other pop genres can sometimes be either slow or very fast). Anyway, something like that would be my instinctive response, although obviously I don't know anything about it.]

*this would seem to be a reflection of the changing nature of production. Early pop music (the crooners) retained a fairly classical singing style, because that's how people naturally sing loudly. The introduction of amplification and recording meant you didn't need to do that anymore, so people started to sing closer to their speaking voice. But they were still singing over the top of loud instruments, so they forced it - and if you try to sing loudly without knowing how to sing loudly, you end up starting to shout (and then the Beatles experimented with exaggerating this into a scream, and it took off as a stylistic decision). But now there's so much post-production, often with singers recording separately from the instruments, they don't even need to force their voices, and a lot of modern pop consequently has a very mumbly vocal style (symbolising greater intimacy, I guess).
(also, and I mean this in the nicest possible way, if you genuinely believe that most metal songs have growled vocals, you... don't know a lot about metal and its subgenres.
You say that like it's meant to come as a surprise to me. No, of course I have no knowledge of metal and it's subgenres - nobody's ever given me a reason to look into the topic. I'm not sure it's something one can really get into as an adult, anyway, lacking any of the cultural connotations and symbolisms around it, never having heard it as a teenager. A few years back I asked people about it, and that seemed to be the only common thread in the things they linked me to as examples.

On the other hand, I can usually recognise at least the ethnicity of 19th century music within a few seconds, so you needn't get too patronising. Different people like different things.

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Re: (EE) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by alynnidalar »

Salmoneus wrote:
21 Feb 2020 18:27
You say that like it's meant to come as a surprise to me. No, of course I have no knowledge of metal and it's subgenres - nobody's ever given me a reason to look into the topic. I'm not sure it's something one can really get into as an adult, anyway, lacking any of the cultural connotations and symbolisms around it, never having heard it as a teenager. A few years back I asked people about it, and that seemed to be the only common thread in the things they linked me to as examples.

On the other hand, I can usually recognise at least the ethnicity of 19th century music within a few seconds, so you needn't get too patronising. Different people like different things.
Was not intended to be patronizing, merely pointing out it was an odd assertion that caught me by surprise; the way you wrote leading up to that point about metal gave the impression that you were more familiar with the topic.

Not sure why you'd think you can't get into it as an adult, though! (not saying you must or should, naturally, simply that I don't see any reason it's impossible) There's a lot of things I've discovered I like so far in my 20s, even though I didn't have much exposure to them in my teenage years. In fact, arguably metal is one of them. I did listen to Nightwish in high school, but basically no other metal or even hard rock, and then I didn't listen to any form of metal for years until I was about 25. Now I'm into all different kinds of metal, including a lot of subgenres I never had exposure to when I was younger.

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Re: (EE) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Vlürch »

Salmoneus wrote:
20 Feb 2020 18:15
OK, I'm not sure why you're so fixated on this ideal, but you're clearly more into this conversation than I am.
I'm not "fixated" on it, and you probably do factually know more about serial killers than me so your snark seems kind of unnecessary, it's just one of the topics I'm interested in, in large part because I sometimes write fiction that involves serial killers (or at least try to, even if I rarely finish any). Obviously that requires knowing at least something about real-life serial killers, and I'll admit that most of what I know comes from just reading about them on Wikipedia and watching documentaries rather than studying criminal psychology or whatever. Maybe the scariest type isn't real at all, in which case I guess literally everyone, including psychopaths, are able to appreciate and make emotional music just like everyone else, and what I originally said applies to even them...?

If you're not into the conversation, then there's no reason for it to continue. I'll still reply to some of the things in your post, but of course you don't have to reply.
Salmoneus wrote:
20 Feb 2020 18:15
your Perfect Sexy Ultimate Serial Killer
Uhh, I don't think serial killers are sexy. Literally the one exception is Richard Chase, but obviously that's in spite of the things he did rather than because of them. I mean, sure, I have a morbid fasciation with everything dark so I do like to read about serial killers and dictators and whatnot, but if you think I sympathise with them... well, I don't beyond "it wasn't 100% his fault" in cases where they were abused as children or had a mental illness or whatever. Doesn't mean I condone anything they've done, if that's what you're implying.
Salmoneus wrote:
20 Feb 2020 18:15
However, people may often claim to not be in control of themselves, because they're bluffing.
I've told you this before in the PM I sent you but you probably didn't read it (which is fine, it was long as hell), so I'll just briefly mention that I myself used to get "episodes" where I literally wasn't in control of myself when I was a kid and until my teens, so I know for a fact that it is something that really happens. I don't know how rare it is, but it's also not just serial killers it happens to. Because it's something that used to happen to me, I believe it really happened to at least some of the serial killers who claimed it happened to them. They do have reasons to lie about it, though, so it makes sense to assume they'd lie about it from a judicial point of view, but clearly there's at least something wrong with them if they kill people...
Salmoneus wrote:
20 Feb 2020 18:15
And I've no idea what that has to do with music appreciation...
Well, maybe nothing, but the point was that a psychopath (even one who isn't a stereotypical cold machine type) is probably not going to feel the same way about music as "normal" people. If that's not true at all, ok.
Salmoneus wrote:
20 Feb 2020 18:15
the definition of metal
Others already did a better job defining it than I could, including why it's not precise.
Salmoneus wrote:
20 Feb 2020 18:15
Well, I'm glad you like it. But I can't help but think of O'Briain's line about how whenever he hears people talking about what the best film ever made is, he's reminded of his children saying "no, Stegosaurus is the best dinosaur!" - I mean, there's a LOT of music been made, and many types of distress (I assume you mean an anxious distress, rather than grief distress). And modernism is basically all about distress.
That dinosaur quote made me laugh, which is nice since I had a pretty rough day (by my standards, compared to my usual day, so by your standards it'd probably be equivalent to a walk in the park or whatever), and it really is applicable in this case too. It's just subjective, of course that's true, but I wasn't implying that what I said was meant objectively. It's just my opinion about what's my favourite.
Salmoneus wrote:
20 Feb 2020 18:15
The good news is, Shostakovich wrote a lot, and between Stalinism and WWII, a lot of it is pretty raw.
True, but in my opinion that one is just the most distressed-sounding in some way that I'm not sure how to specify, and also generally the best. We don't have to agree, you know.
Salmoneus wrote:
20 Feb 2020 18:15
Other very intense modern pieces include things like the sonorist Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima or the minimalist Night Chorus from The Death of Klinghoffer. And of course the godfather of all horror scores, the Rite of Spring itself (Sacrifical Dance).
I hadn't heard Night Chorus before, sounds good.
Salmoneus wrote:
20 Feb 2020 18:15
Two requiems and a memorial to the victims of dictatorship. You're not exactly bucking the metal-fan stereotypes!
Well, I like what I like. That does include a lot of artists that metalheads would stereotypically not like, maybe the farthest-from-metal examples being Antti Tuisku and 星歴13夜, but when it comes to classical, my tastes do largely align with the metal stereotypes and I don't think there's anything specifically wrong with that. It's not that I'd dislike any kind of classical, just that I'm rarely in the mood to want to listen to the less dark stuff.
Salmoneus wrote:
20 Feb 2020 18:15
What, no Denn Alles Fleisch?
I'm not sure if I'd heard that before, but I like it. Sounds beautiful and sad, but also not completely hopeless.
Salmoneus wrote:
20 Feb 2020 18:15
I'm surprised you stick to something as euphonious as metal, when the avant garde is sitting right there being pointlesslesly noisy!
What makes you think I don't like avant-garde stuff too? I won't deny that there's almost always at least some metal in the avant-garde stuff I like, though, but in the right mood I'm really into Adam Bohman's Last Orders and Gianluca Favaron's Variations (Fragments of Evanescent Memories) for example. Hemophiliac is great, too, but at least in terms of vocals there's metal influence (the vocalist is literally Mike Patton).

Still, yeah, for the most part I do stick to various kinds of metal just because that's what I like the most, and if another reason is needed to explain why metal in particular, it's that I love generally heavy music with impressive vocals. Metal tends to be heavy and many bands have great vocalists, so it combines those two things that I love pretty much at its core. There is instrumental metal, of course, but I rarely listen to any precisely because of the lack of vocals. Instrumental metal has to have something particularly impressive in my opinion, either compositionally or in terms of guitar tones or whatever. Electro Quarterstaff is one of the few instrumental metal bands that I really like.

I do also generally like anything that's weird, but if it's just weird and not actually interesting for whatever reason, then I don't really have enough interest in listening to it more than once or twice. As for something that's just loud or just heavy, that doesn't automatically make something enjoyable either. At the end of the day, I don't think it matters why something is enjoyable or not.

(Also, as for the music I make myself, the reason I mostly stick to stuff that has at least something to do with metal is that it just comes more naturally and is more fun.)
alynnidalar wrote:
21 Feb 2020 21:38
Not sure why you'd think you can't get into it as an adult, though!
Yeah. I keep getting into more and more different types of music as an adult, while as a teenager I was mostly into metal, punk and industrial... but I'm also not really into punk and industrial anymore, not that I'd dislike either but I just don't have the same interest in either that I used to have. Tastes can change, not just regarding music but anything.

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Re: (EE) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Khemehekis »

Vlürch wrote:
19 Feb 2020 20:30
Khemehekis wrote:
18 Feb 2020 02:08
Deformed Elephant Surgery's "Human Being" was just a bunch of machine-processed, indecipherable grinding . . . er, noise.
Honest question, please don't be offended: do you think all music has to be emotional? If you do, fair enough, but I don't. That song (and the entire album) was literally meant to be exactly what you say, "a bunch of machine-processed, indecipherable grinding . . . er, noise" because that's the appeal of that particular genre. It's not the kind of music that's meant to make you feel something, it's just loud and aggressive for the sake of being loud and aggressive. If you listen to goregrind and expect to hear an emotional masterpiece, that's like watching a found footage horror film and expecting Titanic.

Not that that song is entirely goregrind, it's not, but it's still mostly goregrind. There's also that it's just really badly made even by goregrind standards, but I mean, I was 15 and not even taking it seriously...
I don't really think all music has to emotional to be good or even worth listening to, but my original comment was simply that I had a hard time understanding what kind of emotions "Human Being" was supposed to make me feel. I didn't even get that it was supposed to be "aggressive", as you put it. And even after I've learned that your grindcore piece was made for the purpose of being "loud and aggressive", I still can't relate to it. It just doesn't do anything for me.

Some of the people I know say I like music that makes people fall asleep. I do like to put my headphones on and listen to M83 when I'm in a van and I'm feeling drowsy because I can just close my eyes and rest to it, but the stuff I listen to on the radio doesn't make me want to fall asleep. All of these people like rap and R&B, to give you an idea of where they're coming from.

As for grindcore, I had this discussion with someone on the NYRA forum many years ago. He was explaining how he was a nerd, and as evidence of his nerdiness, he said, among other things, that he played in a grindcore band in which the lyrics consisted of him yelling out the word "penis".
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Re: Conlang YouTube, Metal Music, Emotions, Etc. [Split]

Post by Khemehekis »

Salmoneus wrote:
20 Feb 2020 18:15
However, people may often claim to not be in control of themselves, because they're bluffing. If someone says to you, "if you come near me I'll kill you, I can't help myself", what they're really saying is "I am so irrational that if if you do something I don't like, I'll become violent even if it's not in my rational interests - so don't think you can game me!", which is a powerful negotiating tactic (it's North Korea's, and now America's, foreign policy). But people who ACTUALLY suffer complete psychotic breaks in a predictable way like that are vanishingly rare.
Yes, this was the theme of the fable of The Fox and the Scorpion.

Reminds me though, of the games my sister used to play with me when I was little. She played the good guys, and would appoint me to make up a really evil villain. I didn't know what a good bad guy would be like, so I would just cachinnate maniacally and shout, "I shall destroy the world!"
Salmoneus wrote: Likewise, rock'n'roll is historically a subgenre that (mostly) branched out of European classical music, but most pop music fans don't say they're fans of classical music.
Now, I'd always read that rock-and-roll grew out of jazz, blues, and other forms of music that originated among African-Americans (and often other Americans) from African music . . . and out of folk music (and there's folk all over the world). Did classical have a hand in it too?

Salmoneus wrote:
Vlürch wrote:
Salmoneus wrote:
17 Feb 2020 23:08
Just to broaden your horizons a little bit: I've heard the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix, and I've heard OF Taylor Swift, though I'm not aware of having actually heard any of her music. But I haven't heard of anybody else talked about on this thread.
[:O]
Because I thought it would be obvious, but clearly wasn't to Khemekis: when I said 'on this thread', I really just meant 'in this current discussion', I hadn't gone through every post ever posted in this thread. Several of Khemekis' people I have indeed heard of (although very few have I knowingly heard anything by).
I don't know how Vlürch read this, but as for me, I interpreted "in this thread" to mean everything in the conversation that a mod was nice enough to branch off as "Conlang YouTube, Metal Music, Emotions, Etc. [Split]". All of the bands I YouTube-linked in my February 17 post have been mentioned (mostly by me, such as this post) in this thread since Vlürch's January 10, 2020 post. As opposed to all posts in the entire "(EE) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here" thread dating back to this eldin raigmore post.
Salmoneus wrote:Well, I'm glad you like it. But I can't help but think of O'Briain's line about how whenever he hears people talking about what the best film ever made is, he's reminded of his children saying "no, Stegosaurus is the best dinosaur!"
The points being that (1) taste is subjective, and (2) Stegosaurus is one of the few dinosaurs that almost everyone in the modern world has heard of? Great quote, though.
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Re: Conlang YouTube, Metal Music, Emotions, Etc. [Split]

Post by qwed117 »

Khemehekis wrote:
24 Feb 2020 05:50
Salmoneus wrote: Likewise, rock'n'roll is historically a subgenre that (mostly) branched out of European classical music, but most pop music fans don't say they're fans of classical music.
Now, I'd always read that rock-and-roll grew out of jazz, blues, and other forms of music that originated among African-Americans (and often other Americans) from African music . . . and out of folk music (and there's folk all over the world). Did classical have a hand in it too?
Yeah, I'm not sure about what Sal said either; TMK, rock and roll originated from jazz, blues and ragtimes, which originated in American Gospel and Afro-American Spirituals. Both are more deeply connected with traditional African music than with the classical tradition, but I think some argument could be made that Gospel (late 1600s, early 1700s) is closely related to Christian hymnals- which would connect with Mediaeval Church music, but not as concretely with the classical movement (mid-late 1700s)
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Re: Conlang YouTube, Metal Music, Emotions, Etc. [Split]

Post by Salmoneus »

qwed117 wrote:
24 Feb 2020 05:58
Khemehekis wrote:
24 Feb 2020 05:50
Salmoneus wrote: Likewise, rock'n'roll is historically a subgenre that (mostly) branched out of European classical music, but most pop music fans don't say they're fans of classical music.
Now, I'd always read that rock-and-roll grew out of jazz, blues, and other forms of music that originated among African-Americans (and often other Americans) from African music . . . and out of folk music (and there's folk all over the world). Did classical have a hand in it too?
Yeah, I'm not sure about what Sal said either; TMK, rock and roll originated from jazz, blues and ragtimes, which originated in American Gospel and Afro-American Spirituals. Both are more deeply connected with traditional African music than with the classical tradition, but I think some argument could be made that Gospel (late 1600s, early 1700s) is closely related to Christian hymnals- which would connect with Mediaeval Church music, but not as concretely with the classical movement (mid-late 1700s)
No offence (I accept that music history isn't a common subject in schools!), but I think pretty much everything you say there is wrong!

Just on the religious music front for now...

Terminologically: yes, 'the classical period' is strictly in the lat 1700s. However, 'European classical music' generally refers to the Common Practice, which operated from around 1600 up to somewhere in the first half of the 20th century.

The core of the old Anglo-American hymnal repertoire dates from the Classical period strictu sensu. It doesn't sound much like the famous 'classical' pieces of Church music we know from that era, because those were mostly Catholic or Catholic-imitating, and were intentionally archaizing, borrowing a great deal from the music of the preceding Baroque period (and even a little from the Renaissance). As the texts were written independently of the music, many of them were set to tunes that happened to be popular in that era - some of unknown origin, some from art music of the time, and a small number from older folk songs. This repertoire was then built on in the 19th century.

[Looking at Songs of Praise's nations favourite hymn list...
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The 2019 top ten comprises "I‚ The Lord Of Sea And Sky" (1980s), "Be Still For The Presence Of The Lord" (1980s), "Amazing Grace" (1830s), "Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer" (1900s), "I Vow To Thee My Country" (1920s), "Abide With Me" (1860s), "Dear Lord And Father Of Mankind" (1880s), "In Christ Alone" (2000s), "How Great Thou Art" (1880s), and "Jerusalem" (1910s). The only one of these that might be 'old' is How Great Thou Art, the music for which was adapted from a Swedish folk song.

Classical-period hymns include things like "Lo he comes with clouds descending", "When I survey the wondrous cross", "Joy to the world", or the German "We plough the fields and scatter".
]

Very few hymns have any relation to music from before 1750, and hardly any from before 1600. The most common exceptions are Christmas carols. In particular, O come O come Emmanuel is an old 14th century burial dirge... but even that is not a survival, but an intentional archaism, resurrected by the late 19th century and given the modern words thanks to Victorian neogothic revivalism.

The 18th and early 19th century hymns were intentionally simple to sing, with steady and predictable rhythms, because the idea was to get ordinary people singing along (mediaeval and renaissance and mostly even early baroque church music was primarily for the professional choir to sing). The downside is that they can end up sounding a bit dreary and monotonous. So in the late 19th century, American Revivalists - desparate to inject more energy and vivacity into their services - wrote a new repertoire of religious songs, often with less formal words and livelier tunes. This is what is known as Gospel. A prominent composer was Ira Sankey. Other composers, particularly in the UK, continued to work in the old style, only a little updated.

Jazz, blues and ragtime (and boogie woogie) did not originate from Gospel. In fact, the opposite is (sort of) true: from around the 1920s onward, specifically black Gospel songs diverged from what was then the mainstream by intentionally incorporating elements of then-fashionable jazz, blues and ragtime music. (a key figure in this was a woman named Arizona Dranes in the 20s).


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There's a couple of big hints to tell you when you're dealing with something from the Common Practice, rather than anything mediaeval, renaissance, or indeed non-european.

Question 1: Is the piece in the major or minor key? If yes, you're probably dealing with Common Practice. A hallmark of Common Practice is the "diatonic system", which means that almost everything is in one of two "keys", known as "minor" and "major", with the former generally associated with 'sad' or 'sinister' music, and the latter with 'happy' or 'uplifting' music. Before Common Practice, European music was instead based around eight 'modes'. If you have music NOT in the minor or major, it's probably NOT Common Practice - in a European context, it's probably either old, or derived from folk music (which didn't maintain the old system, but did keep some bits that Common Practice lost). Or it's a late 19th or early 20th century intentional homage to folk music. "O Come O come Emmanuel", for instance, is in the Dorian mode, which is why it immediately sounds old and strange.

The reverse isn't necessarily true - the minor and major are found outside Common Practice, so their presence doesn't necessarily mean Common Practice. In particular, scales analogous to the major are relatively common worldwide (before Common Practice, in Europe, this was known as the Ionian mode). But it's certainly a big hint. Particularly when a body of music doesn't have any music from outside those two keys, and when pieces incorporate elements of both. [The minor is more specific; it's derived from the Aeolian mode, but its specific rules have become complex and strange, so it's more identifiably Common Practice]. The carol "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen", for example, is actually slightly Renaissance in origin, but just happens to be in (in modern terms) the minor key (although it's still a bit odd-sounding).


Question 2: Does the piece have harmony? If yes, you're probably dealing with Common Practice. A hallmark of Common Practice is the technique of having what's known as a "tune" - a melody sung by, or played by, a single 'voice' - simultaneously contrasted with a series of "chords" (either simultaneous notes or broken into repetitive patterns that express the notes of the chord in sequence), most commonly lower in pitch, that do not themselves form a tune.

Most musical traditions, including Europe before 1600, don't do this. Alternatives include: having a single tune with no accompaniment; having a single tune with multiple voices singing it simultaneously with slight and temporary deviations and embellishments; having a single tune sung against itself with offsets in time or speed or other alterations; having a single tune sung against a sustained note (a 'drone'), which is either constant throughout the piece or else changes very rarely to divide the piece into sections; or having multiple voices singing essentially independent tunes. [a transitional concept, popular in the Baroque, is having theoretically independent tunes, but one of them is short and continually repeated in a way that effectively forms a sort of harmonic accompaniment].


Question 3: Is the piece tonal? What this means is that the "harmony" follows specific sequences and patterns - a relatively complex set of rules about which chords, defined relative to the "tonic" or home note of the key, can be followed by which, creating patterns of tension and release. A particular hallmark of Common Practice tonality is a fundamental opposition between the "tonic" (the C in C Major, for instance) and the "dominant" (the G in C Major, for example) - pieces tend to begin and end in the tonic, having spent part of the interim in the dominant. There is a particular set of sequences, or "cadences" that are commonly found at key points in the music - of which the most important is to have a major triad with an additional minor seventh note all built on the dominant, followed by the tonic (this "dominant seventh" is further often preceded by chords on either the second or fourth degrees of the scale).

Common Practice music can also include chords that ordinary wouldn't be permitted in 'pure' diatonic music, when mandated by tonal conventions. A typical example is the use of "secondary" chords, like the secondary dominant - a dominant chord (that is, a major third, perfect fifth and minor seventh all simultaneously) built on the second degree, even though this involves an note that's not normally in the key, that resolves to the dominant as though it itself were the tonic. This is known as "tonicisation" - momentarily pretending that a note is the tonic even though it isn't. A sustained tonicised passage is known as 'modulation' - it's as though you've stuck a little bit of a piece in one key into the middle of another. Tonicization and particularly modulation are strong indicators of Common Practice (or derivative) music, because they are mechanically impossible in most musical traditions (elaborate tonicization and modulation only really became possible with the Classical period, and became very important in the Romantic). As well as modulation to the dominant, a particular hallmark of common practice music is the easily alternation between a major and its "relative minor" (the minor key built on the sixth degree of the major).

Other features of common practice tonality are less rational. A particular hallmark is the use of the so-called "augmented sixth" chord, which developed from voice leading practices in the Renaissance, and just ended up arbitrarily incorporated into common practice tradition, even though it doesn't really fit the rest of the system. Even more striking is the Neapolitan sixth, borrowed from the Phrygian mode.


Question 4: What's the rhythm like? Common practice music has two distinctive features rhythmically, in general. One is that the large-scale structure is highly symmetrical. Pieces tend to have a 'metre' - beats are clustered into groups of either three (in dances) or more often four, and this metre continues throughout the piece. Melodic phrases typically extend across a number of measures that is one of the powers of 2 (2, 4, 8, 16, etc), and are typically formed of paired units in a sort of call-and-response pattern (this often isn't, however, true of Baroque music), often in a large-scale fractal pattern; however, such patterns are simple and symmetrical.
The other is that the rhythm is indefinitely symmetrically subdivisible. A bar of four beats is usually divisible into two groups of two beats, each divisible into two symmetrical beats. Each beat can be divided into two, four, eight, sixteen and so forth - a breve is two semibreves, a semibreve is two minims, a minim is two crotchets, a crotchet is two quavers, a quaver is two semiquavers, and so forth - allowing arbitrarily rapid music without altering the beat itself. Rhythmic interest is created by irregular subdivision - so, for instance, if you keep one beat intact, but divide the second into two parts, you have a crotchet-quaver-quaver rhythm. This also tends to give the rhythm multiple 'levels', with units nesting into superunits.


A very different system is found in many African music traditions. These tend not to feature much subdivision, or many levels Instead, rhythmic units of different size are imposed upon one another. The cycles of different length create large-scale but highly asymmetrical rhythmic patterns. Meanwhile, interest comes from ambiguity and contradiction: the mind follows one rhythmic pattern, but is distracted from it by another, while new, independent, semi-random rhythmic patterns emerge from the evolving conflict between base patterns. This technique usually uses beats of the same duration, even though beat-groups (distinguished by 'missing' beats) are of different size; something similar can also be done by setting beats of different duration against one another. This technique is also found in some mediaeval European music.

An alternative approach found in the Balkans and the Middle East and India is to group beats into groups of different length, not simultaneously but sequentially. This is called additive rhythm. A bar may, for example, be divided into three groups: a group of two beats, a group of two beats, and a group of three beats. This pattern continues throughout the piece, giving an asymmetrical rhythm. [alternatively this may be notated as alternations between bars with different metres].

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Re: Conlang YouTube, Metal Music, Emotions, Etc. [Split]

Post by Salmoneus »

Going back to the main question...


Ragtime, jazz, boogie woogie, blues, swing and so forth (let's just say "jazz" for short) developed primarily out of classical music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Specifically, it was developed by an urban, professional musical class in the cities of America and Western Europe. That class probably began with gypsies, who had for centuries occupied a similar role in eastern european musical culture. Whereever the class went, it tended to incorporate minorities - as well as "gypsy" musicians (originally Roma, but non-Roma musicians particularly in eastern europe and in spain could also become in effect honorary members of the class) it typically included Jews; in Europe it often included north africans, while in north america it drew huge numbers of african-americans. It also, particularly in America, attracted many eastern european immigrants.

This professional music class was educated in contemporary classical music (though, of course, it wasn't all called 'classical' then!), mostly in a practical way. Formal theoretical education was less common, though also significant (in America, for example, both Duke Ellington (African-American) and George Gershwin (a second-generation Lithuanian Jewish immigrant) were taught by composers who had themselves been taught by Dvorak). They enjoyed playing music, and as skilled professionals they were able to play around with the music they played - probably first for themselves and their friends, and later for a growing public audience.

The music this class produced was based on contemporary classical models, and early on was often presented not as a type of music, but as a way of performing music. Notably, classical pieces can easily be performed "as" ragtime or "as" swing - African music can't be, because the fundamentals are too different. However, these musicians drew on their own musical influences: non-diatonic scales and additive rhythms from eastern europe, and performance techniques (bent or 'blue' notes, swing) from the deep south, and so forth. [the origins of blue notes are unclear. Some have noted similarities with practices in the western sahel. Alternatively, more or less the same processes occur in irish and scottish folk music, which also had a big influence on the music of the deep south. Or, they may be from attempts to integrate eastern european scales into western music. There may well, indeed, be multiple origins that came together]. African-American performers may have been further influenced by the lingering traces of polyrhythmic african music - although the actual form of jazz and ragtime rhythm is quite different from that of west africa. These musicians were also in dialogue (sometimes face-to-face, sometimes indirect) with contemporary art music, both progressive (jazz owes a huge amount to the innovative harmonies of late- and post-romantic classical music, and vice versa) and conservative (this was also the time of 'nationalism', in which composers became interested in, collected, spread and imitated folk music traditions). And a huge amount was taken from contemporary light entertainment music from the classical tradition, both from the dance hall and from the marching band.


It's certain that these music traditions were created primarily by African-Americans, with the considerable assistance of Jewish, gypsy and other immigrant musicians. It's probable that among their influences were West African musical traditions, mediated through the popular music of the deep south. But it's misleading to see what they created as being directly, primarily descended from African musical traditions.


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Rock and roll, meanwhile, primarily derives from the popular classical tradition, stretching from the opera house, with an admixture of folk tunes, into the music hall, down to the crooners of the 1950s. Strikingly, a lot of those 50s pop singers sang classical and folk tunes as well as pop. Sinatra sang Tchaikovsky, Elvis sang Neapolitan folk songs, and most of their fans probably didn't realise, because the gap between the genres was so small. In the 50s and 60s, however, pop singers began to incorporate little notes of jazz (etc) into some of their songs, creating rock and roll, and all subsequent pop music. Again, this music drew from jazz (etc), but wasn't primarily derived from it - it was primarily derived from earlier pop music (individual songs sat, and still sit, anywhere on a spectrum).


But there's very little in modern pop music that can be said to be directly in common with African music, while there's an immense amount in common with classical european music. Indeed, in many ways pop (rock, etc) is a conservative reaction movement within classical music - similar to the reactions that began the renaissance, baroque and classical eras. The core of the classical tradition is maintained, while the more 'sophisticated' (weird, inaccessible) elements that had built up are minimised (though not outright removed). Hence, you primarily find melodies, rhythmic structures, tonalities, scales and harmonic sequences that wouldn't look out of place in Mozart, though the emphasis is different.


Indeed, there've been a fair few pop songs that are just reorchestrated or thinly disguised classical pieces, demonstrating the continuity.Just for fun, here's a few...
- Haley Reinhart's version of "Can't help falling in love" hit the top twenty in the pop charts and was certified platinum just last year. This reggae version did better, hitting #1 in both the US and UK. Both of them are covers of a song by Elvis... but it was actually written in the 1780s by Jean-Paul-Egide Martin.
- All by myself hit #2 on the pop charts (and the Celine Dion cover hit #4), but the performer ended up having to pay a share of the royalties to the estate of Sergei Rachmaninov (it's a reworking of part of the second piano concerto)
- This top-10-in-the-UK pop song is particularly blatent. It's pretty much just a piece by Bach written in the 1740s, with a new verse line over the top (but keeping the original as the chorus).



---------------------------------------------
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Ironically, the modern western music most clearly descended from that of west africa isn't that of New Orleans of Chicago - it's that of Havanna and Rio. "Latin" music shows a much clearer African heritage, particularly in its distinctive rhythms, than jazz does.

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Re: Conlang YouTube, Metal Music, Emotions, Etc. [Split]

Post by qwed117 »

I'm not convinced. All the sources I can find about the origins of blues and jazz suggest a primarily Afro-American base with classical admixture *afterwards*. I'm also not seeing much that ties rock 'n' roll to classical either. The relatively well-sourced Wikipedia page links it to a WWII related reduction of jazz and big band- and this comports with everything I've learnt in my music (and American History) classes from elementary up to high school.

Also worth noting that I've seen people play Greensleeves on a guzheng and Amazing Grace on a khaen, but neither of those instruments are Common Period European, and neither are the folk songs that the other people play on those instruments
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Re: Conlang YouTube, Metal Music, Emotions, Etc. [Split]

Post by Salmoneus »

qwed117 wrote:
25 Feb 2020 15:36
I'm not convinced. All the sources I can find about the origins of blues and jazz suggest a primarily Afro-American base with classical admixture *afterwards*. I'm also not seeing much that ties rock 'n' roll to classical either. The relatively well-sourced Wikipedia page links it to a WWII related reduction of jazz and big band- and this comports with everything I've learnt in my music (and American History) classes from elementary up to high school.

Also worth noting that I've seen people play Greensleeves on a guzheng and Amazing Grace on a khaen, but neither of those instruments are Common Period European, and neither are the folk songs that the other people play on those instruments
No offence, but the underlying assumptions here are kind of racist. In particular, you're refusing to distinguish between African-Americans and Africa.

Rock and roll comes from the merger of white popular music with African-American popular music. But African-Americans are not just empty vessels for some sort of ancestral spirit-knowledge - they're just as able to invent things as white people are. So being derived from the work of African-Americans is not the same as coming from Africa.

A distinction should be drawn, incidentally, between jazz and ragtime on the one hand, and blues on the other. Jazz and ragtime were created by professional musicians trained in european classical music. Blues is effectively black folk music.

Grove says: "Ballads in traditional British form extolling the exploits of black heroes (e.g. John Henry, John Hardy, Po’ Lazarus and Duncan and Brady) were part of this musical expansion [i.e. in the late 19th century, as segregation caused a stricter division of black and white cultures], and blues emerged from the combination of freely expressive hollers [simple call-and-response work songs] with the music of these ballads." Grove also says, "Blues instrumental style shows tenuous links with African music." [specifically with string music from the sahel, because drumming was prohibited - the banjo, for instance, was obviously introduced from Africa]

Regarding Jazz, I think it's telling that Jelly Roll Morton used the expression "Spanish tinge" to describe the syncopated rhythmic patterns brought by migrants from Cuba to New Orleans - telling, because these features were actually African in origin, but had by then been forgotten by African-Americans (though they were prominent in south american music).

On Jazz, Grove says:
Spoiler:
The process [of the development of Jazz] unfolded as musicians gradually developed new ways of interpreting a varied repertory that included marches, dance music (two-steps, quadrilles, waltzes, polkas, schottisches and mazurkas), popular songs, traditional hymns and spirituals. What might be called a nascent jazz sensibility arose from the loosening of performance strictures and the adoption of an individualistic, defiantly liberating attitude that has remained at the core of this musical tradition. Although we lack documentation that shows this process unfolding, it is possible to hypothesize some of the stages involved. Rhythms, for example, gradually may have come to be interpreted more freely than in earlier 19th-century marches, ragtime and cakewalks. Phrases were stretched out and either played in a more relaxed manner or syncopated more vigorously, not just in one instrumental part but in two or more simultaneously. Drummers ‘jazzed up’ – that is, enlivened – simple duple and triple metre by introducing syncopated patterns and phrasing over bar lines. Players began embellishing and ornamenting melodies, inventing countermelodies, weaving arpeggiated lines into the texture and enriching diatonic harmonies with blue notes
[...]
Who created jazz? This has been a controversial issue in the jazz literature, especially since much of the evidence concerning origins comes from vague and often conflicting oral testimony. Yet it can be said with certainty that New Orleans musicians of African descent – both the blacks living ‘uptown’ and the Creoles ‘downtown’ – played a leading role both as inventors and expert practitioners of the techniques that came to characterize jazz. Concurrently, members of other racial and ethnic groups became involved early on in the development and dissemination of these same techniques. The white musician George ‘Papa Jack’ Laine, for example, led brass and dance bands that trained other white musicians later active in jazz, among them Tom Brown, George Brunis and Nick LaRocca. These bands furnished music for similar social functions as their black American counterparts, such as parades and riverboat entertainment. As with the early black bands, the lack of recorded documentation makes it difficult to know the styles in which these white groups played. It is conceivable, though, that white New Orleans musicians in the early 1900s were also beginning to adopt a looser and more syncopated approach to the repertory of brass and dance bands.

Musicians of Caribbean ancestry and of mixed racial and ethnic heritage also contributed to the formation of a jazz performance practice[...]The racial and ethnic profile of early New Orleans jazz, then, was multicultural, reflecting the mixed heritage of the city's residents. At the same time, most of the leading musicians identified with jazz were black Americans. These two generalizations would remain constant as the music spread beyond New Orleans in the years that followed.

It is likely that characteristic syncopating and embellishing techniques employed by black, Creole and white musicians in New Orleans might have been heard in small ensembles elsewhere in the country.
Again, African-Americans had a leading roll in developing this music, but it was developed out of existing popular music genres of European origin - dances and marches.

Similarly, gospel music developed out of the hymnodic tradition (mostly from the classical period, as we've discussed); african-american gospel became distinct later through the addition of elements from blues, jazz and ragtime (and related genres).



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Now, the exact origins of jazz (etc) may be a matter for historians. But anybody who listens to the pop music of the 1950s and 1960s (hell, of today!) should be able to hear immediately how closely it follows classical models.

Let's take, for example, Elvis' biggest hit. This is the best-selling selling pop song of the 60s, and the fourth-biggest ever. It's pretty of a piece with the rest of Elvis' career.

How can we tell that it descends from classical music? Well in this case the big giveaway is that it was written by two Italians in 1898!. The melody and harmonies are all from the original. Elvis has put a prominent rhythm accompaniment underneath it - but that's just a simple dance pattern not out of place in 19th century vienna. The big concession to modernity (other than the timbre!) is that clave rhythm... but that's literally just an overlaid track to spice up the rhythm, it doesn't actually change the structure or the melody. [I think it's there to emulate Puerto Rican influence in Hawaiian music? but I'm not sure].
Leaving aside the ii-V7-I right at the beginning of this piece - already pretty solidly European - listen to the line 'tomorrow will be too late'. Hear how it borrows the subdominant minor? That's a common Romantic trope that descends from (ironically, in this case) the neapolitan sixth, and that's apparently become quite common in rock music.



Or, because someone pointed this one out to me recently, let's look at something from the other end of the decade: The Beatles. What's going on here? [the same riff begins the song, but it's more striking at the end here, where it repeats]. What's classical about this?

Well, let's see...

First, you hear how it's harmonic? The upper part is playing nothing but chords, while the lower part is playing a melody that doesn't fit into those chords? OK, so Common Practice.

Specifically, the chords are arpeggiated, a common Common Practice trope, and the bassline melody isn't any-old melody. Notice how it has a long section of slowly rising notes, and the whole melody has hardly anything that isn't stepwise? Specifically, it has one drop of a third and one drop of a fourth, and everything else is movement by one or two semitones only. This is not a coincidence: this is imitating an old-school walking bass, omnipresent in the Baroque era (these baselines are where harmonic progression comes from). In particular, the combination of a slowly walking bass with an arpeggiated upper harmony is a common form of intro and outtro in Baroque music, and emulated throughout the Classical and Romatic eras (most famously Beethoven's 'Moonlight' sonata.

Next, what chords are they? Well, we're in a minor key (Common Practice!), and the basic progression here is i-V-i. The 'i' is broken up by placing the second half into a different 'inversion' (Common Practice!). The V is not a seventh, but the second half of it IS augmented (Common Practice!).

But the real fun comes from the fact that the i-V transition is extended. How? Well, first they go to a dominant chord on the second. How is that possible? C minor does not permit a D major chord! Lots of instruments wouldn't even be able to play that! Well, no, and therefore it's really weird in a global sense... but it's commonplace in Common Practice music. It's a secondary dominant, the dominant of the dominant, and it's going to resolve to the dominant.

Except it doesn't - instead, it resolves to the augmented sixth. [Oh, but first, in case sevenths weren't enough, it doubles down on its debt to late 19th century harmonic theory by adding a ninth! This sort of harmony is common in late and post-romanticism, and indeed in jazz, but it's, in absolute terms, really weird]. A predominant augmented sixth! A German Sixth, specifically. An old holdover from the renaissance, returned to popularity in the Romantic era, and of course the Beatles resolve it as the Common Practice textbooks tell them to resolve it, according to the voice leading rules that were established way back in the 15th and 16th centuries.

In other words: this is music that you can't write if you don't know classical music. [I don't, necessarily, mean consciously know, in an academic sense - but they're using tropes that are familiar to them only because of their inherited musical tradition, that would not occur to people from outside that tradition].

For additional fun, you hear something weird about this three bar passage they keep repeating? Yes, that's right - the bars aren't the same length. They pair two bars of 12/8 with one of 6/8. Why would you do that? Well, that's what you do if you're a late 19th century Russian who is trying to emulate (or is just generally inspired by) the folk music of the Caucasus or the Balkans and does not have access to Bartok's additive notation (essentially what we're saying is that we're grouping beats in a 4+4+2 pattern). [the most famous example is Mussorgsky's Promenade melody; another one is the second movement of Tchaikovsky's 2nd string quartet. My point is, blame Rimsky-Korsakov!].

Basically, if you play that music on a piano, it's 19th century classical music. Give native musicians in Mali a guitar and no knowledge of European classical or popular music, and it'll take them centuries to come up with it.

[speaking of which: the guitar, a classical european instrument. That doom-laden, industrial noisiness, created by injecting non-musical sounds over the music? Thanks, early 20th century avant garde and in particular futurism! The fact that the noise is specifically electronically generated static? Thanks, mid-century avant garde and in particular electronic music! The way they alter the timbre by overlaying multiple simultaneous tapes of the same track? Thanks, musique concrete!]


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My general point here is: if you look closely at pop music, you'll not infrequently find elements that you'd virtually never have arise outside classical music. But, conversely, you'll almost never find any significant element that ISN'T also present in classical music.

[Even the heavy use of syncopation may not have been the norm in pre-1900 classical music, but still showed up a fair bit, particularly in military and dance music. And sometimes even in the most 'art'-y pieces - if you haven't heard it before, listen to Beethoven's "boogie woogie variation" from his final piano sonata...





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Anyway, by comparison, consider the complexity of the rhythm in this Senegalese dancing, or this ghanaian dancing, or these Americans dancing to Guinean music. Does rock'n'roll have anything like those polyrhythms?

Here's the most famous traditional kora tune (the most common mode for kora music is equivalent to the western major - but many modes are used, some of which with no equivalent, and they don't use anything equivalent to the minor). The music, as well as having polyrhythmic elements, is also polyphonic, or at least imitative - the basic form of song construction is a kind of fugetto - so it has much more in common with european music of the mediaeval period than it does with modern classical (or pop) music.

Specifically, this is the primary African influence on pop music (the Sahelian griot tradition) - that instrument, the xalam, is believed to be the ancestor of the banjo (only, you know, without the pickup!). You can just about see how the vocal/narrative style could have evolved into hollers, and thence into blues singing. But the rhythms (again, polyrhythm!) and melodies and scales have nothing to do with modern American music.




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Where you CAN hear the echo of African polyrhythm quite clearly is in a piece like these Ritmicas by Roldan. This is obviously classical music, but Roldan was inspired by Afro-Cuban rhythms - the same rhythms that led to Cuban dance music (and analogously to Brazilian dance music). Here's a modern rumba rhythm.

[essentially, Latin rhythms are what you get when you flatten out short sections of polyrhythms and analyse the emergent rhythm as the main rhythm]

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Re: Conlang YouTube, Metal Music, Emotions, Etc. [Split]

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qwed117 wrote:
25 Feb 2020 15:36
I'm not convinced.
Same. I've literally never heard anyone claim that rock had its foundations in anything except African-American music. If I'd read Sal's posts trying to argue rock had its roots in classical without knowing it was Sal that wrote them, I'd think it was a manifestation of the conspiracy theory that everything in history was invented by white people, but knowing Sal wrote them just makes them extremely confusing. [:S]

Pretty much all modern music can be argued to have been influenced by classical music to varying degrees (even if only due to the standardisation of the twelve-tone octave), and of course rock is no exception. Yeah, there's a lot of classical influence in rock, especially when it comes to guitar solos and whatnot. That doesn't negate the fact that the foundations for the original rock and roll were certifiably in rhythm and blues, which was certifiably originated by African-Americans. When rock and roll divered further, the more classical-influenced stuff that became the "standard average rock" still had its foundations in rock and roll and thus African-American music.

It could be argued that, because that classical-influenced rock was originated (at least) equally by white people and there were arguably as many important bands from the UK as the US, rock was never really an African-American genre. Following that, saying metal was originated by white people shouldn't be that controversial. That doesn't mean its original roots weren't in African-American music, though, because it came from rock, which came from rock and roll, which came from rhythm and blues, which came from blues, ultimately deriving from African traditional music.

I'd argue that one of the reasons why the complex rhythms of African traditional music didn't really end up in blues is that the people who invented blues were literally taken from their homes by force and shipped off to another country across the ocean, direct connection with their cultures and their musical traditions cut off. They kept those traditions partially alive, but the same way languages in contact with each other can lead to the development of creoles that have simpler grammar than the parent languages, those musical traditions converged into several simplified forms.

I'm sure there was polyrhythmic music and whatnot even in the US during first-generation slaves from Africa, but another thing to consider is that their cultural identities were forcefully repressed. At least some aspects of traditional African music were explicitly banned by slave-owners, and I wouldn't be surprised if polyrhythms were one of the things; after all, European music was typically not polyrhythmic and the slave-owners were racist as fuck and probably considered polyrhythmic music inferior, as contradictory as that is.

The argument that "but polyrhythmic music is obviously more complex than non-polyrhythmic music" won't hold much water; the average Joe who isn't that much into music would easily think that polyrhythmic music is just "more random" or whatever. Combine that with prejudice and you have a recipe for an inability to appreciate specific things associated with the music of certain cultures. A perfect example is how many westerners, including musicians, have a visceral reaction to microtones at least the first time; they're considered an acquired taste and "exotic", and while for (hopefully most) musicians that may be for purely musical reasons, I'm pretty sure a lot of non-musicians have at least subconscious cultural bias in the mix.

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