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Thread: Metal and Classical: What is the connection?

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    Junior Member Jupiter's Avatar
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    Default Metal and Classical: What is the connection?

    Why is it that a lot of converts to classical music begin their journey in heavy metal? I could be overstating the case, of course, but this seems to be a pattern.

    I've nothing against heavy metal (or any other kind of metal), but it would be more logical for popular music converts to come from the art rock/electronica genre (some of which can be admittedly "heavy"). Or am I not listening to metal "correctly"?

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    Certain genres of metal have some pseudo-classical borrowings I suppose. Furthermore alot of metalheads think it gives them some kind of "intellectual cred" to listen to classical music, elevating them firmly above the great unwashed who listen to "inferior" genres like rap and pop.

    Every classical forum has the token metalhead who tries to convince everybody of the artistic genius of metal music, lol.
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    Why is it that a lot of converts to classical music begin their journey in heavy metal?
    Because it's a little bit less crappy music than rest of popular stuff and therefore most of those who have predispositions to listen to good music but are not properly exposed to classical/jazz in their homes/schools often happen to begin their musical adventure with rock/metal music.

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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    It's not the case for myself. I can't stand metal music. I grew up with progressive rock, and Led Zeppelin. Yes, I know Zeppelin gets labeled an early metal band, but I disagree. They were coming from blues and folk influences.
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    Senior Member norman bates's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jupiter View Post
    Why is it that a lot of converts to classical music begin their journey in heavy metal? I could be overstating the case, of course, but this seems to be a pattern.

    I've nothing against heavy metal (or any other kind of metal), but it would be more logical for popular music converts to come from the art rock/electronica genre (some of which can be admittedly "heavy"). Or am I not listening to metal "correctly"?
    There are subgenres as epic, progressive or symphonic metal, and horrible but very influential guitarists like malmsteen who is a fan of paganini, bach, mozart etc (actually, he's probably more a fan of virtuosism). And it must be considered that metal music is a lot about impact and power, so often a listener of metal is attracted at first by pieces like Carmina Burana o Verdi's Dies irae

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    Senior Member StlukesguildOhio's Avatar
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    Why is it that a lot of converts to classical music begin their journey in heavy metal?

    A desire to legitimatize their obvious poor taste in music by suggesting that there is some link between heavy metal and real music.

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    Senior Member Kontrapunctus's Avatar
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    A lot of extreme metal bands (Morbid Angel, Necrophagist, Obscura, Decrepit Birth, etc.) write such chromatic music that it almost becomes atonal.

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    Senior Member regressivetransphobe's Avatar
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    A lot of people talk about the technicality of metal bands, but they're missing the point. Many of the artists on the more "extreme" side of the spectrum (please note "metal" encompasses a lot of glorified moron beer rock as well) are capital R Romantic in a very obvious sense, and write in a "narrative" way rather than cyclical like most rock (as in, the songwriting puts telling a story above logic). Second wave black metal (Burzum, Graveland, etc.) in particular is pure solipsism and obsession with the ancient.

    Then again, Varg from Burzum is highly influenced by The Cure and Dead Can Dance, among other things. Genres are not clear-cut things with simple, strict relations. Metal=/=pure classical spirit, but there is a link.

    A lot of metal is pure tripe, but the people who take potshots at the genre in general are insecure intellectual shams who only want peer approval by attacking an easy target. I feel sorry for them because I am sure they were bullied a lot as kids. By the way, I guarantee the guys in Morbid Angel have more honest, genuine appreciation for Mozart than anyone on this forum.
    Last edited by regressivetransphobe; Aug-05-2011 at 04:26.
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    Junior Member Ludders's Avatar
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    I started out with rock music, but in my day nobody called it 'Metal', it was just 'Heavy Rock', or 'Hard Rock'.
    To be honest, if i'm going to listen to anything in this vein at all, i'd rather listen to a good old-fashioned rock and roll band like Motorhead, or even the Pistols, than all that neo-classical cock-rock.
    I wouldn't want to listen to Malmsteen playing bits of Beethoven's 5th, anymore than i'd want to hear a Berlin Philharmoniker arrangement of Anarchy in the UK.
    It's possible to like different kinds of music without needing to justify it by trying to connect them to each other.
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    i've been told that berlioz is the connection.

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    Senior Member Iforgotmypassword's Avatar
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    Heavy metal is a rapidly progressing genre. I believe that it is the next one to break away from popular music in the same way that Jazz has done.
    Jazz began as a popular music genre, but as it lost popularity it began to evolve, becoming more complex and sharing more and more similarities with classical music. If you look at the contemporary "classical" music of today it is almost inseperable from Jazz music. It is beginning to become difficult to tell where one genre ends and the other begins. The same can be said for electronic music, how many new music pieces feature a laptop as one of the instruments? A good little chunk of them I'd say.

    That said, I believe that metal music is beginning it's progression into a serious genre. Of course you have to wipe away the grimey exterior of more poppy metal which obscures the true art within the genre but it's there. You may dislike or even hate what you hear, but there is no denying that it is valid music and that it is progressing quite rapidly.

    What is happening is those who have reached the bottom of the metaphorical "metal pool" are in search of something that has even deeper roots. They got into the genre for different reasons, but they've reached the bottom and want to delve deeper into music, thus they find classical music which has had thousands of years to evolve and mature and latch onto that. They notice distinct similarities between the serious metal music that they had listened to and the pieces of music within the "Classical music" genre and therefore want others to see the similarity. What they are seeing is partially the genuine artistic factor and and also the fact that many metal groups have been heavily influenced by the classical and Jazz genres.
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    Senior Member Weston's Avatar
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    For the record, I actually went the opposite direction and started out liking classical at about age 12, then at age 18 discovered progressive rock (and was overwhelmed) and from there went on to harder rock like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, etc. I embraced some metal once it started being called that, but much of it is a lot of silly posturing to me. I do enjoy the ritual of it. It is a ritual of testosterone in a way.

    There are occasionally metal acts (Apocalyptica for instance) that try to make a kind of metal/classical alloy if you'll forgive the metaphor, with varying degrees of success. This can easily become very cheesy if not handled with some subtlety and expression. But is this really all that different from the Kronos Quartet playing Hendrix?

    I reject the claims about how skillful classical musicians are compared to rock. Oh, please! Does anyone honestly think the triangle player in an orchestra has more skill than percussionist Neil Peart? Or does the timpanist even? Do most first violinists in most orchestras have more skill than someone who has devoted an entire lifetime to perfecting electric guitar like Robert Fripp? Somehow I doubt it.
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    Junior Member Jupiter's Avatar
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    Senior Member Iforgotmypassword's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Weston View Post
    I reject the claims about how skillful classical musicians are compared to rock. Oh, please! Does anyone honestly think the triangle player in an orchestra has more skill than percussionist Neil Peart? Or does the timpanist even? Do most first violinists in most orchestras have more skill than someone who has devoted an entire lifetime to perfecting electric guitar like Robert Fripp? Somehow I doubt it.
    I do disagree with this to an extent, though at the same time I agree with it.

    I honestly believe that classical musicians are the most technically and musically advanced in general. The skill and devotion necessary to play a classical acoustic instrument such as a cello or a violin (just to stick with the ones that I know the best) at the caliber that most of these professional musicians play at is a feat almost unmatchable by any other genre.

    However this doesn't undermine any other musician's abilities or their instrument/genre. I think that Classical as a genre has become very elitist in the way that they see musicians and therefore judge on miniscule imperfections as opposed to the actual artistry or musicianship presented. Of course I do to a degree lump myself in with these "elitists" and believe that this level of ability should always be pursued by every musician, but in essence, I see no reason why this undermines an entire genre when if nothing else it just shows that it has room for improvement.
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    Junior Member Ludders's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iforgotmypassword View Post
    Heavy metal is a rapidly progressing genre. I believe that it is the next one to break away from popular music in the same way that Jazz has done.
    Jazz began as a popular music genre, but as it lost popularity it began to evolve, becoming more complex and sharing more and more similarities with classical music. If you look at the contemporary "classical" music of today it is almost inseperable from Jazz music. It is beginning to become difficult to tell where one genre ends and the other begins. The same can be said for electronic music, how many new music pieces feature a laptop as one of the instruments? A good little chunk of them I'd say.

    That said, I believe that metal music is beginning it's progression into a serious genre. Of course you have to wipe away the grimey exterior of more poppy metal which obscures the true art within the genre but it's there. You may dislike or even hate what you hear, but there is no denying that it is valid music and that it is progressing quite rapidly.

    What is happening is those who have reached the bottom of the metaphorical "metal pool" are in search of something that has even deeper roots. They got into the genre for different reasons, but they've reached the bottom and want to delve deeper into music, thus they find classical music which has had thousands of years to evolve and mature and latch onto that. They notice distinct similarities between the serious metal music that they had listened to and the pieces of music within the "Classical music" genre and therefore want others to see the similarity. What they are seeing is partially the genuine artistic factor and and also the fact that many metal groups have been heavily influenced by the classical and Jazz genres.
    Fascinating theory.
    I freely admit that i know next to nothing about current developments in 'Metal', but it's never struck me as harmonically sophisticated enough to be thought of on the same level as modern jazz or classical.
    Having said that, my perception of where Metal and Classical meet, is limited to so called neo-classical guitarists like Malmsteem, who are technically very proficient but leave me completely cold.

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