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#1
So, I thought this might be an interesting thread if there are enough contributions. If you're planning on posting an analysis, try to focus on (musical) facts, and then you can focus on what the composer(s) where trying to embody with these facts.

I'll start of by Veil of Maya from Cynic (I'm planning on doing the whole Focus album, but that's going to take some time):

----

||Section 1||

The song starts of with the infamous synth, playing an A5 chord that is pitched down to the G5 chord. After that, the chords are split between two distortion guitars,
one playing the upper structure and the other the lower structure. The upper structure plays a Fsus2, the lower a F with an upper tritone and the synth a A5 chord, creating a Fmaj9#11. Suspended second chords are used a lot on this album, mostly as a harmonic variation on the power chord.
After that, the upper structure plays a different voicing for the Fsus2 chord, while the lower structure moves up to another Fsus2. The synth moves down to a G5, which creates a F6add(no3rd). Note the contrary motion between the synth and the lower structure,
while the upper structure of the guitar only slighty changes the voicing.
The upper structure now plays an Esus2, the lower structure an E with a lower tritone added and the synth an A5 chord. This creates an Esus2sus4. The upper structure slightly changes voicing again to create another Esus2, the lower structure moves up to a B5 and
the synth moves down to a F#5, creating a Esus2 chord.
Throughout all this, the bass plays the corresponding root notes in different octaves on the chord changes, except for the last chord, where the dominant of E, the B, is played. This creates a pull to the E, however, the following chord is a Fmaj13.
The tritone distance between the B and F instead of the dominant-tonic bass movement (B-E), creates a lot of tension. The chord changes first fall before the beat, then after and then on the beat, which creates a typical Cynic use of rhythm to envoke a certain sense of instability.
Noteworthy is the contrast between the F and the E, which forms a motive cleverly used through out the song. In this case, they act as two indepent tonics, F major and E minor. This is excellently emphasised by the following bass groove when the synth fades away.


||Section 2||

The bass starts a groove under the previous guitar chords. The groove emphasises the tonic and two (F and G), while cleverly using the tonic octave on the first off beat.
This pulls the attention of the listener at the start to the sound of the bass, while not having to really 'pop out' during the rest of the groove. When the E chords hit, the bass groove changes to emphasise the minor third (G) and tonic (E), with a small variant where the two (F#) is added.
The change between the E and F forms a motif that is cleverly used throughout the song, some more obvious than the other. {Motif 1}

||Section 3||

Section 3 elaborates further on the chords formed by the guitars {Motif 1}, both playing pedal point orientated riffs in different registers, emphasising the chord tones, while moving mostly in contrary motion. The bass emphasizes the root notes, while also tastefully using chromatic passing notes to add some colour.
The variant on this riff places both guitars playing the same riff in the lower register, while the bass moves more into the foreground, while still following the same rhythm.
The next section focusses completely on the E minor tonic, with the bass playing a fast played, arpeggiated E5, the rhythm guitar a rhythmic staccato riff, and the pedal tone filled melody outlines an Esus2 chord.
The bass now plods back with the rhythm guitar, before it plays a different rhythm than the guitars, with a melody accentuating the accidentals in the upper melody. The variation played by the bass will be played later on in the song. After one more repetition the next section comes in.

||Section 4||

This section is the clean interlude of the song, where one guitar plays both the bass and melody supporting the lead bass and lead clean guitar. The clean backing guitar plays a 1-b6-b7 bass root movement, while the chords move strictly in contrary motion with the bass. The chords played are Em9, Cmaj13 and D5.
The clean guitar lead with plenty of syncopation adds colour by weaving in single notes and dyads, with plenty of tastefully used accidentals, while the the bass melody adds smooth 'tags' to complement the harmony and melody. After a while a distortion guitar fades in, while first moving down in melody, it soon rises to give way to the next section.
||Section 5||
This next section features very strongly the motion between the F and E notes, the backing guitar plays an E, an E an octave above, and the Bb above that. After that that the exact same thing, except with the F in the bass. The other guitar highlights chord tones in a slighty higher register, while the bass and vocals focus on the motion (and thus the motif) in the high register between the E and F.
After a while the melody from the backing guitar is played by both distortion guitars and bass.

Then sections 1, 2 and 3 repeat.

||Guitar solo||

The guitar solo's features virtouso soloing, both with phrasing as the technical skill required. It features very large intervallic leaps, fluidly switching between triplets, quarter notes and quintuplets, sweep picking and tapping.
Also the liberate use of accidentals (often used in a proficient jazz-fusion style, not unlike Holdsworth, for example), switching between time signatures every two bars and free phrasing gives the solo an almost rollercoastlike feel, pulling you from side to side.
Worth noting here is that the bassline used in section 3 here is played by both the bass and the guitars during the 5/4 time signature, showcasing the clever ways small motifs and themes are hidden on this album.

After the solo the sections 5,1,2,3 and 4 repeat.

Section 4 is repeated, except with a different bass lead and the clean guitar lead ends earlier. Worth checking is the live interpretation of this song, it features some small changes, like the bass during section 5 and the clean guitar and bass during the outro.

The structuring of form where a certain order of riffs (cycle) is repeated, with different sections (in this case the clean sections and the solo) is seen not also a lot on this album, but also on plenty of other metal albums.

---


A valid critique on this analysis is that I don't focus on what it all might 'mean'. That's done on purpose, I like to lay out the facts for people so they can judge for them selves what it might mean for them.

Tabs from cynicalsphere where used as a reference.
Last edited by Keth at May 30, 2011,
#3
Quote by Cambyses
Cynic is for habitual man huggers


Oh dear, it has an anime avatar.
#4
...wut.

do you not know camby or something, jibran?
Free your mind and your ass will follow
The kingdom of heaven is within
Open up your funky mind and you can fly

Sumdeus
#6
Seems pointless to me. It's cool that you understand your theory so well, but it's just a system for organization.It doesn't really bring anything to the table other than the interpretation of the mechanical aspects by western music standards.And calling things "clever" doesn't quite fit with the initial platform of what you wanted to do, that being just telling the "facts".A bit of mention of the theory is cool and all, but i just don't see a point unless some social or philosophical elements can be brought up by the way it resonates with the listener.

Cynic always seemed liked new age spirituality worship,written by guys who were just starting to move on from metal but still had some aesthetic preferences left over.Haven't listened to Cynic for over a year, so i can't comment much on the actual mechanical aspects that lead me to this conclusion, more so i guess the emphasis on the less archetypical metal chords and abandoning the focus on making things abrasive and tense, were Cynic moved into allot of holddsworth sensibilities as far as phrasing and chord choices go, giving it that spacy kind of sound, and eliminating most of the heaviness and barbarism( the romanticized violent element that is a standby in most metal), ultimately reverting to more introspective, but less negative,hatefull,confrontational, and power worshiping kind of experience. Cynic translated the entropy of their own changes as they abandoned Metal and moved onto something less abrasive and "single minded" ,towards something more peaceful and more adept to a music school mentality.Something that a more "mature'(conditioned and formed to fit easier ) member of society could appreciate, but kept a few metal elements that still appealed to them on a musical level.
Quote by Steve08
Acid probably makes you feel less like a hedonistic raver piece of trash, too.

#7
That's not really analysis though, is it? Its just guitar tab in text format.
Quote by Ultraussie
I want to try that while playing the opening riff to "Tempting Time".

0-0-0-13-0-0-0-0-13 or something like that alalalala but It;s so heavy and off time and awesome and you could not f**k anyone to it.


Quote by Ingested
burzum IS nazi. well, varg is.
#8
I want a joke analysis from you involving neapolitan ice cream tones again!
Quote by Steve08
Acid probably makes you feel less like a hedonistic raver piece of trash, too.

#9
No way man, those heady sugar-filled days are behind me, haha....
Quote by Ultraussie
I want to try that while playing the opening riff to "Tempting Time".

0-0-0-13-0-0-0-0-13 or something like that alalalala but It;s so heavy and off time and awesome and you could not f**k anyone to it.


Quote by Ingested
burzum IS nazi. well, varg is.
#10
This thread has confused me..
So I may as well contribute.

Set to Destroy - Parkway Drive.

This song is super short, at about 1:35.
It features lots of yelling and loudness.
It gave me a headache.
Those guys from Byron Bay were smoking pot.
It features an Super-Non-Augmented Open Drop A chord, which is just 3 open strings palm muted because they, and I, know nothing about music theory. Unlike Parkway Drive, I actually learnt to play guitar so I can mock them.

They were smoking pot.


The End.
METAL!
#12
Quote by Stranglehold
That's not really analysis though, is it? Its just guitar tab in text format.


Then what would constitute real analysis? If possible, give some examples for metal music.
#14
I've digged in repeated motifs and how they are varied, how certain sections relate to each other, the overall structure and certain techniques employed, like the bass groove in the beginning.

How is that not analyzing?
Last edited by Keth at May 30, 2011,
#15
Quote by Keth
I've digged in repeated motifs and how they are varied, how certain sections relate to each other and certain techniques employed, like the bass groove in the beginning.

How is that not analyzing?

As others have said, you have just discussed the mechanical elements of the music, but not how they affect the listener. Which is the more important aspect of musical analysis.


Quote by Riffmast
I want a joke analysis from you involving neapolitan ice cream tones again!


When did this trio of comic genius spawn?
#16
Quote by LucasGtrGod
As others have said, you have just discussed the mechanical elements of the music, but not how they affect the listener. Which is the more important aspect of musical analysis.


So for example, Schenker wasn't an musical analyst/theorist?
#17
Quote by Keth
So for example, Schenker wasn't an musical analyst/theorist?


Sure he was. If he were breaking down a piece he would describe the affectation on the listender, or alternatively he would use a musical example to back up a theory he was presenting, in such cases a description of affectation was not required.

Are you presenting us with any new theories? No, so a description on how the techniques you are analysing affect the listener will not only make the analysis more interesting, but also far more meaningful to all involved.

Besides we no longer live in the late romantic era, we have gone through a process of industrialisation and post modernism, as such, we have different expectations of analysts these days.
#18
Quote by LucasGtrGod
Sure he was. If he were breaking down a piece he would describe the affectation on the listender, or alternatively he would use a musical example to back up a theory he was presenting, in such cases a description of affectation was not required.
Are you presenting us with any new theories? No, so a description on how the techniques you are analysing affect the listener will not only make the analysis more interesting, but also far more meaningful to all involved.

Besides we no longer live in the late romantic era, we have gone through a process of industrialisation and post modernism, as such, we have different expectations of analysts these days.


Schenker was known for his Schenkerian analysis, which is basically breaking down a tonal piece to it's bare bones. Has absolutely nothing to with the effect it has on the listener.

'In the analysis of music it's common practice to look and listen to how the material is arranged, and how the composers arrange their musical ideas according to this material. This arrangement is described by various methods.' (Paraphrased)


' Musical analysis is the attempt to answer the question: how does this music work? ' - Wiki

No mention of the effect it has on the listener.
Which is logical, some things are too subjective to quantify it objectively. I also shouldn't have to tell the reader what they should feel, I can only show them some new ways to listen to the music.

(I could find plenty of better quotes in books, but I'm not at home right now.)


Edit: That isn't to say that subjectivity doesn't have a place in analysis. It isn't however a requirement for it to be 'real analysis'.
Last edited by Keth at May 30, 2011,
#19
I don't know much theory, so I'm going to analyse this thread instead.


It's stupid.


Also your original post contains the worst attempt at good written English I have ever seen.


Quote by Keth


||Guitar solo||

The guitar solo's features virtouso soloing, both with phrasing as the technical skill required. It features very large intervallic leaps, fluidly switching between triplets, quarter notes and quintuplets, sweep picking and tapping.
Also the liberate use of accidentals (often used in a proficient jazz-fusion style, not unlike Holdsworth, for example), switching between time signatures every two bars and free phrasing gives the solo an almost rollercoastlike feel, pulling you from side to side.
Worth noting here is that the bassline used in section 3 here is played by both the bass and the guitars during the 5/4 time signature, showcasing the clever ways small motifs and themes are hidden on this album.



You use the word both then list one thing.


And it's spelt Liberal. Not liberate.

Edit: Ah I see, BOTH solo's use the technique. In which case the grammar is still pretty damn suspect.
All I want is for everyone to go to hell...
...It's the last place I was seen before I lost myself



Quote by DisarmGoliath
You can be the deputy llamma of the recordings forum!
Last edited by ChemicalFire at May 30, 2011,
#21
It almost does to be honest. What's the point of an analysis if I don't know what the **** it's meant to be saying
All I want is for everyone to go to hell...
...It's the last place I was seen before I lost myself



Quote by DisarmGoliath
You can be the deputy llamma of the recordings forum!
#22
Quote by ChemicalFire
solo's


Oop
Quote by justinb904
im more of a social godzilla than chameleon

Quote by MetalMessiah665
Alright, I'll give them a try, Japanese Black Speed rarely disappoints.

Quote by azzemojo
Hmm judging from your pic you'd fit in more with a fat busted tribute.
#23
¬_¬ Yes look at the irony; the guy who's commenting on someone else grammar got something wrong. My point was that you need to be able to utilize correct grammar when trying to explain something as complex as a song.
All I want is for everyone to go to hell...
...It's the last place I was seen before I lost myself



Quote by DisarmGoliath
You can be the deputy llamma of the recordings forum!
#24
Quote by ChemicalFire
My point was that you need to be able to utilize correct grammar when trying to explain something as complex as a song.


Come on man, that's a bit ridiculous.
#25
This is why metal music should really be on the A level music syllabus. I don't think anyone here did a music A-level but this is basically the kinda analysis you have to do for like Mozart and shit.

We had to do analyses on British Popular Music like Oasis and The Beatles, and as much as I like them, they really aren't musically complicated in any way.
#26
Quote by Keth
So, I thought this might be an interesting thread if there are enough contributions. If you're planning on posting an analysis, try to focus on (musical) facts, and then you can focus on what the composer(s) where trying to embody with these facts.

I'll start of by Veil of Maya from Cynic (I'm planning on doing the whole Focus album, but that's going to take some time):

{snip}

A valid critique on this analysis is that I don't focus on what it all might 'mean'. That's done on purpose, I like to lay out the facts for people so they can judge for them selves what it might mean for them.

There is a fundamental flaw here, not in your analysis itself but in the logic behind it. A song (the artwork in question), is itself the evidence and facts. Laying out the facts is not a necessary prerequisite to discuss deeper elements of it. Also by focusing your analysis purely on mechanics, you've taken a strictly reductionist approach.

Quote by Riffmast
Cynic always seemed liked new age spirituality worship,written by guys who were just starting to move on from metal but still had some aesthetic preferences left over.Haven't listened to Cynic for over a year, so i can't comment much on the actual mechanical aspects that lead me to this conclusion, more so i guess the emphasis on the less archetypical metal chords and abandoning the focus on making things abrasive and tense, were Cynic moved into allot of holddsworth sensibilities as far as phrasing and chord choices go, giving it that spacy kind of sound, and eliminating most of the heaviness and barbarism( the romanticized violent element that is a standby in most metal), ultimately reverting to more introspective, but less negative, hatefull, confrontational, and power worshiping kind of experience. Cynic translated the entropy of their own changes as they abandoned Metal and moved onto something less abrasive and "single minded" ,towards something more peaceful and more adept to a music school mentality.Something that a more "mature'(conditioned and formed to fit easier ) member of society could appreciate, but kept a few metal elements that still appealed to them on a musical level.

Spot on. I've always found there to be an inherent 'weakness' to Cynic's music, especially in the context of Death Metal. I think you've perfectly articulated the points from where this comes.

Quote by Stranglehold
That's not really analysis though, is it? Its just guitar tab in text format.

I actually agree with you. There must be a glitch in the matrix.
Last edited by NotFromANUS at May 30, 2011,
#27
Quote by Seb1uk
This is why metal music should really be on the A level music syllabus. I don't think anyone here did a music A-level but this is basically the kinda analysis you have to do for like Mozart and shit.


I did.
I failed, at AS, but I did it

though it should be noted my main downfall was being lazy with the performance aspect, and only deciding an hour before I was due to perform what I was going to play didn't help things.

And with the composition aspect, we kept getting told different things to do and include, and in the end it sounded like a mess.

And the exam was heard as I did virtually no revision, and didn't even remember one of the jazz pieces we studied.
#28
That was the most boring and pretentious post I've ever seen on UG. You were just listing the chords they used and saying how clever it was and it was dull and noone cares how you can listen to music then know all these chords.

Plus you missed out the vocals and the drums, which are pretty big parts of the song/ The rhythm ties everything together but you're so obsessed with wanky chords and stuff that you've missed it all out.

longing rusted furnace daybreak seventeen benign nine homecoming one freight car
Last edited by EndTheRapture51 at May 30, 2011,
#29
Quote by EndTheRapture51
That was the most boring and pretentious post I've ever seen on UG. You were just listing the chords they used and saying how clever it was and it was dull and noone cares how you can listen to music then know all these chords.

Plus you missed out the vocals and the drums, which are pretty big parts of the song/ The rhythm ties everything together but you're so obsessed with wanky chords and stuff that you've missed it all out.


Did you even read past the first section? Sure, the first section deals a lot with the (implied) harmony, but I thought that was very interesting. Detailing harmony like this is done a lot in analyzing jazz, for example.
#30
This is a stunning description of the objective aspects, but you seem to have faltered by claiming that is all you need. as previously stated, the objective is that which you use to form subjective "opinions" and using both in tandem will form an ultimate conclusion of the piece.

since I prefer to look at things holistically, I try to paint broader strokes by focusing on albums rather than single songs. take VV by Enslaved. On the surface, we see and stripped down version of Blood Fire Death and Wrath of the Tyrant - aesthetic elements of each are presented, yet the mix present is much more open and clear than the two "father" records. the elements presented are of typical black metal affair; blast beats, the 'cold' saturated reverb and treble based guitar tone, snarls that have become staples of black metal, and occasional glimpses of synth.

rather than rooting itself in classical oriented form and structure, the songs are composed only of a handful of riffs upon which the musicians expand and cycle through, usually in ABABC format. that, coupled with the obvious rock format through which metal evolved actually point towards progressive rock as the underlying motivation in the compositions - while aesthetically it mimics Emperor and Bathory, in structure and construction I see more evidence (such as arrangement and melodic variation) that ape Jethro Tull's Thick as a Brick; and to a much lesser extent - Camel's Mirage (without the Latin styled percussion of course).

this weaves a very peculiar tapestry of sound. the arc of the album itself is not a story, but a diary of sorts as told by the landscape itself. If the wind, the pines, the stone, and the soil have given way to the rituals and history that the Viking peoples have partaken in. as if one could peel the bark off the trees and read the strife of the land. A great experience for the listener to embark on, one I would personally rank higher than Nightside Eclipse and cite as a true piece of progressive metal.

keth, have you delved into Soulside Journey? Was it to your liking?
HESSIAN HAREM
FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF THE HESSIAN CULTURE. STAY TRUE.
#31
You get an A, son
Quote by justinb904
im more of a social godzilla than chameleon

Quote by MetalMessiah665
Alright, I'll give them a try, Japanese Black Speed rarely disappoints.

Quote by azzemojo
Hmm judging from your pic you'd fit in more with a fat busted tribute.
#32
In the immortal words of Francisco Franco: "Enough of this shit".
Dyer's Eve is awesome, and has an abnormally large penis, which doesn't act as any hinderance to his everyday life despite its freakishly large size.
For unrivaled obedience, user King_ofKumbucha is awarded this spot of honor.
#33
Quote by AnnihiSlateR

though it should be noted my main downfall was being lazy with the performance aspect, and only deciding an hour before I was due to perform what I was going to play didn't help things.


Correction - You knew the song days in advance, you just didn't learn it
#34
Quote by andyscoot
Correction - You knew the song days in advance, you just didn't learn it

No if you remember we had a last minute change of plan to Am I Evil as it was the only song we both knew that we could do with an hours practice
#36
Quote by AnnihiSlateR
No if you remember we had a last minute change of plan to Am I Evil as it was the only song we both knew that we could do with an hours practice


That only came about cause you didn't learn that Machine Head song
#37
Quote by andyscoot
That only came about cause you didn't learn that Machine Head song

I did, I just had no concept of rhythm, and we were playing the same notes, just at different times
#38
Quote by NotFromANUS


I actually agree with you. There must be a glitch in the matrix.


There is a chance for peace after all!
Quote by Ultraussie
I want to try that while playing the opening riff to "Tempting Time".

0-0-0-13-0-0-0-0-13 or something like that alalalala but It;s so heavy and off time and awesome and you could not f**k anyone to it.


Quote by Ingested
burzum IS nazi. well, varg is.
#39
@progbass

No I haven't to be honest, I'll do it when I think of it


(which will be after I've given Incantation another spin one of these days...)

Did you receive my PM?
#40
Just saw that. Thank you.

In order to keep discussion going a bit, other than understand a piece better, and to use as evidence to form opinions, what other benefits do you see from a purely objective approach?
HESSIAN HAREM
FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF THE HESSIAN CULTURE. STAY TRUE.
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