An exploration of the relationship between Metal/Hardcore and music of the Western Classical tradition, or “If you Baroque it in the Pit, Make Sure You Can Handel It”
Overview: In this program intended for high school and undergraduate music students (but could be scaled up or down depending on the audience), members of seven)suns discuss the influence of Western Classical music on popular music genres that incorporate social commentary and countercultural promotion (e,g, metal, punk, grunge) and the results of juxtaposing the two genres, such as bands like Resolution15, seven)suns, Apocalyptica, and Primitivity. Students will learn to identify and discuss the impact of musical rhetorical devices found in both genres, as well as familiarize themselves with the preexisting social conditions that gave rise to the emergence of both styles.
Sample Lesson Plan
Goal: Students gain an enhanced understanding of emotional affect in music and musical rhetorical devices used to achieve emotional affect, and make connections between two seemingly dissimilar genres of music.
Method: Students will compare and contrast works falling within the Western Classical or Metal genres presented in the form of either recordings or live performance by members of seven)suns. They will learn to identify musical rhetorical devices found in both genres, including word painting of Shostakovich representing the Gestapo knocking on the everyman hero’s door in his Eighth String Quartet and the visceral representation of Satan as a tritone in Black Sabbath’s eponymous “Black Sabbath”. Student participation and work examples can be adapted to the age and musical aptitude of the students.
Assessment: Students will summarize key concepts, including the notion of musical rhetorical devices and discussed stylistic aspects of Western Classical and Metal music provided as examples. At the end of the class, students will draw their own conclusions about the impact of genre juxtaposition and communicate their conclusions verbally or through their own performances.
(5’) Members of seven)suns introduce themselves and perform an original metal-influenced composition demonstrating the synthesis of the two styles and opens the conversation.
(20’) seven)suns fosters discussion by determining and identifying hallmarks of both genres - students will actively participate, depending on their previous knowledge of either genre. seven)suns will lead the conversation by performing direct examples (either recorded or live) that show the similarities between the two genres, as well as their differences. Musical rhetorical devices used will be defined, and students will be asked to identify rhetorical devices in a musical context and their musical effect.
(30’) Students will demonstrate their understanding of the rhetorical devices discussed in the previous section of the lesson by way of performing an arrangement of a well known metal song and/or a joint performance of seven)suns material.
(5’) seven)suns will answer any remaining questions the students may have.