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Monday, July 11, 2011

Jason Becker

All day today, I've had various Jason Becker songs stuck in my head. Ah, Jason, the guitarist who can wipe the floor with any other guitarist, from any genre of music. He is very quickly becoming the largest influence into my playing, though I doubt he will surpass Marty Friedman, who has a bit more "feeling" to his style. A few samples

Eleven Blue Egyptians (Metal, with a few variations)
Air (classical)
Angel Eyes (Blues /Jazz Jam)
Jasin Street (Blues)
Opus Pocus (metal)

I should have seen this rant coming...

One thing I loved about Laura, is that she was open-minded to the quality and art offered by other forms of music. She is one of the few classical musicians I've ever met who can honestly say "While I don't listen to metal myself, I do see it's value." I get annoyed, and yet amused by these elitist people who think if it isn't written for a symphony, it isn't worth anything. They think It's easy. nothing could be farther from the truth. Guitar Player Magazine, which is aimed at all types of guitar styles, considers the solo from Megadeth's "Tornado of Souls" (written and recorded by Marty Friedman) to be the most difficult guitar solo to learn. It takes the average guitarist over a month to master a 62 seconds of music. (This is a video of Chris Broderick playing the Solo. I can't find any HQ versions of Marty playing it, and Chris plays it note-for-note in this version.) I guess what bothers me is when people think that metal is just a bunch of drop-D quarter notes and eight notes. True, some metal is like that, but saying all metal is that simplistic is like saying all symphonic music is like "Ode to Joy." There is better stuff out there, people.

Look, metal did NOT develop from rock- it developed from blues. The first band to play metal was Black Sabbath, back in 1965. They were a blues group when they formed, and slowly progressed towards metal. Speed and trash metal derive from neo-classical metal, which is influenced by the neo-classical movement of the early 1900s. All neo-classical guitarist, even the ones that suck, studied classical guitar, and most all of the well-respected guitarist today studied classical music, either on the guitar, or other instruments. Chris Broderick has a Masters Degree in classical guitar performance, and also has played violin since he was 7. Alexi Laiho studied Mozart for inspiration. Cliff Burton was a piano prodigy. (Okay, he played Bass, not guitar.) Dimebag Darrel played blues outside of playing metal.

I think my point is proven. Talent, art, and beauty are not limited to only select genres of music. Even some rap has value, though I personally don't enjoy it. It takes between 8-20 years to train for classical performance, and it takes between 5-15 years to train for metal performance. Even musicologists agree (well, most do) that classical and metal are very closely related. I love music. My mom made sure to raise me with a love it art and music. I've probably spent about 3 or 4 years total amount of time listening to classical music. I know what it sounds like. I've listened to tons of Blues, Jazz, Metal, Rock, and Marching music. They all have different strengths and weaknesses, but in the end, the best of the best, all is very, very similar.


PS I should clearify: When I refer to "classical", I am generalizing the different periods together into one. Yes, I know they are very different, but for the point of argument, I'm presenting them together. I know the difference between classical and romantic.


  1. my friend Taylor said this on my facebook page

    " The problem is that most individuals can't get past the over tones which if you do your research can dual the human senses and cause your mind to go into a state subliminal bliss, therefore causing hypnotic events to take place. This is why they say that music can make you do things. If people could just just get over the overtones and look at the amazing rhythms, melodic themes, and baroque style beat they would see that there is little difference between the two. I listen to both. I feel that there are times when classical is more appealing and there are times when metal is. You have to be a musician to understand both and to break them down musically."

  2. Honestly, I really have a hard time enjoying metal. But I do love classic 80's rock. I consider Neil Young to be one of the greatest song writers ever. I think it's interesting that if I'm having a bad day, I'll blast Neil Young in my car, then go play an hour of Vivaldi. They have essentially the same effect.

    Ps. It takes most classical musicians at least a year to learn a 3 minute solo concerto movement. Just so you know.

  3. I never knew that, but it makes sense; at the end of the day, classical usually is more difficult to play than metal. I just brought up the timing because most guitarist can master a minute-long solo in a week or so, given they devote enough time to it. But, a guitar is easier to play than a violin.

    I just get annoyed when people treat metal, rap, or any other genre of music like it's worthless, and requires no talent or skill. Metal is very difficult to play, if it is the right kind; there are so many different types of metal, and it is hard to distinguish (holy crap, I spelled that correctly my first try!!!) what's good from what isn't if you only hear a small sample. Like I said, metal and classical do share common traits, which is why classical sounds great played on a heavily-distorted guitar, usually, and some metal songs sound wonderful played on piano's or in string quartets. (If you ever get the time, check out the "VKgoeswild" on youtube. She is a concert pianist who does metal covers on the piano. Some are okay, but others sound great.)

    Not everyone is going to like all genres of music, and that's not what I'm advocating here. I just want people to be open-minded about the skill that musicians of all genres have. I have two friends from high school who are rappers. I hate rap, but I honestly have to say, they are very, very good at doing it, and they are also both very well-rounded as musicians. At the end of the day,(I love that phrase) most people from all musical backgrounds are musicians.

    It's kinda like with books: I hate romance novels, but I know that there are some genuinely well-written romance novels out there. For me, I'll just stick with anti-Utopian books. Love em. Can't find enough of them.

    I love metal, as well as classical. Sometimes I just feel like blasting sometimes I feel like blasting out some Dave Mustaine because I've had a bad day, and other times I wanna listen to Fantasia on a Theme and relax.

    PS Neil Young is Rock N' Roll deity lol

  4. I agree. I am guilty of being a mild classical music snob. But I'm relatively open-minded. Mostly because I'm a word nerd and looked up "music". The definition is vague enough for almost anything to fall under it. The OED is the source of all knowledge so that's that.

    PS. I have every word of Neil Young's Greatest Hits album memorized. Enough of boy-meets-girl pop, give me war and drugs and death and violence and politics! My old roommate found an original Neil record with the case intact at DI. I legitimately geeked out when I saw it. As in jumped up and down and made weird noises because I couldn't find words. Yeah....

  5. If you like those kinda of songs, then (or is it than? not sure on this one) you'd love Megadeth. That's all they write about. Well, that and a few break-up type songs here and there. The name "Megadeth" is actually a political name. Dave Mustaine came up with that name when he saw an article about how the military had created a new word, "megadeath," which was used to describe an event where 1,000,000+ people are killed by a single explosion. He said it's sad that we have to come up with words to describe how good we are at killing each other.