Metal music has some similarities to classical music, such as the use of complex musical structures, virtuosic instrumental performances, and dramatic compositions. The two genres also share a penchant for grandiose themes and arrangements.
One notable similarity is the use of symphonic elements in metal music. Many metal bands, such as Nightwish and Epica, incorporate orchestral arrangements into their music, often with a full symphony orchestra. This can be seen as a continuation of the tradition of classical composers like Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, who used orchestras to create sweeping, epic pieces of music.
Another similarity is the emphasis on technical proficiency in both genres. Classical musicians are known for their mastery of their instruments and the ability to play complex compositions flawlessly, and many metal musicians strive for the same level of virtuosity in their playing. The guitar, in particular, is often the centerpiece of metal music, much like the piano was for classical music.
Finally, both metal and classical music often explore dark or taboo themes in their lyrics. Classical operas and symphonies frequently depict tragic love stories, violence, and death, while metal bands often tackle subjects like horror, war, and societal injustices.
Overall, while there are certainly differences between metal and classical music, it is clear that they share many similarities in terms of musical structure, technical skill, and thematic content. Whether intentionally or not, metal musicians have continued the tradition of classical music in their own unique way, adding their own modern twists and interpretations to the genre.
- K. Kahn-Harris, Extreme Metal: Music and Culture on the Edge (Berg Publishers, 2006)
- J. Walser, Running with the Devil: Power, Gender, and Madness in Heavy Metal Music (Wesleyan University Press, 1993)
- J. W. Wright, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Recorded Music (Cambridge University Press, 2009)