What is the REAL timing of Master of Puppets?
I referenced the following links:
Audacity Analysis by Steven Hudson -http://metalintheory.com/metallica-ma...
Steve Vai TempoMental- http://www.vai.com/tempo-mental/
Please note, this transcription was computer generated and has not been checked for errors. However, I do hope you find it helpful. Be sure to check out The Ultimate Modal Poster!Thousands of guitar players wishing to master the dark arts of metal have learned Metallica's Master of Puppets. If I can name one song to be the ambassador of heavy metal. It would be this one. It's got pretty much everything you want from one heavy metal song head-banging chugging riffs dark and Sinister lyrics I melodic and euphoric instrumental section and a fairly complicated Rhythm Section. And that is what I would like to talk about today while a lot of people are performing the song correctly almost everybody's writing it incorrectly and I want you to take a look at the official transcription to see what I'm talking about here.
So we're looking at the verse section and you can see it starts off with one measure of palm mute Saint Anne E power chord, then we have one measure of slighty power cords, and we have another measure of palm-muted eighth notes and then we have the mystery measure.
Now what you see here in the notation. It's written as 5 8 but let's take a listen to what that sounds like.
Now, I don't know about you, but that does not sound like Master of Puppets.
Let's try the other interpretation and 6/8.
Once again, there's something wrong here and you might be able to guess the answer is somewhere between these two. Let's take a closer look an unnecessarily closer. Look I found a blog post on Stephen Hudson site metal in theory and he published a visual analysis of this entire section by looking at the transients in audacity and plotting the time between them is mathematics show that the average eighth note was point one five seconds and during our mystery measure the time elapsed is point seven nine seconds. That's enough time to fit in five eighth notes and an additional quarter of an inch. And one quarter of one eighth note is a 32nd note. So what we're looking at here total is 21 32nd notes. That's right Metallica composed in 2132.
I think the important question to ask here is did they compose it in?
I don't see any reason to think that the good folks the Metallica Foundation intentionally wrote something this complicated. They don't have a history of writing complicated time signatures, especially at this level also counting 32nd notes is not easy by anyone's standards. So it seems like a level of musicianship above what is found in the average Metallica song. I think what's more likely here is that they wrote the section as one and two and three and four and one put up dot one and two and three and four and one when you play with a group of musicians. That long you can get away with kind of doing things based on feel instead of based on a strict timing and By ignoring these rules of music like the rhythmic Grid. It's very easy to compose difficult to transcribe and Complicated music. For example, if I place the click track underneath my voice and tried to transcribe the resulting rhythms. It would be very difficult notation to read including nested triplets, Holly rhythms metric modulation and other strange symbols. This is actually a job that Steve Vai was tasked with when working for Frank Zappa the natural rhythms of Zappa's voice ended up becoming morbidly.
Complicated because there was no attention paid to when they were played on the beat. It was up to Steve. I defined a way to notate it understanding the theory or rhythm of a section makes it that much easier to gain the feel of it. Once you've done that you can kind of turn off your brain and perform a naturally and not have to worry about counting Twenty One Thirty second notes. So like most things in life. I think there's a balance here. This verse would have never existed if Lars Ulrich was a theory nerd and yelled at James Hetfield for rushing the 6-8 measure, but without Theory nerds in theory itself were left to using words like buh dum dum or a little faster to describe a section instead of actually describing. What's happening knowing this language of music makes it much easier to convey very difficult and abstract ideas. Even though these ideas are extremely weird. I mean think about it. You can't see time. You can't way it feel it. Hold it smell it yet. We have a set of simple symbols in place that we can easily share with one another and upon receiving this set of symbols. We can instantly perform a complicated sequence synchronized perfectly with one another without ever having communicated before I think that's pretty cool.