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|Cultural origins||Late 1970s and early 1980s, Europe and North America|
Neoclassical metal is a subgenre of heavy metal that is heavily influenced by classical music and usually features very technical playing, [ circular reference ] Timo Tolkki, and Marty Friedman.consisting of elements borrowed from both classical and speed metal music. Deep Purple's Ritchie Blackmore pioneered the subgenre by merging classical melodies and blues rock. Later, Yngwie Malmsteen became one of the most notable musicians in the subgenre, and contributed greatly to the development of the style in the 1980s. Other notable players in the genre are Randy Rhoads, John Petrucci, Jason Becker, Tony MacAlpine, Vinnie Moore, Uli Jon Roth, Stéphan Forté, Wolf Hoffmann,
Although the genre is mainly associated with guitarists (especially lead guitarists), keyboardists like Jens Johansson, Michael Pinnella, Alex Staropoli and Janne Wirman are also found playing in this style, with Jon Lord as an early influence on the genre.
Neoclassical metal takes its name from a broad conception of classical music. In this it is a concept distinct from how neoclassicism is understood within the classical music tradition. Neoclassical music usually refers to a movement in musical modernism which developed roughly a century after the end of the Classical period and peaked during the years in between the two World Wars.
On the other hand, neoclassical metal music does not restrict itself to a return to classical aesthetic ideals, such as equilibrium and formalism. Its influences include both the Romantic musical period and the Baroque period of the seventeenth and first half of the eighteenth centuries. The music of late Baroque composers such as Vivaldi, Handel and Bach was often highly ornate. Neoclassical metal musicians such as Yngwie Malmsteen and Joshua Perahia are inspired by this aspect of Baroque musicand also by later composers such as the violinist Niccolò Paganini in using runs and other decorative and showy techniques in their performances. Neoclassical metal music thus looks to classical music as broadly understood by the general public and not to the more specialist technical definition used within classical circles.
In the 1960s and 1970s, there were many works that influenced this subgenre, Deep Purple's Concerto for Group and Orchestra being the most important one. Other bands, like Rainbow, also featured neoclassical influences. Early classical influences within hard rock and heavy metal are most notably found in the playing of Jon Lord, Keith Emerson, Ritchie Blackmore, Uli Jon Roth and Randy Rhoads. But it was in the 1980s when neoclassical metal became a distinct subgenre.
Heavy metal guitar technique developed rapidly from its late-1960s beginnings to its late-1980s peak, but before the 1980s, few metal guitarists displayed the advanced technical proficiency which is a hallmark of the neoclassical metal style. The popularization and growth of neoclassical metal is closely related to the ascension of the guitar "shredding" movement.
The "golden age" of neoclassical metal in the middle to late 1980s revolved around the sizeable roster of flashy electric-guitar soloists who recorded mostly instrumental albums for Mike Varney's Shrapnel Records label. Swedish guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen, widely regarded as the originatorand still-reigning king of neoclassical metal, was brought to the United States by Varney to sign with Shrapnel Records in 1982.
Many subsequent Shrapnel artists,including Tony MacAlpine, Vinnie Moore, Joey Tafolla, Michael Angelo Batio, Paul Gilbert, David T. Chastain, Jason Becker, and Marty Friedman, emerged in the latter 1980s as exemplars of the neoclassical style.
In recent years, appreciation of the neoclassical metal oeuvre has been largely confined to guitarists in more of an underground setting, as the style is not well known beyond the realm of guitarists. Today, there are many more bands that contribute as a whole as opposed to the "solo" musicians in the past.
A common practice in the genre is to transcribe classical pieces and play them in a rock/metal band format. The Baroque and Classical periods have been particularly influential to the genre because of their unique sound and techniques that blend into a rock setting effectively.[ citation needed ]
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A commonly used feature in Neoclassical metal is the use of diminished seventh arpeggios. As diminished seventh chords are essentially an equidistant scale consisting of stacked minor thirds, they become a useful tool for modulation, as it is possible to move by minor thirds through the chord/arpeggio, then use the diminished chord as a leading tone to resolve to the tonic a semitone above it. Pentatonic scales are also prevalent and conveniently have the same picking structure as minor thirds on the guitar. Playing back and forth between the two scales is common and a good example of how neoclassical metal uses different scales stacked on top of each other to progress melodic ideas.
Yngwie Johan Malmsteen is a Swedish guitarist, songwriter, composer, and bandleader. Malmsteen first became known in the 1980s for his neoclassical playing style in heavy metal, and has released 21 studio albums in a career spanning over 40 years. In 2009, Time magazine rated Malmsteen as number 9 among the 11 greatest electric guitar players of all time.
Instrumental rock is rock music that emphasizes musical instruments and features very little or no singing. Examples of instrumental rock can be found in practically every subgenre of rock, often from musicians who specialize in the style. Instrumental rock was most popular from the mid-1950s to mid-1960s, with artists such as Bill Doggett Combo, The Fireballs, The Shadows, The Ventures, Johnny and the Hurricanes and The Spotnicks. Surf music had many instrumental songs. Many instrumental hits came from the R&B world. Funk and disco produced several instrumental hit singles during the 1970s. The Allman Brothers Band feature several instrumentals. Jeff Beck also recorded two instrumental albums in the 1970s. Progressive rock and art rock performers of the 1960s and 1970s did many virtuosic instrumental performances.
Rising Force is the first studio album by guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen, released on 5 March 1984 through Polydor Records. The album reached No. 14 on the Swedish albums chart, No. 60 on the US Billboard 200, and received a nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance at the 1986 Grammy Awards. It is regarded as a landmark release in the shred and neoclassical metal genres.
Speed Metal Symphony is the first studio album by the American heavy metal band Cacophony, released in 1987 through Shrapnel Records.
Mike Varney is an American musician, record producer, music publisher and impresario. He is the founder of the Shrapnel Label Group, which includes Shrapnel Records, Tone Center Records and Blues Bureau International. He also has a 50% stake in Magna Carta Records, a New York-based label. Amazon.com currently lists over 790 albums as being released by record labels founded or owned by Mike Varney. He is often credited with being the individual most responsible for popularizing the mid-1980s shred guitar boom, and has continuously specialized in producing highly acclaimed musicians within the genres of instrumental rock, hard rock, jazz, jazz fusion, blues, blues-rock, progressive metal and speed metal.
Shrapnel Records is a guitar-oriented record label started in 1980 by record producer Mike Varney.
Racer X was an American heavy metal band formed in 1985 in Los Angeles, California. The group has gone through a hiatus, and a few lineup changes with bassist Juan Alderete and vocalist Jeff Martin being the sole constant members. The band is signed to Shrapnel Records.
Fire & Ice is the sixth studio album by guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen, released on 7 February 1992 through Elektra Records. The album topped the Japanese albums chart, reached No. 121 on the US Billboard 200 and charted within the top 90 in the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland.
The Seventh Sign is the seventh studio album by guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen, released on 9 May 1994.
Shred guitar or shredding is a virtuoso lead guitar solo playing style for the guitar, based on various advanced and complex playing techniques, particularly rapid passages and advanced performance effects. Shred guitar includes "fast alternate picking, sweep-picked arpeggios, diminished and harmonic scales, finger-tapping and whammy-bar abuse", It is commonly used in heavy metal guitar playing, where it is includes rapid tapping solos, fast scale and arpeggio runs and special effects such as whammy bar "dive bombs". Metal guitarists playing in a "shred" style use the electric guitar with a guitar amplifier and a range of electronic effects such as distortion, which create a more sustained guitar tone and facilitate guitar feedback effects.
Steeler was an early 1980s American heavy metal band best known for featuring Swedish guitar virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen upon his arrival in the United States. The band was founded in 1981 in Nashville, Tennessee by vocalist Ron Keel and released a sole album on Shrapnel Records in 1983 before morphing into Keel.
Economy picking is a guitar picking technique designed to maximize picking efficiency by combining alternate picking and sweep picking; it may also incorporate the use of legato in the middle of alternate picking passages as way to achieve higher speed with less pick strokes. Specifically:
Carl Johan Grimmark is a Swedish guitarist. He has appeared with several influential Christian metal bands including Narnia, Saviour Machine, and Rob Rock. He recently joined the band Beautiful Sin in 2006. He also has been a special guest guitarist on fellow Narnia bandmate Christian Liljegren's side projects Divinefire and Audiovision. He recently recorded his debut solo album that is set to be titled Grimmark, where he also handles the lead vocals. Grimmark's style of playing, especially on Narnia's earlier work, is often compared to the neo-classical metal stylings of Yngwie Malmsteen, or under a more broad genre, neo-classicism.
Mind's Eye is the first studio album by guitarist Vinnie Moore, released in 1986 through Shrapnel Records. Recorded in eleven days when Moore was 21 years old, the album was ranked third on the all-time top ten list of shred albums in a 2009 article by Guitar World magazine.
Steeler is the debut studio album by the American heavy metal band of the same name, released in 1983. It was largely recorded at Prairie Sun Studios in Cotati, California, about fifty miles north of San Francisco. It was the only album released by the band until a 2005 compilation album released by singer Ron Keel. After the album was released the band broke up. Guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen joined the band Alcatrazz, bassist Rik Fox would form Sin, drummer Mark Edwards signed on with Lion, while Ron Keel would spin off Steeler into Keel.
Street Lethal is the first studio album by the American heavy metal band Racer X, released on January 1, 1986 through Shrapnel Records. The instrumental track "Y.R.O." stands for "Yngwie Rip-Off", as it bears similarities to "Black Star" by guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen, with an almost identical bassline. It later appeared in the 2009 video game Brütal Legend.
Caprice No. 5 is one of 24 pieces composed by virtuoso violinist Niccolò Paganini in the early 19th century. The piece is known for its incredible speed and extremely high technical difficulty. Paganini is said to have been able to play it on one string, but there is no evidence to support or refute this.
Joey Tafolla is an American guitarist.
Chris Brooks is an Australian author, rock, metal and fusion guitarist most noted for his debut instrumental album The Master Plan and his subsequent work with members of Yngwie Malmsteen, Black Sabbath, Lana Lane, and fellow Australians LORD.
Artension is a North American neoclassical progressive metal band, founded in 1993 by keyboardist Vitalij Kuprij. The band split up after recording seven albums from 1996 to 2004, but reformed in 2016 with the intention of releasing an eighth album.