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postmedieval

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 466–481 | Cite as

Black Sabbath Purgatus: Medievalizing heavy metal

  • Kirsten YriEmail author
Article
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Abstract

This essay explores the medieval ensemble Rondellus’s tribute album to Black Sabbath, Sabbatum (Beg the Bug 211200-002, 2002), and the extent to which instrumental timbre, vocality, rhythm, and musical setting help communicate ‘authentic’ medieval music. Of paramount interest is the way in which these performance practice elements are directed by the emotional expression consistent with the genres. Most of the Black Sabbath songs chosen perform emotions that range from anger and aggression to bitterness and pain. They do so through musico-emotional codes that communicate the body’s physicality: snarled or shouted vocals, distorted bass and guitar, pounding drums, and melodies characterized more by rhythm than pitch. Rondellus’s adaptation of Black Sabbath’s musical codes and emotional register is positioned against Ute Frevert’s theorization of emotional display as governed by social etiquette. The body in Rondellus’s ‘medieval’ music thus appears emotionally controlled, suggesting interiority and restraint.

Notes

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of MusicWilfrid Laurier UniversityWaterlooCanada

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