The Becomings of Satanist Musicianship : A study of how black metal musicians describe their learning processes

The Becomings of Satanist Musicianship : A study of how black metal musicians describe their learning processes

The last twenty years the focus of music educational research has widened to involve more than institutional settings for learning music. In Europe, researchers such as Lucy Green, Even Ruud, Anna-Karin Gullberg and Göran Folkestad lead the way for a wave of research of “informal learning processes” in/of music. Musical learning has later been studied in as varied environments as Hip-Hop communities, Punk, online learning of Country and western and Opera and so forth. Studies have even been performed where learning processes inspired by these less institutionalised settings have informed traditional classroom pedagogies. The main body of this research has though been on music genres and practices that always had or lately have acquired a fairly high level of cultural capital in Western society and are accepted as fairly politically correct expressions. This study will instead focus on one of the more extreme styles – both sonically and in ideological terms – of music around today: Black metal.Some research has been made on Black metal mainly from a sociological perspective or/and religious perspective, but also with some musicological/philosophical streaks (Bogue 2004). Bossius (2003) and Kahn-Harris (2007) are two pioneering researchers with their studies on the extreme metal scene, with its equally extreme expressions relating to violence, Satanism and fascism. Granholm (2011) and Forsberg (2010) investigate the Black metal scene from a religious perspective and uses Partridge’s (2005) concept of Re-enchantment and Occulture. The concept of re-enchantment can briefly be understood as a description of the post-modern era as characterized by a spiritual rebirth that focuses on personal development and well-being rather than institutional worship. Partridge also argues that the perception of today’s Western society is secular, to a great extent is incorrect – thus religious practice only have shifted expression. The other term, Occulture, can be considered as a mixture of Occult and Culture, where culture primarily should be interpreted and understood in terms of popular culture.This study departs from a wonder of how young people choose to play a genre that is considered bad on all levels by the majority of the society; Black metal, as well as how the young people who have chosen to play Black metal describe the learning processes musically as well as socially and intellectually that leads up to becoming a Black metal musician.The aim of is hence to analyse the musical learning stories of five young black metal musicians from a music educational perspective inspired by the sociological theories of Pierre Bourdieu and the educational theories of John Dewey.

by Thomas von Wachenfeldt and Ketil Thorgersen


“The Becomings of Satanist Musicianship: A Study of How Black Metal Musicians Describe Their Learning Processes” sounds like a fascinating research topic exploring the intersection of music, culture, and belief systems. Black metal is a subgenre of heavy metal music known for its extreme aesthetics, themes, and often controversial subject matter, including themes of Satanism, occultism, and anti-religious sentiment.

Here’s how such a study might be approached:

1. **Research Scope**: The study would begin by defining the scope and objectives, including the specific aspects of “Satanist musicianship” to be explored and the population of black metal musicians to be studied.

2. **Literature Review**: A comprehensive review of existing literature on black metal music, Satanism, music education, and cultural studies would provide context and background for the study.

3. **Methodology**: The study would outline its research methodology, including data collection methods (e.g., interviews, surveys, participant observation), sample selection criteria, and ethical considerations.

4. **Data Collection**: Researchers might conduct interviews or surveys with black metal musicians to explore how they describe their learning processes, including their musical influences, educational experiences, and personal beliefs. Participant observation of black metal music scenes and events could provide additional insights.

5. **Analysis**: Qualitative analysis techniques, such as thematic analysis or discourse analysis, would be used to identify patterns, themes, and discourses in the data related to Satanist musicianship and learning processes.

6. **Findings**: The study would present its findings, highlighting key themes, narratives, and insights derived from the data. This might include descriptions of how black metal musicians conceptualize and cultivate their musical skills within the context of their Satanic beliefs and identities.

7. **Discussion**: The findings would be discussed in relation to existing literature and theoretical frameworks, exploring implications for our understanding of music education, cultural identity, and the intersection of music and religion.

8. **Conclusion**: The study would conclude with a summary of its main findings, contributions, limitations, and recommendations for future research.

Overall, “The Becomings of Satanist Musicianship” would contribute to our understanding of how individuals engage with music as a form of cultural expression and personal identity within the context of black metal music and Satanic belief systems.

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