From the Stage to the Pit: Instrument Roles in and the Cultural Significance of Time Feels in Post-Millennial Metal Music

Jose Garza, Texas State University

Trevor de Clercq (2016) emphasizes the importance of time feels for determining measure lengths and meter in popular music. Time feels are used by musicians in various genres to affect the way listeners perceive music by maintaining a tempo while making the music "seem" faster or slower. Despite their significance, however, scholarly discourse on time feels has remained sparse, limiting discussion to only the traditional "half time" and "double time" categories and centering mainly on the role of the drum set. Furthermore, the current literature focuses solely on theoretical aspects of time feels, without regard to their cultural impact. In this paper, I propose an expanded set of models for time feels that considers the role of all instruments in a band, not just the drums. I draw examples from post-millennial metal music, which frequently uses feels beyond the traditional categories, and whose culture exhibits particular responses to time feels.