I can say a thing or two about this as a classically trained musician (singer and pianist).
SadisticCynic wrote:If I'm not mistaken, classical music focuses strongly on melody, whereas much modern music is more expressly interested in rhythm.
The whole point of extreme genres, like metal for instance, is that they focus almost entirely on rhythm. The use of harsh vocals is an extension of this.
Unfortunately, writing a simple, catchy rhythm is much easier than a complex melody, (or even a good rhythm-focused song) which seems to explain why most popular music is trash.
Classical music focuses on everything. Modern music, aka pop/rock, is today's equivalent of what folk music was a few hundred years ago; it isn't the updated version of what was basically aristocratic music in the past (i.e. classical music). We've still got aristocratic music, it's just for music snobs instead of rich people. There are many kinds of metal right now (especially now), and much of it focuses on being loud, much of it on being very melodic, and some of it is neoclassical or progressive. The main thing in common among various metal is the driving forward-momentum of the tempo, and the aggressive or expressionistic performance by the musicians, often involving show-boating. What makes pop music sell is that the songs feature very little variation within each song, featuring a basic verse, chorus and one 'hook' designed to stick in memory and be memorable (not good or bad, just that you remember it). Pop music is the aural equivalent of slogans or advertisements; their primary and sole material goal is to stick in your head, and actually selling it beyond that is a matter of hype and crowd control.
As for Leto II's taste in music, I giggled the first time I read GeoD, because I've long loved the music of Bach and hated that of Mozart (with a few exceptions). I fully agree that Mozart's music is pretentious; I'd even call it lame and 'mostly junk', although in music circles and universities I am a heathen to say so. It's important to remember that Mozart died at age 35, so we never got to hear what he'd have written had he matured and calmed down a little. Maybe the Requiem is an example of what was to come. One big difference between Bach and Mozart was that Bach wrote all of his music for a religious setting, to be played in churches, and perhaps he even wrote it with religious thoughts in mind. Mozart's music is, by contrast, 'about nothing,' just an exercise in technique.
A bit about fugues: The fugue is a music form involving the use of a theme (i.e. tune) that then becomes the fixated focus for the piece. The tune will be repeated in other registers, played with inversions (up-side down), played at times more quickly or slowly than you're used to hearing it, and it can be altered in other ways. Then there are 'counter-themes' that play at the same time, both contrasting with and also accentuating the different versions and evolution of the main theme over time. Ring any bells? This type of layered, multi-themed approach seems to bear resemblance to Frank's way of structuring Dune. Now remember this passage:
Dune Messiah wrote:The familiar melange fugue state began creeping into her awareness. She took
a deep breath, experienced a brittle form of calm, poised and selfless.
This sounds like an inside-joke pun to me. Medically a fugue state is "a rare psychiatric disorder characterized by reversible amnesia for personal identity, including the memories, personality, and other identifying characteristics of individuality." (Wiki) In other words, forgetting who you are. While this no doubt can happen during confusing spice (drug) overdoses, notice also the reference to the musical fugue here, as a prescient entering a 'fugue state' can be thought of as considering many layered levels of meaning and reality, all intertwining and being juxtaposed through time, changed, and yet the same.
Maybe Frank is making an analogy between having a prescient experience and listening to a fugue? I imagine he may have listened to some Bach while tripping, which would produce results I admit I haven't explored...