Nolan Stolz: Scholarship



Book: Experiencing Black Sabbath: A Listener's Companion
Available at all major online retailers (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.)

Listen to Stolz's interview on Mike Stark's L.A. Radio Sessions, where they talk about--and listen to--several Sabbath songs:

Watch and listen to Stolz's interview on MMH Radio (U.K.):

"A fascinating read covering the complete history of the band, the depth of analyses is astonishing, dealing with the minutia of every riff and nuance. This is the definitive work encompassing the music and a comprehensive and detailed analysis of the legendary group. Amazing work!" -- Laurence Cottle, former bassist, Black Sabbath

"Nolan Stolz has impressively found a way to add to the current writings on Black Sabbath, most notably with his detailed deconstruction of each song. The beauty of this approach lies in the novice and deep Sabbath fan alike inevitably and without choice scurrying back to the compositions to follow along with the author's professional postmortem." -- Martin Popoff, author of 70 music books, including three on Black Sabbath

"In this informative academic look at the music of Black Sabbath, composer and music professor Stolz undertakes a song-by-song analysis of many of the band's recordings, from its 1970 self-titled debut to its The End tour in 2016. Stolz meticulously explores what made Sabbath's music so heavy: the 'frightening' sound of the band's reliance on the tritone (the interval between two notes long known by classical composers as the 'devil in music'), which was heavily used in the blues-influenced music of early Sabbath. He also explains how the 'dreadfully slow' tempos made many songs feel 'doomy.' Stolz expertly shows how, in their later albums, Sabbath pursued a progressive sound by incorporating tempo changes, dissonance, and variety of rhythms.... Stolz's analysis is insightful.... This is a volume for die-hard Sabbath fans. " -- Publisher's Weekly

"How will history treat Black Sabbath? Perhaps, after all, it really is the music that matters. Beyond the image, the social commentary, and the personalities, it is that use of a tritone or that extension of the blues, or that sudden, shocking high note, that merits our attention. This is what Stolz's book seeks, with precise scholarship and passion for the subject, to persuade us to believe." -- Kenneth LaFave, composer and author of Experiencing Film Music

The Emergence of Heavy Metal and Progressive Rock in Black Sabbath's Music from 1969 to 1971
Presentation at Progect 2020: Fourth International Conference on Progressive Rock: University of Ottawa (May 2020)
See Stolz's "Prog Sabbath" project

"A Rumination on Black Sabbath's Birmingham and the Value of Music Tourism,"
in "Music Heritage, People, and Place," ed. Paul Long, special issue, Riffs Journal (September): 16-19.

"More Than Metal: Black Sabbath's Use of Blues, Classical, Jazz, Prog and other Musical Styles."
Home of Metal Symposium and Workshop: Music Heritage, People and Place. Birmingham City University (U.K.), Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research, September 2019
See Stolz's "Prog Sabbath" project

Tommy Twelvetone and the Development of Atonal Aural Skills."
MACRO Musicians' Workshop (Madison, WI), June 2018

Progressive Rock Elements in Black Sabbath's Music from 1981 to 2016
Presentations at: Third International Conference on Progressive Rock: Lund, Sweden (May 2018)
College Music Society Pacific Southwest Regional Conference (Las Vegas, NV), March 2018
See Stolz's "Prog Sabbath" project

"Progressive Rock Elements in Black Sabbath's Music from 1972 to 1980"
In Prog Rock in Europe: Overview of a Persistent Musical Style, eds. Philippe Gonin et al., Dijon: Editions Universitaires de Dijon, pp. 143-150, 2016
Presentation at First International Conference on Progressive Rock: Dijon, France (December 2014)
See Stolz's "Prog Sabbath" project

Jazz Sabbath: The Curious Case of Black Sabbath's "Air Dance" from Never Say Die! (1978)
Presentations at: College Music Society National Conference (Santa Fe, NM), October 2016
Claflin Pop Music Symposium (Orangeburg, SC), April 2017
SC Upstate Research Symposium (Spartanburg, SC), April 2017
Paper available in the conference proceedings, pp. 108-111

From Jazz to Prog in Five Minutes: Progressive Rock as Teleological Goal in Chick Corea's "King Cockroach" (1986)
Presentation at Second International Conference on Progressive Rock: Edinburgh, Scotland (May 2016)

A Neo-Schenkerian Hearing of Chick Corea's "King Cockroach" (1986)
Presentation at Society for Music Theory National Conference: St. Louis, MO (October/November 2015)
Conference handout

"Teaching Jazz Improvisation Using Macro-Analytical Techniques"
in Musical Insights, Vol. 4 (2015), pp. 35-54. PDF

Unity and Distortion in Peter Maxwell Davies's Eight Songs for a Mad King
Music Theory Midwest: Appleton, WI (April 2014) PDF of lecture script
South Central Society for Music Theory Annual Meeting: Oxford, MS (March 2014)
College Music Society South Central Regional Conference: Fort Smith, AR (March 2014)

"Composing the Lincoln Highway Songs."
in The Lincoln Highway Forum 20/2 (Spring), pg. 23.

"Ka Haku Mele Āina a Ho'oipoipo: Programmatic Elements in My Hawaiian-Themed Compositions"
Proceedings of the 2013 Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities, Honolulu, HI. PDF

Walking the Circle: Circle Progressions and Modulation in Johnny Cash's "I Walk The Line"
MACRO conference in Madison, WI (June 2012) simplified YouTube version

Fractional Set Theory: A System for the Analysis of Microtonal Music (newer version)
Second International Conference on Analytical Approaches to World Music. Vancouver, BC (May 2012) AAWM Handout
College Music Society Great Lakes Conference (March 2012) Lecture Notes, Handout
College Music Society Southern Conference (February 2012)

Filling in the Blanks: A creative macro assignment for theory and composition students
MACRO conference in Madison, WI (June 2010)

Fractional Set Theory: A System for the Analysis of Microtonal Music (older version)
Paper read at College Music Society Pacific Southwest Conference (February 2011)
Lecture at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, March 17, 2009.
Poster-presentation at College Music Society National Conference in Minneapolis, MN, September 24, 2010
Poster-presentation at College Music Society Northeast Conference in Quincy, Massachusetts, March 20, 2009

"Macro Analysis of Jazz as a Compositional Tool"
Lecture given at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, January 16, 2009
Paper-presentation at SCI Region VI Conference at Oklahoma City University. February 24, 2009
Paper-presentation at SCI National Conference in Santa Fe, NM. April 4, 2009

Contrapuntal Techniques in Schoenberg's Fourth String Quartet."
Eunomios. August 2008.

Macro Analysis Applied to Jazz Education
Poster given at MACRO Workshop, June 13, 2008 in Madison, Wisconsin.

"Tonal Implications of the [027] Chord."
Presentation at The Hartt School, September 19, 2007 in West Hartford, Connecticut.

A Narrative to Mahler's Second Symphony Based on the Text, Program Notes, Letters, Analyses and Deep Listening