Finnish Heavy Metal Goes To University

April 11, 2015

As heavy metal music and the subculture related to it is particularly strong in Finland, and Finnish heavy metal is recognized worldwide as a key manifestation of this musical style, it is only natural that Finland's leading university, the University Of Helsinki, offers this summer a three-week academic course about the history of heavy metal music and its importance in contemporary western society.

The course is led by PhD candidate Paolo Ribaldini, heavy metal musician and singer himself, whose research at the University Of Helsinki is focused on varied sociological, semiotic, and philosophical aspects of heavy metal musical practices and recent development of heavy music singing.

Ribaldini's educational background involves classical and popular music practice, musicology, philosophy, and philosophy of music and he is particularly interested and enthusiast about the classic heavy metal bands from the seventies and the eighties. His musical talent was also present in this year's "The Voice Of Finland", where he successfully progressed under the guidance of former NIGHTWISH singer Tarja Turunen.

According to Ribaldini, the research about heavy metal is a developing field which needs interested and enthusiastic researchers. However, it still lacks multidisciplinarity, which is what he wants to foster through his multidisciplinary course that encourages collaboration between students from different academic backgrounds. Ribaldini is hoping to gather in Helsinki a group of advanced Bachelor's or Master's students of musical practice, humanities, social sciences, psychology and pedagogy who have a common passion for heavy metal music and who are willing to share they own expertise with the others.

Ribaldini's aim is to spotlight the importance of heavy metal music in western musical culture, its historical development and the characteristics of the subculture related to it. He wants the students to achieve competences in music critique, musical theory, the sociology of music, music semiotics and cultural studies to better understand and appreciate heavy metal. Furthermore, he also wants to give the participants a solid basis to critically understand popular music genres other than heavy metal.

Ribaldini promises that an important part of the course is about listening to a lot of good music and going to gigs where the participants will get to know the local heavy metal scene.

The world certainly needs more heavy metal doctors like Ribaldini!

More information about the summer course is available at

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