Metalcore Music. Part 2 - Harmony

author: xASxIxLAYx date: 09/22/2006 category: music styles
rating: 8.1 / votes: 43 

Introduction To Harmony

One of the many things I love in metalcore is the guitar, the great heavy riffs. So how do yo make a heavy riff into a "great" heavy riff you ask? Harmony is the solution. For people who don't know what harmony is, it's pretty much, adding a guitar and changing it's riffs slightly. Harmony is a great way to add more depth to a song simply by writing a riff were guitar one plays something and guitar two plays the same thing but higher on the fretboard (at a certain interval).

Basic Theory

These will help you figure out what notes you should play to harmonize a certain note at a certain interval.
2nds

C D E F G A B C
D E F G A B C D

3rds

C D E F G A B C
E F G A B C D E

4ths

C D E F G A B C
F G A B C D E F

5th

C D E F G A B C 
G A B C D E F G

6th

C D E F G A B C
A B C D E F G A

7th

C D E F G A B C
B C D E F G A B

8th <--- octave

C D E F G A B C
C D E F G A B C
Ok now you may be quite confused with these. This is how we use them:
|-------------------||
|-------------------||
|-------------------||
|-------------------||
|-----3---2---0---2-||
|-1-1---1---1---1---||
Lets say you want this riff to be harmonized in 3rd's. You would find out what the notes are.
|-------------------||
|-------------------||
|-------------------||
|-------------------||
|-----C---B---A---B-||
|-F-F---F---F---F---||
Now that you know what are the notes (F C B A) You go back to the rule I wrote you and look for the interval that you want. So we said we wanted the riff in 3rd's. So:
3rds

C D E F G A B C
E F G A B C D E
Now remember this: the first line of notes is the current interval, the second line is the notes but in the interval chosen. So we said the notes were F C B A. Now look at the chart and look at the new notes in the new interval. They are A E D C. F=A, C=E, B=D, A=C. Now you need to rewrite the riff a 3rd higher (with the new notes we chose).
|-------------------||
|-------------------||
|-------------------||
|-------------------||
|-----7---5---3---5-||
|-5-5---5---5---5---||
Bingo! This is the original riff but in 3rd.

Harmonized Riffs

Ok I tried my best to make it very easy for people who are music theory dummies to understand it. Now I shall tab some metalcore style examples with a bit more theory behind it. "Rose of Sharyn" Intro/Verse by KillSwitch Engage (tuning: C G C F A D)
Guitar 1 and 2
D|-------------------------------------------------||
A|-------------------------------------------------||
F|-------------------------------------------------||
C|---------------8---7-----------------------------||
G|-0-------------6---5-----------1---0-----------0-||
C|-0-0-0-0-0-0-0---0---0-0-0-0-0-1-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-||
pm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

Harmonized Part.

Guitar 1 (Adam)
D|-------------------------||
A|-------------------------||
F|---3-2h3p2p0-------------||
C|-------------2h3p2p0-3/5-||
G|---------------------1/3-||
C|-0-----------------------||
pm .

Guitar 2 (Joel)
D|--------------------------||
A|--------------------------||
F|--------------------------||
C|---8-7h8p7p0--------------||
G|-------------7h8p7p0-8/10-||
C|-0-------------------8/10-||
pm .
For the first half of the song's intro both guitarist play the same riff, then they peel off into a harmonized lick, where Adam plays the exact same notes but higher on the neck. And if you did you homeworks correctly you will know he plays it an 8th higher or an octave higher (same thing). "When Darkness Falls" mosh riff (starts at 2:28) by KillSwitch Engage (tuning: C G C F A D).
Guitar 1 (Adam)
D|--------------------------------------------------------------------||
A|--------------------------------------------------------------------||
F|-----------------------------------------------10h12p10-------------||
C|-------------------------------------------------------13-12-10-12*-||
G|-0-0-0-1--1-0-0-0-4-3-1-3-1-0-1--0-0-0-1--1-0-----------------------||
C|-0-0-0-1--1-0-0-0-4-3-1-3-1-0-1--0-0-0-1--1-0-----------------------||
pm . . . .  . . . . . . . . . .

Guitar 2 (Joel)
D|---------------------------------------------------------------||
A|---------------------------------------------------------------||
F|-----------------------------------------------7h8p7-----------||
C|-----------------------------------------------------10-8-7-8*-||
G|-0-0-0-1--1-0-0-0-4-3-1-3-1-0-1--0-0-0-1--1-0------------------||
C|-0-0-0-1--1-0-0-0-4-3-1-3-1-0-1--0-0-0-1--1-0------------------||
pm . . . .  . . . . . . . . . .
This riff is another example where Killswitch Engage guitarists really use two guitars at there best. For the most part both play the same heavy breakdown-style riff except in the end where they break into a harmonized lick. Once again Adam plays higher (a 3rd) than Joel. "Bat Country" Sweep Harmony Leads (during solo, starts at 2:49) by Avenged Sevenfold (tuning: D A D G B E).
Guitar 1 (Gates)
E|-13^----------------------13----------------------12----------------------||
B|-----15----------------15----15----------------15-------12-------------12-||
G|--------14----------14----------14----------14-------13----13-13----13----||
D|-----------15-12-15----------------15-12-15----------------------14-------||
A|--------------------------------------------------------------------------||
D|--------------------------------------------------------------------------||

Guitar 2 (Vengeance)
E|-17--13----------------13-17-13----------------13-16-12-------------------||
B|--------15----------15----------15----------15----------15-12-------12-15-||
G|-----------14----14----------------14----14----------------------13-------||
D|--------------15----------------------15----------------------14----------||
A|--------------------------------------------------------------------------||
D|--------------------------------------------------------------------------||
Vengeance plays these pretty challenging arpeggio's a 3rd higher then Gates does. At first it may look hard to play, but like I said in the previous lesson. Seperate it into parts and learn them slowly. Then when you memorized all the notes, try playing it faster. And when your good enough, play it along with the song. Now if you want to learn a great metalcore genre solo with harmonies, learn the solo to "A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation". they're is a great tab of the solo on UG. So I hope I have helped you a bit with harmonies and have given you some good riffs to practice. Please Note: all riffs were tabbed by me and not copied off anybody.
More xASxIxLAYx lessons:
+ Metalcore Music. Part 1 - The Beginning Music Styles 09/15/2006
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