Page 1 of 2
#1
ok so basically im self taught and have been playing for 4 years and i have technique down pretty good i can sweep and so all that jazz but i lack theory of course haha i was want to know like bands such a whitechapel the faceless what kind of scales do they use is it like chromatic harmonic minor that switches to minor or is it just **** that sounds good to them
thanks
Grinding at your head with my bone saw breaking zygoma
#2
Death metal, and even thrash are considered music styles where no music theory is needed in order to play them. It is actually true, if something sounds good, no metalhead will give a crap in which scale it is played. Even though many bands do tend to play using the theory because it can be a lot easier to make melodies and riffs.

If you ever listened to Nile, they play in octaves A LOT, and some basic theory and techniques for such things are helping you to get the "evil" tone wanted in death metal.
#3
If you're talking riff-wise - yeah, throw traditional scales out the window. A lot of death metal is completely atonal. Just about any note is fair game. In fact, that sort of stuff sounds a lot better if you avoid the conventions of harmony altogether.

But in the realm of lead guitar, a lot of those bands can be pretty damn melodic. You're on the right track there, minor scales, harmonic minor, lots of chromatic stuff thrown in there. A lot of that may be accidental though, as those guys are probably just playing what happens to sound good to them.
#4
Quote by snakesson
Death metal, and even thrash are considered music styles where no music theory is needed in order to play them. It is actually true, if something sounds good, no metalhead will give a crap in which scale it is played. Even though many bands do tend to play using the theory because it can be a lot easier to make melodies and riffs.

If you ever listened to Nile, they play in octaves A LOT, and some basic theory and techniques for such things are helping you to get the "evil" tone wanted in death metal.


This is the most ignorant and incorrect comment of the year. Thrash and death metal don't need theory? Hahahaha. Maybe some bands can get by with no knowledge of theory, but a vast majority of these bands know theory. When bands just shred chromatics, they don't get too far. I have a hard time believing that you listen to metal.
#5
I think you're reading too much into his statement. It's certainly true that a lot of extreme metal bands avoid any sort of traditional music theory when composing music. That's what makes it wound the way it does.

That doesn't necessarily mean that they're ignorrant of it or lesser musicians.
#6
Quote by Metalhead_28
I think you're reading too much into his statement. It's certainly true that a lot of extreme metal bands avoid any sort of traditional music theory when composing music. That's what makes it wound the way it does.

That doesn't necessarily mean that they're ignorrant of it or lesser musicians.


There is a huge difference between choosing to avoid certain melodic patterns and not knowing that they exist, though.
#7
Quote by Gordita Supreme
There is a huge difference between choosing to avoid certain melodic patterns and not knowing that they exist, though.



There is also a big difference in stating that, "theory is not needed to write death metal" and "people who write death metal don't know any theory".

That's all I'm saying.
#8
Quote by Metalhead_28
I think you're reading too much into his statement. It's certainly true that a lot of extreme metal bands avoid any sort of traditional music theory when composing music. That's what makes it wound the way it does.

That doesn't necessarily mean that they're ignorrant of it or lesser musicians.


Exactly my point.
#9
in death metal, theory is quite handy to know, if you don't you'll usually just end up getting lost in a big atonal mess, esp when you're trying to write harmonies for your complex riffs
My Band =]
We play some goffic pish
Its fun

Leave us a comment, we'll get back to you =]
#11
well, the time signature often changes between riffs and lots of phrases are palm muted. the scales i use are almost always harmonic/minor and whole half diminished scales in a mix of 68, 9/8 and 7/8 time signatures.

I like to write death metal using complex melodies and a heavy rhythm beneath it, using the minor scale with a few bars of harmonic minor, and diminished7 arpeggios. for the bass i like to have them playing lines based on the rhythm sections, but on stronger beats playing a minor third from the 5th interval chord that the guitarist would be playing, eg. the guitarist would play D5 and the bassist would play an F

i also like to harmonize in thirds and use octaves for a sinister sound. another tip is to cut a strong riff's time signature and shove an out of place octave legato lick to sound out of place and generally better for my metal likings.

with solos i always use the same rhythm as for the verse/ chorus/ hook/ any other riff from the song underneath it, as well as the same scale that i would have used over it. this makes sure that the solo sounds like it fits in the song . alot of death metal bands also like to make good use of technical skills such as really fast alternate/sweep picking towards the end of a solo to give you something more incomprehensible, i love playing those parts harmonized in major or minor thirds - even switching between the two, for an odd sound at the end of a solo.

hope this helped

"The mind is its own place, and in itself

Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n"

- John Milton, Paradise Lost
#12
Quote by skymaster5000
ok so basically im self taught and have been playing for 4 years and i have technique down pretty good i can sweep and so all that jazz but i lack theory of course haha i was want to know like bands such a whitechapel the faceless what kind of scales do they use is it like chromatic harmonic minor that switches to minor or is it just **** that sounds good to them
thanks

I think the faceless know theory, I mean they are pretty techy so they probably know some. Gorguts guitarist learned classical theory and composes modern classical, look how f'n awesome they are!!!
#13
Quote by Metalhead_28
I think you're reading too much into his statement. It's certainly true that a lot of extreme metal bands avoid any sort of traditional music theory when composing music. That's what makes it wound the way it does.

That doesn't necessarily mean that they're ignorrant of it or lesser musicians.


How do they "avoid" theory? All of their music can be explained theoretically (and is most certainly not atonal, though atonal music can be explained theoretically as well).
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#14
Quote by Archeo Avis
How do they "avoid" theory? All of their music can be explained theoretically (and is most certainly not atonal, though atonal music can be explained theoretically as well).



I said "traditional" music theory. I think my meaning there is obvious.
#15
Quote by Metalhead_28
I said "traditional" music theory. I think my meaning there is obvious.


How can you avoid theory? It describes everything you play traditional or not. It doesn't dictate what you do, it explains it.
#16


Traditional theory for most people would steer them in a certain direction with their note choices, chord progressions, etc. What I mean is that a lot of death metal players avoid that specifically and simply pick notes out at random to construct a riff, without regard to implying any traditional scale. I realize that there is always some kind of theory behind everything, but what I mean in this case is that it's unconscious.
#17
In furtherance of my point, I've known several death metal players who wrote absolutely ridiculous riffs who had no knowledge of theory whatsoever. If I analyzed what they were playing I might be able to define it in some theoretical way, but it would be a waste of time because the theory behind it has no influence on where the music will go.

Is that concept really impossible for you guys to swallow?
#18
Quote by Metalhead_28
In furtherance of my point, I've known several death metal players who wrote absolutely ridiculous riffs who had no knowledge of theory whatsoever. If I analyzed what they were playing I might be able to define it in some theoretical way, but it would be a waste of time because the theory behind it has no influence on where the music will go.

Is that concept really impossible for you guys to swallow?


You don't have to play certain notes... there is nothing saying you have to resolve a note to another one. Theory doesn't influence where it goes it just describes what it is. I don't think you know music theory.
#19
Quote by Metalhead_28
If you're talking riff-wise - yeah, throw traditional scales out the window. A lot of death metal is completely atonal. Just about any note is fair game. In fact, that sort of stuff sounds a lot better if you avoid the conventions of harmony altogether.

But in the realm of lead guitar, a lot of those bands can be pretty damn melodic. You're on the right track there, minor scales, harmonic minor, lots of chromatic stuff thrown in there. A lot of that may be accidental though, as those guys are probably just playing what happens to sound good to them.


Chromaticism and atonality are very, very different things. Death metal definitely has a key (most of the time, of course), usually the note of the lowest string.

And as for snakesson, theory is not something that metal bands "don't need." Theory is not something that is used or not used. Since theory is descriptive, it always exists.
Quote by dudetheman
So what? I wasted like 5 minutes watching DaddyTwoFoot's avatar.


Metalheads are the worst thing that ever happened to metal.
#20
I take it by the bands you mentioned you mean more deathcore than death metal?
#21
Quote by blueriver
You don't have to play certain notes... there is nothing saying you have to resolve a note to another one. Theory doesn't influence where it goes it just describes what it is. I don't think you know music theory.



You're going to tell me that having a good knowledge of music theory is not ever going to influence your note choices? What good is knowing it?

You guys are being way too literal and ridiculously anal about everything I'm saying here. It's good for a laugh, I've got to admit.
#22
Quote by Metalhead_28
You're going to tell me that having a good knowledge of music theory is not ever going to influence your note choices? What good is knowing it?

You guys are being way too literal and ridiculously anal about everything I'm saying here. It's good for a laugh, I've got to admit.


Sure it can, but it doesn't have to. Your making it out to be some method you can just ignore. I don't care if a guitarist makes a riff using random notes and he reads tablature, that doesn't affect the fact that music theory is still going explain what he is doing.
#23
Quote by Metalhead_28
I said "traditional" music theory. I think my meaning there is obvious.


It isn't. What is "traditional music theory" supposed to mean?
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#24
Quote by blueriver
Sure it can, but it doesn't have to. Your making it out to be some method you can just ignore. I don't care if a guitarist makes a riff using random notes and he reads tablature, that doesn't affect the fact that music theory is still going explain what he is doing.


No ****? Really?

Okay, so does he need to know and understand that theory before he writes the piece? - because that was the original poster's question.

He didn't ask if it could be explained by theory afterwards - he asked if he should know the theory beforehand in order to write it.

That is what all of my answers have had to do with, I don't know what the hell all you other guys are carrying on about.....


I'm going to go talk to my wall for a while.
Last edited by Metalhead_28 at Feb 11, 2009,
#25
Quote by Archeo Avis
It isn't. What is "traditional music theory" supposed to mean?



You know, the diatonic modes, tertian harmonies, all of the stuff that people who write traditional music are familiar with.
#26
Perhaps I should have said, most extreme metal is chromatic, although occasionally emphasizing the minor modes. However - just play what sounds cool rather than thinking about the theory beforehand.

Would that have kept the wolves at bay? :p
#27
Quote by Metalhead_28
You know, the diatonic modes, tertian harmonies, all of the stuff that people who write traditional music are familiar with.


...what? I think you mean "the stuff people who write a specific subset of Western music are familiar with". Apparently you're unfamiliar with every style of music outside of North America, and pretty much every style of music that evolved in North America since the Romantic period.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#28
Quote by Archeo Avis
...what? I think you mean "the stuff people who write a specific subset of Western music are familiar with". Apparently you're unfamiliar with every style of music outside of North America, and pretty much every style of music that evolved in North America since the Romantic period.



You know exactly what I'm talking about, dude. Don't play this game.

You just want to argue about this so you can play the smart guy, so what's the point of even responding to you any further? I pegged your type a few posts back, and you'll get nothing out of me but a shrug and a laugh.

Go ahead and tell me I don't know **** if it makes you feel better.
#29
Quote by Metalhead_28
There is also a big difference in stating that, "theory is not needed to write death metal" and "people who write death metal don't know any theory".

That's all I'm saying.


But the first statement isn't a good one. Theory isn't NEEDED (technically) in any genre. It is massively beneficial to know theory for all genres, though.

Quote by Metalhead_28

What I mean is that a lot of death metal players avoid that specifically and simply pick notes out at random to construct a riff.


Speak for yourself dude! That is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard! Sit down and pick random notes and then throw them together for a riff? Hahaha, seriously, do you even listen to death metal.. or music at all? I don't even know where you would get the idea that because death metal is sometimes chromatic that it is therefore random.
Last edited by Gordita Supreme at Feb 11, 2009,
#30
Is this forum only about arguing, or is there some other mysterious purpose that I haven't discovered yet?
#31
Quote by Metalhead_28
Is this forum only about arguing, or is there some other mysterious purpose that I haven't discovered yet?


You can just admit you were wrong in saying death metal is usually "random".

Chromatic and random are not related.... at all.
#33
Quote by Gordita Supreme

Speak for yourself dude! That is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard! Sit down and pick random notes and then throw them together for a riff? Hahaha, seriously, do you even listen to death metal.. or music at all? I don't even know where you would get the idea that because death metal is sometimes chromatic that it is therefore random.


Haha....Yes, I've been listening to death metal for at least 18 years. I've played it for a significant portion of that as well and have enjoyed comaraderie with several of its practitioners and sat through countless writing sessions and often gotten quite a laugh out of the way people compose riffs. It happens.
I didn't say that everybody does that in death metal, there are certainly some bands that are very structured and very melodic - but there are some that definitely don't think about the theory behind the notes they choose. I'm not saying that based on my interpretations of recordings, I'm saying that based on my experience working with people.
My point was simply that they're only thinking about the sound, not the theory behind it. That was what the original poster was talking about.

Can you guys just think about these things in a more relaxed and casual state of mind instead of being so psycho militant about it? Jesus.
#34
Quote by Gordita Supreme
You can just admit you were wrong in saying death metal is usually "random".

Chromatic and random are not related.... at all.


Okay, what exactly is the difference?

Bear in mind I'm talking about the conception of a riff here, not the theory you would describe it with afterwards, but I've already made that clear.

For example, I don't go into writing a riff thinking, "I'm going to do this thing in F# Phrygian dominant", I go into a riff thinking, I'm going to play this note here twice and then I'm going to poke around at all these other notes to see which one fits the best with what I want this to sound like. If that cannot be considered "random" I don't know what would. My random experimentation might end up giving me a riff lifted perfectly out of a familiar scale, but it's not usually because I planned it that way.

Sometimes I write a riff based entirely on numerical fret positions because some trail of digits has some obscure signifigance to me. I've written phone number riffs, prime number riffs, all manner of mathematically derived riffs, riffs that have symmetrical fingerings without thought to the theory behind them. What of riffs that are written only because the fingering is easy even if they sound dissonant and jarring? Tons of bands do that.

If you ask me, in terms of music theory, all of these devices are random.
#35
I play death metal and I always use theory its ignorant to say most death metal bands just hit random notes.
Quote by Stress Cow
You know you're fucked up when the pit thinks you're a sick bastard.
#36
Quote by theocao
I play death metal and I always use theory its ignorant to say most death metal bands just hit random notes.


Good for you!
#37
I don't know about you guys, but I've read for years and years about guys who wrote awesome music and claim to have absolutely no knowledge of music theory.

I don't understand how you guys can be so adamant that you have to know the theory to write the music. It happens all the time people.
#38
I guess if it works for you then cool. You can use whatever "device" you want, but I still don't see your point. Theory is present always no matter how you try and justify your way around it. You don't write with theory, you establish what you have done. I don't sit down and work out a song before I play it, so am I writing without theory?
#39
Quote by Metalhead_28
I don't know about you guys, but I've read for years and years about guys who wrote awesome music and claim to have absolutely no knowledge of music theory.

I don't understand how you guys can be so adamant that you have to know the theory to write the music. It happens all the time people.


No one is saying that dude. People are arguing with you because you grossly missuse words. Playing chromatically doesn't mean you are hitting random notes. I don't know how to explain it in any more simplistic terms than that... but random implies a certain... guessing and such. Playing chromatic notes is done on purpose.
#40
Quote by blueriver
I guess if it works for you then cool. You can use whatever "device" you want, but I still don't see your point. Theory is present always no matter how you try and justify your way around it. You don't write with theory, you establish what you have done. I don't sit down and work out a song before I play it, so am I writing without theory?



This all stemmed from me saying that some death metal players "avoid theory" when writing music. Can you guys take a realistic approach to understanding my point please?

Let me just give an example. I know the natural minor scale very intimately. I've learned to play it all over the neck and I've used it for years and years. It's a staple of heavy metal. Often when I start to try and construct a riff, I end up conforming to those intervals even unconsciously because it sounds "correct".
All that I mean when I say "avoiding traditional theory" is that I'll make an effort to ignore those tendencies. I'll purposely select notes outside of what sounds correct because I want the riff to have a different flavor. Maybe I'll actually end up using a diminished scale or something, but it's accidental. Afterwards I might recognize it and say, "hey that is a whole/half diminished scale", but sometimes I won't. It doesn't make any difference to me if I recognize it or not.

I don't know how I can be any more clear about what I mean by saying "avoiding theory". All I'm really referring to is playing by ear. And you can carry on doing that as long as you want without ever taking the time to understand the theory behind it.

You guys seem conditioned to attack anybody who makes a statement about music theory without an accompanying doctoral thesis. Chill out a little bit, jeez.
Page 1 of 2