#1
I decided to take my playing further and learn me some theory. Oringinals already dominate almost all of what i play, and ive read that deathmetal-metal in general doesnt really follow too much theory at all. Like i said i tho i just started learning the theory and wanted to know.
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#3
You read wrong! There's really nothing to 'follow' with theory. There are conventions but no one takes those seriously anymore. Start here: musictheory.net.

As you learn, start looking at your favorite metal songs/compositions analytically.
i don't know why i feel so dry
#5
so its not a waste of time to learn it then. clarifying.
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#6
Quote by OurRequiem
so its not a waste of time to learn it then. clarifying.


No, not at all, but there's one catch. It won't be worth anything to you unless you start using it. There are two things you have to do. 1) Write songs. Looks like you're already doing that. 2) Look at things theoretically. That's how practice becomes perfect.
i don't know why i feel so dry
#8
Quote by Eastwinn
No, not at all, but there's one catch. It won't be worth anything to you unless you start using it. There are two things you have to do. 1) Write songs. Looks like you're already doing that. 2) Look at things theoretically. That's how practice becomes perfect.


alright thanks for clarifying, i wasnt sure...but now i am.
-Peavey 6505+
-Bugera 333xl(w/6l6 pt's) -dead
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-LTD MH417
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#9
music theory can be applied to death metal, death metal is my favourite genre of music these days and im also studying a diploma of music for basiclly the same reasons as you stated in your post, to improve my songwritting ability and to be able to analyze the music i like and have a logical, systematic explanation of why it sounds good.

I think you will find that some areas of theory are very useful and will help you with death metal, for example understanding intervals and harmonies, dissonance and consonance, complex rhythm, scales and modes (particularly minor ones!) etc etc. But a lot of the big areas of theory won't be a lot of help (but that's just my opinion, from my experiences) for example a lot of death metal is atonal (it's not in any specific key), so whilst its great to know the circle of fifths and your key signatures, your not going to be writing death metal in b Major! (if you do let me know i would like to hear it!) A lot of theory on chords will be pretty useless for you as well, death metal does not use a lot of chords in the way that say jazz music does.

A lot of the scales used in death metal are not based in Western music as well, so unless you study music theory to a great depth, i.e to a university degree level, you wont cover it. Hell, I don't even know the name of the scale that I use to write a lot of death metal and I don know anyone who can tell me (pattern is Semitone, tone and a half, semitone, tone, semitone, tone and a half, semitone).

Bear in mind that Death Metal is one of the most complex and abstract styles of music, it uses blistering tempos, advanced techniques, abrupt time and tempo changes, heavily chromatisized riffs, it often lacks tonality, and uses exotic scales. thus the theory required to understand it, is very advanced (beyond me and beyond what im covering in my course). So be prepared for a lot of hard work if you want to be able to analyze death metal from a theory point of view the same way that you can for say jazz or classical music. You will also be required to study some stuff that may seem irrelevant but you will need to be able to understand more advanced topics.
These are just my own experiences though so keep that in mind!
I still have a shitload of theory to learn, so an expert may come in here and dismiss some of the things i have said.

At the end of the day, knowing music theory cant hurt you, it will only improve you as a musician, im sure metal isn't all you listen too as well
" It's about how it sounds, not how it's played "

F@CK EVERYTHING



Why be sober when you can
#10
^ Well, to be honest, it's kind of flawed thinking to decide that every arrangement of notes you used has to belong to a particular scale and that's what 'explains' it. Our brains typically relate everything to the major or the minor scale, so the best way to describe a scale is to state how it relates to either of those. Now, I'm not saying you should stop calling Phrygian Dominant by that name and start calling it Minor b2 nat3, I'm just saying that it's crucial to understand what makes Phrygian Dominant unique.
i don't know why i feel so dry
#11
Quote by deftools
Hell, I don't even know the name of the scale that I use to write a lot of death metal and I don know anyone who can tell me (pattern is Semitone, tone and a half, semitone, tone, semitone, tone and a half, semitone).


I'm not completely sure, but I think you're referring to the double-harmonic major scale.

Like the one used in the Pulp Fiction soundtrack song; Dick Dale and His Del Tones - Miserlou http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIU0RMV_II8
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#12
Quote by AlanHB
I'm not completely sure, but I think you're referring to the double-harmonic major scale.

Like the one used in the Pulp Fiction soundtrack song; Dick Dale and His Del Tones - Miserlou http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIU0RMV_II8


Thanks man! it does sound a bit like that, but this scale is "more evil " than the pulp fiction one, i don't think it would belong to the major scales, more likely some sort of variation on the harmonic minor, i'm sure it must be present in some classical music (there's a piece by the Russian composer Khachaturian that i THINK uses that scale, I haven't seen the score though) movies scores etc, it creates a really tense evil ambiance, i love it its replaced the harmonic minor as my favorite scale!
" It's about how it sounds, not how it's played "

F@CK EVERYTHING



Why be sober when you can
#13
Quote by Eastwinn
^ Well, to be honest, it's kind of flawed thinking to decide that every arrangement of notes you used has to belong to a particular scale and that's what 'explains' it. Our brains typically relate everything to the major or the minor scale, so the best way to describe a scale is to state how it relates to either of those. Now, I'm not saying you should stop calling Phrygian Dominant by that name and start calling it Minor b2 nat3, I'm just saying that it's crucial to understand what makes Phrygian Dominant unique.


im not sure if that was a reply to my above post, but if it was i don't think that every arrangement belongs to a certain group of notes, the fact i spoke about atonality should demonstrate this!!! i was merely using that scale as an example of how a lot of the music theory that can describe death metal , is not covered at the beginner to intermediate levels. All i said was that it was a scale that i use to write a lot of death metal, there is nothing flawed with that thinking, each scale interval chord or whatever has a unique sound and creates different moods, and thats why im learning music theory, for example if im composing something, and i think i would like a really grinding horror sounding chord or riff at some point in the song , i know something featuring a minor second or maybe an augmented fourth will fit the part. i think you have mis-interpreted what i was saying.
" It's about how it sounds, not how it's played "

F@CK EVERYTHING



Why be sober when you can
#14
Quote by deftools
Thanks man! it does sound a bit like that, but this scale is "more evil " than the pulp fiction one, i don't think it would belong to the major scales, more likely some sort of variation on the harmonic minor, i'm sure it must be present in some classical music (there's a piece by the Russian composer Khachaturian that i THINK uses that scale, I haven't seen the score though) movies scores etc, it creates a really tense evil ambiance, i love it its replaced the harmonic minor as my favorite scale!


How does your scale differ? I believe it's the same intervals as you stated.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#15
Quote by AlanHB
How does your scale differ? I believe it's the same intervals as you stated.


your right, i just looked up the double harmonic scale, that's the one!! thanks now i have a name for the sound, would never have thought it would fall under the major scale name umbrella, it sounds more closely related to the harmonic minor scale, but like i said earlier i still have a shit load to learn.
" It's about how it sounds, not how it's played "

F@CK EVERYTHING



Why be sober when you can
#16
Quote by deftools
your right, i just looked up the double harmonic scale, that's the one!! thanks now i have a name for the sound, would never have thought it would fall under the major scale name umbrella, it sounds more closely related to the harmonic minor scale, but like i said earlier i still have a shit load to learn.


Yeah, it also goes by other colloquial names if you want to show off. They include the Hungarian scale. When I was in Hungary I saw a folk band and a lot of their music was based on that scale, and coupled with weird timings. Considering this music was being played with a double bass, keyboard, singer, guitar and weird percussive drums in a nightclub which held around 2,000 people, it was a very strange experience.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#17
Quote by AlanHB
Yeah, it also goes by other colloquial names if you want to show off. They include the Hungarian scale. When I was in Hungary I saw a folk band and a lot of their music was based on that scale, and coupled with weird timings. Considering this music was being played with a double bass, keyboard, singer, guitar and weird percussive drums in a nightclub which held around 2,000 people, it was a very strange experience.


im definetly interested in non western schools of music theory, hungarian being a great one, i remember an interview with steve vai, were he said he went over there to learn hungarian music theory!!!
" It's about how it sounds, not how it's played "

F@CK EVERYTHING



Why be sober when you can
#18
Quote by deftools
im definetly interested in non western schools of music theory, hungarian being a great one, i remember an interview with steve vai, were he said he went over there to learn hungarian music theory!!!


Geez it would be hard to pin-point the origin of Hungarian music theory because it was taken over by so many nations so many times.

If you're into non-Western theory, I'd check out all the current hits coming out of the Middle East. When I was in Dubai I watched their top 20 countdown, and they had middle eastern stuff mixed with the European and American stuff. It was pretty clear that the Middle East music was not impacted by the Western music theory at all. All their stars were singing pretty much what you think of when you think of Middle East.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#19
Death metal is most of the time pretty 'easy', from a theoretica point of view, allthough the melody might be complex and may seem totally unrelated to standard western practices, 99% of the time there is no other melodic part playing.
#20
Let there not be a misunderstanding. Theory is NOT a set of rules or conventions to follow. It is a study of how music was made in the past, not how it should be made in the future, to paraphrase Walter Piston.

It merely describes how certain people made music or how certain music was made. Any music can be described by theory, but the ''theories'' differ if musics differ.
#21
Death Metal is easy.

If you know theory and see a tritone is a riff, you know it. If you know theory and see a minor 2nd used in a riff, or a natural 7 over a minor key. That's what you do...you understand music, and it doesnt have to be a scale, it could just sound cool, but you say, ah he played the tritone. Ah he moved up a minor 3rd, ah this is the IV chord...etc. Simple.

A lot of Death metal is how low can you tune without the strings no longer sitting dead against the fretboard, and then dropping the E string another full step.

Sean
#23
There are some parallels between classical/jazz and death metal that do not exist with other genres, but that doesn't make it worthwhile to compare them.

Also, I'm wondering how much of the people who posted in this thread actually listen(ed) to death metal.
#24
Quote by deftools
music theory can be applied to death metal, death metal is my favourite genre of music these days and im also studying a diploma of music for basiclly the same reasons as you stated in your post, to improve my songwritting ability and to be able to analyze the music i like and have a logical, systematic explanation of why it sounds good.

I think you will find that some areas of theory are very useful and will help you with death metal, for example understanding intervals and harmonies, dissonance and consonance, complex rhythm, scales and modes (particularly minor ones!) etc etc. But a lot of the big areas of theory won't be a lot of help (but that's just my opinion, from my experiences) for example a lot of death metal is atonal (it's not in any specific key), so whilst its great to know the circle of fifths and your key signatures, your not going to be writing death metal in b Major! (if you do let me know i would like to hear it!) A lot of theory on chords will be pretty useless for you as well, death metal does not use a lot of chords in the way that say jazz music does.

A lot of the scales used in death metal are not based in Western music as well, so unless you study music theory to a great depth, i.e to a university degree level, you wont cover it. Hell, I don't even know the name of the scale that I use to write a lot of death metal and I don know anyone who can tell me (pattern is Semitone, tone and a half, semitone, tone, semitone, tone and a half, semitone).

Bear in mind that Death Metal is one of the most complex and abstract styles of music, it uses blistering tempos, advanced techniques, abrupt time and tempo changes, heavily chromatisized riffs, it often lacks tonality, and uses exotic scales. thus the theory required to understand it, is very advanced (beyond me and beyond what im covering in my course). So be prepared for a lot of hard work if you want to be able to analyze death metal from a theory point of view the same way that you can for say jazz or classical music. You will also be required to study some stuff that may seem irrelevant but you will need to be able to understand more advanced topics.
These are just my own experiences though so keep that in mind!
I still have a shitload of theory to learn, so an expert may come in here and dismiss some of the things i have said.

At the end of the day, knowing music theory cant hurt you, it will only improve you as a musician, im sure metal isn't all you listen too as well



you sire, have just ansewered every question i had about death metal and theory. for this i thank you.
-Peavey 6505+
-Bugera 333xl(w/6l6 pt's) -dead
-412 X-pattern loaded w/ WGS veteran30s & HM75s
-Gibson Les Paul, SD Blackouts *being worked on back to stock*
-Jackson DR7, EMGs
-LTD MH417
-Peavey Vyper 75w
#25
....then drop it another full step

lol to that
-Peavey 6505+
-Bugera 333xl(w/6l6 pt's) -dead
-412 X-pattern loaded w/ WGS veteran30s & HM75s
-Gibson Les Paul, SD Blackouts *being worked on back to stock*
-Jackson DR7, EMGs
-LTD MH417
-Peavey Vyper 75w
#26
Quote by DavidBenyamin
To the guy comparing classical and jazz theory to death metal JUST LOL.


did i compare classical and jazz theory to death metal??? NO , learn to read, all i said was that IF you want to be able to analyze death metal IN THE SAME WAY (which means to the same level of detail, not necessarily with the same theory concepts !) that jazz music and classical music can be analyzed, you will need to study a lot. This is because most classical and jazz can be picked apart theoretically to a ridiculous level of detail, and its difficult to do that with a lot of death metal. So im actually saying that conventional music theory knowledge is not enough to be able pick apart death metal in great detail!!! U got to look at each song separately as well, some will easily be theoretically analyzed, others wont be.

I mean jazz, classical , pop etc all use notes from the western octave, does death metal not? so can you not apply some music theory from classical / jazz / pop to death metal, what is ur point? what made u LOL?

yer death metal wont follow a lot of the conventions on cadence's etc but theory is not rules, its analytical, so just because a riff from a death metal song doesn't follow a theory convention. doesn't mean u cant use theory!! that's why there are accidentals and shit in theory, to allow for things that don't follow conventions.

I have a death metal piece Ive been working on where I scored nearly the entire piece using ideas from the theory Ive been studying, before i ever played it!!! so theory can be used to compose as well, but I just use it as a source of ideas not a set of rules, i mean if a riff u write doesn't fit in with the key or scale / mode you using, doesn't mean you would not use it if it sounds good!, for e.g

Also death metal is not all about dropping ur tuning as low as possible, a lot of great death metal is not tuned ridiculously far down (e.g Vader play songs in 1/2 step down, Morbid Angel write some stuff in standard tuning) a lot of the heaviness comes from production style and guitar tone rather than super ridiculous drop tunings (but they're fun too and used e.g suffocation use 1 & 1/2 steps down, cannibal corpse tune 7 strings down a whole step of a few tracks!)

I have ask now, how many people in this thread even listen to or like death metal?
" It's about how it sounds, not how it's played "

F@CK EVERYTHING



Why be sober when you can
#27
Quote by deftools
did i compare classical and jazz theory to death metal???


It doesn't really matter. It's just an application of music theory to two different genres. I'm with you.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#28
Quote by AlanHB
It doesn't really matter. It's just an application of music theory to two different genres. I'm with you.


At least someone is! hahaha. i don't understand, half the things Ive been accused of saying i haven't even said!
that's what i love about music, there are some "rules" or guidelines if u will, but one of the rules is that u can break the rules! for me music is a fusion of science, passion and emotion , how much u let each element influence ur music is up to u!
" It's about how it sounds, not how it's played "

F@CK EVERYTHING



Why be sober when you can
#29
I'm with you too.

However it is super ridiculous to compare the two and I see it done a lot. It's a way for dumb metalheads to justify their genre. As if genres needed justifying.. but I digress.
i don't know why i feel so dry
#30
Quote by Eastwinn
I'm with you too.

However it is super ridiculous to compare the two and I see it done a lot. It's a way for dumb metalheads to justify their genre. As if genres needed justifying.. but I digress.


I definitely agree with the idea of comparing genres being a stupid one, that's why i don't understand why so many people rip on each other on UG, just because they have different tastes, there's no need to be a hater. at the end of the day its all just ****ing sound! I hope my post didn't give the impression i was comparing the genres themselves, just the way or amount of music theory can be applied to them.
" It's about how it sounds, not how it's played "

F@CK EVERYTHING



Why be sober when you can
Last edited by deftools at Sep 28, 2010,