#1
Hi all!

This is one of only a couple of posts I've ever made on these boards but, at this juncture, I need some help!

I must admit that my theory knowledge is somewhat limited, so that may be a contributing factor. In any case, here's my issue:

I've been working on writing some songs lately for a (sort of) groove metal band. However, I'm getting a bit bogged down in that I write some riffs but (a) can't seem to write the next part (i.e. verse to chorus, etc.) and (b) get a stuck with writing within a scale.

The second part is what confounds me the most; listening to bands like Chimaira, for example, their riffs don't seem to follow any particular scales and often seem as though short phrases/riffs (excuse my potentially incorrect terminology) jump completely off-key or out of the scale/pattern they appear have played within up to that point.

Am I just being too rigid in my writing process? Should I just play what sounds good/ok and ignore my apparent need to write within a scale/pattern?

I hope this makes sense... I'm writing this during a short break at work so it's probably a bit garbled...

Thanks in advance for any help!
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#2
You're getting stuck probably because you don't understand yourself enough. To clarify, I meant you don't understand your thought processes and your methodologies for composing.
As an example, when I compose I don't even start with sound. I start with a concept, then I solidify it. After all that is done, then I start to generate material to work with the concept. When I have enough basic material I combine it with the concept and compose it. My pieces pretty much writes themselves these days, of course I still need to put hours of effort in to get them out. I'm only able to do this now because I figured out how I think by composing a lot.
#3
Hi Gilders,

In thinking about your question, I come up with a couple of thoughts.

You have to start somewhere. Bands, and people often have been writing for a while, and through that process, they develop their style. My thoughts are, that you have to continue writing. Don't put any rules on it, but write from the standard that "If it sounds good, it is good". However you come up with those good ideas, is up to you. If it doesn't sound good, keep writing til it does.

If you are dissatisfied with a skill set that you feel is also limiting you, say, for example that you feel you dont understand music, and now that is posing a perceived roadblock for your writing options, then you'd want to work on developing that skill in this case, your theory knowledge, and then move forward applying these new things, into your writing.

Does that make sense?

It's also important to understand that bands, writers and even guitar players do not use scales EXCLUSIVELY to ascertain their playing or writing. So many go outside the box because they hear something they like. Many times it's overthinking to try to figure out the why, beyond the simple answer "for color".

Understanding that, you can use these ideas that you discover through analyzing your tunes and things that you like, and employ these same type of ideas, without it having to "become" some new scale.

Best,

Sean
#4
Quote by Gilders
The second part is what confounds me the most; listening to bands like Chimaira, for example, their riffs don't seem to follow any particular scales and often seem as though short phrases/riffs (excuse my potentially incorrect terminology) jump completely off-key or out of the scale/pattern they appear have played within up to that point.

That's basically because they are. Bands like Chimaira aren't as interested in the actual notes. They want a strong groove that moves the song. Even key isn't a huge consideration to a lot of groove metal bands.


Side-note: You may want to study the idea of chromatic notes and non-diatonic chords. This link covers non-chord tones, which is sort of part of that.
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/53
None of that is really going to do a ton for you, as far as composing Groove Metal songs, but it may help you realize that you aren't just limited to the notes of the key signature.

Am I just being too rigid in my writing process? Should I just play what sounds good/ok and ignore my apparent need to write within a scale/pattern?

Yes. It's music. Stop trying to fit it to a formula. Groove Metal isn't a genre that tends to stick to scales/patterns as a basis for songs. It's called "Groove Metal" for a reason. Emphasize the rhythm, dude.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Mar 13, 2014,
#5
Thanks guys. Having read this and really made a point of breaking out of old habits I think I've started to get some new material!
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