#1
So I am getting relatively serious about writing technical or progressive death metal. Although I have some knowledge of theory, I do not have a whole lot. I want to write things similar to anywhere from Spawn Of Possession, Beyond Creation, Fallujah, or Dissonance In Design. Any ideas on what kinds of scales/modes to use for this?
#2
First of all, what is your writing process? And are you familiar the coventions of the style you want to write in? Before you even start writing any material, start by recreating the sounds of the bands first, distortion of the guitars etc. So you actually hear whatever sounds you create in the timbres you want hear them. As for scales, I don't know , pick one. Messiaen's third mode of limited transposition?
#5
Quote by Derek Woolley
So I am getting relatively serious about writing technical or progressive death metal. Although I have some knowledge of theory, I do not have a whole lot. I want to write things similar to anywhere from Spawn Of Possession, Beyond Creation, Fallujah, or Dissonance In Design. Any ideas on what kinds of scales/modes to use for this?


Along with what the others said, you have to take into account that if you're writing "progressive" music, you hardly want to choose a set of rules by which to abide. You'll find that a lot of good technical and progressive metal never sticks to one mode - not that you can't write a decent prog song that sticks to one mode, but a huge aspect of progressive music is that it's complex. Writing with the sort of complexity that good prog metal uses is a skill that you have to develop over time. i.e. You won't be able to write a good prog metal song just by choosing a scale and playing random notes within it. I speak from experience My "prog metal" songs were total shit when I first started.

You sort of have to develop an ear for it. Listen to more than just prog metal, otherwise you'll end up sounding generic as hell. I'd take a look at jazz, fusion and certain classical stuff. Giving you a list of scales won't really help, since a ton of modes are used in prog music, and often, multiple modes are used in one song. Also, there are no scales that sound "progressive" by themselves. Along with the scales/modes you're using, you have to consider the time signatures, riff styles, transitions, dynamics, etc. etc.

That being said, take a look at tabs of songs that you wanna sound like, observe patterns in the notes they use, and write. Write a lot. That's the best way to notice patterns about what sounds good and what doesn't. I'd recommend getting Guitar Pro or some similar guitar tab program; I think it really helps with the process. And if you get it and write something, post it in UG's Tabs and Chords forum to get it critiqued

I absolutely refuse to give you a list of scales.
#6
^ Yeah. There is no "prog scale" or "rock scale" or "[insert a genre] scale". You can use any notes in any genre. Note choice alone doesn't really make a genre.

What makes progressive music sound progressive is the song structure, more unusual time signatures, time signature changes, key changes and complex rhythms - something that makes it not sound as "predictable" as basic metal songs. Of course you don't need to have all of these to write progressive music. (Though I'm not familiar with technical death metal so maybe the things I mentioned are not that common in it.)

I think the best way to learn to write songs like your favorite bands do is to figure out what happens in their songs. You don't need to pay attention to single notes. Listen to the structure. Listen to the "groove". Listen to the transitions between different sections (those are what makes your song have the flow). Use your ears.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

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#7
Quote by MaggaraMarine
What makes progressive music sound progressive is the song structure, more unusual time signatures, time signature changes, key changes and complex rhythms - something that makes it not sound as "predictable" as basic metal songs. Of course you don't need to have all of these to write progressive music. (Though I'm not familiar with technical death metal so maybe the things I mentioned are not that common in it.)


Thing is; all those things are common in death metal itself. Autopsy, Incantation, Morbid Angel, Demilich, and so on all used unusual time signatures, changes in time and key, different rhythms. Trying to make it "progressive" seems to be more of a way to take these things to an extreme and cancel out the death metal or at the least diminish it to an unrecognizable point.

I think the best way to learn to write songs like your favorite bands do is to figure out what happens in their songs. You don't need to pay attention to single notes. Listen to the structure. Listen to the "groove". Listen to the transitions between different sections (those are what makes your song have the flow). Use your ears.


This is the best advice that can be given on this topic. Having a check list of things you'll need to do this or that won't help, it'll just give you some vague ideas of what something will turn into, but actually internalizing the music that inspires you most and the music that inspires it as well will give you the ability to write it.

Dissect this and understand it's influences and you'll be able to write like it with your own twist on the style.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MzAnRLfZOY