#1
I'm still a beginner in the theory aspect of playing. I was playing slayer dead skin mask earlier and was having trouble finding out what key it's in. How would you be able to tell? Sometimes I feel like they don't stay in key maybe??
#2
justinbrillo
E minor (technically Eb minor as they're tuned a 1/2 step down). Basically in this case you tell because the riffs are based off of the low open E. But you're right, Slayer use a lot of "out of key" notes, most particularly the flat 2nd and flat 5th (tritone), but also other notes, chromatic stuff, and basically any note they feel like to make things sound as dissonant as possible.
#3
NSpen1 Yea thats why i was confused about i thought e minor but some of the notes weren't in the scale. So this is ok to do when making music?
#4
justinbrillo, no hard-set rules to music; theory just describes what happens!

If anything "rules", it's the ear. If it sounds good, then it's fair game. It doesn't have to be within a chord or a scale; it just needs to connect notes together in an aurally pleasing fashion.

Things to check out:
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/53
I attached a midi version of a song most people know, but there are only chord tones inside. I'd challenge you to describe what it sounds like without the non-chord tones!
Attachments:
holey jesus.mid
#6
You find the key by finding the tonic, i.e., the note/chord that sounds like home. It doesn't really matter that much what the other notes are. You could use all of the 12 notes and still make one of them sound like home. Here is a great example of this:



It uses all of the 12 notes but it clearly emphasizes D. Notice how in the main riff the notes in the end of the fast chromatic runs are Eb, D, Bb, A, F# and then the riff ends with Eb D. It basically emphasizes the notes in the D major chord (and the galloping on the open D string in the end obviously gives a lot of emphasis on D). The other notes (Eb and Bb) could be seen as upper leading tones for D and A (what this means is that Eb resolves down to D and Bb resolves down to A - these notes create tension that resolves down to chord tones of D major).


Many times in metal songs the guitar plays 16ths or 8ths on a low open string, and usually this is also the key of the song. I'm not sure if talking about major and minor makes that much sense because many Slayer riffs are pretty chromatic. But there is a clear key center. I would probably just say it's in the key of E without specifying major or minor.
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Gear

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#7
Quote by justinbrillo
NSpen1 Yea thats why i was confused about i thought e minor but some of the notes weren't in the scale. So this is ok to do when making music?


almost no modern music stays within 7 notes the entire song. diatonic notes are just the ones that "work", but sticking to them explicitly makes it difficult to make interesting voice leading when you don't have to
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#8
Quote by justinbrillo
NSpen1 Yea thats why i was confused about i thought e minor but some of the notes weren't in the scale. So this is ok to do when making music?
NO IT ISN'T! The appropriate authorities have been informed, and Slayer are living on borrowed time.

No doubt when they come to court they'll use that lame old excuse "but it sounds good!" Sorry guys, but the Ministry of Music Theory is cracking down on all this law-breaking, it's been going on far too long. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, all those reprobates, set a real bad example, and it's about time we put a stop to it!
From now on, all music has to be diatonic to one major or minor scale throughout.
On payment of an appropriate fee, licences may be granted for deviations to harmonic minor or melodic minor. Special permits for modulation and secondary dominants will cost more.
Blue notes will be outlawed for good.
Tritones, of course, remain subject to the usual laws governing Satanic practices.

The Music Police are on patrol now - so watch out!
Last edited by jongtr at Feb 19, 2017,