Metal Rhythm. Part 4

This article is about using the kickassiest of major modes, Phrygian mode, in metal rhythm.

0
This article is about using the kickassiest of major modes, Phrygian mode, in metal rhythm. We'll go by explaining the modes basics and then riffing some examples. I won't explain all the atmosphere that mode can create, since all we need here are groovy, juicy riffs, and that doesn't require too much philosophy. Phrygian mode basics Phrygian mode is 3rd mode of major scale, meaning if you play a major scale from it's 3rd interval, you get phrygian scale. Here's how to get E phrygian scale: So, basically, it's C major scale starting from E note. It is very important that you accentuate on flat 2nd interval (F note in this case) when you play in this mode, since it's signature atmosphere mainly comes from that. You may also want to point out that it's third (G note in this case) is minor, and not major (which would be a G# note, then), because it is easy to confuse phrygian mode to phrygian dominant mode (5th mode of harmonic minor scale). They differ in only one interval, and that is the third. Here is one simple example you can play to hear how Phrygian mode sounds like (I recomend you play on clean sound): Which positions are most practical to use? I find positions starting from open low E string and it's octave on 5th string (7th fret) most practical to use in metal riffs, though, you can always experiment with any other position. Also, you can use a position starting from E note on 12th fret of 6th string, which works really great with open low E string. Here are those positions (yellow circle marks E note 1st interval): Here are some examples on 'red position': Example 1 (audio example 1): Example 2 (audio example 2): Example 3 (audio example 3): Here are some examples on 'green position': Example 1 (audio example 4): Example 2 (audio example 5): Example 3 (audio example 6): Here are some examples on 'yellow position': Example 1 (audio example 7): Example 2 (audio example 8): Example 3 (audio example 9) I could play with those positions whole day and wouldn't get bored. There are countless options here. You can, of course, try jamming in different time signatures, maybe add some legatos, slides or taps. Improvise! Who knows where that improvisation might guide you if you allow it to lead you. You can also combine those positions: Example 1 (audio example 10): Example 2 (audio example 11): And feel free to implement any other note of that mode in your riffs! Example 1 (audio example 12): Example 2 (audio example 13): That's it for now folks! There are some drumtracks on my website you can maybe jam these riffs over, and feel free to contact me if there's any questions! Thanks and enjoy! Official Josip Pesut site Enjoy playing Josip's 'Licks of the month'! Subscribe to newsletter to get free guitar lessons, notices about new videos and many other bonuses! Thanks For Your Support!

27 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    Chozodragon
    So ... Hem ... Sorry, I am still a noob about modes and did not understand the difference between C maj and E Phrygian.
    Eirien
    nemesis65 wrote: Phrygian in itself is a minor scale since it contains a flat 3rd and a minor chord can be derived from it. As for the guy that said "its metal, not an english degree from harvard".....You're an absolute idiot.
    Was that aimed at me? If so, please read comments properly in future before writing angry replies.
    nemesis65 wrote: some of the greatest metal masterpieces were created by musicians that had a profound understanding of how music theory worked. Just because you play a certain style of music does not mean that you don't need to know the general theory concepts and how notes interact with one another.
    I completely agree with that and no one has posted anything to the contrary in these comments.
    dan_onlytwice
    nemesis65 wrote: Phrygian in itself is a minor scale since it contains a flat 3rd and a minor chord can be derived from it. As for the guy that said "its metal, not an english degree from harvard".....You're an absolute idiot. some of the greatest metal masterpieces were created by musicians that had a profound understanding of how music theory worked. Just because you play a certain style of music does not mean that you don't need to know the general theory concepts and how notes interact with one another.
    Word. Nothing but the truth in that paragraph. I salute you kind sir. Great article too josippessut!!!!!
    Leather Sleeves
    Chozodragon wrote: So ... Hem ... Sorry, I am still a noob about modes and did not understand the difference between C maj and E Phrygian.
    They're of the same key signature, meaning they both have the same notes. The main difference is their tonal centers, meaning when you're playing in E phrygian your phrases usually start with E and end with E.
    theAccursed
    Thanks, but now I'm totally lost What's the point of playing E Phrygian in the key of C, when it's just the same as the C major scale. So am I right in thinking you'd be playing minor chords in C, with a C Major / E phrygian over the top?! Why not just call it the C Major scale? (that's not a rhetorical question)
    josippesut
    You use E phrygian. Using the minor chords in the right key would be ok. Though, you can immediately get the atmosphere of phyrgian by playing F right after Em, or you can only apply F note in E minor chord... There are really tons of options.
    theAccursed
    Sorry, another mode-noob question... So if your song's in the Key of C and you want to play a solo using the Phrygian mode, do you use C Phrygian or E Phrygian? And what chords would you use? If Phrygian is minor, would using the minor chords (that are in the right key) be ok?
    machinehead77
    Chozodragon wrote: So ... Hem ... Sorry, I am still a noob about modes and did not understand the difference between C maj and E Phrygian.
    the key is the same (C major). but if you were to play a c major scale and then a c phrygian scale, you would hear the distinct difference.
    nemesis65
    Phrygian in itself is a minor scale since it contains a flat 3rd and a minor chord can be derived from it. As for the guy that said "its metal, not an english degree from harvard".....You're an absolute idiot. some of the greatest metal masterpieces were created by musicians that had a profound understanding of how music theory worked. Just because you play a certain style of music does not mean that you don't need to know the general theory concepts and how notes interact with one another.
    evan-simpson22
    Phrygian, My favorite mode for unexplained reasons, i find it quite easy to write in phrygian, the only mode i have SOME troubles writing in is locrian only sometimes
    DartS17
    Is it just me, or are audio example 7 and 8 mixed up? Great article too, I'm glad you give great examples and explain what you're doing.
    Dream Floyd
    Mullen2105 wrote: I really wish you would've given examples which weren't in 4/4 time.
    I was thinking the same thing!
    crazysam23_Atax
    Now, this is the type of article I've been waiting for. I'm not a huge fan of the phrygian, but this might give me some musical ideas.
    Eirien
    `NeXxuS` wrote: phrygian isn't major?
    He's means it's a mode of the major scale. I prefer to avoid thinking in modes when I'm playing metal, it's too limiting. There are too many non-diatonic notes that you can get away with (and actually sound good) in metal but they would destroy the modal colour.
    sam_osborne
    Eirien wrote: `NeXxuS` wrote: phrygian isn't major? He's means it's a mode of the major scale. I prefer to avoid thinking in modes when I'm playing metal, it's too limiting. There are too many non-diatonic notes that you can get away with (and actually sound good) in metal but they would destroy the modal colour.
    its metal, not an english degree from harvard
    HavokStrife
    sam_osborne wrote: Eirien wrote: `NeXxuS` wrote: phrygian isn't major? He's means it's a mode of the major scale. I prefer to avoid thinking in modes when I'm playing metal, it's too limiting. There are too many non-diatonic notes that you can get away with (and actually sound good) in metal but they would destroy the modal colour. its metal, not an english degree from harvard
    Well... he's absolutely right!!
    Decapped
    St. Fixxxer wrote: Ihave no idea what the F*** you guys are talking about...
    *slowclaps* Maybe you should learn?
    Time Seller
    sam_osborne wrote: Eirien wrote: `NeXxuS` wrote: phrygian isn't major? He's means it's a mode of the major scale. I prefer to avoid thinking in modes when I'm playing metal, it's too limiting. There are too many non-diatonic notes that you can get away with (and actually sound good) in metal but they would destroy the modal colour. its metal, not an english degree from harvard
    You need an English degree to understand the words diatonic and modal? I pity you. Good lesson.