Category Musical Elements

Power Chord

POWER CHORD

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E5 power chord in eighth notes

In guitar music, especially electric guitar, a Power Chord (also fifth chord) is a chord that consists of the root note and the fifth. Power chords are commonly played on amplified guitars, especially on electric guitar with distortion. They are a key element of many styles of Rock and especially Heavy Metal music.

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Power chord on E

Analysis

When two or more notes are played through a distortion process that non-linearly transforms the audio signal, additional partials are generated at the sums and differences of t...

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Shred Guitar

SHRED GUITAR

Shred Guitar

G3 Live : Joe Satriani, Steve Vai & John Petrucci

Shred Guitar or Shredding is a virtuoso lead guitar solo playing style for the electric guitar, based on various fast playing techniques. Music critics have stated that shred guitar is associated with “sweep-picked arpeggios, diminished and harmonic minor scales, finger-tapping and whammy-bar abuse”, while others contend that it is a fairly subjective cultural term used by guitarists and enthusiasts of guitar music. It is commonly used with reference to Heavy Metal guitar playing, where it is associated with rapid tapping solos, fast scale and arpeggio runs and special effects such as whammy bar “dive bombs”...

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Heavy Metal Bass

HEAVY METAL BASS

Heavy Metal Bass is the use of the bass guitar (also called “electric bass”) in the Rock music genres of Heavy Metal and Hard Rock. The bassist is part of the rhythm section in a Heavy Metal band, along with the drummer, rhythm guitarist and, in some bands, a keyboard player. The prominent role of the bass is key to the metal sound and the interplay of bass and distorted electric guitar is a central element of Metal. The bass guitar provides the low-end sound crucial to making the music “heavy”. The bass plays a “…more important role in Heavy Metal than in any other genre of Rock.”

Heavy Metal Bass

Lemmy Kilmister, the lead singer and bassist of Motörhead performs at Vodafone Arena in Melbourne on 5 December 2006

Metal bassists play many different types of basslines, depending on the sub-...

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Dropped Guitar Tunings

DROPPED GUITAR TUNINGS

Dropped Guitar Tunings lower the sixth string, dropping the lowest E string of the standard tuning. Some drop tunings also lower the fifth string (A note in standard tuning). A drop one tuning lowers the pitch by one full step. Some of these may require a baritone guitar due to the string tension required for extremely low notes. Others can be achieved using a capo and/or a partial capo.

Dropped Guitar TuningsWhat matters for the purposes of fingering is the relative relationship among the strings...

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Double Bass Drumming

DOUBLE BASS DRUMMING

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Basic double bass drum pattern

In many forms of Heavy Metal and Hard Rock, as well as some forms of Jazz, Fusion and Punk, two bass drums are used, or alternatively two pedals on one bass drum. One of the first people to popularize the use of the double bass drum setup was jazz drummer Louie Bellson, who came up with the idea when he was still in high school. Double bass drums were first used initially by jazz artists such as Ray McKinley and Ed Shaughnessy in the 1940s and 1950s, and popularized in the 1960s by rock drummers Ginger Baker of Cream, Mitch Mitchell of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Keith Moon of The Who and Nick Mason of Pink Floyd.

Double Bass Drumming later became an integral part of Heavy Metal, as pioneered by the likes of Carmine Appice, Ian Paice, Co...

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Distortion

GUITAR DISTORTION

Guitar Distortion and overdrive are “gain” effects used to alter the sound of amplified electric musical instruments, most commonly with the electric guitar but also with other electric instruments. Blues guitarists playing electric blues originally obtained an overdrive sound by turning up their vacuum tube-powered guitar amplifiers to high volumes. While overdriven tube amps are still used to obtain overdrive in the 2010s, especially in genres like Blues and Rockabilly, since the 1960s, a number of other ways to produce distortion have been developed, such as distortion effect pedals.

Guitar Distortion

“Turbo Distortion” guitar effect pedal made by Boss

The effects alter the instrument sound by clipping the signal, which adds sustain and harmonic and inharmonic overtones, leading to a co...

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Tremolo Picking

TREMOLO PICKING

Alternate picking is a guitar playing technique that employs strictly alternating downward and upward picking strokes in a continuous run, and is the most common method of plectrum playing. If this technique is performed on a single note at a high speed, then it may also be referred to as Tremolo Picking.

Tremolo Picking‘Good’ alternate picking involves a continuous down-up or up-down motion of the picking hand, even when not picking a note (except when the gap lasts longer than one full up-down motion). In this manner, an up-beat (such as an even-numbered eighth note or, at faster tempos, sixteenth note) will always be played with an upward picking stroke, while the down-beats are always played with downward picking strokes...

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Guitar Solo

GUITAR SOLO

A Guitar Solo is a melodic passage, instrumental section, or entire piece of music written for a classical guitar, electric guitar or an acoustic guitar. In 20th and 21st century traditional music and popular music such as Blues, Swing, Jazz, Jazz Fusion, Rock and Metal guitar solos often contain virtuoso techniques and varying degrees of improvisation. Guitar solos on Classical guitar, which are typically written in musical notation, are also used in classical music forms such as Chamber music and Concertos.

Guitar SoloGuitar solos range from unaccompanied works for a single guitar to compositions with accompaniment from a few other instruments or a large ensemble...

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Heavy Metal Gallop

HEAVY METAL GALLOP

Heavy Metal GallopA Heavy Metal Gallop is a beat or rhythm typically used in Metal songs, eighth-sixteenth-sixteenth (eighth notebeamed sixteenth notes), played on the rhythm guitar or drum kit (strum or drum pattern), mostly using a double kick pedal.

The Heavy Metal Gallop is usually formed around this skeleton :

HM Gallop

This rhythmic figure may be used on palm muted power chords providing accompanimental rhythmic ostinati on the rhythm guitar and may be heard in the introduction to Deep Purple’s “Highway Star”, as well as their “Hard Lovin’ Man” and Black Sabbath’s “Children of the Grave” and “Air Dance”. Also Metallica’s “Motorbreath” and, more famously, “The Four Horsemen”. It has also been used in Slayer’s “Raining Blood”...

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Palm Muting

PALM MUTING

Palm Muting is a playing technique for guitar and bass guitar, executed by placing the side of the picking hand below the little finger across the strings to be plucked, very close to the bridge, and then plucking the strings while the damping is in effect. This produces a muted sound. The name is a slight misnomer, as the muting is performed by the side of the hand, not the palm.

Palm MutingPalm muting is a standard technique used in Classical guitar performance (under the name of pizzicato, as it creates a sound similar to that of a bowed string instrument when finger picked, despite a very different construction from that of a guitar) and by electric guitarists who play with a pick...

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