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Veld
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Feb 09, 2014 7:48 pm
Posts: 54
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 11:04 pm 
 

I've been trying to play along the likes of DSBM bands but every time I sit down to jam, I come up with a riff mixed with majors and minors. I hate ending on the happy note. I know this will sound ridiculous, but is there any specific chords, patterns, scales, progressions that I need to be paying more attention to? Or is it just whatever sounds nasty and fitting?
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FearTheNome
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Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2003 8:41 am
Posts: 372
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 11:34 pm 
 

Umm.. minor scale? And throw in a diminished fifth for dissonance now and then

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CorpseFister
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2008 2:07 pm
Posts: 1995
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 12:56 am 
 

Check out diminished 4ths and see if it gets you anywhere. You can create some really moody, yearning progressions using those in combination with 3rds. Also, when you say 'ending on the happy note' it sounds like you're resolving on a major. Nice sometimes, but if you want something dark sounding then use a minor chord as your root.

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somefella
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 2:30 am 
 

Stop following rules. If something sounds happy, move it up or down til it sounds the way you want it to.
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awheio
Metal newbie

Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2011 2:00 am
Posts: 289
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 2:37 am 
 

Yeah, what everybody else said. I don't think I ever run into this problem, because I pretty much always use a minor chord as my root/build the song around a minor scale. (I don't often have key changes in songs, and if I do, I guess I just work it out on a very case-by-case basis... I lack the theory to do otherwise.)

But also, how about this: Sometimes, you know roughly where you want the song to end tonally and rhythmically, but to stay in key, you find yourself having major harmonies -- sometimes fixing this can just be a matter of changing single notes in pretty formulaic ways. Usually, a major third can be raised half a step without leaving the key. A major seventh, same story. You might end up with a less rich sound, but it will have a barer emotional valence -- so at least it won't be "happy".

Now, obviously none of this is super systematic and doesn't always work! But the idea is just to understand where all the nearby intervals are in the given key so that you can tweak things a bit in certain ways. And it's also useful to remember that the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 8th, 9th... are typically neutral between major/minor...

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SoulsInferno
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Joined: Fri Apr 02, 2010 5:35 pm
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 11:38 am 
 

Staying in key sounds more cohesive but if you find yourself being drawn toward major scales, you should probably work on improvising to a song that uses harmonic minor or natural minor. It's also really simple to just use a minor arpeggio and end on your root note. I think the easiest way to end in a less "happy" note is by hearing it naturally and if you can develop that talent it will do you favors.
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Unorthodox
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Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2006 8:08 pm
Posts: 1217
PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 2:07 pm 
 

What I would do is start learning other people's songs that sound more dark to you. If you embrace a big enough variety of bands to learn different songs from (all the bands having that dark element you're looking for), you should end up with a broader creative pallet that may incorporate more darker elements. You don't want to listen too much of one style either, as that would probably give you the tendency to write more "rehash" ideas than actually interesting and worth a shit material.
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Yayattasa
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Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:49 am
Posts: 586
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 2:50 pm 
 

Sounding happy is also a trademark of some bands in the genres. I like the minor melodic scales: starting from the root note, do a simple 3 note progression, up or down from the current octave. It's almost guaranteed it will sound good.
(In C, for example: C-D-Eb-F-G-A-B)
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Damn, I thought this thread was headed for closure. Good save, whoever saved it but I'm too lazy to scroll up right now.

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Last edited by Yayattasa on Sat Feb 15, 2014 5:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Veld
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Feb 09, 2014 7:48 pm
Posts: 54
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:25 pm 
 

Thank you very much gents. I will put this to good use. Ya, I'm not a theory buff, I did sort of learn some things a few years ago. Then took a break from guitar which I hate myself everytime I pick it up for. All in all I will jot this good information down and in the future, hopefully by the end of the year, I'll have a demo out for all to listen to. Once again, thank you and hail the darkness.
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Nightwisher1990
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:26 pm
Posts: 479
PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:47 pm 
 

Chopin's "Nocturne" was built on a major scale, nevertheless, it's not any happy, it has a special kinda feeling, so there's no rules for that at all, the final product defines your song's sound, it's not about a "major" riff or diminished chord, just the final thing.

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CorpseFister
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2008 2:07 pm
Posts: 1995
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:05 pm 
 

Veld wrote:
Ya, I'm not a theory buff, I did sort of learn some things a few years ago.

Don't worry about theory too much then. I didn't learn theory until well after I had been writing and recording music, and all it did was explain why the things I played sounded how they did. Like somefella said, don't follow rules and play around. Maybe rather than trying to write songs spend some time just plucking various notes and mess around with different chord formations, see what sounds good to your ear.

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somefella
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Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 11:57 pm
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Location: Singapore
PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:10 am 
 

Unorthodox wrote:
What I would do is start learning other people's songs that sound more dark to you. If you embrace a big enough variety of bands to learn different songs from (all the bands having that dark element you're looking for), you should end up with a broader creative pallet that may incorporate more darker elements. You don't want to listen too much of one style either, as that would probably give you the tendency to write more "rehash" ideas than actually interesting and worth a shit material.


This is a good thing to do also. Not just for learning about note/chord choices, but also riffing styles, chugging patterns and song arrangements. Even drum parts and basslines, you can learn how it's all put together and this helps when communicating ideas to band members.

While I agree about not listening to too much of one thing, trying to incorporate too many influences into a single song or even a single band often ends badly as well. In fact, I sometimes observe that people who only have a limited amount of techniques or ideas at their disposal are forced to mix it up with a smaller palette of colours, resulting in some interesting songwriting with a cohesive footing.

But yeah I stand by what I said, you're at the point where you should just stop caring what note it is and just play. If something sounds too happy, move it up or down, left or right. Not in they key? Who cares? If it sounds good it's correct. Even a gigantic theory buff like Yngwie says this is the most important rule.
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awheio
Metal newbie

Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2011 2:00 am
Posts: 289
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:35 am 
 

somefella wrote:
Not in they key? Who cares? If it sounds good it's correct.


Yeah, that's right. But I find that knowing all the notes in the key helps me quickly find things that do sound good, so it's worth having that knowledge at your disposal. Then again, it's also totally possible that I restrict myself too much by not venturing out more... In any case, I think all the good basic advice has already been mentioned here.

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somefella
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 11:25 am 
 

Oh it's definitely good to know, no doubt about that. But it's time to drop it if it restricts your writing. Instead of searching for the right chord or progression, just make the damn thing scream!

When I practice soloing over random songs and I'm not so sure what they key is I just wing it. Sounds like shit on occasion but you learn to recover quickly by bending up a half-step or sliding to the right note or whatever. And sometimes you can pull something really cool out of that. This is a lazy way of course. The way Chris Poland does it is incredibly theory-informed and I wish I could do that. He deliberately plays something horribly out of key and does some amazing things to 'fight' his way back by making the wrong note make sense in his solo, god damn.
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Kveldulfr
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2012 12:01 pm
Posts: 2450
Location: Chile
PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:36 pm 
 

Playing in minor scale all the time won't do the trick. It's the chord progression and how you start/finish certain sections. You need to know about key, harmonizing scales, circle of fifths, inverted chords, intervals and whatsnot.

It's something hard to explain in a easy way but I can give you a couple of tips:

1) explore the fretboard for chords of your liking. Test every combination. Don't play only power chords, try some major/minor 3dr., maj7 ones, ETC.

Try these simple figures on the fretboard:

E--------------------------------------------------------
B--------------------------------------------------0---0-
G---2-2-2--4-4-4--5-5-5--4-4-4--9-9-9--7-7-7--5-5-5-5-
D---0-0-0--0-0-0--0-0-0--5-5-5--7-7-7--5-5-5--5-5-5-5-
A---0-0-0--0-0-0--0-0-0--3-3-3--5-5-5--3-3-3--3-3-3-3-
E--------------------------------------------------------

2)Once you have some chords and notes you like think about how using them in a song context. There'll let your imagination run free but with something in mind and you'll notice what chords go well with others.
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Porman
Sweek Souvlaki Muncher

Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2005 5:00 pm
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:44 pm 
 

Nightwisher1990 wrote:
Chopin's "Nocturne" was built on a major scale, nevertheless, it's not any happy, it has a special kinda feeling, so there's no rules for that at all, the final product defines your song's sound, it's not about a "major" riff or diminished chord, just the final thing.


Yeah, I love Op. 28, No. 20.
If that had been entirely played in a minor key it would have sounded very, very evil.
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Apteronotus
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 6:17 pm 
 

It's also important to think about how things like tempo, rhythm, dynamics, and even instrumentation can change whether a particular note will sound happy. As an exercise you can try keeping happy parts of a melody and seeing whether you can make them feel sad, angry, or whatever just by changing their context.

Music's emotional impact depends on everything that makes up that music.
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Veld
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Feb 09, 2014 7:48 pm
Posts: 54
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 9:01 pm 
 

Thanks a lot guys. I didn't throw theory away, I still look up chords and try them out, see how I can arrange it. But mostly I've just been playing and seeing what's good (or not good for the matter haha) and I've created some riffs I like. One thing I am having a hard time with is I'm cheap and I have a mac so I use Garageband to record. I've basically zoned in myself playing in 3/4 time mostly, but setting the damn metronome on there is a pain. If you change the bpm of the song and you have recorded something it will make it slower or faster depending on which way you go. I don't know, guess I'll just have to time myself in and watch the bars as I play haha. Thanks again.
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awheio
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Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2011 2:00 am
Posts: 289
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 10:09 pm 
 

I use to have that problem with Garageband, but I no longer use a Mac. Anyway, my solution was this: You use GuitarPro or any other relevantly similar program to produce a MIDI drum track. You export that drum track. If you have the correct settings, when you import it into GB, it will preserve all the tempo and meter settings. Then you can ignore the GB metronome (or keep it on -- I think it will follow the new settings).

I don't remember the details of this... So there are basically two options: (1) Get it to track the MIDI settings for tempo and meter, and then just follow that; (2) Export as a WAV or Mp3, then just totally turn off GarageBand's metronome and listen to your MP3 drum track. (If you want, you can even program a simple metronome that way!)

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Fulano
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2011 3:30 pm
Posts: 17
Location: Mexico
PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 3:54 am 
 

Quote:
It's also important to think about how things like tempo, rhythm, dynamics, and even instrumentation can change whether a particular note will sound happy.


True. It´s fun to try to play the same riff or figure in different places, faster or slower, following alternative drum patterns, etc. Every detail counts when you´re trying to get an specific type of sound. Time and experience help to get to that result sooner and with less trouble.

Quote:
Stop following rules. If something sounds happy, move it up or down til it sounds the way you want it to.


THIS. Just play, man; it´ll sound right at some point.

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somefella
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 4:40 am 
 

True. Certain riffs can be played in many different ways to sound totally different. Power chord stomp it, tremolo it, muted tremolo it, alternate between root and melody note (think melodic death style). Throw everything you have at an idea and see what works. And dont give a toss if its out of key or not. If it sounds good its in MY key :D
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invoked
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Location: United States
PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2014 3:34 am 
 

Notes aren't "happy." People are happy. If you are unhappy, you have to arrange music in such a way that it expresses such an emotion. Play combinations and sequences of notes that are as jarring as your emotions. Don't rely too much on gratuitous dissonance though: all of those minor 2nd, open string riffs can get really tedious. Dynamics and context are very important. An entire album of "sad" riffs to me isn't as powerful as having sections of music that express more ambiguous emotions, only to be crushed by an overwhelmingly morose part, thus ruining all prospect of salvation.

Put away the Xasthur for a minute and listen to this:
http://youtu.be/fktwPGCR7Yw
Tension with no resolution. Of course, writing this kind of music is probably beyond all of us. But it makes for good inspiration.
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Fulano
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2011 3:30 pm
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Location: Mexico
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 5:13 pm 
 

That´s not necessarily true. You can be happy and write sad/angry/etc. music and the other way around. It´s more a matter of knowing how you want your sound to be, and then being able of translating it into an instrument.

As for the "power" of it, that would depend on the composition, not on the "sadness" itself.

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Veld
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Feb 09, 2014 7:48 pm
Posts: 54
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 6:15 pm 
 

invoked wrote:
Notes aren't "happy." People are happy. If you are unhappy, you have to arrange music in such a way that it expresses such an emotion. Play combinations and sequences of notes that are as jarring as your emotions. Don't rely too much on gratuitous dissonance though: all of those minor 2nd, open string riffs can get really tedious. Dynamics and context are very important. An entire album of "sad" riffs to me isn't as powerful as having sections of music that express more ambiguous emotions, only to be crushed by an overwhelmingly morose part, thus ruining all prospect of salvation.

Put away the Xasthur for a minute and listen to this:
http://youtu.be/fktwPGCR7Yw
Tension with no resolution. Of course, writing this kind of music is probably beyond all of us. But it makes for good inspiration.


I do agree with the open string long drawn out riffs. I don't want that unless it flows with what I am doing. I don't plan on having a demo solely based on that. I have created about 3 minutes and some of a song that I do like and I did take what you said here ""An entire album of "sad" riffs to me isn't as powerful as having sections of music that express more ambiguous emotions, only to be crushed by an overwhelmingly morose part, thus ruining all prospect of salvation.""

I feel I embodied that. I've definitely strayed away from my bad habit of tremolo picking everything, and came up with some nicely picked chord progressions of sounds I think compliment each other in a negative way.

I have yet to do a final mix, but when I do I will post it for criticism.
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