Friday, August 19, 2016

How to Create Heavy Metal Riffs & Songs

Heavy metal riffs combine small musical motifs to create melodic fragments. A motif is the smallest identifiable musical idea that consists of more than one note. A melodic fragment is simply a chunk taken from a potentially longer melody; fragments are not complete musical ideas and serve only to ornament the music. Heavy metal riffs used in songs add ornamentation and help to create interest in the songs. Basic knowledge of key signatures, note names and basic chords will make it possible for you to create your own songs and riffs.

Creating the Song

Write or hire someone to write the lyrics for your song if you have not already created them. If you don't have lyrics, look through poetry books with poems from authors that have been deceased for 70 years. These are in the public domain in most areas but double-check with copyright laws. The Library of Congress website has information on copyrights for United States citizens.

Determine the form of the piece. A common form is a 32-bar form in which there are four sections with eight bars in each section. The first section repeats, followed by a new, bridge section and then a return to the original section.

Choose a key signature for the piece. Using fewer flats and sharps will typically make the piece easier to play.

Write the first chord into your song. If you are in the key of C, the first chord should be a C major chord since C is the first scale degree. This helps to establish the home key; it is rare to start with a chord that is not the first chord of the key signature.

Create a chord starting on the fourth degree in the third measure and then move back to the chord starting on the first degree in the fourth measure. This will create a half cadence. A half cadence sounds less definite than a full cadence and is used in the middle of a phrase.

Place a chord starting on the fifth scale degree in the seventh measure. Even if it doesn't fit the key signature, make sure the chord is a major chord. The eighth measure should have a chord starting on the first scale degree.

Create a chord progression. When creating chord progressions, the most important thing is that there is a common tone between each chord. For example, a C major chord has the notes C, E and G, while a D major chord has the notes D, F-sharp and A. You wouldn't want to move from C to D because there are no common tones.

Use the chord progressions from the song to create quick riffs that accent the chords. For instance, if there is a C major chord on the first beat of a song, quickly strum the notes of the chord from bottom to top.

There are seven scale degrees in a key. Each one starts with a different note name. In C, the scale degrees are alphabetically from C to B. When you hit G, the note names start over at A.

Common chord progressions in heavy metal music include a I - IV - I or I - IV - V - I. The roman numerals refer to scale degrees; in the first example, you have a first-degree chord, followed by a fourth and then a return to one.

Experiment with different types of picking to increase the speed. Use alternate picking in which you strum across in a downward and upward motion. Single picking only strums down; by strumming in both directions, you can increase the speed.