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Accelerated Evolution

Musical Technique Thread


John

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So, at the request of Tim, I've decided to make a thread in which I try to answer your musical questions. Heard some terms online that just don't make sense or sound utterly retarded? Ask me and I'll try to let you know what the hell those crazy muzak folks are talking about.

In the event that someone else feels that they can answer a question, go ahead and answer. Just trying to spread the musical knowledge.

To start it off, our first term is:

TREMOLO PICKING

"Holy shit, you hear that guy's tremolo picking? Damn he's fast!" That was something that can commonly be heard in regards to tremolo picking. Describing ultra fast "alternate picking", tremolo picking is basically picking the same guitar string, and usually the same note, at an extremely fast pace. The guitar player alternates between upstroke and downstroke at what is usually their fastest speed. Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci is a player who is very good at this and is able to use this technique in a very musical way. Now, to demonstrate, we have none other than John Petrucci performing on stage with Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, two other great guitar players also capable of tremolo picking very fast. Here is the video. If only interested in actually seeing tremolo picking, you're going to want to skip ahead to about 2:10 into the video.

Feel free to ask any questions you want. There are some more terms that Tim has asked about that I will try to explain shortly.

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Chromatics

Chromatics refer to notes that are a half step away from each other and are in between the tones of a scale. For instance, take a C major scale. The notes in that scale would be: C, D, E, F, G, A, B. (In playing this scale, you would play the C an octave higher than you started, but those I listed are the different notes in the scale) Now, If I were to play a lick in which I played: C, C#, D, D# that would be chromatic. Here is a video of some random kid playing a chromatic exercise from John Petrucci's Rock Discipline video. It uses the chromatic scale which is all 12 tones of the western musical system played in a row.

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I believe tremolo picking and speed picking could be the same thing. It all depends on the context of the song.

Blast beats with double or single bass is really a matter of preference. Death metal drummer Derek Roddy (absolutely killer) says that he prefers to play blast beats with one pedal. He also said it's up to whoever is playing to decide which they like better. There is no written in stone technique standard.

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Chromatics

Chromatics refer to notes that are a half step away from each other and are in between the tones of a scale. For instance, take a C major scale. The notes in that scale would be: C, D, E, F, G, A, B. (In playing this scale, you would play the C an octave higher than you started, but those I listed are the different notes in the scale) Now, If I were to play a lick in which I played: C, C#, D, D# that would be chromatic. Here? is a video of some random kid playing a chromatic exercise from John Petrucci's Rock Discipline video. It uses the chromatic scale which is all 12 tones of the western musical system played in a row.

i don't get it

and what's a scale? i think my friend (pretty good guitar player, can't explain this stuff to me :\ ) demonstrated some to me a while back, but i dunno

PS thanks. awesome thread

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ugh. lol, ok

Scales

Scales are songs or musical rhythms, that go from like the E note, to an F, then G, A, B, C, like that. They can go downward like this: E, D, C, B, A, G, etc. Arpeggios, are when you play a note for every 3rd note there is. It's very hard to explain a scale, but that's best I know how to.

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Scales are sequences of notes that ascend or descend in a pattern. There are many different types of scales and they establish tonalities. Major scales usually establish happy tonalities/feelings while minor establishes sad/dark tonalities. Scales are also used to determine chord progressions in a song.

Thanks for the try Toga. That's a little less technical and kinda wrong, but good try. And arpeggios are not necessarily every 3rd note. Arpeggios are the sequences of notes that make up a chord. I'll break it up for you guys with a real example using the easiest key/scale, C major.

The C major scale looks like this, in musical notes.

C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C

That would be the scale played one octave.

Now arpeggios would be the chords one could get from any musical note. So lets take a C major chord. That consists of the root, the third and the fifth. Taking that scale, we get, for a C major chord: C, E, G. Now let's try a minor chord. The formula for that is root, the lowered or flat third, and the fifth. So we would have, for a C minor chord: C, E flat, G. So each chord/scale has a formula. The formula for a major scale or chord or a minor scale or chord is the same no matter what key or scale you use.

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i used to see "spiralling drums" mentioned a lot in reviews. is that a for realsies term or what?

I tried googling that and haven't found anything yet. I'm gonna try to ask on other forums and get back to you. Do my explanations of scales and the video showing a chromatic warm up make sense now?

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yeah definitely. i wish i could think of all the other stuff i was wondering about. haven't been reading many reviews lately....

what about atonal riffing? i always hear about that in regards to Immolation and other uber-techsters

Atonal refers to music that doesn't have much of a tonal center or base. Diatonic music has a definite core around a certain tone...like a C major scale will have a tonal center at C. (I think). Atonal music is basically all over the place. Tons and tons of chromatics in the riffs which again, makes everything seem all over the place like it doesn't have a center...not random, but most things don't relate in the traditional way that your ear is used too. Very common in tech death.

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While I've never heard of monochromatic in a musical sense, I can only make a guess here. The internet is no help. I would say it is just the variation of one pitch between the different octaves. Like a C1, C2, C3 etc. Doesn't make much sence because if the music was monochromatic or whatever, it would be refering to the same pitch over and over again. So either I've got the definition wrong or the music that was referenced to must have been extremely boring.

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While I've never heard of monochromatic in a musical sense, I can only make a guess here. The internet is no help. I would say it is just the variation of one pitch between the different octaves. Like a C1, C2, C3 etc. Doesn't make much sence because if the music was monochromatic or whatever, it would be refering to the same pitch over and over again. So either I've got the definition wrong or the music that was referenced to must have been extremely boring.

By C1, C2, C3 do you mean the same C note played over and over or playing a C repeatedly but at different octaves? And yeah, I must heard it wrong then. Is there any other type of chromatism where there would be a prefix attatched to the word? :huh:

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By C1, C2, C3 do you mean the same C note played over and over or playing a C repeatedly but at different octaves? And yeah, I must heard it wrong then. Is there any other type of chromatism where there would be a prefix attatched to the word? :huh:

By C1, C2, C3 I'm talking about different octaves. Like on a keyboard, the lowest C that can be played would be C1. As you move up the keyboard you get to C2, C3, etc.

I think the word you're looking for is Chromaticism. I'd go hereto read a write up about it. A lot of it has to do with tonality and different chords. Weird chords.

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By C1, C2, C3 I'm talking about different octaves. Like on a keyboard, the lowest C that can be played would be C1. As you move up the keyboard you get to C2, C3, etc.

I think the word you're looking for is Chromaticism. I'd go hereto read a write up about it. A lot of it has to do with tonality and different chords. Weird chords.

Oh, okay. Thanks. There's a lot there to absorb. o_O

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oh hey, what's up with the different vocal styles? i've seen 'vibrato' and 'falsetto' mentioned, no idea what they mean

Oh yeah, I forgot about these. Well...here we go.

We'll start with:

Falsetto

When singing, there are two registers one can sing in. The chest register and the head register. These registers refer to where the air circulates and vibrates in order for sound to come out. Most of the time when you sing, you sing in your chest voice because it is the most comfortable and usually gives the best tone. However, when you go to sing really high stuff, seriously or goofy, you switch to your head voice. The air can resonate up in your nasal passages and palates allowing you to reach higher notes. Usually your tone isn't as good and you can't sing as loud, but with proper training, your head voice can sound better than your chest voice. People like Hansi from Blind Guardian record a lot of their studio stuff singing in falsetto. It allows them to reach high notes and because the mics can be used to increase their volume artificially, they can achieve the sound that they want. Basically, Falsetto = singing high and resonating in your head.

Vibrato

Vibrato, as with guitar, applies to the sweeping of a pitch that is held. Your pitch sways lower/higher and than back to the pitch you are holding. Here is a very weird video in which there is a camera on a woman's vocal chords. She runs up and down 5 notes and ends where she started. As she holds the note, you can hear her voice quaver a bit. That is vibrato. You've definitely heard it before and will recognize it instantly when you hear it.

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