Using harmonic minor over metal soloing without abusing it

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by will_shred, Jul 7, 2017.

  1. will_shred

    will_shred not that good.

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    So the traditional wisdom says that we are to use harmonic minor over a major V in a minor key, because of the #7 pulling closer to the tonic. In metal, we tend to bend the "rules" of traditional theory. So when I solo its very tempting to just use harmonic minor all the time because I think it sounds badass, but is there a way to find balance when using this scale in metal? I mean, the obvious answer is that it depends on the context and what I, the artist, think is most appropriate, but I want to hear some other opinions.

    I'm really just starting to come into my own when it comes to playing leads, the information I've got from taking jazz lessons has been extremely valuable for improving my metal technique and sound.
     
  2. tedtan

    tedtan SS.org Regular

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    First, melody trumps harmony, so if the melodic lines works for you, go with that.

    Second, remember that a minor key includes the natural, harmonic and melodic minor scales built on the same root, so you can use any of these tones as you see fit while remaining in key. Obviously the natural 6 and 7 will work better over some chords than others, but remember the previous point: if the melodic line works (and it might, especially with power chords) go with it.
     
  3. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    You have to write what the music calls for. I don't think this is the sort of thing that can be generalized. Scales don't make for crap writing, crap writing makes for crap writing.
     
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  4. gnoll

    gnoll SS.org Regular

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    If it sounds good it's probably right? Even though you put "rules" inside of quotation marks, it still seems like you let them dictate what you do. Maybe you shouldn't.
     
  5. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician SS.org Regular

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    Put some spicy minor 2nd over everything and ignore all recommendations otherwise.
     
  6. DudeManBrother

    DudeManBrother Blames it on "the rain"

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    Even if you were to play harmonic minor over a V, it's really just a natural 7th vs a minor 7th that defines the tonality, so you aren't going to be pedaling on that note the entire time, correct? There are 6 other diatonic tones in the scale that will give no indication as to whether the 7th is major or minor. Think about it more as a color you want to add to certain chords, and less as a scale shape. Even if you "play in harmonic minor" the entire solo, you're not really playing the note that makes it harmonic vs natural. Even a chord change can shift the sound to Phrygian dominant if you use that color tone at the right time.
    So, just write a good melody, then work in your color tones to compliment the chord progression, and finally pick your spots to show off, where the melody allows for it.
     
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