Opeth/Akerfeldt

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by Blitzie, May 4, 2013.

  1. Blitzie

    Blitzie SS.org Regular

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    Hey guys. I'm in a writing rut.

    I really enjoy Opeth and Akerfeldt's writing. I like the sound of the chords they use and I really love the single note "runs" at the tail of their riffs.

    In the simplest possible terms, what do they do to achieve such riffs? Mainly, what scales to they use to create them?
     
  2. Aztec

    Aztec On a perennial quest

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    In the simplest possible terms? Mikaels brain.
     
  3. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    The first thing they do is post an example of what it is they're talking about. I know the music of Opeth, but really, there are a million things to point at, just like in any other person's music (unless they're super monotonous). Throw us a bone here.
     
  4. djyngwie

    djyngwie SS.org Regular

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    Mikael knows no theory, so he's writing entirely by ear. That said, it may still be worthwhile to analyse some tunes or ideas. But as SW says, it's probably a good idea if you could specify a riff/song or two.
     
  5. Blitzie

    Blitzie SS.org Regular

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    The "heavy" parts of those songs. The intros and verses of both. From what little I know, from what I can hear, the main riff of Bleack is derived from some "mifdle-eastern" sounding scale.
     
  6. erotophonophilia

    erotophonophilia SS.org Regular

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    Seriously?

    There's a ton of Opeth riffs, that use octaves (Master's Apprentices, Grand Conjuration, etc.)
    Guitar/Octaves - Wikibooks, open books for an open world
     
  7. sear

    sear SS.org Regular

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    Opeth is pretty simple musically.

    Almost everything is built around the minor scale. On the early material it's entirely power chords as well as barre minor and major chords. Usually the riffs and melodies follow the minor scale to a fault and the tonalities of the chords (major or minor) are simply following the intervals of the scale the song is written in.

    On later albums, things get more adventurous. It's still mostly based on the minor scale, but starting around Deliverance the band began to focus more on producing dissonant or atonal sections. To that end you will occasionally hear chromatic, harmonic minor and diminished scale licks or chords in between the rest of the minor scale stuff.

    Opeth's strength does not come from interesting, difficult or complicated theory. It comes from simple pleasing melodies and providing a wider musical context for them to sit in. Learn a few Opeth songs and musically you will begin to see that they all kind of sound the same, use the same scales, shapes, progressions, and so on, but it's often simply the lead melodies, overall song structures and vocal arrangements that make the difference.
     
  8. AlucardXIX

    AlucardXIX Is Encircle

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    Still Life had a lot of jazz influence in the chord choices. Moonlapse Vertigo, Face of Melinda, White Cluster chorus.

    The guitar bits are usually pretty simplistic, layered, but simplistic. It's the entire composition where the technical side comes in.

    When it comes to things like those little runs, it's usually experimentation. Figuring out what fits best where. So just kind of experiment on your own with them, try different patterns, try thinking outside the key for those bits even.
     
  9. Francis978

    Francis978 SS.org Regular

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    The tritone, they love that interval.
     
  10. meambobbo

    meambobbo SS.org Regular

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    a few things I've noticed they do are chromatic chord progressions alternating minor and major. So Like Gm, Gb, Am, Ab. Also, like in The Drapery Falls, they'll switch briefly to the relative Major. So there's that A major chord towards the end of the progression, although it's otherwise A minor.

    Also, they like to use suspensions, but more in the classical way than typical rock. So they'll do like a Asus4 then resolve it into the A or Am. They don't just play the
    5
    3
    1

    shape all over the fretboard.
     

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