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Writing melodic death

Discussion in 'Kalmah' started by blackvelvet03, Nov 2, 2003.

  1. blackvelvet03

    blackvelvet03 New Metal Member

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    I don't understand how these bands do it - Amon Amarth, Kalmah, In Flames, Soilwork, etc. How do metal bands like Kalmah come up with such badass melodies?

    Do they use scales, or just sit and fiddle around? The songwriting duties in my band have pretty much fallen on me, but we have collaberation with the whole band at some points. Our drummer is totally incoherent - he's very new to drums. Only been playing a few months, but I'm working him hard enough. He can almost do blast beats.

    What I want to know is how do these bands come up with their material and write their songs? I don't wanna hear any of this "oh we just jam" shit - Metal as good as Kalmah makes it can't come from jams. It has to come from somewhere else.

    How do melodic deaht bands come up with their melodies is my quesiton I want answered the most, though.
     
  2. Caelum Adustum

    Caelum Adustum Call me Ishmael

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    It has to come from your soul, or your gut or whatever you will call it, you can't force yourself to write melodic death metal man, or any music for that matter. Are you new to metal by any chance?

    Don't force yourself to play melodic death metal just because you listen to it, Just develope your own style and sense, don't force things out or it won't work.

    edit: I listened to some of the songs I've recorded and you can definitely tell what I listen to through what I play. So what I said earlier was kind of dumb. The guy below me is right, if you listen to what you want to play a lot, usually it will show up in what you write yourself...But don't rip bands off!
     
  3. Gadlor

    Gadlor Herald of Homoerotic Fury

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    He's right, in a way - if you try and force stuff - it's going to sound contrived and forced.

    However, he's also kinda wrong. (Note that this is all in my opinion and as such is meant as no insult to this guy..just my thoughts). By listening to lots of melodic death metal, by constantly playing other band's songs, my own ideas just pop into my head. Songs that you learn by other bands teach you certain ways to progress from note to note that are absolutely awesome - I've gotten so many ideas from a certain progression by Quo Vadis, and another by Soilwork, and some from Kalmah too.

    Listen to a lot of metal in the vein you want to play, and learn to play it on guitar, too. If you're not that great at guitar at the moment, that's cool. Practice your freakin' ass off.

    Another thing to note is that the melodies aren't really new - just the way they've been presented. There are only 22 or 24 frets on a guitar, 6-7 strings..there's a limited amount of stuff that can come out of it. Some of the things that make riffs and melodies stand out are the order in which the notes are arranged, how they're played(false harmonics, slides, hammerons, pulloffs, crazy wah petal, mad distortion, clean) and the rhythm(for rhythm guitar, obviously..ever wonder how bands seem to get so many different songs out of just beating on an open E and then throwing in power chords?)

    Hope this helps some. Maybe Antti himself will have something to say on this - seeing as how he's the man when it comes to guitar.
     
  4. blackvelvet03

    blackvelvet03 New Metal Member

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    I am not new ot metal... I've been playing guitar for two and a half years - but I've absorbed a lot and I practice a lot so I have experience equal to some of my friends who have been playing for 3 or 4 years.

    All I really want to know (maybe I should have said this in the first place) is how those great note progressions and melodies are written? But I've gotten alot of advice that I could use so far. You never stop learning, though, more comments are welcomed!
     
  5. Gadlor

    Gadlor Herald of Homoerotic Fury

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    Written? Well, I either think up an idea and play it out on my guitar or just find one by fiddling around in the first place. (It's not like there's a whole lot of ways to do it..I suppose you could play your ideas on a harmonica first, if you really were so inclined). Then ya write em down, and get your other guitarist to play harmony to it (if you're Soilwork) or get Antti to play a blistering lead over your part (if you're Kalmah). I guess a little bit of music theory helps here.

    Not everything that pops into your head is gonna be a winner, though. I've got maybe...five riffs so far that I think are real keepers. I've been playing for about 3 1/2 years now, and have been trying to make decent songs for a good long while. Toss the crap ones! Write more! Practice practice practice!

    Seems like that doesn't really help you too much - the main part of writing songs is creativity, and you just can't tell someone how to be creative. There's no formula where you play just these notes and voila! awesome riff. You just have to keep on trying and trying and trying...
     
  6. Caelum Adustum

    Caelum Adustum Call me Ishmael

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    I've been playing guitar for nearly 7 years now, and I also recommend when you have an idea record it somehow or write it down, I've had plenty of good ideas that I totally fucking lost because I'm a moron. Anyway, you can't "write" these melodies and stuff dude, just play. Although I suppose if you're good at music theory and composition you could try that, but I don't think that would work too well with metal, ya know?

    "Let the Metal Flow..."
     
  7. Gadlor

    Gadlor Herald of Homoerotic Fury

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    Yeah..write your stuff down..I've had some keepers that I've forgotten before. :cry: Props to Caelum for the good advice.
     
  8. To the Grave

    To the Grave Member

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    I always write my ideas in guitar pro 4.
    I am playing for almost 5 years now and also tabbing
    a lot of songs (also kalmah) in gtp4.

    if I look back in what songs i wrote a couple a years back
    i'll laugh my @ss off because it's so lame. but i still keep on
    writing and writing and now i've completed 3 really good songs
    (my opinion :cool: )

    I am progressing forward every year so maybe one day *if i keep going to
    do this* i maybe write stuff that's almost as good as some bands.

    I usually start with a melody (a thought in my head) and then add
    some background guitars and bass.
    The main melody will be played on keyboard as well.

    With bands like kalmah, norther, Children of Bodom and other' classical metal bands They've start listening to Yngwie Malmsteen and classical pieces.
    If u listen to it everyday then someday u can creat melodies easier as before.
    It's come in handy if u learn some arpeggios and shred stuff.

    If somebody is also writing stuff in Guitar Pro 4 maybe we can share or
    comment on each others tabs???

    It'll be kewl to C what other people r writing (I live in holland and their
    aren't a lot people who like this genre)

    Good Luck
     
  9. To the Grave

    To the Grave Member

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    I got a new guitar :):p
     
  10. -Gavin-

    -Gavin- Gavornator

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  11. Ermz

    Ermz ¯\(°_o)/¯

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    Well most melodic death really seems strongly based off the Harmonic Minor scale... and alot of the time the key of the song is what the guitars are tuned to (D if the guitars are in D... E if they're in standard). I mean this might in no way be a solid fact, but its definately what I've noticed through my time of playing.

    I learned to play 'Withering Away' the other day... and it amazed me... it seemed like the whole song was just harmonic minor all the way. Given, I mean that scale sounds badass and for melodic death you can't overlook that note choice, because you can get some awesome tones happening.

    For writing itself... well I've been struggling through the process myself.. I've only recently formed a band and I seem to be the sole songwriter and its a big step, seeing as I had never written music before! I normally play around with simple ideas and combine them to form what I think sound like good 'riffs' and whatnot. I think that's the best way to go... just go with what you know and make the most of it, and it's very important to record an idea as soon as you get it! As Caelum said, you'll lose many a good idea to your memory... so what I like to do, is either plug in my guitar and record on the comp or just tab it out in Guitar Pro 4.

    Oh, To the Grave, I've been working on one song recently, just vague ideas and I've used Guitar Pro 4 to put some of them down. So yeah, just thought you might've wanted to know.
     
  12. anonymousnick2001

    anonymousnick2001 World's Greatest Vocalist

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    Yeah, I'm forcing my band into a quasi-melodeath sound, and it's working. The melodies come real slow, and we usually end up writing them in E or D or C depending if we downtune or not. But they are coming. Our sound is more of a funk/melodic thrash sound than a pure Gothernburg death sound--really cool stuff.

    It's bullshit that you can't force a sound. I hate it when people say to 'play what comes.' I hate 'what comes.' I have to force a sound to be happy with it.
     
  13. Kalmah

    Kalmah Svieri

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    Sometimes you`ll have to wait the inspiration for months to get something great but I`ve realized when it comes to my writing process that the inspiration needs to be provoked. But it is 90% about inspiration for me. I don`t think any scales or something reasonable. When the inspiration has given a pile of riffs or melodies I start to put them together and we continue the producing and arranging with the band.
     
  14. Maili Björklund

    Maili Björklund stabbed 113 times

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    And how do you provoke inspiration?
     
  15. anonymousnick2001

    anonymousnick2001 World's Greatest Vocalist

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    I dunno? WD 40? A warm glass of milk? Ogling at a hot girl?

    Whatever it takes.
     
  16. To the Grave

    To the Grave Member

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    Moonlapse

    QUOTE :DOh, To the Grave, I've been working on one song recently, just vague ideas and I've used Guitar Pro 4 to put some of them down. So yeah, just thought you might've wanted to know. QUOTE:D

    I've made some melodies so maybe we can Work them out together if
    you want? And you gotta buy a keyboard once! it's really easy to make some
    melodies on them, then transcribe them into guitar.

    Can u mail your 'own Made' GTP4 Files to me? my problem is creating riffs...
    But melodies is a bit easier for me i think:D
     
  17. anonymousnick2001

    anonymousnick2001 World's Greatest Vocalist

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    Sometimes. Sometimes riffs are easier.
     
  18. Death Aflame

    Death Aflame voice of dissent

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    I heard soilwork members each sit at home on there pc and send riffs back and forth to see what sounds good. They find it much easier to be creative by themselves with the aid of the net.
     
  19. Darth Grimby

    Darth Grimby Hell's Satans - \m/oncton

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    Yeah but Soilwork sucks. :Spin:

    ...
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    .
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    .

    Haha, just kidding man Soilwork is one of my favourite bands (I have all their CDs). :D
     
  20. anonymousnick2001

    anonymousnick2001 World's Greatest Vocalist

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    Maiden-esque melodies are easy.

    it's the NWOSDM folksy/Gothenburg riffs that are tough. Guess you just have to be Scandinavian...
     

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