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Counterpoint in Metal


Ricardo.

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I'm hearing a lot of harmonized guitar solos recently: elaborate, long, perfect dual-guitar minor 3rd attacks in the fields of -core.

 

Though I can buy a pedal and get the same tonal effect, I admit that actual, dual guitars will sound better than a pedal that drops the pitch a minor 3rd.

 

My question is, have any metal bands expanded upon the harmonized lead to incorporate counterpoint, as opposed to a lightning, sometimes thrilling, static interval assault? I am very ignorant on the subject; and I'm interested in hearing it executed.

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Originally posted by Ricardo.:

My question is, have any metal bands expanded upon the harmonized lead to incorporate counterpoint, as opposed to a lightning, sometimes thrilling, static interval assault? I am very ignorant on the subject; and I'm interested in hearing it executed.

Well, there's not very much of it out there - I've always loved counterpoint guitar vs. strict harmony guitar, but it does require a LOT of tightness between the two guitarists.

 

Charlie and I are just starting to delve into counterpoint in our band. Little flashes here and there right now, but we do have an absolutely massive prog epic we're currently working on that we're developing dual-lead work for, and I expect there to be plenty of it when we get that monstrosity finished...

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Maiden, Priest, Allman, Metallica do exactly what he's saying is commonly done but don't explore actual counterpoint... which is when people playing different MELODIES that complement each other, sometimes based on similar motifs and often times moving in contrary motion.

 

The somewhat vague, introductory definition from the wikipedia article on Counterpoint:

 

"In music, counterpoint is a texture involving the simultaneous sounding of separate melodies or lines "against" each other, as in polyphony. It has most commonly been identified in Western music, developing strongly in the Renaissance, and also dominant in much of the common practice period, especially in Baroque music. The term comes from the Latin punctus contra punctum ("note against note"). The adjectival form contrapuntal shows this Latin source more transparently."

 

What rockers call "harmony guitars" are one-melody passages harmonized for the most part on the same interval, be it diatonic or chromatic. This interval often times has to be changed at some point to fit the chrod of the moment, depending on how it is/what is done.

"Without music, life would be a mistake."

--from 'Beyond Good and Evil', by Friedrich Nietzsche

 

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Originally posted by Griffinator:

Yngwie doesn't do counterpoint, though. He's a one-man-act. Other instruments exist in his band strictly so his over-saturated runs don't sound foolish a capella...

Many, many guitar counterpoint lines in his recorded output though. Some taken directly from classical pieces and others written by him. He does have the keyboard player play some of his guitar parts live for some songs.
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I thought the whole point of metal was to have everyone in the bang chugging away on exactly the same riff simultaneously? ;):D

 

Don't forget that your bass player can play counter, too. Works great in a power trio! But I've never heard the bass in a metal band do anything other than mirror/shadow the rhythm guitar part, often buried under the distorted guitar to the point where you can't really hear it. Even harder to hear the bass if the guitar has more than 6 strings.

 

But yeah, educate me. I don't know a lot of metal, especially the new stuff. If "prog metal" is a derivation of progressive rock, that'd be the first place I'd look to find counter melodies. Especially bands that include keys.

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