Tip #163 – Building Heavy Chromatic Lines

In a lot of modern (and even classic) heavy metal songs, there is use of chromatics in the guitar riff.

Today’s tip is about constructing a fast sixteenth-note riff that utilizes chromatics in a melodic way while appealing to the dissonance resolution tendencies.

First, start off by playing a chord member of the harmony on every quarter-note pulse. If the harmony is a power chord, decide if it is major of minor (most like it will be minor):

Then, add eighth-notes in between. These should be diatonic notes to the key or chord members:

Finally, add sixteenth-notes in between. These notes should be chromatic notes outside of the key; however, they can also be diatonic notes so long as the fit the direction of the moving melodic line:

From there, you can change the rhythm, notes, accentuation, etc. of your riff!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Feel free to comment, share, and subscribe for more daily tips below! Till next time.

Author: Bryan M. Waring

Bryan Waring is a graduate of USM's School of Music with a B.M. in Performance – Composition and is now attending Belmont University for a M.M. in Commercial Media – Composition & Arranging. During his time at USM, he studied violin with Dino Liva and composition with Dr. Daniel Sonenberg, as well as has premiered several pieces during the semiannual Composer's Ensemble concert series. In 2017, Bryan was a writer for the original musical theater work of "Molded By The Flow," directed by Paul Dresher and Rinde Eckert. Outside of school, Bryan has been involved with writing music for videogame developers at Portland's CI2 Lab, collaborating with the King Tide Party, and studying with Larry Groupé (Straw Dogs) in San Diego. Now living in Nashville. Along with composing, Bryan teaches music to children, receiving the Master Teacher Award for his work at ESF Camps; and does audio engineering for live ensembles. Besides talents in music, Bryan is a team-player in any competitive work environment; equipped with skills in leadership, organization, mathematics, creativity, communication, and managing. On the side, Bryan has worked as a model for several skilled artists in the New England area. Among his other accomplishments include obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout in April 2013 with a project of building a side parking area with guide rails for Webb Mountain Park in Monroe, CT.

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