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Grunge I: Nirvana

by Gabriel Leopardi

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  • Welcome to a new series based on the Grunge Style.

    Let’s see what Wikipedia says about this style: “Grunge (sometimes referred to as the Seattle sound) is a genre of music originating in Seattle that lasted from the mid 1980s to the mid 1990s. It is a sub-genre of alternative rock that emerged as a fusion of punk, alternative, and heavy metal.[1][2][3][4] Inspired by hardcore punk, metal, and indie rock, grunge is generally characterized by heavily distorted electric guitars and contrasting song dynamics, and the grunge aesthetic is stripped-down compared to other forms of rock music. Lyrics are typically angst-filled, often addressing themes such as social alienation, apathy, frustration, sadness, fear, and depression.” - Wikipedia

    In this first lesson I will cover the style of Nirvana, a band that made grunge popular and took it to all the music channels and rock radio stations. They were an American rock band that was formed by singer/guitarist Kurt Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic in Aberdeen, Washington in 1987. Nirvana went through a succession of drummers, the longest-lasting being Dave Grohl, who joined the band in 1990.

    Music Style:
    Nirvana has its own style influenced by Punk, Indie Rock, Alternative and Noise rock. Their main influences have been Sonic Youth, Pixies, The Melvins and many Punk rock bands. In this lesson I tried to emulate their clean verses contrasted by powerful and distorted choruses. I composed this tune thinking on nevermind rhythms and feel but also adding some double guitar job as Kurt recorded in the album “In Utero”.

    Tonality & Chord Progression:
    Their songs are composed using mostly power chords. Their compositions are frequently in minor tonalities, like the Aeolian and Phygian mores. This tune starts starts in the key of E minor and then modulates to F sharp minor in the chorus.

    Techniques:
    Kurt Cobain never played too difficult stuff with his guitar. However his wild and noisy way of playing sometimes can be very difficult to imitate. This lesson uses Strumming with Power Chords, Palm Muting, Bending, Vibrato and Alternate Picking.

    Sound:
    I used my Pod HD 500 to record this lesson. I used the Treadplate Dual Amp Model with a 4x12 2001 Treadplate Cab Model. If you want the tone you can ask for it at my personal board. My guitar is a Gibson Les Paul Studio

    Tuning:
    I used standard 440. 

    Tempo: 
    130 BPM



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