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Balkan Style Metal

by Emir Hot

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  • Hello GMC family. I just got back from my tour and holiday where, apart from having fun with friends, I spent quite a lot of time writing lessons for GMC. Here is an interesting one that uses scales typical for Balkan countries and South-Eastern Europe.

    In April this year I released my first CD as a solo artist called "Sevdah Metal" where I use these Balkan scales a lot. The idea was to mix modern metal style with some eastern traditional scales. This example is from one of my songs that demonstrates this approach both technically and musically.

    Three most common scales you can hear in that part of Europe are: Harmonic minor, Dorian #4 and Phrygian dominant. All these scales are actually modes of Harmonic minor. Dorian #4 is its fourth mode while Phrygian dominant is its fifth mode. If you are familiar with modes of a major scale, this principle works exactly the same. In this case your starting mode would be Harmonic minor scale and you can work out all its modes by changing the root note from every next note in the scale. In this lesson you can hear Dorian #4 in many bars over D minor chord. That #4 note (in D minor case "G# or Ab note") gives that eastern sound which really stands out from other common melodies.

    Other important thing when one wants to sound "eastern" is technique with trills. Those trills are not the ones that have "Tr." sign above the score like in classical music schools. These are just a couple of notes played in a unique way which I explained on the picture bellow. They call them "Eastern trills" in Balkan countries. Combination of picking and legato is really important to be executed exactly as it is shown on the picture. Only that way you can get the right phrasing with "Eastern trills". I put picking strokes signs in the bar 10 in the GP file. The rest of the trills you can work out as they are the same. This technique can be heard almost always in traditional music of Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, Bosnia, Macedonia, Serbia, some ex. Russian countries and sometimes Hungary.

    I hope you will find this one interesting and have fun with practicing.

    Emir

    P.S. If you want more examples with trills, check out great lesson of Muris Varajic called "Oriental Shred".

    a-harmonic-minor.jpg

    trills-phrasing.jpg

    d-dorian-sharp-4.jpg
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