Chris Cornell Style

by Gabriel Leopardi

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  • Hi GMC!

    Welcome to my new lesson based on the amazing composing style of Chris Cornell. He is a guitarist, singer and songwriter from USA who gained fame thanks for being the singer of Soundgarden, Audioslave and Temple of the dog. He is considered one of the best vocalists ever in metal / hard rock but this time we will focus on another of his great skills: composition.

    Music Style:
    He is related to Grunge because of being part of Soundgarden as well as Temple of the dog, however I always considered Soundgarden something totally unique and tricky to typecast. I’ve already covered Soundgarden style so you can check it to know more about their style of composing and arranging. However I didn't feel that it was enough, Cornell has been part of Audioslave and also edited some solo albums that show his interesting approach to songwriting and that clarifies what things he added to Soundgarden’s music. I can say that his music shows influences by many classics but I will name two as the most notable: The Beatles & Jeff Buckley. I consider that both of them influences melodically and harmonically to Chris’s music and combined with his unique voice color and personality make him one of the most amazing contemporary rock artists.

    Tonality, Chord Progression & Scales:
    One of the things that always attracted my attention is how his chord progressions evolve naturally, in a complex but easy to hear way with these vocal melodies. This is something that only some gifted bands and musicians could do. Some examples that come to mind are off course The Beatles, Jeff Buckley but I could also add Radiohead and Gustavo Cerati to the list. So, if you want to make your songs sound more interesting but keeping them sounding easy to hear, go and analyze the music composed by them, starting by learning and analyzing this lesson.
    This lesson can be considered like an Em tune, however you'll find many chords that don't belong to this tonality. Jazz lovers or theory scholars will find lots of explanations related to modal interchanges, modulations, parallel keys, secondary dominants and so, but I don't consider these explanations really important, I think that you should just listen, play, experiment, create variations, change order of chords, and whatever you can to just get the most of this lesson and songs that you decided to explore in order to feel more familiar with these type of composing.

    This is a rhythm lesson based on a 6/8 measure. There are some riffs that combine single notes with power chords, some rhythmical progressions and also some melodies that are inspired on Cornell’s music. I don't think that it’s tricky but it is a good tune to practice not very common rhythms and chords in popular rock music.

    I used LePoin plugins to create the guitar tone. These are free amp emulators that are extremely recommended. The cabinet used for this guitar tone is HyBrit which is a Marshall amp emulation. Check out the settings:

    Click HERE to download my Patch.

    I used Cubase to record audio and midi, SSD 3.5 for drums and Trillian for bass.

    Tuning: standard EADGBE tuning

    Tempo: 85 BPM

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