All You Need to Know About Neoclassical Metal Guitar

Neoclassical Metal Guitar is one of the most recent genres of Guitar Playing, introduced in early 70s or 80s. It is a subgenre of heavy metal influenced by classical music, both in composition and implementation. This makes the song structure of this type of music rather complex as it is a combination of progressive rock and classical music from Bach, Paganini, Pachelbel, Mozart, etc.

While it is probably the guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen more representative of the genre, the beginning of the same date from the ’70s and ’80s with guitarists like Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple and Randy Rhoads of Ozzy Osbourne. Most neoclassical guitarists then had experience with classical music or keyboard. The popularization of this movement is strongly influenced by the rise of “shred” (many guitarists, such as Yngwie Malmsteen were inspired by the impressive solo violin by Niccolo Paganini)

Randy Rhoads was one of the first neoclassical guitarists. The fact that apart from studying music Rhoads practiced “shred”, making him stand out from any guitarist of his era. Apart from Rhoads, Yngwie Malmsteen also contributed a lot to this genre. He has contributed to this genre by transcribing and adapting classical pieces on electric guitar, like the 5th symphony of Mozart.

This style and characteristics of neoclassical metal guitar are very distinctive. Some of them are:

Pedal points: Repetition of one or several notes interspersed with a melody.
Ostinato: Repeating a pattern strictly.
Footage on the scales: A stylized way up or down a scale, with a fixed pattern.
Fast Arpeggios: Sweep picking is used mainly.

It is played at high speeds with great emphasis on ornamentation (frequent use of vibrato, which is also strong), using instruments and timbres reminiscent of classical music, such as pianos, violins, orchestral sounds, etc, either by synthesizers or by real instruments.

Following scales and resources are used for playing neoclassical metal guitar:

Harmonic minor scale: Aeolian mode is the seventh rise in half-tone.
Melodic minor scale: is the Aeolian mode with grades 6 and 7 half tone uploads.
Arpeggios diminished: A series of minor thirds chains.
Circle of fifths: A chord progression you get to go up one fifth each chord: The m, Re m, G, C, F, if dim, My, La m (for example).
Suspensions: Speed or “final chord progressions” in which the harmony of a chord is removed, for example, replacing a 3rd with a 4th, a 5th to a 6th or 8th with a 9th.

It also highlights the use of the tritone, a musical interval that spans three rings (six semitones). It is very common in styles such as heavy and progressive rock as it has a sound dissonant. This interval contained “Diabulus in musica”, which was considered “evil” in the past and was never included in the works. For transcription, adaptation and imitation of classical pieces, violin is usually used as a solo instrument.

Most of these scales and tunes for neoclassical metal guitar emerge from the the works of Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, Niccolo Paganini, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven, especially the first three.

Leave a Reply