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Mastering Metal Songwriting

Lesson 14 of 28

Making Transitions

Eyal Levi

Mastering Metal Songwriting

Eyal Levi

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Lesson Info

14. Making Transitions

Lesson Info

Making Transitions

you write some cool transitions? Um, you said earlier that lots of your songs are predetermined structurally, which I think is interesting. I was wondering, Ah, if you determine the structure in advance, how do you get out of the problem of square peg round hole? If, like you're just riding the wrong part. Next, Uh, how how do you get around that if you're sure that when you start writing, this is the verse and therefore this is the Greek course, and this has to be the course or whatever, but like, the riff is just wrong. Uh, you know, I mean, how do you get around that transitional e start Don't match or something. Well, I definitely, um I write in order that that's kind of like the basis for my thinking. I understand. What you're asking is I write everything in order, whether it's from the middle of the song or the beginning of the song or from the bridge or whatever it is I write in secession. So it would if I have an idea for the chorus and that feels pretty flushed out, and I kind...

of know what that's gonna look like, and I think, maybe even recorded it on program drums to it and everything. I won't go backwards to the verse. I'll go forwards to the second birth. Um, if I can get from the chorus to the next part from the first from the first part, I wrote to the next part in the sequence. Then, by the time I have a two or three of those loop together, then I can go back to the beginning of the song. And if this you know, if parties the same is part be structurally, it's a lot easier to pull it from that kind of output from, like, okay, figuring out the chorus and then I've got a great verse. And then I got a great bridge. But now I need a pre chorus and a verse that are kind of like these puzzle pieces in the middle, a tely sta for me personally, writing in order. Like I said, whether it's from the beginning of the song or from the middle of the song, writing in order and then going back and instead of filling several gaps, just feeling like one got like so from right from the middle of the song all the way to the end. And now you have just the beginning of the song to the chorus to Right? So that's that's a huge, um, a huge thing for me. Also. I think I just have a certain way of of hearing things in my head in regards to transitions. Um, it usually has a lot to do with the pace. Um, if I Let's say I do have a verse and I kind of know what the course is gonna be. If I'm looking to bridge those two pieces, it's gonna have a lot to do with the pace of it. That's gonna have a lot to do with the rhythm of it. The drums. Um, it's gonna have a lot to do with whether or not there there's gonna be a some kind of musical break there. If if things they're gonna fall out and just like maybe for a couple seconds, there will just be a guitar or there will just be a drum fill or something. Maybe all the all the incidents with the drums cut out there's just to fill right before the chorus. Or maybe everything cuts out, and it allows for a couple of words, right before the music kicks butt into the chorus. Um, one of our newest on is the last one Alive is a perfect example of that. There's a couple quick words over basically nothing, and then the big you know, crescendo where it comes in. And it's the beginning of the course. So figuring out, like, what? What's the pace of this? And what's the overall vibe bond mood of this? And what's the vibe and mood of this, and how do I get there? Logically, usually to me has a lot to do with the groove in the pace in the time signature of the the A. Lot of times it's the drum. I think it helps a lot to like. Ask yourself and you got I think you gotta ask yourself, feel wise or and if you can answer, that's just try either or is ask yourself if the next thing needs to be a resolution or the opposite. It needs to build into something like, uh if your current riff wants Teoh Goto a place of greater tension. Well, then you've got, uh, you've got some pretty specific things you can do like, uh, play more dissonance. Toughly. Speed up the drums up the picking like there's just a bunch of things that you can pull from baga trick wise, whereas if you know that it's got to resolve, there's exactly the opposite, or, uh, or whatever there's there's a bunch of definite tricks you can use to at least check it out. I've noticed sometimes that if you sell, said a loop where overthrew the last time through. If I just don't know what's coming next, but I have something's got to come next. He's not the song like I said, a loop on the last time through into Maybe the First Couple bars and tried to actually just listen Teoh where it wants to go, and I can't come up with something definite. I'll try to two opposite approaches, and usually one will inform where to go, even if it's like a stupid cord. Usually you can tell that, uh, you can tell if that's the right tonality, at least, and if you've got the right tonality, you go from there. Or you can at least tell if it's the right kind of timing, like you gotta basically hunt for clues. I mean, sometimes you finally just right Stuff and rift will go into the next shift in the next year. Just flow out like all right. But if there's, if that's not happening um, usually asking the right kind of questions tends to solve it. Where we going to quick things out at you mentioned, like cutting something out like before course or something like Don't underestimate just removing things for one bar, even half a bar like that. I can be like a huge difference. Mental break for a second. Where sucks you into the next part. Or you maybe even like adding one measure just like something like it doesn't it doesn't always have to be a lot, really. And then I was gonna bring up Peter Witters. You've written a lot of Soil Works albums and that Newt has always really impressed me with his transition because you just come up with, like, really, really simple ideas. But they're just really smart, you know, like when I hear like, Oh, that's really cool how we just added that part there like it's just listen to a bunch of Peter, which is air, soil, work and start paying attention to his transitions. And then we're gonna help you realize how good transition can be. Very simple. It's just spent. Spent a lot of time thinking about it, you know, like just you can also usually are, so you can also listen to a lot of Demon Hunter for a lot of Peter Witter's. Did you do a track with You Guys know we'll be are on the same hoarded, but I take a lot of pages more lately than early stuff, but I take a lot of pages out of that out of his writing style. There's a perfect example on one of our newer songs, Artificial Light, where he every once in a while, he'll throw apart into the structure that almost doesn't make sense structurally, if you were to look at like on paper because they'll they'll do fairly, um, ordinary kind of song structure. They'll do an intro, and then they'll go into the first verse and there will be some kind of pre course and there'll be a chorus than the go turn around and they'll go into the second chorus in the pre chorus, and you're like, Oh, here comes the chorus and it's not the chorus. It's some kind of part, and usually it's like a really, um, he likes to do really fast, right? Crazy parts in in the spaces that you're not expecting a different part to be in. Um, and we did pretty much that structure that I just explained We did in the song called Artificial Light, where It's like OK, here comes the chorus and it's not. Actually, Here comes the pre chorus, and it's not the pre course. It's this, like little burst of energy that happens for four bars. That's a total people, Peter, which is trick, you know, is probably a good thing to just identify these tricks and try them, even if when you're trying them, it doesn't work. At least you tried it and, uh, and worked it into your vocabulary. There's no there's I mean, obviously, no, no telling in advance of the tricks gonna work, but I think the more tricks you can go to the better And, uh, yeah, so what if he's a metal guys, he's really good, but yeah, I think that what year? Uh, I mean, it's not actually called this, but I think that the taking stuff. I was basically a palate cleanser. You just heard so much of one type of sound, uh, that you almost need nothing before hearing a whole different kind of sounder. It's just something's weird about it. I honestly think it serves the same purpose is just not a one good Peter, which is example, cares to look it up on YouTube, but a song of the damned. It's like the last track on Natural Born Chaos, I believe so. There's just listen to the way he goes from the verse to the chorus, like earlier on In Song and in the very last chorus there's like this extra measure interjected. There was like this little fill in this, like just for a second. It's like, Ooh! And then and then it comes back to the familiar chorus. That's just one part. When I heard that, it's just like That's so cool and easy and smart and it just like it just works. So I think your mind totally the stuff he's talking about. I think most of the time, if you were to categorize it, are unexpected. Little, usually short little variations in structure that only happened once in the song, and they're just kind of like these little surprises that, like, kind of take you off guard for a second. And kind of like when you think you had a structure figured out, like all of a sudden there's this weird part that's that's, like, usually what his tricks looked like. But, I mean, they're done. It's like a perfect example of how to do it, right? Yeah, it's probably good Teoh cops of that then, at least for the sake of understanding how it works totally. And it's, you know, it's a perfect example were talking about earlier about, like, taking kind of big picture ideas, which is that, you know, like these little bursts of special things that happened once a song that you're not gonna be lifting any kind of actual material. If you take that kind of mindset, you're just taking just the overall vibe of kind of how you flush out of song and incorporating in whatever your left turn needs to happen here. Yeah, uh, now that you're gonna use the exact same left turn because the concept of a left turn after going out the path for long enough just ask him. Like where he got his ideas for transitions from Because I, like, kind of ripped on him. Rip his ideas off a little bit. Not not straight ripoffs, but, you know, influence for sure. So I just be curious Like like, hey, you know what inspired you to start looking at your transitions? That what you do, because it's gotta come from, uh, that you could probably hit him up and ask him, Let me know if you, uh let me know if he tells you he seems to know exactly what he's doing. So I'm saying that I guess so when the last things we talk about is this example we found from beyond me a demon hunter song. If it loaded, let me just check that out. Because when we don't crash when we, uh, we're listening to it before on our phone calls, his pre extreme transition Yeah, this is Ah. Just preface it by saying this was an example of going from one of the fastest parts on the record to probably the slowest chorus. At least slow his course of a heavy song on the record. So it's kind of shows the progression from faster, really slow. Okay. Oh, did you, just out of curiosity, did ever in any pre pro versions. It goes straight from one to the other, like from super fastest, super slow. Okay, so you always had the middle ground. Yeah, Yeah, that was That's from the bridge into the chorus. There's a you know, from the verse to the pre chorus to the course, essentially does the same thing. Um, but it's trying to find that I mean cause it's really fast, double kick. And if it's a fast guitar riff on screaming. So it's like all the way extreme in this on this side and then trying to go like to a picking guitar part in my kind of mellow like ride Cymbal thing and a vocal melody. Um, for one, like in the pre chorus, there's Ah, there's a singing vocal, the guitar there still heavy, the drums air kind of more midtempo than they are all the way down tempo. So it's drums take a little bit of a break, not as as soft as the chorus, the Guitar state really heavy. But then the vocals and, you know, introduce ah, melody. So it's kind of like a a gradual progression to getting into the course, and there is kind of like a little tag at the beginning of this chorus. Um, they never deny for the self to lead. It's kind of this weird turnaround that doesn't happen. It just happens to the top of the course. And then it goes into the actual of course, guitar melodies and stuff that also helps. That kind of helps the transition. It's just it felt right to tag that little thing at the beginning of it, as kind of like a Segway into the actual. I also think it has to do with the fact that the drums stop. Yeah, uh, which is a great transition to assist you said, dropping something out for a second. Even if it's not, it's not that trick like before course we drop everything out. Still, it's stopping the momentum to allow something of lower intensity to come in. And then I feel like it's almost unexpected that it's going to go as slow as it does, which is also cool, because it's almost like if you not expecting it, you think that this is gonna be where goes I expected that it takes it even further down a notch. But I think, uh, were getting there. So do we have any questions? We do have some good questions. Yeah, um, in the chat room. Keys wants to know, um, what about having writer's block for arrangements like I have 100 riffs for hundreds of riffs recorded, but end up getting stuck trying to figure out where to go next door to continue creating arrangements that are the same. So like to break out of doing what it sounds like. He's good at, um, in having compelling stuff, but it's all just sort of like the same. I think we've covered that a little bit in, like learning other people's material well, writing an order like he was saying, like, I feel like there's information left out of the question. Which is, Are the riffs isolated like? Is it like hundreds of just single riffs just living in space? Or they like isolated sections where, like, you have one riff going to the next and then, like, three wrists together and then maybe an isolated one think we'll have to wait till tomorrow to find out? So that'll be That'll be the cliffhanger for tomorrow's Yeah, he should come up with an answer and let me know

Class Description

It’s easy for musicians to get so caught up in the latest gear, plugins, and presets, and forget that ultimately, it’s all about the music. Join Eyal Levi and special guests Ryan Clark (Demon Hunter), Todd Jones (Nails, Terror), and John Browne (Monuments) for an in-depth exploration of what it takes to craft great songs.

Eyal will share the tricks of the songwriting trade he’s learned over years of experience as a producer at Audiohammer Studios (The Black Dahlia Murder, August Burns Red, Whitechapel) and guitarist for Century Media/Roadrunner artists Daath. Throughout this two-day course, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the three core components of metal/rock songwriting. You’ll learn about basic song structure and riff-writing; melodies, leads, and vocals; and fine-tuning the arrangement to take your song from good to great. Eyal will be joined by special guests -- from musicians to producers and more -- who will empower you to take your songwriting to new heights.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Metal Songwriting Slides Session 1

Metal Songwriting Slides Session 2

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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user 6f3d0a

Eyal and all the guests are awesome here and really provide a solid education on Songwriting and writing within the Metal genre. One thing that Eyal said that really struck a chord with me, was how Songwriting was being taught at the music school he dropped out of and how it was uninspiring. I completely and thoroughly agree. I own many, many books and videos on Songwriting and I cannot get past the first few pages because it doesn't speak to me and my needs as a Songwriter who is focused on writing Metal. I've been playing Guitar for 25 years now and this is the very first course I've seen that takes Metal songwriting seriously and as a subject worth studying. I would like to commend CreativeLive on having the guts to feature heavy music so prominently in their courses and thank them for helping us establish Metal as a more serious genre. One that is worthy of awards, praise, distinction and honor. In Metal and Strength, R. Ross Strength Keeper Songwriting/Guitars/Vocals/Arranging

Mike Lamb

This was a massively inspirational and incredibly helpful course. By the end of it I had a notebook full of incredibly useful tips and tricks, and I definitely plan a rewatch as soon as possible. I've been in bands writing songs for the better part of 15 years, but this has put a lot of focus on some of the corners I've cut or the areas where I've been lazy with the smaller details. No matter where you are in your songwriting you'll definitely benefit from this, and Eyal articulates everything in an engaging way and positive way. Even if you think you're a good songwriter, there's a tonne here you can benefit from. 10/10 - Thanks Eyal!

Marco Ramírez

Great course, I have enjoyed it a lot and I'm sure I will come back to reinforce many of the concepts shown through the videos. Right now I'm good to go with ideas to apply to my songwriting skills and reinforce several concepts I already had developed prior to this course. This is a great lesson series... even for advanced musicians, anyone can get stuck in this wonderful world of writing and this course shows you tools to get out the best of this process.