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The Art of Doom – Haunting Harmonies – The Tritone

Of all the flavours used in metal, the diminished scale ranks as one of the most elusive and strange. Somewhere between mystical and demonic, it fits in perfectly with the sound of Doom.

In this lesson, we're going to take a look at a simple idea involving a two part harmony.

Ex. 1 maps out an E diminished arpeggio starting on the open low 6th string. There are only four notes in this arpeggio, repeating over 3 octaves. You can also play this arpeggio on one string by proceeding from the starting point in one and a half step intervals.

Ex. 1 - E Diminished Arpeggio

Ex. 2 is a harmonised idea played by two guitars. The top part plays the lower notes and the bottom part plays the higher notes. There are also two notes that aren't a part of the diminished arpeggio. They are the second note in bar one of both parts. Intervallically speaking, these are the 5ths of the low E note and Bb on the 5th string.

From bar two, we are essentially performing flat 5th or tritone harmonies. If you play both parts together as a flat 5th power chord, you will notice a dissonant sound, characteristic of the interval.

This idea is obviously very straightforward and methodical, but once you begin to mix things up and experiment with various note combinations and rhythmic deviations, the doors to Doom open wide.

Ex. 2 - Bars 1 and 2

Ex. 2 - Bars 3 and 4