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Neo-classical metal

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Neo-classical metal

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Neo-classical metal is a subgenre of the heavy metal music heavily influenced by classical music and can be considered a form of neoclassicism.



Neoclassicism in music was a 20th century development, particularly popular in the period between the two World Wars, in which composers drew inspiration from music of the 18th century, though some of the inspiring canon was drawn as much from the Baroque period as the Classical period - for this reason, music which draws influence specifically from the Baroque is sometimes termed neo-baroque.

While many guitarrists, like the classically trained Randy Rhoads, displayed classical influencies, it was only after the shredding movement, arguably started by Yngwie Malmsteen, and heavily influenced by Ritchie Blackmore, that Neo-classical metal developed as a stand alone metal subgenre.


  • Pedal point (repetition of a note or group, with a scalic, melody line played alternately),
  • Ostinato (strict repetition of a single phrase or idea),
  • Scale sequence (a stylised way of ascending or descending through a scale or mode, where a set pattern is observed),
  • Arpeggio (the notes of a chord played individually)
  • Tritone (musical interval that spans three whole tones or six semitones)


  • Harmonic minor scale (Aeolian mode with a raised 7th tone),
  • Melodic minor which can be viewed two ways:
    • Aeolian mode with a raised 6th and 7th tone or
    • Ionian mode with a flattened 3rd,
  • Diminished (a series of minor 3rd intervals stacked one on top of the next),
  • cycle of fifths (a chord progression where each chord becomes the dominant of the next e.g.: Am, D, G, C, F, Bdim, E, Am),
  • suspensions (cadences or "chord progression endings" where the true harmony chord is pushed out or "suspended" by another, non-harmony note and then reasserts itself. Examples: 4th replaces 3rd; 6th replaces 5th; 9th replace 8th or octave).

The chord progressions, arpeggios, broken chords, and speedy scale runs of neo-classical metal are borrowed for the most part from Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, Niccolo Paganini, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven, particularly the first three. The virtuosos who perform in this style are sometimes dubbed "Guitar Gods".

Although Yngwie J. Malmsteen is probably the form's best known proponent, classical elements used in heavy metal and hard rock date back to Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple, Uli Jon Roth and Randy Rhoads's innovations in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Neo-classical metal performers


Time Requiem
Symphony X


Andrew WK
Greg Howe
Jason Becker
Joe Stump
The Great Kat
Tony MacAlpine
Yngwie J. Malmsteen
Vinnie Moore
Uli Jon Roth
Randy Rhoads
Marty Friedman
Muhammed SuiÁmez
Paul Gilbert
Timo Tolkki
Michael Romeo

Heavy metal
Black metal - Death metal - Doom metal - Folk metal - Glam metal - Gothic metal - Grindcore - Industrial metal - Neo-classical metal - Power metal - Progressive metal - Symphonic metal - Thrash metal
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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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