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One of the signatures of the version of music is the guitar power chord. In technical terminologies, the power chord is fairly simple: it comprises just one key interval, typically the perfect fifth, though an octave may be supplemented as a coupling of the root. Although the perfect fifth interval is the most popular basis for the power chord, power chords are also founded on differing intervals like the minor third, major third, perfect fourth, diminished fifth, or minor sixth. Most power chords are also played with a consistent finger arrangement that can be slid cheapily up and down the fretboard.

Typical harmonic structures

Heavy metal is normally founded on riffs made with three chief harmonic traits: modal scale progressions, tritone and chromatic progressions, and the use of pedal points. Conventional heavy metal tends to utilize modal scales, in specific the Aeolian and Phrygian modes. Harmonically speaking, this denotes that the version typically incorporates modal chord progressions like the Aeolian progressions and Phrygian progressions.

The tritone, an interval straddling three whole tones—such as C and F#—was a prohibited dissonance in medieval ecclesiastical singing, which led monks to refer to it diabolus in musica—"the devil in music".

Heavy metal songs mostly make widespread use of pedal point as a harmonic basis. A pedal point is a maintained tone, normally in the bass range, during which as a minimum one foreign harmony is sounded in the other parts.

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