Regarded by many as the three most vital purveyors of pure hard rock/heavy metal sonic evil, AC/DC’s Angus Young, Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page and Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi have each forged a distinct, instantly recognizable guitar style and sound. After more than three decades of dedicated service, all three players continue to influence countless up-and-coming metalheads the world over, and an in-depth study of each guitarist’s distinct musical personality is mandatory for any aspiring hard rock player.
I’d like to focus on an approach to chord playing inspired by Johann Sebastian Bach’s chorales. The chorale originated as a vocal hymn of the Lutheran church, often constructed in four-part harmony wherein the top voice is the melody. Bach composed many chorales of incredible beauty; the way he harmonized for four voices was impeccable, and his chorales served as the textbook for studying Western harmony for over 100 years.