Heavy metal gallop

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A gallop is a beat or rhythm typically used in traditional heavy metal songs, eighth-sixteenth-sixteenth (eighth notebeamed sixteenth notes), played on the rhythm guitar or drum kit (strum or drum pattern), mostly using a double kick pedal.

The gallop is usually formed around this skeleton:

H- x---x---x---x---|
S- ----o-------o---|
B- o-ooo-ooo-ooo-oo|

About this sound Play 

This rhythmic figure may be used on palm muted power chords providing accompanimental rhythmic ostinati on the rhythm guitar (About this sound Play example [1]),[2][3] and may be heard in the introduction to Deep Purple's "Highway Star",[4] as well as their "Hard Lovin' Man", Helloween's "Halloween", and Black Sabbath's "Children of the Grave" and "Air Dance",[5] also Metallica's "Motorbreath", "Battery", "Hardwired" and, more famously, "The Four Horsemen",[6] as well as "Raining Blood" by Slayer[7] and "Holy Wars... The Punishment Due" by Megadeth. The pattern has also been used by groups such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and King Diamond.[1] Variations include triplet gallop rhythms (About this sound Play ).[8]

This pattern has also been used in many non-metal songs. A classic example is the Scott Walker single "Jacky" released in 1967[citation needed] and also Heart single "Barracuda" released in 1977.


  1. ^ a b Marshall, Wolf (1993). The Wolf Marshall Guitar Method: Basics, Vol. II, p.24. Hal Leonard. ISBN 9780793516100.
  2. ^ Consumer Dummies (2014). Guitar All-In-One For Dummies, p.144. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9781118872062.
  3. ^ Stang, Aaron and Warner, Daniel (1996). Guitar rock shop, Volume 3, p.6. Alfred. ISBN 9781576237311.
  4. ^ Hal Leonard (2011). Rock Bass Songs for Dummies, unpaginated. Hal Leonard. ISBN 9781458434937.
  5. ^ Popoff, Martin (2011). Black Sabbath FAQ: All That's Left to Know on the First Name in Metal, p. 237 & 247. Backbeat. ISBN 9781617131097.
  6. ^ Pillsbury, Glenn (2006). Damage Incorporated: Metallica and the Production of Musical Identity, p. 23. ISBN 9781136091223.
  7. ^ [1], Raining Blood tab by Slayer at ultimate-guitar.com.
  8. ^ Woods, Tricia and Green, Raleigh (2008). The Versatile Guitarist, p.58. Alfred Music. ISBN 9780739048054.