Around the 6:00 mark in the version of the song that can be found here the electric guitars fade out completely and a single acoustic guitar can be heard playing something that I find particularly interesting.

I do not know how to accurately describe the style of this, and with great doubt I throw around the medieval adjective. I'm wondering if there are full songs that are basically just that? That would be great.

  • I think this is a legitimate question because it's a chance to talk about a historical style of classical music that has a definite influence on modern metal.
    – user1044
    Feb 1, 2014 at 21:56

2 Answers 2


What you are hearing is two classical guitars (multi-tracked) playing something resembling Renaissance counterpoint, of the sort written in the years between, very roughly, 1400 and 1600. (Medieval would not be the correct term; medieval was an even earlier period in music history.) You can find many recordings of genuine Renaissance lute music. This is what Black Sabbath was trying to emulate. Most of this style of music at that time in history was played on one of the instruments in the lute family, because what we now think of as the classical guitar had not been invented yet. The lute is the ancestor of the modern guitar.

If you want to hear some historical lute music, listen to recordings of artists like Paul O'Dette and Hopkinson Smith.

  • Thank you. I associated it with the things one usually hears on medieval-themed fantasy games or the like, so that was the first adjective that came to mind. However, I'm having trouble finding compositions that are more similar to what Sabbath recorded. I think slower, and kind of darker, maybe? Do you know if any composer's work, contemporary or historical, vaguely fits with that description?
    – JS Rolón
    Feb 1, 2014 at 22:13
  • 2
    Some people use the terms interchangeably, but true medieval music rarely involved any kind of harmony or chords. It was mostly melody and percussion. Ideas like counterpoint and chord progressions evolved as the Medieval period gave way to the Renaissance period and then the Baroque. Very often when you see those fantasy games or movies, the music has been composed in the Renaissance style, so the composer can use counterpoint and chord progressions, which are more familiar to today's listener.
    – user1044
    Feb 1, 2014 at 22:17
  • 1
    You can hear the influence of Renaissance and Baroque music in metal and hard rock. Artists like Yngwie Malmsteen, Ritchie Blackmore, Jethro Tull, and many others have incorporated actual Renaissance and Baroque compositions into their songs and guitar solos.
    – user1044
    Feb 1, 2014 at 22:23

The part you are referring to is in D# natural minor. Although the natural minor scale (aka Aeolian mode) is commonly found in classical music, this particular piece still sounds pretty modern to me.

For similar music, I would suggest that you listen to Blind Guardian. Their music is mostly Middle-Earth/Lord of the Ring fantasy-themed and very epic. Many pieces are in natural minor. Try The Bard's Song - The Hobbit after 3:08 see if this is what you are looking for and Mordred's Song. They have a whole lot of other fantastic work worth exploring as well.

Classical scales can be found in most power/symphonic/neo-classical metal music such as Blind Guardian, Helloween, Rhapsody of Fire, Yngwie Malmsteen etc. It is a real pleasure to listen to especially when you are a fan of both classical and metal music!

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