How to Write Goth Music

Start with the bass line – usually this carries a lot of the songs, being both a rhythmic and melodic instrument in a goth context, the “changes” in the song will often be more about the bass part. Often the bass will have chorus or flanger effects too.

Then you’ll want some fairly simple minor key melodies played in the upper register of the guitar, with lots of effects – chorus, phaser, flanger, reverb, and delay all work. Either single note lines or arpeggiated chords work best here.

If you’re using synths, you probably want string sounds and washed out pads, things like organs can work too but could sound cheesy. As for drums, there’s one beat that I hear over and over in more trad-leaning goth stuff. It’s derived from the “motorik” beat, and it’s often programmed into a drum machine rather than played acoustically, but it goes – kick kick snare kick kick kick snare kick. Other rhythmic options are a kind of pounding, tom-heavy rhythm, or a driving hi-hat-based pattern.

This is just a generalisation – it would be easy to just make something super cliched by doing all of these things. Remember that these bands did whatever they wanted to, they weren’t following rules or trying to make goth music.

Credit: Coffinpetals (Reddit)


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