A gallop is a beat or rhythm typically used in traditional heavy metal songs.[1] It is created by playing an eighth note followed by two sixteenth notes (eighth notebeamed sixteenth notes),[2] usually on rhythm guitar, drums, or bass.

One technique on guitar involves strumming palm muted power chords in an up-and-down motion with a pick, thereby creating an ostinato.[3][4] Variations include the triplet gallop[5] and the reverse gallop.[6]

On drums, the technique often uses a double kick pedal. A typical drum gallop is formed around this skeleton:

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

Examples of early or "proto" gallops

Several early examples are variations on the pattern that do not strictly use the "eighth note followed by two sixteenth notes", but nonetheless have been identified as gallops.

Examples of songs using the gallop



  1. ^ a b Stolz 2017, p. 142: "the so-called heavy metal gallop, which by 1988, had become a heavy metal trope"
  2. ^ Marshall 1993, p. 24.
  3. ^ Chappell, Phillips & Serna 2014, eBook.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Stang & Purse 2014, p. 8: "gallop rhythm"
  5. ^ Woods & Green 2008, p. 58.
  6. ^ Revill 2017.
  7. ^ a b Popoff 2011, p. 237: "proto-power metal gallop"
  8. ^ Popoff 2018b, p. 67: "prototype of the heavy metal gallop"
  9. ^ Hal Leonard 2011, eBook: "key heavy metal rhythm commonly called the gallop"
  10. ^ Encabo 2015, p. 35: "The opening guitar riff is based on the so called gallop rhythm"
  11. ^ Popoff 2011, p. 247: "sublime chords set to a soft gallop"
  12. ^ Popoff 2018a, p. 32: "a classic Iron Maiden gallop"
  13. ^ a b Chlasciak 2018: "utilizes a classic metal 'gallop' rhythm, which is an eighth note followed by two 16ths"
  14. ^ a b c Pillsbury 2013, eBook: "Tightly palm-muted ostanati are also heard in other Metallica songs, ranging from the straightforward gallop in 'Motorbreath' from Kill 'Em All to the faster, more complex figures used in the verses of 'Disposable Heroes' and 'Damage, Inc.' from Master of Puppets.
  15. ^ a b Revill 2017: "['Holy Diver' uses] a much slower and simpler version of a gallop rhythm is in the verse riff"; "This version [used in 'Raining Blood'] is commonly known as the Reverse Gallop"