This massive riff featured on Led Zeppelin’s fourth album (known as Led
Zeppelin IV), which was released in 1971. Guitarist Jimmy Page and bassist John Paul Jones play the single-note riff in unison against John Bonham’s heavy backbeat to create one of the archetypal moments in rock history.
The riff has a slightly ambiguous sound, TGR297.ledzeppelin.fig01.musxsitting in-between major and minor tonalities. The line is based File Date: 16:57 08/08/2017 mainly in the A minor pentatonic scale Page 1 of 1 (A C DE G), but there is an extra G# passing Notes: note (a major 7th in this key) giving a brief major vibe. Jimmy Page also bends the minor 3rd note (C) up slightly towards a major 3rd (C#) – a common trait in blues music and another way of briefly blurring the lines between major and minor.
When playing the riff, start with an upstroke and continue alternate picking in a 16th-note fashion so you stay in time with the drum groove, whilst also adding the bends and hammer-ons.
Appears at: 0:12-0:40 Tempo: 82bpm Key/Scale: A minor pentatonic scale Main techniques: Alternate picking / bluesy bends / hammer-ons / pull-offs
Black Dog Words and Music by Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones © 1972 (Renewed) Flames of Albion Music, Inc All Rights Administered by WB Music Corp Exclusive Print Rights Administered by Alfred Music All Rights Reserved