Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Bachelor of Music Honours


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)

First Supervisor

Matt Allen


The progressive metal genre has gained popularity over the past fifteen years, attracting virtuosic musicians navigating complex meter, harmony, and technically demanding melodies. Guitarists within this genre often use extended techniques to generate innovative sounds and create unique compositions.

Award-winning, modern guitar hero Tosin Abasi embodies this individualistic virtuosity within the band Animals As Leaders, releasing five albums with the group. The extended techniques “Thumping” and “Selective Picking” have been pioneered by Abasi, with contemporary guitarists adopting these techniques following the release of Abasi’s educational DVD Thump! (Guitar Messenger, 2016). Despite the growing popularity of “Thumping” and “Selective Picking,” their mechanical application and the compositional context in which they are implemented on Animals As Leaders’ fourth studio album, The Madness Of Many (2016), are absent from the literature.

This project combines ethnographic literature and transcription analysis to uncover the mechanical features of the “Thumping” and “Selective Picking” techniques. The examination of “Arithmophobia,” “Ectogenesis,” “Cognitive Contortions,” “Inner Assassins,” and “The Brain Dance” from The Madness of Many (2016) has exposed facets of the techniques alongside the ways Abasi employs them within a composition. The recurring devices uncovered, Repeated Right-Hand Pattern, Rhythmic Displacement, Thumb Downstroke Accent and Modulation, provide insight into the compositional elements present within the techniques.

Through investigating this previously unexplored area, the presentation of dominant devices used by Abasi and transcriptions of the devices in composition provide an opportunity for adaptation into practice. The outcomes of this project have implications on pedagogy, composition, and practice for the contemporary guitarist and provide a methodological framework for future research into Abasi’s playing style and the broader techniques utilised in contemporary composition with opportunities for creative output.



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