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Topic: The emotions behind chord choices

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  1. #1

    The emotions behind chord choices

    It seems most of the books on music theory I've read are all very dry and "scientific," which is only helpful to a certain point. One thing I've always wondered about is the reasons why people use certain chords or progressions to convey a mood. We all know the basic stuff like major conveys optimism and minor conveys moodiness, but what about beyond that? For example, if I'm writing something that is supposed to have an ethereal feel, I tend to choose a lot of major and minor 7th chords (and also use those for a jazzy feel a lot too).

    What about you guys? What are some of the chord types you associate with certain moods, or how you approach chord progressions to convey something? What about using augmented, suspended, and other less popular chord types?

  2. #2

    Re: The emotions behind chord choices

    For ethereal atmosphere I would choose a whole tone scale or at least the tritone.

  3. #3
    Moderator/Developer Brian2112's Avatar
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    Re: The emotions behind chord choices

    Lydian Mode is often used for Sci-fi and other "reaching for the stars" and "bittersweet" kind of stuff. I love Lydian.
    Also, I tend to leave out the 3rd as much as possible. I might then use a lot of b6 or b7 things to imply minor and then hit the major 3rd - surprsie! I like to leave major or minor undefined as long as possible (by ommiting the third and using the 4th instead) - and later slamming them both to give a nice minor 2nd when it is defined as major - so it still has some dissonance.The sus4 chord is my tonic (and Gin)
    Interesting topic!

    ...2112
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  4. #4

    Re: The emotions behind chord choices

    I learnt all the harmony and that was a good thing ... but now I want to get rid of it. I like my music most if I just imagine a sound and write it down. But going through the analyzing phase has been useful, though.


    Hannes
    All your strings belong to me!
    www.strings-on-demand.com

  5. #5

    Re: The emotions behind chord choices

    Then there is Key as well. I don't know why but my favorite scores always seem to be in D Minor.
    Bela D Media | www.BelaDMedia.com

  6. #6

    Re: The emotions behind chord choices

    Also be aware that it's not always about the note choices, but how you perform them.

  7. #7

    Re: The emotions behind chord choices

    Quote Originally Posted by Bela D Media
    Then there is Key as well. I don't know why but my favorite scores always seem to be in D Minor.

    I think lick my love pumps was in D minor too :-)

    For etheral stuff I love 9th and 11ths......with very open voicings

    rsp
    richard sven
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  8. #8

    Re: The emotions behind chord choices

    Quote Originally Posted by zvenx
    I think lick my love pumps was in D minor too :-)


    Well there you go. A timeless ballad!
    Bela D Media | www.BelaDMedia.com

  9. #9

    Re: The emotions behind chord choices

    One thing I've always wondered about is the reasons why people use certain chords or progressions to convey a mood. We all know the basic stuff like major conveys optimism and minor conveys moodiness, but what about beyond that?
    I just picked up a brand new book called "This Is Your Brain on Music". It covers this question, and a whole lot more. From only having read a little of it so far, it looks like it balances scientific info with real life examples. It's not a boring read at all.

    Here are some details about the book, in case you're interested:

    "A fascinating exploration of the relationship between music and the mind-and the role of melodies in shaping our lives
    Whether you load your iPod with Bach or Bono, music has a significant role in your life-even if you never realized it. Why does music evoke such powerful moods? The answers are at last becoming clear, thanks to revolutionary neuroscience and the emerging field of evolutionary psychology. Both a cutting-edge study and a tribute to the beauty of music itself, This Is Your Brain on Music unravels a host of mysteries that affect everything from pop culture to our understanding of human nature, including:
    * Are our musical preferences shaped in utero?
    * Is there a cutoff point for acquiring new tastes in music?
    * What do PET scans and MRIs reveal about the brain's response to music?
    * Is musical pleasure different from other kinds of pleasure?

    This Is Your Brain on Music explores cultures in which singing is considered an essential human function, patients who have a rare disorder that prevents them from making sense of music, and scientists studying why two people may not have the same definition of pitch. At every turn, this provocative work unlocks deep secrets about how nature and nurture forge a uniquely human obsession"

  10. #10

    Re: The emotions behind chord choices

    Sorry if I`m wrong, but I think Crimson Tide was also in D minor too.
    Which is one of the scores I love very much!

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