The Chord Progression That Makes MOVIE SOUNDTRACKS Sound SO GOOD

The Chord Progression That Makes MOVIE SOUNDTRACKS Sound SO GOOD!

Tommaso Zillio

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chromatic mediants guitar

There is a little secret that movie soundtrack composers use to create their chord progressions. It's a trick so simple that it can be explained in 10 minutes.

And that's exactly what I will do in the video at the end of this email, but first, I need to ask you a question.

Here it is: if you invented a simple trick to make great music that everybody could understand easily and could be explained in 10 minutes at most... how would you name this trick?

Think about it for just a minute...

... it all depends if you wanted people to learn this trick or not.

  • If you were a teacher and you wanted to encourage people to learn it, you would use an easy, friendly name like: "easy magic chords" or "wonder chords".

  • If you were a YouTuber interested only in how many people watch your videos, you would give it a fancy meaningless name like "God chords" (I'm not making that up...)

  • If instead you were more interested in impressing people with your genius for coming up with such an idea, you would give it a complex, serious name. Maybe you would take to Greek-derived words and put them together. Like "retrograde synchronic relationship" or "inverse undertonic chordal extension" or "chromatic mediant progression".

"HAHA" you'll say "these names are obviously stupid, nobody would use them"

Do you think I'm joking?

... because the real name is actually "chromatic mediant progression" - and that tells you a lot about music theorists ;-)

So what is a ‘chromatic mediant’?

It’s a sound you’ve probably heard countless times, but you may not have heard it by its name.

This type of chord motion is incredibly common in movie and TV soundtracks. So if you want to come up with more ‘cinematic’ sounding chord progressions, this is a great way to learn how.

This progression has its place in popular music as well. A great example is the song ‘Creep’ by Radiohead, which uses a chromatic mediant in the first two chords.

So what is a chromatic mediant, and how can you play it on the guitar? In the video linked below, I will explore all the different ways you can play chromatic mediants on the guitar, how you can use them in your music, and I’ll even explain why it sounds so good:

Want to know more about chord and harmony on the guitar? I have a complete video course that shows you everything there is to know about chords on the guitar, check out the link to see my Complete Chord Mastery guitar course

Video Transcription

Hello internet so nice to see you! I have a great question on chromatic mediant chords.

Hi Tommaso. I thought that chromatic mediants should be one, a third apart; two, not in the same key; but also three, of the same quality. So when F minor and D minor is okay C and A augmented should not be called a chromatic mediant. Am I wrong?

First of all, what is this thing of chromatic mediant chromatic mediants is a relationship between two or more chords, okay. And these way of putting chords together as an interesting sound, you guys have heard those chords all the time, you've heard stuff like these everywhere from Star Wars, to any kind of other kinds of movies, and you can do this with major chords, and any sounds these way.

And there are several different ways to put this chords together. So let's try to understand what we're doing when it works when it doesn't work, and why and then you have in your hands the sound of movies. So, before we understand chromatic medians, you need to understand diatonic media. Well, let's say I'm in the key of C.

And again, I'm gonna think the key of C for just a single things. But if you understand these, everything is going to be much, much, much, much easier. I mean, the key of C, I have those chords, I have the chord, C major, D minor, E minor, F major, G major, A minor and B diminish, okay, now, if I'm playing the C chord, and they want to move in a Mediant way, it means I'm moving up or down third with the root of the chord either and move to what is called the mediant chord.

So I go from C major to E minor, when I moved to that whatsoever, called the sub Mediant chord, so going down a third and they go to a minor, simple as that I'm just moving two steps higher, or two steps lower in the key. Okay, and you've heard those chord progressions all the time, especially in pop music. So, C to E minor or diatonic Mediant. Again, you hear these all the time, okay.

And C to A minor, same deal, you've heard us millions of times, okay, million millions of times, it's a very popular move, if different the modern world, for instance, many classical player jazz player do when they move mostly in fifth, in jazz and classical music, you typically move in intervals like fourths, or fifths, okay, so you go like C, C, G minor, A minor, or a minor, D minor, G, C, so you move up to the interval of a fifth or fourth.

So different kinds of chord progression. And again, it's not that one chord is the mediant is, isn't that the diatonic mediant is that the relationship between chords, the distance between those chords makes sense. So that's what happens in a key now we call them chromatic mediants, when those two chords are not in the same key, but you're still moving up and down.

Either a major third or a minor third, a minor third will be three frets on the guitar, a major third would be four frets on your guitar. And if you move up or down that amount of frets, you end the two chords and I think you have a chromatic mediant. But let's make a simple example. I'm still starting from C, okay. And they want to go up a minor third instead, and I get another major chord and they get a flat. Okay. Let me first play.

So I have C major, C, and then E flat. And again, yes, you're currently sound in several movies. Not so many in so many pop songs. I like to listen to Radiohead. But in many movies, you hear this kind of sound, and it's typically a comedy movie with the major chords. Okay, make sense? Now this works.

But why it works for different theories. I've looked at it, and then give different reason for why it works. And pretty much nobody's really arrived because they concentrate on different aspects. Let's see what it could be. Well, the notes in the C major chord are C, E, and G, the notes in the E flat major chord, E flat, G and B.

They Game Theorists give two different explanation on why this works. So one or a few of them say it's because both courts are major and the other other people say it's because there's two chords, Evernote in common a chord progression works, if your brain can find a meaning behind it, find a way to connect those chords together.

Okay, so those are both good reasons. If they're both major chord, your brain is expecting the second one to be a major chord. So when you hear it, there's a relationship between those two chords. And it sounds good.

Or it will be the note in common is important because it connects the score. So if I have C major and that is G, and then I play an E flat, and G note that on top. So these notes connects those two chords. Is it because they are the same quality major minor or because they have a note in common? Well really neither one.

But the first thing to notice is that if the two chords have the same quality, that we always have a note in common, because you see, if I'm doing C major C major to E flat major, and it's a minor third, they're going to have a G in common. But I could also do C major to imager. And in this case, you know what, I spelled the flat with a with a, b, but it's B flat, sorry, guys. If I have E major, my notes are E, G, sharp, and B, and the common note is E.

And they say the chromatic mediant works perfectly anyway, so I have seen it this way. And then I have imager, and he still works perfectly. And now the common, and you can hear it this way, so you can hear the tone.

Say, Okay, if I'm going down, and they keep using major chords, I can go down up major third or a minor third, if I go down a minor third, I'm gonna have the A chord, the notes in the A chord, or a C sharp and E.

And then again, I have the E in common, and that sounds beautiful too. But I can also go down a major third key into an E flat. And so yeah, a flat, C, E flat. And now the common note is the C note. And again, this still works beautifully. No problem. And it's really the same thing with minor chords, going out a major third or a minor third, or going down a major third minor third, you discover that every time you use the same chord quality.

So the bottom major, both minor, they're going to have a note in common, okay. But here's the thing, they don't have to be of the same quality to work. Okay. The whole point here is how much you want those chords to sound together, if they're in the same key. They sound very much together.

And they have two notes in common because C major and a minor have to see if they are the same quality. And you move up and down. And majors that are a minor third, are going to have a note in common. Actually, they're going to sound together but less together than before because there's we're not in common.

And at least one note of conflict in a sense, okay, I know that was there in the chord before, but it's flat or sharp in the second chord. That's what makes them the chromatic mediants. And they sound great precisely because of that mismatch.

But you can also move up and down and change the quality of the chord. And so you can get caught and not in the same key that are not the same quality, they don't don't even have a note in common. And at this point, it's where people divide. Some people say these works, and it will say this doesn't work. And it really depends on you and your ear.

So I have an A minor notes are A, C and E, and then moving up major third output, so to C sharp, and I'm going to make these chord major. So I have C sharp major C sharp major, the C sharp, E sharp. And I know some Philistine among you, we're gonna say f but it's not it's E sharp, and G sharp.

No notes in common between those two chords, no key in common between those two chords, but still, there's that needy and relationship between them because the roots are 1/3 apart. And so you may like it or not. Some people love it. And it's like, Great an acceptable sound for them. And some people are like, No, this sounds disconnected.

Okay, completely up to you, you can have them with a lot in common and or have the same type. If they're the same type, the same quality, they're always going to have a lot in common as long as there's major minor triads, things could be a bit different these diminished augmented triads, okay. And those makes them connected.

And those are the most common kind of chromatic medians or they can have no notes in components so they also are of a different quality. Now they are a bit harder to follow. And since they're harder to follow, they're also more interesting and they give you more this feeling of estrangement are strange, mysterious things going on.

There is really no restriction as long as you move one major or minor third, up or down and you keep playing major minor chords but they can you can do these with augmented chord diminished chord, seventh chords, dominant seventh minor, seventh major seventh, minor, seventh, four, five, anything and you can change that wheel.

As long as you move by thirds. It's gonna sound good now How good it depends on your ear and your tolerance for different chords, some people will always want to have at least one note in common between the first and the second. And people are gonna always like to have the same kind of quality between the first and the second.

But some people are not going to simply not going to hear about that and the thing is going to sound good anyway, I don't know who you are, the only thing to know is to know is that you have to try doing this on your guitar. When you do this kind of thing. It's really useful to know all the notes on your guitar at a moment's notice. So you can find those chords and different voicings of the score. It's without thinking too much.

I just publish an ebook plus video that details an exact simple matter that allows you to learn all the notes over all your fretboard painlessly, just investing five minutes a day and not more even to learn all the notes of your fretboard permanently.

And it's easy. I'm gonna put the link in the description and it's gonna appear on the top. Just check it out. It's free. Get it okay. And that's everything for today. This is Tommaso Zillio for, and until next time, enjoy.

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