Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: Transition between minor chords

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Posts
    29
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Transition between minor chords

    I'm personally incredibly fascinated by a minor chord transitioning to another minor chord, and maybe another one. It's something I've used a lot in the past, and a symphonic poem I'm working on right now does start like that (Dm Cm Dm).

    One progression I'm particularly in love with, though, is when a minor chord goes down two tones to another minor chord: it's mildly dissonant, as I guess it's not strictly speaking a "natural" transition, but I really like it. To give you an idea, this track Korzeniowski wrote as a soundtrack does start that way, but I've heard it a few times in classical works too (most notably in the Antar symphony by Rimsky-Korsakov, if I recall correctly).

    I've tried searching around to see if this had some theory behind it, but I didn't have much luck (most likely because I'm ignorant and don't know what I'm supposed to look for ) Does this progression have a name in music theory? What is that makes it so mysterious and fascinating?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    15,970
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    139

    Default

    It could be called parallel movement of chords.

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Posts
    29
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    It could be called parallel movement of chords.
    Thanks, that definition makes a lot of sense!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Ashland, OR
    Posts
    17,922
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    If you're thinking modally, moving from a minor triad to one a whole step away wouldn't be unusual. I think you could find plenty of examples in Debussy, Ravel, Vaughan Williams and other composers who integrated modal thinking into their styles. The Dm-Cm-Dm that begins your symphonic poem sounds Phrygian to me.

  5. #5
    Senior Member mikeh375's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    1,757
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    5

    Default

    Moving minor triads up or down by a major or minor third is an overdone technique in media music. It maybe of interest to note that when doing this, both triads will always have a note in common, a pivot.
    Last edited by mikeh375; Feb-18-2020 at 19:53.
    New website and some new music......www.mikehewer.com

  6. #6
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Ashland, OR
    Posts
    17,922
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    A striking example of a minor triad moving directly into the one a half step below it is at the very beginning of Reger's tone poem "Isle of the Dead" (much less familiar than Rachmaninoff's piece).

  7. Likes BrahmsWasAGreatMelodist liked this post
  8. #7
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Ashland, OR
    Posts
    17,922
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeh375 View Post
    Moving minor triads up or down by a major or minor third is an overdone technique in media music. It maybe of interest to note that when doing this, both triads will always have a note in common, a pivot.
    This was much fresher when Wagner did it in the "Tarnhelm" motif from the Ring.

  9. #8
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Posts
    29
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    A striking example of a minor triad moving directly into the one a half step below it is at the very beginning of Reger's tone poem "Isle of the Dead" (much less familiar than Rachmaninoff's piece).
    I'm familiar with Rachmaninoff's poem, but not Reger's: I'll listen to it, thanks!

  10. #9
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Posts
    29
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    This was much fresher when Wagner did it in the "Tarnhelm" motif from the Ring.
    Oh, that's indeed a very good example of the transition I mentioned in my post! And this confirms I should really dig in Wagner's work more, which is something I just started, as I mentioned in the "Tristan Chord" post.

    On Mike's note, I did notice how pivot notes can be used very effectively in such transitions, like the main theme from Korzeniowski's soundtrack piece I referenced hits the high A# as a bridge. Not sure if it's overdone or not today, but it still does hit the spot for me!

  11. #10
    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    5,362
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    8

    Default

    Welcome iminiero. The progression you mention from Antar is transcribed in post #22 of this thread:

    What is going on here? Prokofiev Analysis

    The thread contains a lot of discussion and analysis of these kinds of chromatic progressions by thirds.

    Your frogs make me shudder with intolerable loathing and I shall be miserable for the rest of my life remembering them.
    — Mikhail Bulgakov, The Fatal Eggs

    Originality is a device untalented people use to impress other untalented people and to protect themselves from talented people.
    — Basil Valentine

  12. #11
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Posts
    29
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    Welcome iminiero. The progression you mention from Antar is transcribed in post #22 of this thread:

    What is going on here? Prokofiev Analysis

    The thread contains a lot of discussion and analysis of these kinds of chromatic progressions by thirds.
    Thanks for the pointer, Edward, I'll definitely check that out!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •