Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Major chords and minor chords

Professor Scott Murphy has created three delightful and instructive YouTube videos that demonstrate very common treatments of triads in American film music of the past thirty years.

How Movies Mourn With Only Two Chords.
An 18 minute, three part video tutorial and quiz! Part 1 shows anyone how to play the two chords, Part 2 explains them in music-theory terms, and Part 3 is the quiz, in which Murphy plays excerpts (and speaks dialogue at the same time) and the viewer guesses the film source. One important takeaway is how common this single pairing of triads is in American film music of the past 30 years.
How to Imitate a Whole Lot of Hollywood Film Music in Four Easy Steps.
"Even someone who has no prior musical training can use the information in this video to create chord progressions that not only sound like the movies, but are associated with particular affects, settings, or narrative elements." The video is in two parts: the first identifies and shows how to play the several chord pairs that the second part (starting at about 4:45) then connects to particular moods or affects and illustrates with examples from films. Here is a graphic of the ten chord pairs (watch the video for explanation of the labels "M2M" etc.):

How to Imitate Even More Closely a Whole Lot of Hollywood Film Music with One More Easy Step.
The level of music theory is a step up from the earlier videos -- triad inversions combined with the triad pairs -- but the tutorial is just as clear and the payoff is some useful observations on underscore cues by Howard Shore and Hans Zimmer.