Chords are one of the most expressive tools used by music composers to create mood. Mood is essential when guiding viewers through a film, keeping shoppers engaged and even getting the emotion of your message across properly. It’s even become a meme and a joke to have mismatching music. For example, having a gospel track backing a gritty street fight clip. People understand that music is defined by its mood. So How do You Achieve mood in music?
One aspect of creating mood in music and keep listeners engaged is to utilize what we call Tension. Tension is created in many ways, and one quick way to add chord tension is to play notes that are very close to each other. For example, playing the notes A and G will create a tense sound similar to B and C. Chords are complex, but when simplified, you will realize the larger chords have lots of sections including tension. So, not only do you have tension within the chord, you can build tension in a chord progression.
Chord progressions are a sequence of varying chords which create a specific mood over time. The goal of every chord progression is to create tension and then resolve that tension. Just like blockbuster movies in Hollywood have an intro-climax-resolution style format, so too your chord progressions.
We show you how to create moods by using chords in our course Chord Magic.
Chords are used to create a musical bed of emotion and manipulate different points of tension. One famous and mysterious chord is the Tristan chord. This chord utilizes tension to build anticipation in the listener for chord relief-resolution. This is the power of harmony. What once was considered a dissonant chord derived from evil is now used in a Travis Scott track to evoke a specific emotion. People used to be charged as guilty of a crime if they played dissonant chords. In todays society, we use almost every chord created. This is why exploring the power of a chord is so critical in building your musical identity as an artist.
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