The Life of Chords

Since the 17th century, Western Classical Music has mainly been structured around chords, which are sets of notes that we perceive as a unit because the notes are played simultaneously or in quick succession.

This is not a music theory course: we will be interested primarily in the expressive meanings assigned to these chords and how they function in the “language” of tonal music. Why do certain chords make us feel a certain way, how can they suggest to us vivid images or make us think of distant places? Why do some of them sound celestial and others invoke horror? How can certain sequences of chords create a sense of expectation, suspense, arrival, and possibly even give you goosebumps?

By moving through a wide range of examples (mainly from classical music but occasionally branching out into other cultures), we can begin to notice new colours and nuances and ultimately enrich our picture of the world. 

In this series