When it comes to creating the perfect epic fantasy film score, it’s essential to have the right tools in your toolbox. One of the most effective techniques to create that powerful, emotional sound is by using Chromatic Mediants. In this blog post, we’ll explore what Chromatic Mediants are, how they can be used to create tension and resolution in music, and how to use them to create an epic fantasy film score sound.
Understanding chromatic mediants
Chromatic Mediants refer to chords that share the same quality but differ in their roots by a third. For example, in the key of C major, the tonic chord is C major. A Chromatic Mediant chord would be E-flat major, which shares the same quality as C major but differs in the root by a third. Chromatic Mediants can also be minor chords. In the key of C major, the tonic chord is C major, and a minor Chromatic Mediant would be A minor.
Chromatic Mediants can create tension and resolution in music by introducing unexpected chords that are not part of the key. This technique is often used in film scores to heighten emotions and create a sense of drama. By using Chromatic Mediants, composers can build tension and release it in a powerful, emotional way.
Creating an epic fantasy sound
Using Chromatic Mediants in your score can create an otherworldly sound that transports the listener to a different time and place. Let’s explore how to use Chromatic Mediants in an epic fantasy film score.
1. Choosing the key and identifying the tonic chord
The first step in using Chromatic Mediants in an epic fantasy film score is to choose the key. Most epic fantasy films are set in a world different from our own, and the music should reflect that. Composers often use keys that are less common, such as Dorian or Phrygian, to create an exotic sound.
Once you’ve chosen the key, it’s important to identify the tonic chord. The tonic chord is the chord built on the first scale degree and is the most stable chord in the key. It’s the chord that creates a sense of home and resolution.
2. Finding the chromatic mediants
Once you’ve identified the tonic chord, the next step is to find the Chromatic Mediants. To find the Chromatic Mediants, you’ll need to look for chords that share the same quality as the tonic chord but differ in their roots by a third. For example, in the key of C major, the tonic chord is C major. The Chromatic Mediant chords would be E-flat major and A-flat major.
In a film score, you can use Chromatic Mediants to create tension and build emotion. One way to do this is to use the Chromatic Mediant chord to replace the subdominant or dominant chords in the progression. This unexpected chord change creates a sense of tension and adds drama to the score.
3. Incorporating the chromatic mediants into the score
Once you’ve found the Chromatic Mediants, it’s time to incorporate them into the score. There are many ways to do this, and it’s up to the composer to decide which approach to take.
One way to incorporate Chromatic Mediants is to use them in a melody. For example, you could use the Chromatic Mediant chord as a passing chord in a melody to create a sense of tension before resolving to the tonic chord.
Another way to use Chromatic Mediants is to use them in the bassline. By using Chromatic Mediants in the bassline, you can create a sense of tension and build towards the climax of the score.
4. Adding ornamentation
To create an even more epic sound, composers can add ornamentation to the Chromatic Mediants. Ornamentation refers to adding embellishments to the melody or chords to make them more interesting and exciting. In an epic fantasy film score, ornamentation can create a sense of magic and wonder.
One way to add ornamentation to Chromatic Mediants is to use arpeggios. An arpeggio is a broken chord where the notes are played in a sequence rather than all at once. By using arpeggios on Chromatic Mediants, composers can create a magical, mystical sound.
Another way to add ornamentation is to use trills. A trill is a rapid alternation between two notes. By using trills on Chromatic Mediants, composers can create a sense of excitement and anticipation.
5. Using harmony and counterpoint to enhance the sound
Harmony and counterpoint are essential elements in creating an epic fantasy film score sound with Chromatic Mediants. Harmony refers to the combination of chords and how they work together to create a sound. Counterpoint refers to the combination of melodies and how they interact with each other.
One way to enhance the sound of Chromatic Mediants is to use harmony to create tension and release. By using dissonant chords, such as the Chromatic Mediants, and resolving them to more consonant chords, composers can create a sense of resolution and release.
Another way to enhance the sound of Chromatic Mediants is to use counterpoint to create interest and complexity. By using different melodies that work together, composers can create a layered, textured sound that adds depth and emotion to the score.
6. Using dynamics to create an epic sound
Dynamics refer to the loudness and softness of the music. By using dynamics in their score, composers can create a sense of grandeur and power. One way to use dynamics is to start the score softly and gradually increase the volume as the score progresses. This creates a sense of tension and anticipation that builds towards the climax of the score.
Another way to use dynamics is to use sudden changes in volume to create impact. By suddenly increasing the volume of the music, composers can create a sense of power and intensity.
Incorporating Chromatic Mediants into an epic fantasy film score can create a powerful, emotional sound that transports the listener to a different world. By choosing the right key, identifying the tonic chord, finding the Chromatic Mediants, incorporating ornamentation, using harmony and counterpoint, and using dynamics, composers can create a score that is both magical and exciting.
Remember that music is subjective, and what works for one composer may not work for another. Experiment with different techniques and see what works best for your score. With practice and perseverance, you can create an epic fantasy film score sound that is truly unforgettable.