The EMOTIONAL Meaning Of Chords [Music Theory]

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Many musicians think of music theory as a kind of un-emotional mathematics that tell you what chord come after another chord, or what scale goes on that chord, and so on.

While this is definitely an aspect of music theory, it is not the most important part of it.

(and BTW, there is nothing wrong about math per se!)

After all, most of us do not play music just because it resembles math – we play music because it transmit emotions and feelings.

So it only makes sense that a theory of music should have something to say about how music connects to emotions; and how a composer/songwriter can create some very specific feeling in their audience.

And yet, if you open any book of music theory, or even take a college course on it, barely a mention is made about emotions. It’s like they only teach you the grammar of music, and completely neglect what you can say with it.

In this video we see together how to connect anything you know about music theory to actual emotions and feeling – and how a composer/songwriter can use this knowledge to write more expressive music.

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Peter Osipov says:

Emotions are the only way for me to evaluate what I do musically. It's basically what I feel, if I have an emotional journey throughout the song, if emotions are consistent.
Music is all about emotions. There is no other way for me.
Of course music is mathematically structured, but that's the way we humans describe and systematise things and musical theory is describing science, not prescribing.
So in the end what for it is all if not for emotions 🙂

Dhanesh Sarangadharan says:

Totally awesome… Thanks Tomasso

Jo Zen says:

Happy New Year to you and your viewers, Tommaso! Thank you for the great lesson(s)!

Azi Crawford says:

I found that music is math that makes me feel

Brett Marlar says:

I would say that the emotion conveyed by a chord depends on what chord proceeds and follows it. Context is everything. Another thing to consider is what the bass is playing over your chord. If the Bass is playing Bb or F over the Cadd9 it will totally change how that chord is perceived.

McKinzy Diggendz says:

Resurecting alien dinosaurs from another planet. #realtalk #6o9

Randy Bakkelund says:

Emotional Chord Book! That's great, i had to take notes on that, in case I forget since I watch so many videos!

Busking Australia says:

This is what I teach first and with vocal too. It always gets ignored

Roberto del Pino says:

Great video!!! Love your channel too. Thanks

Peter Richardson says:

Great video. I've been working on some new tunes and really trying to focus on the emotions I want to evoke.

What role do you think rhythm and phrasing play in emotion? Can a 'chilled' chord become a 'scared' chord if you approach it from a different place, put it in an uneven time signature or an offset rhythm for example?

GraemeMarkNI says:

Chords feel different in different keys, on different instruments, in different tunings, and with different vocalists… I'd be asking "how does an E Major chord feel when the song is in G major?" And in that case, the answer differs depending on what the NEXT chord is. My chord book would be a series of huge spider diagrams that would get unruly rather fast 😀

That Cadd9 sounded mellow because of the way you guys strummed it. If you'd stabbed the guitar, it would've been rather sharp. Everything depends on context.

Jan Macaraeg says:

IMO, Starting from just a chord itself means attention or trying to tell something…. and wait for the context to understand it… Nice topic.!

Mr. Free says:

Do you know how we can use drop chords? Can you drop triads? Thanks

markusleb says:

Okay, but if you use a Cadd9 after a Dadd9 (or vice versa) it doesn't sound nearly as chill or mellow anymore… context matters, I guess.

utawo1 says:

Absolutely fabulous. Thanks. My chording WILL never be the same! Thanks x100

sejuk damai says:

Theory music best cool

Johan Tillgren says:

Fantastic video Tommaso!

Mike Saye says:

Love this topic!

WhyCan'tIRemainAnonymous?! says:

1:26: His example chord is precisely the chord that starts the song I recorded for my wedding (a good 20 years ago :-)). I feel calmly in love 😀

Apparatchic says:

Amazing that a musician can have so little connection to music…has no idea what it's meant for.

Jere Toikka says:

Thanks for the video Tommaso! 🙂

Evan Anderson says:

This is probably one of the best informative videos that you have made.
You have been a big help.
Thank you
I've got work to do with this information.

John Grönvall says:

Nabla is your friend. Excellent video thank you!

Timmy Spencer says:

Beautiful and simple. Awesome TZ, thanks.

Edit: wrong initials, oops.

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