Chords that are not sad nor happy
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Old 30-01-2013, 05:46 PM   #1
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Chords that are not sad nor happy

This will probably sound like a very weird question but I was wondering if someone could name me some chords that are not sad and not happy. I really like chords like Amin7 because of this, but I'm having trouble finding chords with a similar emotion. Any idea?

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Old 30-01-2013, 06:02 PM   #2
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Re: Chords that are not sad nor happy

although I find this "sad/happy" categorization very weak and just plain irrelevant,
you could try suspended chords (play the perfect second or fourth instead of the third)
minor 6/9 chords sound special too

and powerchord
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Old 30-01-2013, 10:13 PM   #3
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Re: Chords that are not sad nor happy

Quartal and quintal chords have historically been used due to their "lack of emotional content."
Personally, I don't think that is possible, but you could try stacking 4ths or 5ths to generate some interesting harmonies. (i.e. C-F-Bb-Eb-Ab-etc., or C-G-D-A-E-etc.)

Also, try messing around with sonorities that aren't triadic (built in thirds, like your Am7 for example which is m3, M3, m3), like tone clusters or just dyads (intervals) by themselves.

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Old 30-01-2013, 11:59 PM   #4
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Re: Chords that are not sad nor happy

Cool thanks for the ideas. My music theory is not my strongest point. What exactly is a built-in triad? Is that the root note + 3 semitones?

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Old 31-01-2013, 12:08 AM   #5
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Re: Chords that are not sad nor happy

"built in thirds" means built as a succession of thirds. Am7 for example is A-C-E-G ; in A minor, C is A's third, E is C's third and so on. This is the classic way of building a chord.

What he suggested is tone clusters which are chords with very close notes, or very small intervals. e.g. C-Db-Eb
a bit dissonant but in context it can be pretty badass
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Old 31-01-2013, 12:57 AM   #6
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Re: Chords that are not sad nor happy

I like to describe Major add 9th chords as "hopeful" and Minor add 9th chords as "yearning" or "aching". Not sure why.

Also, Major #11 chords sound kind of mysterious, I guess. Like there is something more to discover?
The Minor 7/9 chord is probably the chillest chord I know. Just melts away my stress.

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Old 31-01-2013, 01:18 AM   #7
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Re: Chords that are not sad nor happy

It has more to do with context..

if you just hang out on an A minor chord, it's gonna sound mopey as hell.. but there are plenty of happy ass songs that have an a minor chord.
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:29 AM   #8
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Re: Chords that are not sad nor happy

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Originally Posted by YoMyEX View Post
I like to describe Major add 9th chords as "hopeful" and Minor add 9th chords as "yearning" or "aching". Not sure why.
i have thought this way forever and ever and fucking ever.
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Old 08-02-2013, 06:21 AM   #9
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Re: Chords that are not sad nor happy

try using diminished chords (minor chord but top note a half step down). They're more... mysterious.
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Old 11-02-2013, 04:30 AM   #10
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Re: Chords that are not sad nor happy

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Originally Posted by TNT1325 View Post
try using diminished chords (minor chord but top note a half step down). They're more... mysterious.
Spot on...

Also (I was chatting about this idea in another thread), just play a straight major or minor, and change a few fingers around in that key, or put a few more notes down (in the key) - shouldtake long to find a nice and mellow / nuetral chord

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Old 12-02-2013, 04:41 AM   #11
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Re: Chords that are not sad nor happy

chords can be interesting unto themselves but it is more important the transitions between them (unusual couplings) i feel where most interest can be found.

I just load up all my chords in a progression (stacked extensions)
then go ahead and edit from there to hear potential internal melodies (top/middle/bottom lines)

i feel this way is easiest to get towards interesting melodies/harmonies
than to start with common chords and 'hoping' to come up with interesting melodies from them.

I think of it like sculpture,
i.e. Carving out yourself an interesting prism of marble then sculpt into it.
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Old 12-02-2013, 04:43 AM   #12
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Re: Chords that are not sad nor happy

try the tritone (devil's chord)

it can be difficult to use as a starting point, expanding into an entire song.

but starting with an unusual chord is the best way to start i feel as it automatically takes you away from mundane/cliche paths.
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Old 12-02-2013, 04:45 AM   #13
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Re: Chords that are not sad nor happy

im itching to get home and start a progression using the Tristan Chord (from Wagner's Tristan & Isolde) after reading about it this morning.
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Old 12-02-2013, 08:31 AM   #14
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Re: Chords that are not sad nor happy

Probably.. the sound in your head that you're thinking of when you say "chords that are not happy or sad" is not a diminished chord.. but a chord that employs extended harmony. Diminished chords are like salt.. too much and it will fuck everything up..

Extended harmony on the other hand.. there's a lot of songs that abuse the fuck out of it.

google extended harmony. essentially i'm talking about basic triads with additional harmonies stacked on top. 9ths 11ths 13ths

be careful asking about harmony on this forum.. I've seen a lot of misinformation.
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Old 12-02-2013, 10:28 AM   #15
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Re: Chords that are not sad nor happy

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Originally Posted by mnkvolcno View Post

google extended harmony. essentially i'm talking about basic triads with additional harmonies stacked on top. 9ths 11ths 13ths
Oops - this is what I thought the other post was talking about...! THIS is what I think is spot on... Sorry other guy ;-)....

Things like a c minor (c eflat g) with an added note of b flat...

This chord is "kinda" nuetral to me because it is made up of a c minor and an eflat major (I say kinda cause the minor chord start gives it a subtle minor (sad) feeling.

Major chord starting has a lush and slightly melancholy feel.... E.g. C+e+g+b - made of c maj and e min...

As the previous post suggests, u don't have to stop there either....(ie also adding a d higher TI either of the above...

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Old 11-03-2013, 07:44 AM   #16
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Re: Chords that are not sad nor happy

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Originally Posted by steeboo View Post
This will probably sound like a very weird question but I was wondering if someone could name me some chords that are not sad and not happy. I really like chords like Amin7 because of this, but I'm having trouble finding chords with a similar emotion. Any idea?
Play a major triad in one octave and then a major triad in the next octave up
i.e. Cmajor and Bmajor
C-E-G and B-D#-F#
Cmajor and Emajor
C-E-G and E-G#-B
Just keep changing the chord in the higher octave and you will find a lot of really quirky sounds that might not be traditionally classified as "happy" or "sad"

Another thing, I think that how you "voice" the chords will change the mood quite a bit, i.e. C-E-G-B-D-F# sounds really different than C-G-B-E-F#-D even though they use the same notes and are both considered a CMaj7 #11

my 2 cents

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