1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Looking for cool orchestral textures using polychords

Discussion in 'Composition, Orchestration & Technique' started by vicontrolu, Dec 7, 2017.

  1. vicontrolu

    vicontrolu Senior Member

    570
    76
    Dec 1, 2008
    Mostly trying to express chaos, disorientation...not too dark though.

    Feel free to suggest anything that comes to your mind...Williams or not.
     
  2. leogardini

    leogardini Senior Member

    Naoki Ohmori and givemenoughrope like this.
  3. ed buller

    ed buller Senior Member

    766
    319
    Mar 23, 2011
    SANTA MONICA
    the chords at the end of the Star Wars Intro music. Three poly chords. C aug up top. String runs play this. Underneath Db Maj, A Maj followed by C Maj. Reminds me of Holts's Neptune.
    Stars Wars Beginning.png





    This Too has a section of Polychords although the last sonority might be better described as a seventh .




    HOLST POLYCHORDS.png



    Jerry Goldsmith was fond of them too. Planet of the apes is full of them.

    best e
     
  4. lsabina

    lsabina Member

    15
    12
    Nov 17, 2017
    WNY
    There is always the Petrouchka chord. Nice poly chords in The Rite of Spring too.
     
  5. ed buller

    ed buller Senior Member

    766
    319
    Mar 23, 2011
    SANTA MONICA
    The Awesome Barry Gray was very fond of poly chords:



    some are so simple . One of my Fav's from Thunderbirds is basically Dmaj in both hands with the right climbing up to E then F# and the Left depending to C then Bb....so simple but a great sound.



    Barry Gray Brass Empire Piano.png



    Ron Goodwin was a master at poly chords.



    check out from about 4.50. Really amazing textures .

    e
     
  6. Naoki Ohmori

    Naoki Ohmori Senior Member

    128
    36
    Nov 11, 2015
    Thanks, ed.
    Your posts are always informative. :)

    Are there any books extensively/deeply covering polychords?
     
  7. Rasmus Hartvig

    Rasmus Hartvig Senior Member

    Vincent Persichetti - Twentieth Century Harmony is great. It covers polychords extensively (and lots more!)
     
    Jonas Hallstrom and Naoki Ohmori like this.
  8. Naoki Ohmori

    Naoki Ohmori Senior Member

    128
    36
    Nov 11, 2015
    Thanks, Rasmus. :)
    Actually I have read the Vincent book which is informative (and a little bit difficult to read for me lol)
    but I just wondered if there are books taking another approach to explain polychords. :P
     
    Rasmus Hartvig likes this.
  9. lsabina

    lsabina Member

    15
    12
    Nov 17, 2017
    WNY
    Ron Miller's books have good chapters on this.
     
    Naoki Ohmori likes this.
  10. Naoki Ohmori

    Naoki Ohmori Senior Member

    128
    36
    Nov 11, 2015
    I'll check them out. :)
     
  11. ed buller

    ed buller Senior Member

    766
    319
    Mar 23, 2011
    SANTA MONICA
    Naoki Ohmori likes this.
  12. Naoki Ohmori

    Naoki Ohmori Senior Member

    128
    36
    Nov 11, 2015
    Well, I can't tell much between polychords and chords with many extensions, and I can't remark on the polychords I especially like cuz I just stated to learn those chords.
    But I find the polychords on the opening titles of Jurassic Park interesting.

    I just wonder if there is a rough guidance on how to create/experiment with polychords or how to use them practically.
     
  13. Gerhard Westphalen

    Gerhard Westphalen Scoring Mixer

    "modern"... 1915.

    You can find that freely available on IMSLP.

    If you're looking for ways to create your own cohesive musical vocabulary for a certain setting, I recommend looking into parsimonious voice leading and geometric approaches. I believe it relates to Neo-Riemannian theory but I never studied it from that point of view.
     
    ed buller likes this.
  14. ed buller

    ed buller Senior Member

    766
    319
    Mar 23, 2011
    SANTA MONICA
    Very useful....and yes it is basically Neo_Riemannian theory but it's not Polychords. As to Modern Harmony i find books written around the time of the early twentieth century very informative as all the ideas where fresh . Lots to learn from that book that hasn't made it into later tomes.

    Polychords as apposed to extensions, are chords where its really possible to see them as two ( or more ) separate sonorities that are clearly distinctive . Yes C Min With Bbflat Maj is better described as a 9th chord whereas the "Petrushka chord" is clearly two Maj Chords stacked together. As to the right way to use these sounds ....well that really is up to you. A common technique is to use the pitches from two chords as a scale ( Usually a hexatonic one). This is Holst's trick in Neptune. The opening of the piece is Emin Followed by Ab Min. If we add the C ( which would be in AbMajor ) we get a hexatonic collection . Holst uses this scale as the building block of the piece. We hear it played as a sale by the celeste at 3;18 :



    This is a very common way to use polychords as the intervalic Language of a piece. Another approach would be too use pitch set. These generally have less pitches and are quite often combined to form more choices. Bartok was very fond of this technique. He called them Cells .

    So perhaps a good start would be to bash away at the piano and find a combination of chords you like the sound of when played together. Then arrange the pitches as a scale and write a piece out of that . The Neptune example is deceptively simple. There really is very little pitch data in it. No modulations or expositions really . He does use some chords at the opening . A min and Ab Min but as you see this is from his scale . D#,E,G,Ab,B,C that is his source material . There is a small passage playing chords built from EbDorian...but it's just a flavour he adds...but the takeaway for me is how rich and ethereal all this sounds.

    e
     
    synergy543 and jonathanparham like this.
  15. devonmyles

    devonmyles Senior Member

    230
    87
    Aug 13, 2012
    UK
    Great examples.
    I have been listening to a lot of material from both of them this last year.
    Their Brass writing is a real education.
     
  16. jonathanparham

    jonathanparham Senior Member

    269
    65
    Jun 7, 2005
    New Orleans, LA
  17. dreamtuned

    dreamtuned Senior Member

    53
    62
    Feb 13, 2016


    Arthur Honegger's 5th Symphony has some very nice polychords (and polytonality) at the very beginning as a theme.

    There is clearly a strong accent on "d" build on the foundation of isorhythmic simetry in contrary motion of two layers of major and minor triads from which in the first 4 measures there are bichordic combinations: Eb-C, C#-Eb, F-Bb, g-a, a-g.
     

    Attached Files:

    ka00 likes this.
  18. synergy543

    synergy543 Senior Member

    3,757
    300
    Dec 11, 2004
    The Internets
    Yes, agreed! I've been enjoying going through many of these older books as well including Heacox, Lovelock, Wagner, McPherson, Wedge, and Andersen just to name a few. I thought I was the only freak in the world enjoying these old crumbs. Its like stepping back in time into another world where the excitement of Romantic music was still politically correct and alive. Its great that we can still enjoy these with all the modern perks (DAWs, Sibelius, computers, etc.) though some of the books are quite hard to find or acquire. Then I suppose not just having only a pencil and paper can be a curse (FB, e-mail, etc.).
     
  19. YaniDee

    YaniDee Senior Member

    77
    39
    Dec 3, 2017
    Montreal
    Here is some good info:
    and
    Rick Beato explains things very clearly. ( With no whisky..)
     
    jonathanparham likes this.
  20. douggibson

    douggibson Senior Member

    265
    301
    Jan 9, 2016
    Little surprised this hasn't been mentioned yet.

     

Share This Page