Exploring rhythm in John Williams’ music (pt.2 – Accent Displacement)

This post was brought to you in collaboration with our partner site Behind the Score. Discover the Harmony Secrets of Modern Film and Video Games. Exploring Rhythm in John Williams’ Music (Pt.2 – Accent Displacement) Continuing from Part 1 of the series, we will explore additional intriguing rhythmic techniques showcased in the music of John … Read more

Pedal Point

What is a pedal point? A pedal point (or pedal tone) refers to a single note repeated or sustained (usually in the bass) while harmony changes above it. In certain styles, the continuous use of pedal points can result in an unwanted drone-like quality. It is worth noting that the term “pedal” originated from organ … Read more

What is “Ostinato?” – Pt. 1


What is “Ostinato?” An Ostinato is a musical phrase repeated in succession in a composition. Ostinatos usually display melodic and rhythmic qualities. They appear in a variety of musical genres, usually as a leading or supporting device. When writing music for media, an ostinato can be a valuable tool for creating a piece with a … Read more


Chord Arpeggios

Using Chord Arpeggios for a Melodic Idea Many composers create melodies using arpeggios. Some famous examples of arpeggio-driven melodies include the cello in Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony No. 3 (Movement 1), the brass in “The Imperial March (Darth Vader’s Theme)” by John Williams, and sax in “Giant Steps” by John Coltrane. In more recent TV and … Read more

What is a characteristic note?

Characteristic Note

Characteristic Note of a Mode The characteristic note of a mode is a defining note that helps us distinguish one mode fromanother. Due to the ubiquitous use of major and minor keys in Western music, Western listeners are somewhat conditioned to the sounds of major and minor scales. Therefore, when we hear a mode, we … Read more

Cluster Voicing & Open Cluster voicing

When it comes to harmonizing your music, exploring captivating techniques can elevate your compositions to new heights. One such technique is the use of cluster voicings. These voicings can be employed effectively throughout an entire passage, especially in action-driven scores where they have a significant impact. Cluster voicings offer a rich and dense harmonic texture, … Read more