Action-Music Harmony 3: Polytonal Harmonies & How to Use Action Chords

Write dissonant but tonally-based chords with more than one tonic in classic blockbuster style!

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No need to rush through the course. Take the time you need to learn the material thoroughly.

Composition Exercises

On every concept in the course. Submit your answers and get feedback from the instructor.

Site Forums

Get answers to your questions, share your compositions, and talk with your peers.

$125 USD $99 USD
Duration: 5 Hrs 25 Min

Learn the classic blockbuster sound of chords with more than one tonic. Understand how these dissonant but tonally-based harmonies are used in action scenes for several purposes: scoring long passages over a single chord, emphasizing key moments in the narrative, and expressing common associations. Also learn how a large number of action chords are built from a consistent set of notes called “action extensions”.

The course comes with a comprehensive set of exercises to let you build these chords and use them in a described scene. You can also get feedback directly from the instructor by posting your answers in the site forums.

Note: Lesson numbers continue from Action-Music Harmony 1 and 2

  1. Understanding How Action Chords Are Used
  2. Expanding a Single Chord with “Action Extensions”
    • Overview
    • The m(b6), M(b6) and augM7(#9)
  3. Polytonal Voicings of Action Chords
    • Overview
    • The m(b6)
    • The mM7(b6)
    • The mM9(b6)
    • The mM7(add#4)
    • The mM9(add#4)
    • The Mm(M7,b6)
  4. Unifying Action Chords
    • Progressions with Chords from Different Action Scales
    • Composing Out a Chord
    • Composing Out a Scale

  1. Preliminaries
    • What Are Dissonant-Bass Chords?
    • How Dissonant-Bass Chords Are Used
  2. Major Chord + Dissonant Bass
    • +1 Major
    • +4 Major
    • +6 Major
    • +9 Major
    • +11 Major
  3. Minor Chord + Dissonant Bass
    • +1 Minor
    • +3 Minor
    • +6 Minor
    • +8 Minor
    • +10 Minor
    • +11 Minor
  4. Dissonant-Tonal Chord + Dissonant Bass
    • Overview
    • A Final Example
  1. Overview
    • Defining Polychords
    • Common Polychords and Their Component Chords
    • Typical Associations
    • Pedal Point with Polychords
  2. Quiet-Tension Polychords Next to Action Music
    • +11 Polychords
    • +6 Polychords
  3. Polychords for Mystery in Action Scenes
    • +4 Polychords
    • Other Hexatonic Polychords
  4. Other Associations of Polychords
    • Mortal Dread
    • Brutal Strength

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