[Smt-talk] Inception chord progression

Murphy, Scott Brandon smurphy at ku.edu
Fri Aug 13 08:49:21 PDT 2010

I don¹t know of any exact instances of this 4-chord progression in toto
within art music or film music repertoires (assuming transpositional and
permutational equivalences (i.e. disposition of notes within each chord)).
But it breaks down into contiguous chord pairings that are more or less
commonplace or at least well precedented (assuming the same equivalences)
when Hollywood wants to invoke the fantastic sonically. In my experience
with listening to popular film music, it seems that many composers fashion
new kinds of such fantastic harmonic progressions through the use of what
might be called ³recombinant progressions.² One could certainly hear or
propose an underlying logic for the whole (voice leading, collectional,
etc.), but I think it¹s worth keeping in mind with these progression-strings
that the composer may be striving, certainly among other things, for novelty
within the constraints of stitching together such triadic pairings that are
well-worn yet still immediately significant and surprisingly resilient.


Scott Murphy
Associate Professor of Music Theory
University of Kansas School of Music
smurphy at ku.edu

on 8/10/10 4:30 PM, Stephen Taylor at staylor7 at illinois.edu wrote:

> I've seen Inception twice and there's a chord progression I just can't get out
> of my head - the entire score is by far the best I've heard from Hans Zimmer &
> co. (and the slowed-down Edith Piaf is excellent). The progression's clearest
> instance is the scene in Paris where the streets and buildings start folding
> over themselves.
> G min  Gb Maj/Bb   Eb Maj   B Maj
> ...
> Steve
> _________________________________
> Stephen Taylor
> Associate Professor of Composition-Theory
> University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
> http://www.stephenandrewtaylor.net <http://www.stephenandrewtaylor.net/>
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> rg

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