Posts in Music Theory
Deconstructing Brian Eno's ‘Music for Airports’

In 1978, Brian Eno released Ambient 1: Music for Airports, a landmark album in ambient and electronic music. Although it wasn’t the first ambient album by any means, it was the first album explicitly released as an ‘ambient music album’. The album was essentially a continuation of Eno’s experiments with the tape machine as a compositional tool, as well as his exploration of generative music. In this article I’ll discuss how the music was composed, break down and recreate the tracks 2/1 and 1/2, and hopefully give you some ideas about how to adopt this approach yourself.

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Trent Reznor Chord Theory

Whether it’s in his music as Nine Inch Nails, his soundtrack work in collaboration with Atticus Ross, or with How to Destroy Ghosts, Trent Reznors sound is always uniquely identifiable. Although part of this is due to his sound design, involving digital distortion and noise processing a variety of sound sources, his use of harmony also has a major impact on his sound. Reznors sound has a distinctly anxious tone, that sets the scene for his often bleak output. In the film Sound City, Reznor explains that he has a music theory foundation, and this subconciously affects his writing.

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A Guide to Cadences

In this guide, I'll show you how to understand and write your own jazz-influenced chord progressions. The most frequently used progression in jazz composition is called the ii - V - I cadence. My last harmony article tackled Chromatic Chords, and I outlined how to use out-of-key chords to add some spice to your own writing, and in that tutorial, I mostly used roman numeral based chords to relate the chromatic chords to the root chord. In this article, I’ll look at chromatic chords that veer further away from the home chord, and journey through jazz-related harmonic territory. This type of cadence guided composition can sound refreshing in comparison to a lot of modern 4-chord pop songs.

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A Guide to Chromatic Chords

In this article, I'll explain the difference between diatonic chords and chromatic chords, and explore some cool, ear-bending harmonic choices that we can use in our own music. You may have stumbled across interesting sounding chord combinations already and been unaware of exactly why they worked well together, and some music theory can help better understand and use these chord combinations.

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A Guide to Chord Progressions

Here at Reverb Machine, I usually cover sound design, but for this article, I'd like to deviate slightly and cover another side of music-making: composition. Even with the best sounding patches, and the tightest production, boring compositions will still sound boring. I'll start out by discussing chord progressions and how to make your chord arrangements sound more interesting.

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