Bugs: A Diminished Song
Did that video make you… unsettled? Tense? Was it because you hate bugs? Or because the song sounded so strange? Were you anxiously waiting for something to change and resolve into … normal sounding music?
That, my friends, is the sound of a diminished chord. A diminished seventh chord, to be exact. Something so unusual, you may have only heard it in the quick building of tension and release deep within the chord progressions of a familiar song.
Diminished chords excel at adding drama, conflict, or impending danger into a melody before that tension is released with the next chord. It’s that feeling when the villain in an old black and white movie ties up the hero on the train tracks and you see the train getting closer and closer and are yelling at the TV, “Ahh!!! Get off the tracks!!” And then inevitably he DOES get off the tracks and you let out a sigh of relief. You feel comfortable. Your expectations have been met and resolved. Everything is fine. That is the power of the diminished chord.
Also called “The Devil’s Interval,” diminished chords are usually used for that temporary feeling of tension and relief. The Music Class decided to just sprint in the other direction and write a WHOLE SONG IN DIMINISHED. Why?
The learning objective of this song is to expose children to what a diminished chord sounds like. By really digging in and creating a song composed of entirely diminished chords, it makes this distinct sound much more recognizable and a bit more comfortable. (I promise it will get more comfortable!) Kids will then be able to understand and appreciate the sound more easily when they hear it throughout their lives. If your child wants to become a musician one day, acclimating to the full range of these unusual chords when they’re young will make it much easier for them to perform or create their own music with these sounds later on.
So, suffer through the discomfort and lean into this song. Play it, sing it, and enjoy watching your Music Class teachers being silly and singing lots of bug sounds in the video. 🤪