Chromatic Mediant Modulation

Today’s post is an excellent analysis by David Bennett Thomas of Wagner’s Prelude to Act 1 from Tristan and Isolde.  In his videos, he analyzes Western European music with both traditional music theory (below the music) and jazz/pop changes (above the music).  This will help the musician who is familiar with reading chord changes (C7, g-, etc) a chance to understand the harmonic relationships in more complex musical forms.  Confused?  Watch the videos in the Music Theory category.  Will this help your bass playing?  I think it will.

Chromatic Mediant

In music, chromatic mediants, “are altered mediant and submediant chords.”[1] A chromatic mediant relationship is a relationship between two sections and/or chords whose roots are related by a major third or minor third, contain one common tone, or share the same quality, i.e. major or minor. For example, in the key of C major the diatonic mediant and submediant are E minor and A minor. Their parallel majors are E major and A major. The mediants of the parallel minor of C major (C minor) are Eb major and Ab major, and their parallel minors are Eb minor and Ab minor, totaling six chromatic mediants for that key. Thus an E major chord is one of six chromatic mediant chords in C major and the keys of C major and E major share a chromatic mediant relationship.

Analysis from ‘Tristan’ Prelude

Full Prelude