Sense of otherworldliness

In a current project I'm working on, there's a need to convey an other-worldly feeling in the listener. A nice trick to achieve that is to employ chromatic mediants. The concept is very simple really. You simply go from any major or minor triad to major or minor third higher or lower chord of the same quality.

 

For example:

 

C to Eb or C to E

Cm to Ebm or Cm to Em

C to A or C to Ab

Cm to Am or Cm to Abm

 

When doing this, it is usually best to keep all chords in their root positions although depending on the context, inversions might work as well. The effect can be emphasized by arpeggiating the chords.

 

The chromatic mediants often resolve back to the starting chord (for example C - E - C), or a fifth higher counted from the starting chord (for example C - E - G) or they can continue the pattern. By continuing the pattern you'll quickly notice that sooner or later you reach the starting chord in another octave (for example Cm - Ebm - Gbm - Am - Cm).

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