The same four notes from a Gregorian chant are used over and over again in movies

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Mozart’s Requiem is not a “symphony influenced by the music of funerals”. It is a setting of the Catholic requiem mass, which is where the Dies irae comes from in the first place.




Here’s what I said after I saw the headline:


This is barely on topic - but I hear the same notes in these two songs, and put them together, so now you can enjoy both simultaneously…

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The entire intro to ELO’s Fire on High is those four notes!


Bigly exaggerated at about 1:18

Dies irae shows up in the Fantasy General soundtrack, too. Here’s all 30 minutes of the soundtrack, it is outstanding:

Fantasy General - 1996

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Birthday Paradox means finding the same four notes isn’t really all that surprising.

How about this one?

One extra note there, Chewy.


The story was pretty interesting, but I thought the art was great!

‘all music in minor key has always been considered sad’ (*)

And that’s a music professor stating this nonsense. Most Irish folk (dance) music for example is in the e-dorian or b-minor. Those are not considered sad (at least not by the people enjoying folk music in general). Same goes for lots of ‘medieval’ and renaissance music. Afaik the minor=sad ‘rule’ is a rather recent musical fashion. The gregorian chants celebrating life and faith are mostly in dorian as well, the major key was not really fashionable in the 13th century.

(*) paraphrasing here, I don’t feel like listening to that peace of fluff again.


I suspect that the music professor most likely said earlier on that he was talking about the Common Practice period (nearly all European music from roughly the late Renaissance, say the time of Palestrina, through about 1900, and a lot of popular music to the present day) and the qualification got lost in the edit. (Of course, the Gregorian Dies Iræ predates the common-practice period. The Ionian mode wasn’t even recognized as a permissible mode in liturgical music of its period, so it couldn’t have been in a 'major key´.)

Ah, what terror shall be shaping,
When the Judge the truth’s undraping,
Cats from every bag escaping!

Make that ‘nearly all classical European music’ and I agree. In folk music it’s a completely different matter. The modal scales stayed popular for much longer and the notion that a minor key sounds sad doesn’t really exist in lots of folk(loristic) styles.

Music history is a fun subject!

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Yeah. I tend to think of European folk music under the general heading of ‘ancient music’ because it preserved pre-common-practice forms (and, often, instruments). Your description is better, but I wouldn’t quite limit it to classical’ music. By the 19th Century, common practice was pretty well established even in things like cabaret songs, so I suspect that the tunes people were whistling in the street were mostly in major and minor keys.

Neither of those lies in the Guidonian Hand without resorting to musica ficta - Ionian and Æolian modes are both hypothetical in that system, not actually realizable. You can sort of create the Ionian mode from the plagal Mixolydian, but the leading tone places mi-contre-fa and the ubiquitous dominant seventh has a forbidden tritone within its harmony. (The intervals of the minor key are also pretty raw in meantone temperament.)

But yeah, it’s hard to imagine Spanish folk music without the Phrygian mode (with raised sol) and ‘Drunken Sailor’ is rollicking even in what we think of as the mournful Dorian mode.

Pray remember, sacred Saviour,
Mine the playful hand that gave Your
Death-blow. Pardon such behaviour.

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