Reno’s Chaconne in D Minor

A chaconne is a piece of music based on a short chord progression that is repeated with melodic variations. This chaconne, scored for orchestra, is based on two similar four-chord progressions that occur frequently in today’s popular culture.

Progression I: Dm-Bb-F-A

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The first progression can be heard in film and in television commercials (most recently, the Christmas 2011 commercial for the iPhone). Also, Phillip Glass used the progression in at least two scenes of The Truman Show  (“Truman Sleeps,” and “Raising the Sail”).

Progression II: Dm-Bb-F-C

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The second progression differs from the first by only one chord, and is significantly more common, especially in popular music. Boston Globe music critic, Marc Hirsh, calls this progression the “Sensitive Female Chord Progression,” and has a blog dedicated to it where he lists hundreds of songs as early as 1967 that use the progression. One of the most striking occurrences of the chord progression in film is in The Lord Of The Rings-The Fellowship Of The Ring (“Lothlorien”) after Gandalf falls at Moria.

9 Responses to Reno’s Chaconne in D Minor

  1. randy says:

    I really love this…

    I was trying to follow the time sigs… its sounds like alot of 5/4 or something similar??

    • admin says:

      Thanks for listening to the piece. It starts out alternating between a 5/8 measure and a 7/8 measure. It should be counted “1 and-uh 2 and – 1 and-uh 2 and 3 and.” When the horns come in it’s mostly 5/8, with a 3/4 thrown in every now and then.

  2. Sam Higgins says:

    So…that’s what you did for Christmas…nice…this didn’t begin when you were hospitalized, did it…whatever…it’s gorgeous…keep it up, Bro…Sam

    • admin says:

      Thanks, Sam. Actually it began after I saw an iPhone Christmas commercial that used the progression. I had to get it out of my system!

  3. Eric Remlinger says:

    Hey brother, this ROCKS! I absolutely dig this type of piece! Are you using a Lydian mode in a lot of it? I would love to hear more of this. Maybe a complete concept album.

    • admin says:

      Thanks, Eric. Good observation about the Lydian mode. Technically, there is no Lydian mode because the piece is either in D minor or A minor. But the way the melody often works over the B-flat chord (in D minor), there are several Es, which give those passages a Lydian quality. The middle portion of Luminous Echo for string orchestra is all in F Lydian.

  4. Kim & Rich says:

    Bob, this is so breath taking, Rich and I are sitting here listening to it at this moment, thank you for sharing your beautiful talent with us. Love, Rich and Kim

  5. Max says:

    Wonderful composition Mr. Reno!

    I really love the emotion and exitement that this Chaccone creates… Have you ever recorded this piece with a real orchestra?

    Best regards and blessings from Switzerland,

    Max