New Year, new Borgen
I’d like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year. Apparently people from 93 different countries visited the website last year. If you want to receive a notification of my blog please register.
My first task of the 2013 will be to complete the recording of my acoustic guitar album Atlantic Canticles. I’ll be choosing probably 16 out of the 20 tracks I’ve written, so there’s likely to be a free download track.
On Saturday night the 2nd series of the Danish drama series Borgen started transmission on British TV. This reminded me how much I enjoyed the combination of music and graphics on the opening titles. I thought there might be something in the music to comment on from a composer’s point of view. The theme moves through the following chord progression: Cm-D/C-Gm/Bb-C/Bb-Ab-Eb/G-Bbsus4-Bb-Bbm-Abm-Db-Ebm-Cb/Eb-Db-Fm9-Csus4-Cm/maj7-Cm. That’s an approximate description because the rapid keyboard arpeggios add various harmonic colours to these chords every couple of beats. The progression is about 20 bars with mostly one chord to a bar except for Bb-Bbm and Ebm-Cb/Eb which are two beats per chord (a split bar).
The first thing to notice is the number of inversions or slash chords. These keep the progression moving forward and prevent it having the stability of root chords – which is fitting for the fluid world of politics it describes. The second point is the fine temporary key-change that comes into play for the Abm-Db-Ebm-Cb/Eb-Db section, where the Abm is a bit of a shock. The music here is moving into Eb minor or Gb from its home key of C minor which it quickly finds its way back to. The melody is initiated by a powerful motif of an octave leap from G up to G, down to D and then Eb, over a chord of C minor.
It’s not quite as impressive as the theme song of The Bridge, which I discussed last year, but good nonetheless.