What are the most evil chord changes in music? It’s easy to find high tension and dark chords by themselves. But I would say that the actual context, and how chords are used, is more important than any single chord in isolation.
For example: A diminished triad or diminished 7th are examples of high tension and dissonant chords.
You can also add a minor 9th to any chord to increase the tension, for example m7 (add m9). But music is about creating a story of sounds.
The Most Evil and Dark Chord Changes
So let’s find out the most evil chord changes in music. I’m going to share my own suggestions, but I would love to hear your own findings on very dark, dissonant chord changes. But let’s stick to actual chords, and not just random notes please. Ok, here we go:
1. Gm (D) -> Eb dim
The reason this chord change sounds so creepy and evil is first because we are going from a minor chord, which by itself is darker, to a diminished chord. But more importantly, it’s the way we do it. Because by using the 2nd inversion of G minor, we can get a voice leading going into the Eb diminished, so that all notes move in a minor 2nd movement. Check it out for yourself: The D goes to Eb, the G goes Gb, and the B goes to Ab. And that’s how you add even more tension with voice leading.
2. B dim – C dim
This is a simple technique, but very effective. Because you are taking one diminished chord, and go to another diminished chord. And moving it to another diminished chord, 1 semitone down in this case, but you could go up instead which does the same thing. All voices will move in a minor 2nd movement if you use the same inversion for both chords. I recommend that you try all 3 options here: root – root, 1st – 1st and 2nd to 2nd inversion. And here’s a bonus tip: this chord change can be even more intense if you add the minor 7th making them both diminished 7th chords.
3. A Maj 7 -> Bb dim 7
Sometimes a big contrast in harmonic colors can create a sudden surprise of tension for the listener. By using a very pleasing major 7th chord, in root position, then jumping directly to a diminished 7th, you basically introduce a WTF moment in your music. The cool thing about this chord change in root positions for both chords, is that only the bottom and top voice are moving, and both in that high tension minor 2nd movement. Also, they move in different directions. The upper voice goes down, and the lowest voice goes up.
How to Make Dark Chord Changes
You can do so much with not only the harmonic relationships within each chord, meaning the intervals between the notes, depending on inversions. But also with how you set up the voice leading for every chord change. You can also use range and voice spacing to your advantage, meaning in which octaves you play the chords, and how you space them out, and which notes you double up anywhere in the octaves of music.
You Favorite Evil Chord Changes?
Now share your personal favorite dark and evil chord changes in the comments below, so that we all can learn some really dark and high tension chord changes we can use in our music. And if you want to use more than 2 chords for your favorite dark chord change, please feel free to do so.