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The secret chord that makes Christmas music sound so Christmassy

74491 ratings | 3561208 views
Hint: Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You" uses it. For more about the secret chord, read more from Adam Ragusea here: http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/music_box/2014/12/mariah_carey_s_all_i_want_for_christmas_is_you_a_musicological_explanation.html Subscribe to our channel! http://goo.gl/0bsAjO Vox.com is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out http://www.vox.com to get up to speed on everything from Kurdistan to the Kim Kardashian app. Check out our full video catalog: http://goo.gl/IZONyE Follow Vox on Twitter: http://goo.gl/XFrZ5H Or on Facebook: http://goo.gl/U2g06o
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Text Comments (4212)
Chloe Roux (1 hour ago)
delicious, spicy, warm
Father (4 hours ago)
David: played Pleased: the lord Love: not cared by you
Lawrence Siden (8 hours ago)
That D7b5 is just another way of voicing F-, the minor iv with it's 6th degree in the bass. So it's a variation of I-I7-IV-iv6-I that's found in so many old standards, including rhythm changes. But nice try!
JoeRKsChannel (12 hours ago)
This isn't very accurate in terms of music theory...I turned off at 'a chord is three notes or more'...
rockintetster (16 hours ago)
This video is a microcosmic study in how popular music has declined in sophistication, at least in terms of chord progressions, throughout the decades. As rock music became front and center in popular music, there were a lot of changes. The music became louder, more aggressive, more rhythmically energetic and more free formed. Yet something was lost that so was prevalent in the classic standard popular songs ( mislabeled as “jazz” in this video) of the pre rock era. The music lost touch with the harmonic sophistication of 19th century “classical” music( more correctly termed “romantic.”) The use of a diminished chord in a modern popular song seems so unique and unusual that it is described by interesting adjective of “christmassy.” As a musician, I politely laugh at this description, but I understand how an untrained ear would label this sound as “Christmassy.”
Mais Mais (17 hours ago)
Does anyone know who animates these videos?
Luonnotar (22 hours ago)
This is a half diminished chord or ‘Tristan’ chord - the chord of yearning in Wagner’s opera, Tristan und Isolde (to crudely boil it down...). It makes sense given the general sentiment of Mariah’s song - all she wants is you - and Irving Berlin’s/Bing Crosby’s song - he’s dreaming of a white Christmas. Both yearn for something or someone that’s not come along yet.
Emily S (1 day ago)
Is it the chord David played?
Chicago CrudSocs (1 day ago)
vox sucks that is all
SparkzMxzXZ (1 day ago)
i don't understand.. did people really live before 1994 without 'all i want for christmas is you'??? how...?
Lovable Kermit (1 day ago)
Mariah is a genius. Stream Catution!
Geoff Avery (1 day ago)
Spoiler: It's the half-diminished chord on the ii.
Gabriella Thomas (2 days ago)
lol im playing All I Want For Christmas Is You at my piano recital
Is it weird that before I clicked on the video and looked at the chords on the thumbnail I sang in my head “All I Want for Christmas is You”?
Niels Roosendaal (2 days ago)
ČhŘiśȚmāSśý
Krijnen Beebie (2 days ago)
What about Wham! doe
Shelby Nunnelee (2 days ago)
So cool!
Come on smile. (2 days ago)
When I think Christmas I Think Michael Bublé
Phoenix (2 days ago)
3:37 *D* *F* *A* *C*
brb-crying (2 days ago)
It's so weird, I was jUst thinking about rewatching this video and it just so happens to be into my recommendations, well done YouTube, the algorithm did a good job today
vincy7711 (3 days ago)
Surprisingly true...
deans baby (3 days ago)
so this is the secret chord that david played?... the one that pleased the lord?
Brian Orr (3 days ago)
Hmm!
Now, it started again.
Paul B (3 days ago)
It was literally one song 🤦🏻‍♂️ vox
Ava Winehouse (3 days ago)
03:28 I feel so uncomfortable
Ava Winehouse (3 days ago)
This makes no musical sense
Santino Aznar (3 days ago)
word
Ling Ling (3 days ago)
I thought it is just using the Bell 🔔 make it Christmasy?
Felicity Guillen (4 days ago)
Shasha pee
Yori Lamaz (4 days ago)
Edit: ...between Halloween and Christmas. 🤨🤪
Mikee Diaz (4 days ago)
Just a few weeks more
J R (4 days ago)
Bruh went in on the singing!
kadar!on (4 days ago)
Mariah wrote this song in like 15 minutes I don’t think she was thinking about all of this😂
Loreal Madonna (4 days ago)
Christmas music makes me feel so sad. All the joyous feelings it is supposed to evoke actually make me feel the opposite!
Alex Coffey (4 days ago)
From November 1st until Christmas more like
korinakokk (4 days ago)
*plays that chord 124853753 times cause its November and it hasn’t been played yet*
Mattaku Bodimasen (4 days ago)
When you live in an Asian country that celebrates Christmas quite little but knows all the songs mentioned in this video and All I Want for Christmas is You just happened to be on your ultimate top 10 Christmas songs (10 is really stretching it, I do not exactly have a top 10, I have a top of over 10 songs- not including covers of course, we group that as one song with many variations). Also, I have been listening to Christmas songs since June (I had to held myself back so I don't listen to them too much and got bored of them- my forever regretting mistake with All I Want for Christmas is You, when I played it for 10 hours straight as I sleep). Along with the classic Christmas songs, Micheal Bubblé is probably my favorite singer. The guy absolutely loves Christmas as well and his voice is so, Christmas-y!! His Christmas songs always gives out that very distinct Christmas feeling and whenever I listen to them I could also breathe in the cold air of December (I love that words!) and see happiness dressed as red and white and green and heard laughters and bells chiming and frosted leaves rustling in the air and I would feel myself growing all warm and squirmy and excited because I absolutely LOVE Christmas!!! Only 14 more days until December!!!!
Shana Banawa (4 days ago)
and this my friends is why Mariah is rich. ;)
MikefromQueens (4 days ago)
1:35 goodfellas
Fancy Crumpets (5 days ago)
SO I HEARD THERE WAS A SECRET CHORD THAT DAVID PLAYED AND IT PLEASED THS LORD
500 Niles (5 days ago)
I HEARD THERE WAS A SECRET CHORD- Wait this has been done. Hm. Here’s a recipe for sugar cookies that I swear by! https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/9870/easy-sugar-cookies/
callmejay05 (5 days ago)
Isn’t that a Dø7?
DeathCage357 (5 days ago)
At the end he said he doesn't know why I sounds so Christmassy looks like he needs explain it again to himself again
Ted L (5 days ago)
To the typical non-musically trained ear IMO it's pleasing as a simple transition from major to minor, add a sixth for color and you're done. Not particularly sophisticated or notable.
Arin Deshpande (5 days ago)
3:19 fac
donut crumbs (5 days ago)
I don’t celebrate Christmas...
Berb 02 (5 days ago)
It was the chord that david played and it pleased the lord.
KOA_TK (5 days ago)
I heard there was a secret chord
judy boo (5 days ago)
So you have a chord that has been used in classical and jazz music for centuries/decades, and then you come up with TWO christmas songs to confirm your theory that this chord is somehow christmassy? I would have loved this kind of theory if it were true, but sorry, you have to find more evidence than T W O out of hundreds of christmas jazz/pop songs.
tambourine.
John Erikson (5 days ago)
Silent Night was written with just 3 chords
Maxon Mendel (6 days ago)
I like the walk down from C to B to A to Ab when he was going through the chords to the Mariah Carey song. It borrows from harmonic minor and adds that nice flare. Also the fine print is right. I think hearing it as a minor IV chord makes a lot more sense. That’s what makes uke music or Pixar music feel that same way. It feels unsteady,, but it’s home. Not tonic home, but the new home we’ve found. Minor IV chords are beautiful.
Oversampled (6 days ago)
IT IS THE MOST POPULAR SONG, CAUSE IT'S ALWAYS FIRST ON SPOTIFY PLAYLISTS, which makes this song automaticaly played as first. Thac confrmd :P
Jon Ingram (6 days ago)
Isn’t Dm7b5 just the same as a half diminished d7?
Lex2 (6 days ago)
November 2018?
Samuel Tosto (6 days ago)
Why are they calling the D chord a Dm7b5? That seems weird. Idk if it's just that I've learned classical music theory, but that same chord would be called a half diminished 7, wouldn't it?
badasman929 (6 days ago)
*whispers into ear* ....haaaallff dimininiiiiiished.... minor 7 flat 5 is called haaaaaaaaaalf diminiiiiiiiiiiiiiished....
lowkey 4life (6 days ago)
Thoes triplets tho
SpicyJoe (6 days ago)
My favorite chord is c7 and fmaj7 Reply your favorite chord
Mark Devlin Dungo (6 days ago)
I've heard there was a secret chord That David played and it pleased the Lord
aerodaan (6 days ago)
3:20 Major FAC!
Ebonie Pierce (6 days ago)
delicious, spicy
JELLYFRUG (6 days ago)
I have a christmas carol book and every carol is in either C major, F major or G major
Matt (6 days ago)
"Between Thanksgiving and Christmas" -> "Between Halloween and New Years".
Tim Wid (7 days ago)
i would say its rather an f minor 6 chord than a ddim because the sound implies the IV-iv cadence but its still fine tho
vballmusicGod (7 days ago)
id have to disagree with this analysis... while that chord does provide a bit of color in a pop music setting, there are so many other things that can make christmas music sound "christmassy," simple things like the jingly of bells in the background will instantly create a christmas vibe... harmonically though? one chord substitution hardly makes this entire genre of music... if you were to look at a variety of christmas tunes, theres bluesy christmas tunes (Merry christmas baby), folk style christmas tunes (greensleeves), more classical christmas tunes (Nutcracker).. not to mention that all of these are often converted to jazz and the effect is still christmas. What does make something christmassy is probably a much deeper answer. Could be a whole lot of things that our brains have subconsciously heard over and over as we grew up that we now associate with Christmas (a similar process to building a vocabulary in jazz improv... just food for thought to whomever reads this, but one substitution doesn't make christmas music sorry lol
Mark Wong (7 days ago)
Lol, I'm playing All I Want For Christmas Is You for our Christmas concert in band
French Toaster (7 days ago)
I love music theory
WaybackProductions 12 (7 days ago)
SKSKSKSKS thanks
Saudea (7 days ago)
I HEARD THERE WAS A SECRET CHORD
poppetjin (7 days ago)
now we just need a sociologist, anthropologist, psychologist, and economist to come by to explain why these chords are associated with xmas in our brains
Prashant Samlal (7 days ago)
Because it's actually a IV minor chord (with a 6 in the bass), just put an F in the bass on that dm7b5 and you'll see. the IV minor chord (moll dur) resolving to the I major just has such a warm yet melancholic feel to it. I think that's why it sounds 'Christmassy'.
Phillip M (7 days ago)
It’s just a ii half-diminished chord. It’s EVERYWHERE - not just in Christmas music.
Falling _fox (7 days ago)
What about Last Christmas?
K Lu (7 days ago)
Um are you sure this is just for Christmas songs? I think the "special chord" can be found in many other jazz standards.
Laveras (7 days ago)
Yes we need more Christmas
sandalero (7 days ago)
adam neely to the rescue !
Tiny Ford (8 days ago)
I hate christmas music, my mother in law always wants to play it in December, so we don’t visit there anymore
Eliad654 (8 days ago)
Is it just me or is this thing also in "Oh, Ms Believer" by twenty one pilots?
Sherri H (8 days ago)
I don't think it has anything to do other Christmas...that chord just evokes a "feeling.". It appeals to our emotion... It kind of sounds sad to me, but also anticipating a change. I don't think it's "spicy" at all.
Annly P (8 days ago)
I’ve already watched this video, but it’s in my recommended again already, and I’m watching it again though I know what it’s all about
Iridescentpickle (8 days ago)
I thought it was going to be about carols. The music that everyone including Richard Dawkins agrees is the actual Christmas music.
blueberry kookies (8 days ago)
My teacher wants my class to create a music peice to go with a Cristmas story ;-; we're only grade 7 and she expects us to do this :') but this vid is going to be really helpful...
Alex MacArthur (8 days ago)
Bröther, plaese play me a Cm/maj9add6add11(b13)(+11)/E
Carson Frederiksen (8 days ago)
The name of the video says that they now why some songs sound so Christmassy and the video ended with they guy saying he doesn’t know why. He just explained why
Ethereal Chi (8 days ago)
All it does to me is make me happy cause it's a happy song
Serena Juhui Suh (8 days ago)
I love Vox
John Palmer (8 days ago)
Not so much. That chord is in so much music. Jazz and Gospel especially
Johnny Lopez (8 days ago)
This is such a terrible analysis to focus on a chord that is used on virtually every classic jazz song. Not really just Christmass songs, that is like saying that it is so Christmas because it uses major chords, very misleading. In fact this halfdiminshed chord was used way before jazz in concert music a lot
Orson Jarrett (8 days ago)
I want a Gameboy Pocket for Christmas.
Edward Janjughazian (8 days ago)
Imho the best Christmas song is Last Christmas
Rudolf de Lang (8 days ago)
November and I’m listening to Christmas music. OH WELL
dakritic (9 days ago)
Love these videos.
Flayflay Calbit (9 days ago)
Should start a holiday for our real god, Satan
Don Bing (9 days ago)
it’s just a half-diminished. been around since Bach or earlier. see Wagner, Richard: Tristan chord
sarahvalerie (9 days ago)
lol the video lags at about 1:00
Ace of Hearts (9 days ago)
WELL I HEARD THERE WAS A SECRET CHORD THAT THE CHRISTMAS SONG PLAYED AND IT PLEASED LITERALLY EVERYONE
bill powers (9 days ago)
Why is Zach Braff singing Mariah Carey to me?
Thearvid thearvid (9 days ago)
Almost all jazz uses IIm7b5, lets be real here.
in americs do you lot have the christmas songs like "here it is merry christmas" "fairytale of new york" "last christmas" "wish it could be christmas every day" etc.? like in britain?

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