I have noticed that descending chord progressions seem to feel sci-fi-ish. I'm playing on an acoustic piano, so I mean that it just feels that way because of the composition, not some synth filter.

Here are some examples:

Gm F Eb Cm

Am D5/A F Em D (alternatively, Am D5/A F Emsus4 D/Bb)

Am G F G (repeat this pattern while playing Am the whole time with the right hand)

I am looking for a psychological answer. I am really into the "Why" of how things sound the way they do and make you feel what you do.

  • 1
    You need to watch a wider variety of SciFi movies May 7 at 14:41
  • 1
    @Carl Wittlhoft lol May 7 at 23:23

I understand the kind of answer that you're looking for, but, in short, seeking an objective answer is simply not possible.

In psychology, research on the affect of music (e.g. "How does this music make you feel?") and/or imagery influenced by music (e.g. "What do you think of when you hear this music?") is almost always going to be based on surveys. Whether the questions are delivered through an interview or in written form, surveys themselves are subjective in nature. An individual's perceptions are influenced by their own lived experiences, their culture, upbringing, etc., etc.

You may be able to find majority groups within a cultural/regional set of people but not at a large scale and certainly not globally. Remember that Western art music is not the norm all over the world, and, more importantly, that programmatic music (writing music to depict a specific image or feeling) is a truly recent phenomenon in the context of music history.

My argument is not meant to discredit how the music affects you personally, but to emphasize the point that how you perceive a piece of music may be different from mine or anyone else's perception. It's too subjective to nail down.


I guess that sort of progression reminds you of some music that you've classified as 'sci-fi'.

There isn't really any 'why' about this sort of thing. All you can usefully do is add these sequences to your musical tool-box for future use when you want 'that' sort of effect.

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