I would like to add some music to a video clip I made (it lasts about 2 minutes). The video is basically some panoramic view of nature sights, nothing fancy. I am going to play a simple Sor's etude in A minor, Op. 60 no. 5 (actually, only the first part of it, before it switches to A major); I think that it's going to suit the mood of the video well.

The thing is, my video starts with a short "introduction" (30 seconds), where I film myself, my equipment, setting things up, etc. Therefore, I would like to make a very simple musical "introduction", maybe a sequence of triads, that sounds distinct from the main melody and conveys the feeling of "setting things up".

I thought about just recording the process of tuning my guitar, but I am afraid this would sound ugly; I want the introduction to be compatible and somehow "lead" to the key of the melody (A minor).

So, how can I make such a melody? Also, is there a name for the thing I am trying to make?

P.S. I have absolutely no experience in musical composition.

3 Answers 3


It is true that there is no "right" answer to this as it depends on your own aesthetic and decision, but we can offer different ideas from which you can choose.

Here are some ideas:

  • Op.60 No.2 is in C major (the relative major of A minor) and would lead nicely harmonically into No.5 while gently emphasizing the "minor mood."
  • In A minor, gently strum through a simple chord progression once or twice - i-iv-i-V-i etc.
  • Alternatively, arpeggiate through a simple chord progression once or twice.
  • Strum / arpeggiate through the chord progression of the first line of Op.60 No.5 (ex. i-iv-V-i, i-iv-V-V)
  • Play only the bass line from the first line

That should hopefully get the ball rolling.

Hope that helps!


There is no right answer on this and at best you will have several subjective answers to review but here are my suggestions.

Your idea of hearing your guitar being tuned is actually a very good idea since it puts the viewer in the space of seeing things being set up and hearing things set up too. You can make it sound wonderful and enchanting, use your imagination. Why not just tune the "A" string with a tuning fork, so you hear the reference, start with it about 1/2 step below pitch and very slowly bring it to pitch, then play the harmonics on the 12th fret, then the 7th fret, and finally on the 5th fret--a kind of tuning piece.

Another idea would be to play from the bridge of "Sor's etude in A minor, Op. 60 no. 5" to the end as your intro.

Another idea, take the main melody and turn it upside down, also backwards. Between these two variations you will likely have a new melody that will serve as your intro.

UPDATE: Since you mentioned that you don't have any experience with composition I should then be more specific about what I meant by 'upside down':

Take a melody line, list each step in the melody then take each interval and go the opposite direction. E.G., up a minor 3rd, go down a minor 3rd, up a P5, go down a P5 etc.

Likewise backwards a melody is bit simpler, just reverse the order of notes.

Separately this may sound jenky, but choosing the more interesting changes of each process into one new line may be very promising.

  • I'd just like to add here that the terms for "upside down" and "backwards" are inversion and retrograde respectively. Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 20:20
  • You are 100% correct, but aren't we splitting hairs?
    – filzilla
    Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 20:41
  • nah, I'm not providing a contradictory argument that supports my point via a small technicality; I'm supporting your point and providing more context for those who read your answer. Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 23:14
  • Well, thank you for the additional correct terms. It is always best to use the proper nomenclature, but 'upside down' and 'backwards' get to the point faster.
    – filzilla
    Commented Aug 22, 2013 at 18:18

The musical term would in fact be an "intro" and standard ways of doing it are to include some cadences that resolve to the starting key (A minor.) Create a chord progression that includes the secondary dominant (E7b13).

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    "Intro" is an abbreviation of "introduction", so technically "introduction" would be the appropriate musical term. Also, what you listed as a secondary dominant is just a normal dominant with an extension in A minor. A secondary dominant with extension would be perhaps, B7add11 instead. Commented Aug 20, 2013 at 23:35
  • Secondary dominants are those that are not native to the key you are in. If it native to your key, then it is simply a dominant, not a secondary dominant. Whether it is primary or secondary dominant, it is always a perfect fifth above. B7,11 is never a secondary dominant to Aminor. The dominant to any A flavor of chord is always E7 (or some variant of E7). For example, in the key of G major, the dominant for A minor (IIm) is E7, called "secondary dom" because E7 is not in the key of G. Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 17:38
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    You may want to reread my comment concerning secondary dominants as you contradict yourself in your own comment. I promise that B7 is a secondary dominant in A minor as it resolves to E - the dominant in A minor. It is a textbook example of a secondary dominant, which are dominants not native to the original key. Any triad in any key can be turned into a secondary dominant provided it is supported by correct resolution, function, and linear motion. Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 20:18
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    @Michael: From Wikipedia: "[A secondary dominant] refers to a dominant seventh chord set to resolve to a degree that is not the tonic" [Emphasis mine] Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 21:02
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    @MichaelMartinez - with all do respect, you are incorrect. I does matter if it is called "primary" or "secondary" as it denotes harmonic function relative to the original key. B7 is the dominant of E, but is a secondary dominant in the key of A minor because A minor does not contain a D#. I understand your point perfectly, it's just incorrect information. Commented Aug 26, 2013 at 20:13

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