Just a quick question. So I'm watching this video about theory on Elliott Smith and the guy that made this says: "I think that the number one most important thing that you'll hear in his songs. Moving major chords in minor thirds. If you take nothing else from this video that is definitely it."

Then he gives some examples of chord progressions that do this:
Miss Misery: F major to Aflat major
Son of Sam: E major to G major
Distorted Reality: D major to F major.
Sweet Adeline: G major to Bflat major.

Now he never actually says it in the vid, but aren't all these just examples of chromatic mediants?

  • Knock on Wood, Proud Mary, possibly Smoke on the Water intros - Chrom. meds?
    – Tim
    Jan 23, 2020 at 11:40

1 Answer 1


In music, chromatic mediants are "altered mediant and submediant chords."A chromatic mediant relationship defined conservatively is a relationship between two sections and/or chords whose roots are related by a major third or minor third, and contain one common tone (thereby sharing the same quality, i.e. major or minor).

Source: Wikipedia

So yes.

If you want an example with minor chords (not from Elliot Smith though), first that comes to my mind is the beginning of the verse from Depeche Mode - Enjoy the Silence, Cm to Ebm.

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