I'm thinking of these examples, which seem to take on the orchestral flavor of the main theme:

Is there a similarity in their chord progressions or keys or mode that make these all sound similar?

  • 2
    I am not deep enough into music theory, but I know this from an analysis of Skyfall by Adele: If you play Cm and play a progression where you replace the fifth with a minor sixth, major sixth and back to minor sixth you will get the "bond chord progression".
    – Ian
    Feb 14, 2020 at 9:24
  • The three-note (or three-chord) minor sequence up-down-repeat has been used by myriad spy movie and tv themes. The song "Secret Agent Man" comes to mind. Feb 14, 2020 at 14:16
  • Can you give some indication of your understanding of theory and what you have already analyzed in this music? You're asking for a comparison of six themes! According to the forum rules requests for analysis are not even "on topic." Feb 14, 2020 at 15:35
  • @MichaelCurtis Sorry, I mainly use SE for CrossValidated and SO. I'm not particularly knowledgeable: I took music theory in high school, have played the guitar for a while, played piano as a kid, etc. Mainly just wondering if there's an obvious thing to someone smarter than I on what gives these their similar vibe. The first comment above might just be the answer: They're variants based on the main Bond Theme.
    – Mark White
    Feb 14, 2020 at 15:55
  • 1
    @MarkWhite, cool. I added an answer. No Time to Die sort of quotes the vamp of the old Bond theme, but the first two songs I looked at don't actually use it for the main tune. That's sort of the format for Bond films. A lot of them use the original John Barry theme along with a totally new, featured song which might quote the original theme in some clever ways, but the main melody of the song is unique. Feb 14, 2020 at 17:21

1 Answer 1


I hit an obvious pattern in the first two, so I'll stop with just the first two. Maybe someone else can look at the others.

I used some Youtube piano scroll videos as a quick substitute for actual notation.

Skipping intros and going to the main tune...

No Time to Die basically is Em: i VI iv... V

Skyfall basically is Cm: i VI iv... V

Both are in minor with chords moving in descending thirds to the minor subdominant. That progression repeats a few times and then comes to rest on the dominant.

Different keys on is E minor the other C minor, but the chord relationships are essentially the same. That is certainly what makes these two sound similar.

Actually, descending by thirds is an old, tried and true progression. You could write a Baroque style ground bass on it!

The dramatic, dark mood comes from the minor mode, but the brooding quality also comes from the relatively relaxed tempo. Both on the slow side.

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