A new video is up on my YouTube channel. This week, it’s a cover of the main theme from the film Ju-on: The Grudge. It’s one of my favourite films – it manages to create a feeling of deep melancholy and inevitability, and the music and sound design play a huge part in that.
I think this composition is wonderful to analyse, to see why it’s so effective. In my opinion, it comes down to a few elements: the harmony, use of chromatic notes, and the tonic pedal.
The harmony is pretty simple – it’s in E minor and most of the chords are diatonic: Am, Em and F#m7b5 – only the third inversion Fmaj7 near the end is out of key (and only one note of it). However, melodically there’s a fair amount of chromaticism and in the original there’s a high part that is very chromatic which creates the unease.
At the beginning, there’s an immediate sense of sadness but as the theme progresses, I think it captures a feeling of hopelessness. The use of the tonic pedal helps create that feeling of not being able to move forwards.
If you enjoy the performance, please subscribe to my channel! There’ll be more performance videos of both covers and my own compositions, plus new compositions will usually end up there before release. I’m also in the process of scripting some teaching videos.