The Chainsmokers – Closer | Theory & Arrangement Breakdown

Back for another breakdown, Matt Donner dissects the music theory behind “Closer” by The Chainsmokers. He builds the chord progression as well as his own rendition of the song in Logic Pro X.

Matt uses his favorite concept – “complexity equals simplicity” – to teach students that complex music theory can help simple song arrangements reach their full potential.

In “Closer”, the main chord progression is in F natural minor, or aeolian. The Chainsmokers make use of the entire scale, using every single note – spread out across two octaves. They also make use of a concept called “pedaling”, where one chord or note is sustained while other chords or notes happen around it. Last but not least, they make use of relative modality. 

We have included helpful visuals of the scale so that you can build these chords and melodies yourself. This is a must watch for fans of The Chainsmokers, as well as music producers struggling with theory and arrangement techniques.


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