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Thread: What have I done here?

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2010

    What have I done here?

    Hello, my friends

    I wrote a song in the key of EMaj but in the middle of it I introduced several measures based on DMaj, and then got back to EMaj.
    It sounds good (at least to me) but I don't know how to explain it by the light of theory.Can you help me on this one?

    Here's the score:

    Rock in EMaj.pdf

    and a link so that you can ear the song (sorry for the sloppy performance).

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Deep East Texas Piney Woods
    You modulated to another key or put another way, you went out and then came back in. Happens all the time.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 07-07-2012 at 01:59 AM.

  3. #3
    Registered User
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    Sep 2010
    So this is modulation...but what is the link between the two that makes them sound good together?

  4. #4
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    Feb 2004
    Deep East Texas Piney Woods
    Changed to this. My first answer was hogwash. Why it sounds good.......
    Jon will add something I'm sure.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 07-07-2012 at 02:02 AM.

  5. #5
    Registered User Color of Music's Avatar
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    Jul 2012
    North Carolina
    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm View Post
    Changed to this. My first answer was hogwash. Why it sounds good.......
    Jon will add something I'm sure.
    Well, considering E as the drone - the thematic progression is: I-V-IV (very basic and where one should start)

    A modulation is not happening! The word Malcolm was looking for is tonicizing.

    When you reach - the bridge - (I guess), you modulate to G, but then the B chord turns us around to E.

    To be fair, it isn't a quick/abrupt as you may hear in lots of jazz tunes, but tonicization does exist outside of jazz.

    There's a Beatles' tune that does the same (I forget the name)

    To answer why it does: in established modulations - it's very common to ascend one, two, three, four (maybe five) halfsteps; however, to be considered an established modulation, a tune doesn't demodulate revert back to the original key as the changes cancel out each other.

    However, you do get this happening often: Gb (2 bars, crochet pulse) Eb (2 bars, crotchet pulse); however, you're still in Eb unless there's a definite turn chord that signifies a key change - and if you do revert back to the original key, stay in the new key long enough til it becomes established.

    Here's an example:

    Waltz of the Flowers:


    From the start to 3:32 in D;
    3:33-3:50 in G (hinting @ B minor; this happens twice)
    4:10 we're clearly in B minor (the Vs - F#m7s tell us this)
    4:45 takes us back to G
    5:00 - A7 clearly tells us, we're going back to D

    6:28 - (tonicization begins) F7 takes us to Bb (V7-I)
    6:40 - C7 (prolonged) takes us to F (V7-I)
    6:52 - A7 takes us back to D (V7-I)

    What you did is displayed in the timestamps between 6:28-6:52. Whereas the thr four timestamps after 3:32 establish key centers - G, Bm, D. (Well, two since we return to the original key - D)

    Function wise, it also works because: I/iii/V share similarities:

    The I/iii/V in C are: C, Em and G

    In your song (assuming the G is minor and not major, but even if it were), these two chords share the Tonic-Parallel relationship. (Key signatures alone tell you this right off the bat! C Major, A minor; F Major D minor, etc.)

    Looking at the scale of each key:

    G Major - G-A-B-C-D-E-F#-G
    E minor - E-F#-G-A-B-C-D-E

    They are identical.

    Note one in G Major is note three in E minor
    Note two in ^ is note four in E minor
    Note three in ^ is note five ^
    Note four ^ note six ^
    Note five ^ is note seven ^
    Note six ^ is note one ^
    Note seven ^ is note two ^

    When I mentioned earlier if the G was major or minor, when modulations or demodulations occur, more often than not, the quality remains the same. (ie: First Key is major, second and/or subsequent keys are major). However, as you can hear in the above example, this doesn't always happen nor does it have to.

    Adversely, with that same example, sometimes the relative minor is used for a modulation. D--->Bm; however, as with any modulation, if you want a smooth one, there has to be a go-between chord that connects both keys. These are called pivot chords.

    There's a phrase in the transition that goes:

    F#m7b5(D9)-D7-G-Em-Am-A7-D7 / F#m7b5(D9)-D7-G-C#7#5b9-Bm/F#-F#7#5 ...

    Bm ...

    Now, while the F#7#5 is the III in D, it is also the V in B minor.

    The point is to listen for Dominant chords (Vs) or substitute dominants (vii).

    In CPP, we have what are called "secondary dominants" which is another to get "false" modulations or tonicizations (moreso the latter) than the former.

    C-A7-Dm-B7-Em-C7-F-D7-G-E7-Am-Bdim-C. The dominant sevenths risen from secondary dominants are essentially V-Is across five "false" (tonicized) keys - Dm, Em, F, G, Am. The Bdim again has the dominant function (referred to as an "incomplete dominant." If I were to make it into a complete dominant, it would be a G7; however, I'd end up with two dominants (triad and seventh) in the progression. C-A7-Dm-B7-Em-C7-F-D7-G-E7-Am-G7-C.

    As for the actual question as to why it sounds good, well, it just does. Go with that until you're ready to grasp the theory (logic) behind it. I'm not saying you aren't; however, once one hears the explanation(s), they may feel intimidated (I'm hoping you don't, but that is why, "go with what sounds good and let the theory come later," is often suggested - especially for "beginners." And the "experts" were beginners, too.

    And Malcolm's answer was not wrong, I believe he just misinterpreted. When he said, "Went out and back in key," I think he meant from an improvisation standpoint. This happens very often in jazz and rock when you have those elaborate/fantastic solos. However, Modulation, Tonicization and Chromaticism are different.
    Last edited by Color of Music; 09-04-2012 at 03:41 PM.

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2012


    so did you find an answer to your question?

    if you did, could you please pm me and tell what exactly you did?
    i'd really appreciate it, thank you in advance


    midi file player

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