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Thread: changing keys...

  1. #1
    Registered User Asperjames II's Avatar
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    changing keys...

    i've been pondering this lately, and i'm pretty lost. is there a secret behind making key changes sound good? (well, of course there is, but i want to know)

  2. #2
    fan of the G string curiousgeorge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Asperjames II
    i've been pondering this lately, and i'm pretty lost. is there a secret behind making key changes sound good? (well, of course there is, but i want to know)
    It would help if you could tell us what context you mean here. Is it for rock, jazz, blues, polka, or something else? If it's in a rock context, a lot of rock players just do it without worrying about the V7 chord and what have you. A common thing to do in rock is to transpose the song up a whole step.

  3. #3
    Registered User Asperjames II's Avatar
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    well i guess my question was very broad. ummmm, it's sort of hard to explain what i'm trying to figure out though. are there certain chord progressions that transpose well? i haven't looked at the circle of fifths lately, let alone bother to memorize it lately.

  4. #4
    fan of the G string curiousgeorge's Avatar
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    I'm mainly a rocker, so I'm no expert on the subject. Hopefully we'll get an answer here from one of the jazz theory pros here. Also, you should do a thread search in the forums on this very topic. I'm pretty sure you'll find what you're looking for that way too. Good luck!

  5. #5
    Registered User Mateo150's Avatar
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    I'm no theory expert so I probably wouldn't be of much help, but a more specific question would help, thats really broad and I'm not even sure what the hell ya want to know. As far as specific chord progressions, this is a bridge I use a lot when "improvising" to change to whatever key I want. No real music theory behind this one, you don't always need to think in terms of chord progressions to change keys.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Mateo150; 03-19-2005 at 04:19 AM.
    They call them fingers, but I never see them fing.

  6. #6
    La vie carnivalesque salsainglesa's Avatar
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    An easy changue of key is switching between major key and its relative minor. Another could be From major key to minor key in the same root.

    Also, i like toy changue key when i get to a V chord, instead of resolving it to the tonic, i resolve to the half cadence or to the decepteive cadence, the iii or vi, but insted i use them as the new tonic

    example:
    instead of playing the half cadence G - e min
    C - G - E

    or... instead the decepteive cadence C - G - a min
    C - G - A

    that is something i just like

  7. #7
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    i think you can change keys at any point you want even if its the second chord in the progression the idea is to make a imprint throughout the song.....if you want to go this route then change keys after the first chord at a certain rythmic point throughout the song that makes sense....you can change whenever it feels right and however you want just mind what you are doing so later you can either call and response that idea, mimick it, or whatever....if you want thing of it like the common idea of things like Giant Steps by john Coltrane...this is a very patterend type of playing that works basicly in the way of playing the II and V of a scale and using the cirlcle of 5ths to move to the nexts II V groove...these are key changes that happen often and sound just random but are very constructed as far as the BASIC idea and structure of what is going.....the key chagnes often again and that low underlying structure says alot but its a simple melodic idea that is repeated over and over with a cover of melodic ideas and emotions that expand upon the basic idea....so how to change keys is limitless its more in how you continue to change the keys throughout the song that matters....commit and relish deep inside what you have commited to as your basic harmonic structure......its all up to you...play and figure out the rules later.

  8. #8
    I like music.
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    You are lazy.

    "Boo****inhoo, I don't know my circle of 5ths and I can't figure stuff out on my own."

    If you look at the circle of 5ths, it should become obvious. Usually a closely related key sounds good to modulate to. If you are in D, you can modulate to G or A....or even C or even E. Hrm...I wonder why...

    BTW, ask vague questions and get vague answers.
    Hard luck and trouble...

  9. #9
    fan of the G string curiousgeorge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dommy
    You are lazy.

    "Boo****inhoo, I don't know my circle of 5ths and I can't figure stuff out on my own."

    If you look at the circle of 5ths, it should become obvious. Usually a closely related key sounds good to modulate to. If you are in D, you can modulate to G or A....or even C or even E. Hrm...I wonder why...

    BTW, ask vague questions and get vague answers.
    Easy tiger! Tolerance and patience, please.

  10. #10
    I like music.
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    I'm sorry, I just get tired of people asking questions that could be easily figured out if they took the TIME AND EFFORT to figure it out by themselves. Yeah, it was late and I was pissed off too.

    But seriously, any cadential progression can be moved to ANY key...if it sounds good or not, thats up to you.
    Hard luck and trouble...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Asperjames II
    i've been pondering this lately, and i'm pretty lost. is there a secret behind making key changes sound good? (well, of course there is, but i want to know)
    try experimenting with V-I harmonic movement. eg:

    Cmaj-E7-Am-A7-Dm-G7-Cmj

    that was C major, A harmonic minor, D harmonic minor and back to C; repeated V-I movements in each key centre.

  12. #12
    fan of the G string curiousgeorge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dommy
    I'm sorry, I just get tired of people asking questions that could be easily figured out if they took the TIME AND EFFORT to figure it out by themselves. Yeah, it was late and I was pissed off too.

    But seriously, any cadential progression can be moved to ANY key...if it sounds good or not, thats up to you.
    Sure they could figure it out if pointed in the right direction. It's better to be patient and learn something to really understand it ,rather than to rush through a concept, making incorrect assumptions and mistakes. Not everybody learns at the same rate, so I'm just asking you to not take your frustrations out on those who don't deserve it. Just buy one of those Yngwie punching bags and let him have it!

  13. #13
    Registered Loser =Bob='s Avatar
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    I posted this in another forum, so if you see it somewhere else, it was probably me...

    Diatonic Common Chord Modulation

    One method of modulation is to use a common chord or otherwise known as a pivot chord. Using a pivot chord (common chord modulation) can be done either diatonically (only the notes of the key) or chromatically. A diatonic pivot chord is chosen from the possible common diatonic chords that exist both in the starting key and the ending key to which you are modulating. Some books say you should only use "closely related keys" and limit those to only keys that are one sharp or one flat away from the current key. Composers have commonly gone much further and found ways to use common chords in remote keys (more about that below). The objective is to choose a common chord in both keys then just simply compose in the new key from that chord (the pivot chord) on.

    So for example, if the initial key is C Major and the ending key is F major, list all the diatonic chords in both keys:

    C major:
    I = C Maj
    ii = D Min
    iii = E Min
    IV = F Maj
    V = G Maj
    vi = A Min
    vii° = B Dim

    F Major:
    I = F Maj
    ii = G Min
    iii = A Min
    IV = Bb Maj
    V = C Maj
    vi = D Min
    vii° = E Dim

    The common ones are:

    *I in C Maj = V in F Maj (least likely)
    *IV in C Maj = I in F Maj (not as least likey)

    ii in C Maj = vi in F Maj
    vi in C Maj = iii in F Maj

    Some theorists believe that *tonic, *dominant and leading tone chords are the least successful choices for pivot chords, because they are not ambiguous enough. Fact is, many composers did it anyway. They also chose common chords that were in keys 2 flats or 2 sharps away. It really depends on how smooth or abrupt you want the modulation. The more ambiguous the chord choice and closer to the initial key, the smoother it tends to sound.

    Pivot example in C:

    ...C..F..Dm..Bb
    C:.I..V..ii
    ......F:.vi..IV


    The pivot chord (Dm above) can be analyzed both as ii in C major and vi in F major.

    Using the Dominant

    Below is a typical construction for using the V in a pivot. It can be simultaneously analyzed in C major, G major and E minor. The V6 is not a very strong dominant sound because of the 1st inversion:

    ...C.G/B..Bm..Em..Am.Em
    C:.I.V6
    ..G:.I6...iii.vi
    .Em:.III6 v...i...iv i

    Moving from I->iii->vi is a typical way to change to the relative minor. Using that progression in G major allows us to imply G major and actually modulate to the relative minor (E minor). It has a deceptive resolution feel to the phrase. The minor v (in E minor) has no dominant effect, as it is more correctly heard as iii (in G major). In fact, you might consider the modulation to be: C->G->Em, except G hasn't been established, only implied. See "Harmony" by Walter Piston, page 217 for an example of V being used as IV, and page 218 for V being used as I.

    Chromatic Common Chord Modulation

    Chromatic common chord modulation allows you to modulate to remote keys. For example, the Neapolitan in C major is also:

    Common Chords in Major Keys:
    =============================
    I - Key Dif: +1/-11 - Key: Db Major
    IV - Key Dif: +8/-4 - Key: Ab Major
    V - Key Dif: +6/-6 - Key: Gb Major
    VII - Key Dif: +3/-9 - Key: Eb Major
    bIII - Key Dif: +10/-2 - Key: Bb Major
    III - Key Dif: +9/-3 - Key: Bbb(A) Major
    bVI - Key Dif: +5/-7 - Key: F Major
    VI - Key Dif: +4/-8 - Key: Fb(E) Major
    RIV - Key Dif: +7/-5 - Key: Abb(G) Major

    Common Chords in Minor Keys:
    =============================
    III - Key Dif: +10/-2 - Key: Bb Minor
    VI - Key Dif: +5/-7 - Key: F Minor
    VII - Key Dif: +3/-9 - Key: Eb Minor
    V - Key Dif: +6/-6 - Key: Gb Minor
    RIV - Key Dif: +7/-5 - Key: Abb(G) Minor
    N - Key Dif: 0 - Key: C Minor

    Here's another example. The German Sixth (Gr+6) is enharmonically equivalent to a dominant 7th. In the key of C Major, the GR+6 is also:

    Common Chords in Major Keys:
    =============================
    ++4 - Key Dif: 0 - Key: C Major
    RIV7 - Key Dif: +2/-10 - Key: Ebb(D) Major
    N7 - Key Dif: +7/-5 - Key: G Major
    V7 - Key Dif: +1/-11 - Key: Db Major

    Common Chords in Minor Keys:
    =============================
    Gr+6 - Key Dif: 0 - Key: C Minor
    RIV7 - Key Dif: +2/-10 - Key: Ebb(D) Minor
    N7 - Key Dif: +7/-5 - Key: G Minor
    VII7 - Key Dif: +10/-2 - Key: Bb Minor

    Schubert modulated from D (using a V7) to Db through an enharmonic Gr6 pivot chord (Original Dances, op. 9, no. 14) .

    =Bob=
    Last edited by =Bob=; 03-24-2005 at 05:36 PM.

  14. #14
    Mad Scientist forgottenking2's Avatar
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    Great post Bob.

    Let me just add my 2 cents. If you just want to get your feet wet in this whole key modulation thing I really recomend taking it in simple steps (just like in any other technical endeavor). Start by running a simple progression through the circle of 4ths or 5ths. One that seems to work great and I kinda ripped it off from Joe Satriani it's a I VI progression in a minor key moving down the circle of 4ths. If you are a rocker like me, then you're sure familiar with that progression (it's the single most used harmonic movement in 80's rock) like the whole Em C thing or Am F or Dm Bb etc, and all you do is put all those together following the circle of 5ths backwards (A.K.A the circle of 4ths). That progression will continue indifinetely because of the lack of a leading tone (you won't hear abrupt changes and when you get back to the key you started on there's no feeling of resolution) so it can get boring but it's a great exercise and it can teach you to work out melodies that travel along several different keys. Once you master those basic changes you can start getting a bit more adventurous and study more complex changes.

    Give it a try and let me know how it went.

    Regards,
    "If God had wanted us to play the piano he would've given us 88 fingers"

  15. #15
    Registered User Sir Speedy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shade of black
    try experimenting with V-I harmonic movement. eg:

    Cmaj-E7-Am-A7-Dm-G7-Cmj

    that was C major, A harmonic minor, D harmonic minor and back to C; repeated V-I movements in each key .
    Hi there Shade ,

    this progression looks familiar , i don't think you have to outline what scale you use for this though .

    it's more of a I vi ii V I , as far as i can tell .

    using a V7/iv chord (E7) or a V7/ii (A7)before a minor chord is a simple substitution . If you had the iii chord you could use B7 (the V7/iii) as well

    C Maj7 is the I, E7 is the V7 of iv,Ami is the vi , A7 is the V7 of ii (Dmin7),ii ,G7 is the V chord , and CMaj should be the I chord but here you chose minor 7 , which means you want to change keys to BbMajor , Possibly

    This would be pritty common ... D mi7 , G7 , CMaj7 , C min7 , F7 , BbMaj7 ,
    (ii,V,I, ii V I)

    then mabey ... Eb7 , Bb7 , Eb7 , Bb7.(IV , I , IV, I)



    Here's a link of Cadences .for definition and examples , i found in a back article , that looks pritty good.Im learnig from it because it has definitions of the Classic Cadences .
    ________
    VOLCANO VAPORIZER
    Last edited by Sir Speedy; 09-15-2011 at 08:35 AM.

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