#1
I've always been intrigued by the short, sudden key changes John Mayer uses in a lot of his songs, generally during an interlude, or a part where the drums drop out or something like that (they usually only last one section or less and then resolve back to the original key).

So, I was jamming to his new album and I finally realized what is happening in every one of these key changes, and it changed the way I see key changes. At first I thought key changes usually were a half-step up or something like that, then I found out there can be a change of tonic (so from a key to a relative key), but I noticed these JM songs modulate to the parallel minor (well, the parallel minor's relative major to be specific).

Now for my question: I find this really intriguing and I'm wondering, is this a unique modulation, or is it a rather common practice?
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#2
ive seen it done quite a few times, and ive done it once or twice in a jam, its pretty neat, but the more common modulations are a whole step up, to its relative minor, or to a closely related key *1 or 2 note difference*
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#3
That would be something like playing in C major, and then modulating to C minor, except it's Eb major. (They're not the same, but I see your line of thinking.) It's pretty common to modulate up a minor third. Bon Jovi's Livin' on a Prayer does this for the final chorus, for example.
#4
A good idea for modulating is the to have the last note in the first key be a half step from a note in the next key, and then have the first note in the next key be a half step from that last note. It creates a smooth, natural transition with a subtle pull towards the next key.
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#5
Quote by bangoodcharlote
That would be something like playing in C major, and then modulating to C minor, except it's Eb major. (They're not the same, but I see your line of thinking.) It's pretty common to modulate up a minor third. Bon Jovi's Livin' on a Prayer does this for the final chorus, for example.

you dont have to modulate to Eb major unless the key is Eb major. If your tonal center switches from C major to C minor, itll be in C minor.
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#6
^

You're in C major to start. You then modulate to the parallel minor, so you're in Cm. However, it isn't really Cm; it is the relative major of Cm, Eb major. That is TS's line of thinking. The "modulation to the parallel minor" is of dubious theoretical accuracy, but TS recognizes that the new key is Eb and NOT Cm - You do, right? - so this line of thinking is fine.
#7
Quote by bangoodcharlote
^

You're in C major to start. You then modulate to the parallel minor, so you're in Cm. However, it isn't really Cm; it is the relative major of Cm, Eb major. That is TS's line of thinking. The "modulation to the parallel minor" is of dubious theoretical accuracy, but TS recognizes that the new key is Eb and NOT Cm - You do, right? - so this line of thinking is fine.
Yeah that's the way I saw it. I noticed that the chords in the key change were in the parallel minor, but then I noticed the "new" key wasn't minor, it was the relative major (of the parallel minor).
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#8
Quote by bangoodcharlote
That would be something like playing in C major, and then modulating to C minor, except it's Eb major. (They're not the same, but I see your line of thinking.) It's pretty common to modulate up a minor third. Bon Jovi's Livin' on a Prayer does this for the final chorus, for example.


It goes up a major second. Its a forced modulation. I would expect modulations up a minor third (to the relative major of the parallel minor) would be much smoother.
#9
Quote by bangoodcharlote
^

You're in C major to start. You then modulate to the parallel minor, so you're in Cm. However, it isn't really Cm; it is the relative major of Cm, Eb major. That is TS's line of thinking. The "modulation to the parallel minor" is of dubious theoretical accuracy, but TS recognizes that the new key is Eb and NOT Cm - You do, right? - so this line of thinking is fine.

sorry, didnt realize he ment a specific song. i was saying in general. sorry for the mixup
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#10
Hey, I just realized in these JM songs, wouldn't the modulation simply be to the parallel minor, since whenever it changes back to the original key it seems to resolve back to the tonic?
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#11
Quote by food1010
Hey, I just realized in these JM songs, wouldn't the modulation simply be to the parallel minor, since whenever it changes back to the original key it seems to resolve back to the tonic?


Possibly. What song(s) is this in?
#12
The ones I noticed it in were "Hearbreak Warfare" and "All We Ever Do Is Say Goodbye," both off of his newest album.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#13
Quote by food1010
The ones I noticed it in were "Hearbreak Warfare" and "All We Ever Do Is Say Goodbye," both off of his newest album.


I'd say that calling it a modulation to the parallel minor is fine. Its short and goes right back to the original key, that you can hardly say that the ♭III rather than the i was being tonicized.
#14
Quote by Baroque_and_Rol
A good idea for modulating is the to have the last note in the first key be a half step from a note in the next key, and then have the first note in the next key be a half step from that last note. It creates a smooth, natural transition with a subtle pull towards the next key.

Haha, my bad guys, I just realized how out of context this post was from the rest of the thread.
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So next time I go in I'm gonna ask for a thong
#15
are you talking about the whole song or just him playing? because if its just him playing and he starts in the major, and then goes to the minor, hes just switching to the "blues" sound. which is playing the minor pentatonic over a major progression. JM does this a lot. so did hendrix and SRV.
#16
Quote by bangoodcharlote
^

You're in C major to start. You then modulate to the parallel minor, so you're in Cm. However, it isn't really Cm; it is the relative major of Cm, Eb major. That is TS's line of thinking. The "modulation to the parallel minor" is of dubious theoretical accuracy, but TS recognizes that the new key is Eb and NOT Cm - You do, right? - so this line of thinking is fine.


It is possible to modulate to the parallel major/minor.
#18
Quote by bangoodcharlote
If you modulate from C major to Eb major, you are NOT playing in C minor. If you modulate from C major to C minor, you are NOT playing in Eb major.
Yes, I know.

Quote by Blind In 1 Ear
are you talking about the whole song or just him playing? because if its just him playing and he starts in the major, and then goes to the minor, hes just switching to the "blues" sound. which is playing the minor pentatonic over a major progression. JM does this a lot. so did hendrix and SRV.
I'm talking about the whole song. I know all about blue notes and stuff. I'm 100% certain it's a key change.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#19
Sorry to bump this thread, but I just found another song that modulates up a minor third, and back again a few times. The song is "After All These Years" by Silverchair, and I've been learning it on piano for a while now. I always noticed the key changes but never took much heed of them.

The song goes like this: Db Intro, E Verse, Db Chorus (half of one), E Verse, Db Chorus, Bridge (same chords as intro), another chorus, and resolving in Db.

Just thought I'd share that with you guys. To everyone who said it's common to modulate up a minor third, you were right, thanks much.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#20
Quote by food1010
At first I thought key changes usually were a half-step up or something like that, then I found out there can be a change of tonic (so from a key to a relative key), but I noticed these JM songs modulate to the parallel minor (well, the parallel minor's relative major to be specific).

Now for my question: I find this really intriguing and I'm wondering, is this a unique modulation, or is it a rather common practice?
Actually, food there is no unique modulation. There are a number of methods that work better than others. In general, the more chords the two keys have in common, the smoother your modulation will sound. But you could write a progression and repeat it in another keys without any relation to the former one; your ear (or rather your brain) will recognize the progressions and it will sound pleasing nonetheless (at least as long as your intervals are somewhat respected and the tonal centers remains in place).

Modulation between very related keys (with many chords in common) sometimes happens so often in a song that it is virtually impossible to determine where a key ends and another starts. And sometimes a composer uses incomplete chords to 'fool' listeners. The missing notes are the ones that would otherwise differentiate between the keys. But by dropping them, the composer is able to come up with a smoother modulation.
#21
I've noticed an awful lot of modulation to the parallel minor in the music my choir does. Church music.