#1
As far is theory is concerned are there rules to changing keys? It just came to mind when I was thinking about how I could work on Key changes. So I thought about chord changes and how you do progressions such as I, V, IV, I or i-iv-VII and that a lot of the tension comes from the intervals between the notes. So does this theory apply to Keys? Say I am in the Key of C Major would a shift to the IV Key (F Major) to the V key (G Major) be how you would approach looking at key changes? Seeing as how all the key shifts are to major keys these shifts would maintain a more happy type of vibe. I dont know, its kinda hard to explain in words how I see it, hopefully you understand what I mean.

I guess I would just be using the notes in the scale I am using (in this case) CDEFGAB and just using chord progression theory to build tension with keys changes.

maybe this is just retarded. I am a bit wasted right now.
#2
there are "rules" to changing keys, but they are "rules" in the sense that they can easily (and sometimes, advisably) be broken.

i mean, if you go all ramones on me and play a I-IV-V, you're still in the key of the I (to follow your example, C major) so to answer the title question, no, changing a key is not like changing a chord.

changing a chord means that you're shifting the harmony. to change a key, however, means that you're shifting the tonal center entirely, so basically whatever key you change to becomes I (or i, I+, i°, whatever your pleasure is). in that sense, a key change is dramatically more noticeable than changing a chord.

but the idea of composing music is that you learn theory. learn as much as you can, then learn to disregard what you know. experiment!
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#4
Most teachers will suggest students only change to similar keys when modulating in their compositions. That is, C modulates best to G, F, Cm and Am. To modulate to another key, simply shift tastefully to the dominant of the new key and use the dominant chord right before the tonic chord of the new key.
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#5
The classical "rules" dictate that you modulate to the IV or the V of the original key and you would usually use the V of the new key as the transition point.

However with more modern styles you can pretty much do whatever you want, so experiment and see if it pleases your ear.

One thing I have noticed in certain pop tunes is that they go with one key up until the bridge, do a short dramatic pause, then modulate up either a 1/2 step or a whole step and end the song in the new key.
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Last edited by axe_2_grind at Dec 21, 2009,
#6
Short answer is no, they're not the same. Chord changes are just that, chord changes - a key in essence contains 7 chords, if you're using them and resolving to the same place then it doesn't matter how often the chord changes, you're still in the same key.

A key change involves shifting your song so it's based around a different set of chords and also resolves to a different one. Now, you can choose to treat each chord individually if you so wish, that's how jazz players tend to approach it. However that's instead of playing in a key, and in general contemporary western music sticks to keys.
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#7
Quote by steven seagull
Now, you can choose to treat each chord individually if you so wish, that's how jazz players tend to approach it. However that's instead of playing in a key,

Haha, right.

Because playing the change always means not playing in a single key, right?
/sarcasm (cuz I know it sometimes goes over some of your heads)

When most guys "treat each chord differently" (imo, everyone skilled enough should treat each chord differently when improvising), they're just using more chord tones and thinking from the chords perspective as well as the perspective of the song as a whole. They're not doing something creepy and amazing, they're just adding a little more.
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[U]     | \|_ |     |     .-|      [/U]
      *-|-*    (_)     `-’
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        L.
#8
Quote by axe_2_grind
The classical "rules" dictate that you modulate to the IV or the V of the original key and you would usually use the V of the new key as the transition point.



That's not entirely true. When first introduced to key changes, students are typically taught only to modulate to close keys. They can modulate to the IV, and V like you said, but also the ii, iii, vi, or i. They also don't just randomly go to the new dominant. They typically prepare the key change, using a pivot chord, which is a chord which is common in the old key and the new key, and then they go to a dominant chord, and then the I or i of the new key.

Quote by AeolianWolf
changing a chord means that you're shifting the harmony. to change a key, however, means that you're shifting the tonal center entirely, so basically whatever key you change to becomes I (or i, I+, i°, whatever your pleasure is). in that sense, a key change is dramatically more noticeable than changing a chord.


Typically the tonic is either major or minor. The augmented and diminished "tonics" are unstable, and resolve elsewhere, and are thus not tonics.
#9
Quote by demonofthenight
Haha, right.

Because playing the change always means not playing in a single key, right?
/sarcasm (cuz I know it sometimes goes over some of your heads)

When most guys "treat each chord differently" (imo, everyone skilled enough should treat each chord differently when improvising), they're just using more chord tones and thinking from the chords perspective as well as the perspective of the song as a whole. They're not doing something creepy and amazing, they're just adding a little more.

Following chords and treating each one separately are two different concepts as I'm sure you're aware.

Any guitar player should be aware of what they're playing over at all times, but there's a massive difference between being aware of the chords you're playing over within the structure of a song and foregoing the overall tonal centre of the piece in favour of focussing solely on the current chord...approaching each one as it's own little musical "island" as it were.
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Last edited by steven seagull at Dec 22, 2009,