#1
Sup theory dudes,

I was having a jam the other night over a typical pop structured song. The song itself was in G, and the chorus started and ended with an E minor. Pretty typical stuff.

So I played a solo which went over the verse and chorus chords. Now all the chords involved were in the key of G major, and accept that the entire song is in G major. Therefore I used the G major scale to solo over it.

However, over the chorus, which starts and ends on E minor, I tended to approach the notes of the G major scale more like if the key was in E minor, resolving on E minor. This can be explained by emphasising chord tones whilst playing the G major scale over the chorus.

But that got me thinking, how easy or hard is it to actually modulate to the relative major or minor key of a song? They obviously share the same notes, but you'd have to shift the tonic somehow, and with the relative key to the original one, you could still be percieved as still relating to the original key so any attempt at modulation would not work.

So I thought that was an interesting topic for discussion. Can you modulate to the relative major or minor key? Discuss!
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#3
Quote by supersac
yes in fact i find that to be the easiest modulation


Interesting. Example and explanation would be great!
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#4
I don't see why you couldn't. It's not like there's some kind of law banning it from use by musicians. Modulate to whatever you damn well feel like.

Also for some reason, I am reminded of the Picardy Third... which is probably different as it's not a relative major chord, but still a really cool modulation.
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#5
Quote by AlanHB
Sup theory dudes,

I was having a jam the other night over a typical pop structured song. The song itself was in G, and the chorus started and ended with an E minor. Pretty typical stuff.

So I played a solo which went over the verse and chorus chords. Now all the chords involved were in the key of G major, and accept that the entire song is in G major. Therefore I used the G major scale to solo over it.

However, over the chorus, which starts and ends on E minor, I tended to approach the notes of the G major scale more like if the key was in E minor, resolving on E minor. This can be explained by emphasising chord tones whilst playing the G major scale over the chorus.

But that got me thinking, how easy or hard is it to actually modulate to the relative major or minor key of a song? They obviously share the same notes, but you'd have to shift the tonic somehow, and with the relative key to the original one, you could still be percieved as still relating to the original key so any attempt at modulation would not work.

So I thought that was an interesting topic for discussion. Can you modulate to the relative major or minor key? Discuss!


I'd say use a B7, ala E Harmonic Minor.

Best,

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at Sep 17, 2010,
#6
It's not really a modulation since it shares the same key signature. At least according to my music theory text book. I think. Let me find it.
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#7
Quote by Sean0913
I'd say use a B7, ala E Harmonic Minor.


I like this idea. Brings out the sounds more commonly associated with the minor than it's relative major.

Quote by mmolteratx
It's not really a modulation since it shares the same key signature. At least according to my music theory text book. I think. Let me find it.


I was under the impression it was shifting where the song resolved to. I may be incorrect. Check it out!
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#8
its just modulating into a parent key that your talking about. it works with the major and relitave minor by just insisting on the new tonic.

you can do the same with relitave harmonic minor and melodic minor (form a major or vis versa) as well. but I tend to find if you use the new tonality's V or V7 chord followed by the new tonic you have a more seemless key change. or least in this kind of modulation.
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#9
Yeah I reckon it's possible, a way I often do it is via IV V vi, so say you were playing a song in G, you could go to Cmaj for one bar Dmaj for another bar and then cycle Emin for two bars, I always believe that that progression changes the tonic to the relative minor.

But that could just be me.
#10
Early Beatles had this type of change in it, G in the verse and Em in the chorus/bridge. I'm not sure it would be a modulation since the notes stay the same, only the tonal side changes.

If you think of it from a Key Signature point of view, nothing changes. If you think of it from what you are hearing the tonal focus changes.

Good question, I would accept either a "yes you can" or a "well your not really..." answer. I could see both sides. And yes, that B7 will help direct the focus to E Minor for sure.
#11
A good example of the relative modulation is "Wild World" by Cat Stevens, which is Am in the verses and C in the chorus.
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#12
Here's the answer I usually give these: "If you can give me an adequate reason why not, then you win the argument."

Now, for my real answer: Yes, and in fact, it's probably the most common type of modulation. It's so common there's even a type of Cadence that's called a Deceptive Cadence (in America... I think it's Interrupted Cadence in the UK?) where you take a simple I - IV - V7 - I and resolve the V7 to the vi (I - IV - V - vi). Creates an interesting type of feel (It's used in one of Weezer's new songs... I'll edit with a link).

Even though the notes are the same, if the tonic note changes, or where the piece resolves to is different, then the key has changed (NOTE: NOT the key signature. This is pretty much how Modes work).

I usually approach it with the Deceptive Cadence, or by using the V7/vi (B7 - Em). I like to make sure that the modulation is known by using the D# or staying in Harmonic Minor for a bit.
#14
Definitely. I agree with a couple of the points raised so far. The deceptive cadence can be a good way to get there. You can modulate like you would to any other key, and played shared chords or chords that pull towards your new tonic.

Edit: Food said it really well.
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Last edited by FacetOfChaos at Sep 18, 2010,
#15
Quote by DiminishedFifth
Here's the answer I usually give these: "If you can give me an adequate reason why not, then you win the argument."

Now, for my real answer: Yes, and in fact, it's probably the most common type of modulation. It's so common there's even a type of Cadence that's called a Deceptive Cadence (in America... I think it's Interrupted Cadence in the UK?) where you take a simple I - IV - V7 - I and resolve the V7 to the vi (I - IV - V - vi). Creates an interesting type of feel (It's used in one of Weezer's new songs... I'll edit with a link).

Even though the notes are the same, if the tonic note changes, or where the piece resolves to is different, then the key has changed (NOTE: NOT the key signature. This is pretty much how Modes work).

I usually approach it with the Deceptive Cadence, or by using the V7/vi (B7 - Em). I like to make sure that the modulation is known by using the D# or staying in Harmonic Minor for a bit.

Yeah, I'd just use a secondary dominant to go to the relative minor or relative major. if you're going to the relative minor, you could also play the ii chord before the V7/vi to make a iv-V7-i progression in the relative minor. For relative major, you'd play the V7/bIII, which is the same thing as a bVII7. You could play the bVI or the iv before it to make a IV-V7-I or ii-V7-I progression to the relative major.
#16
Even staying completely diatonic, you can definitely shift the tonal center very easily. Between major and relative minor the tonal center can be very flexible.

Let's take the key of C. Say we start with a C Am F G. Right from the start, it suggests C major. It progresses a bit, then the G sets up a perfect authentic cadence back to C (and the F actually functions as a pre-dominant, you have that IV V I turnaround). Repeat that a few times and you develop a strong sense of C major.

Now let's do some adjusting. We'll start with something simple; switching around chords. Say we switch the Am and the C. We now have Am C F G. From the beginning it suggests A minor. The movement to C isn't a strong resolution, so the tonality still remains at A. F - G works as a perfect walk-up to A minor (VI VII i). Repeat this a few times and you have a solid A minor tonality.

See how even just barely tweaking the progression affects the tonality. This verifies my claim that the tonality is very flexible.

Now, those were separate examples. What if we combine them? Try working them into a full song. Use the C major one as the verse/chorus and then switch to the A minor one for a bridge or something. You can hear a definite change, but it's subtle enough that you hardly need to do anything to work it in there, except just stick it in the song.
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#17
I think Alan's query which some might be missing isn't "is it possible to modulate to X" but more like "Is it a true modulation even if it shares the same key signature?"

My short answer is yes, you can modulate.
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#18
The modulation may seem or would be a bit stronger if you used a scale other than the minor scale (e.g., em scale over em chord)... such as Dorian. I tend to do this (automatically for some reason... maybe it sounds good to my ear) without thinking much of the scale I'm using or the mode I'm in.
#19
Quote by nightwind
I think Alan's query which some might be missing isn't "is it possible to modulate to X" but more like "Is it a true modulation even if it shares the same key signature?"

My short answer is yes, you can modulate.
Yeah you're right.

Yes, a relative major/minor switch is still technically a modulation.

According to the ever trustworthy Wikipedia (ha), "modulation is most commonly the act or process of changing from one key (tonic, or tonal center) to another. This may or may not be accompanied by a change in key signature."
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
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#20
Quote by food1010


Now let's do some adjusting. We'll start with something simple; switching around chords. Say we switch the Am and the C. We now have Am C F G. From the beginning it suggests A minor. The movement to C isn't a strong resolution, so the tonality still remains at A. F - G works as a perfect walk-up to A minor (VI VII i). Repeat this a few times and you have a solid A minor tonality.



Disagree. Maybe on paper, but that V I sill sounds like resolution to C. I would like you to post a track where this progression actually will NOT sound resolved on C, and if you do so, I'll admit my mistake.

It still sounds like a vi V I. Am to Em to Am to Em, stay away from the G and C, and use the F, and Dm but not back to back, too similar.

Sean
#21
in an old band where i played lead guitar, keyboards, and sang lead, i used to do this all the time on accident then when i figured it out i used it to my advantage.

i was playing a guitar solo in the key of C major (easiest key for full-neck soloing) and the bassist and violinist (this violinist/keyboardist and me have started a new way better band too) were implying the chords Dminor, Gdominant7, and Cmajor add9. It was a walking bassline (some of the notes in this line were completely random but it was all good, basically just whatever intervals Troy felt like using) and Andrew, the violinist, was pretty much playing arpegios of these chords. The walking bassline had an A note during the final chord, Cmajor, and as the jam progressed he began adding the 6 and 7 notes (F and G) of A minor which imply the Aeolian mode, and the violin started to arpegiate Aminor7, and I switched to playing the keyboard.

So the guitar solo turned into a keyboard solo while C major turned into A minor, and since I switched instruments I rethought the soloing process really quick without noticing there was any difference in key, until we were ending the song with me pumping out the Aminor chord over and over again and I noticed what had happened.

It wasn't an amazing discovery for me though, my interest in it was very small because I've noticed way crazier shiz happening when improvising before. since all the jamming i do is based on jazz improv techniques, i just end up noticing crazy little things that if i had lessons i probably would've been taught a long time ago. Sometims a lack of knowledge is good because it makes all new knowledge much more exciting

edit: i feel like i made that bassline sound retarded haha, the first note of each measure was always a chord tone, then there were a couple mostly random notes, and 1 leading towards the next chord. just thought i should point out that troy knows what he's doing haha
Last edited by TMVATDI at Sep 19, 2010,
#22
Quote by Sean0913
Disagree. Maybe on paper, but that V I sill sounds like resolution to C. I would like you to post a track where this progression actually will NOT sound resolved on C, and if you do so, I'll admit my mistake.

It still sounds like a vi V I. Am to Em to Am to Em, stay away from the G and C, and use the F, and Dm but not back to back, too similar.

Sean
Are you saying it sounds unresolved on Am or are you saying it sounds resolved on C as well.

If the latter, I'm not going to argue that, because you're right. In that case, resolving to C major works. I personally prefer the sound of resolving to A minor, but if you want to resolve to C major, that's your choice.

If the former, then I disagree. I think Am C F G (Am) is a perfect example of an A minor progression. Sure it ventures into the land of C major, but at every repeat it brings it back to A minor.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
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