#1
When would it be appropriate time to use a key change?
And also, is there a rule for which key you can change to? Say I'm in C, what would be a good key change from there? I'll take a shot in the dark and say A. A minor is the relative minor, then just make it major? idk
Thanks!
"For me it's important to be in balance. To not let fear get in the way of things, to not worry so much about protecting yourself all the time."

"Muskrats live in my wah wah pedal."

-John Frusciante-
#2
The greatest thing about music is that there aren't really rules and of the rules that exist, they are meant to be broken.

If you look at pop music, the popular way to use them is to repeat a final chorus by transposing to a key a step up. So if you're song is in C you go into your second last chorus and then at the top of the last chorus, modulate to D and finish there.

This is probably the most common use of key changes.

Another way you can change keys a little less noticeably is to switch to keys with many similar notes. Using your example as C major:

C D E F G A B C

G A B C D E F# G

There is one note that isn't common between C major and G major so you can modulate subtly simply by playing to the 6 common tones and then introducing the F#.

EDIT: Switching to the relative (A minor) works but it isn't really a key change since your scale consists of the same notes, you're just resolving to a different tonic.

Last edited by Zeppelin Addict at Dec 30, 2011,
#3
Delving a little further, if you want to ease into a key then you take the second chord of the new key, then the fifth (with 7) and then land on the new key.
Example, from C to D.
C, G, Am, F.
C, G, Em (ii in D), A7 (V7 in D)
D (New root note), A, Bm, G etc...

This should be a smooth one as the chords are similar in C and D (Em is the second in D and the third in C) but this way you can get away with more distant keys rather than a sudden jerky gear shift key change.
#4
Quote by Zeppelin Addict

EDIT: Switching to the relative (A minor) works but it isn't really a key change since your scale consists of the same notes, you're just resolving to a different tonic.


Thanks for the great advice. But what I meant by that is make the relative minor in to a major. So it's A not am, Now it goes:
C D E F G A B C
to
A B C# D E F# G# A
"For me it's important to be in balance. To not let fear get in the way of things, to not worry so much about protecting yourself all the time."

"Muskrats live in my wah wah pedal."

-John Frusciante-
#6
As said above, there's no rules. However using a V7 in a minor is a good way to go into the relative major, and so is a bII on occassion. For major to relative minor a III chord can help.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#7
If you want to change keys (or modulate) one possibility would be to look for the common chords of the two keys.

For example like you said you wanted to go from C major to A major. Well the chords in each key are as follows:

C major A major
G A B C D E F E F# G# A B #C D
E F G A B C D C#D# E F# G# A B
C D E F G A B A B C# D E F# G#

Edit: Ok the way it's laid out makes it difficult to read... the key of A major starts on A C# E

Now ask yourself are there any chords that are the same? Going to A major is not the best example of this... no chords in common. Ergo, from a traditional theory prespective going to A major would be impossible :P

Modulating sounds smoothest (subjective) when changing between keys with common chords.

But you are not obligated to use any kind of theory. Just do what sounds good to you. If you want to go to A maj by all means go ahead!

I hope this helps!
Last edited by E7#9 at Dec 30, 2011,
#8
The rule of thumb is that the closer the key is, the easier it is to change to it. But I don't mean closer chromatically - I mean closer via the circle of fifths.

eg, it's easiest to go from C to G or F. C to A is three steps around the circle (G to D to A) so it's rather farther, although not so far that you can't go there in one leap.

Often when traveling to distant keys you stop in an intermediate key for a bit. That's not too common in popular music because there often isn't a lot of time for it, although you do see some other common moves - eg, moving everything up a whole step, which is grating to some people.

Experiment with moves to closer keys while you figure out how this works - that's generally a bit easier to handle.
#9
The Shadows in their Apache made a one-and-a-half step change by moving their key with halfsteps (so in your example it could be C to B, B to Bb, Bb to A).
The best idea, however, would be to quickly change your key to A minor, and then suddenly make it major
#10
Quote by Zeppelin Addict
Switching to the relative (A minor) works but it isn't really a key change since your scale consists of the same notes, you're just resolving to a different tonic.


because key changes have nothing to do with resolving to different tonics.

C major to A minor is absolutely a key change.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#11
Quote by Cold Reader
Delving a little further, if you want to ease into a key then you take the second chord of the new key, then the fifth (with 7) and then land on the new key.
Example, from C to D.
C, G, Am, F.
C, G, Em (ii in D), A7 (V7 in D)
D (New root note), A, Bm, G etc...

This should be a smooth one as the chords are similar in C and D (Em is the second in D and the third in C) but this way you can get away with more distant keys rather than a sudden jerky gear shift key change.


Great post and nailed it!

Best,

Sean
#12
Quote by JFisJC
Thanks for the great advice. But what I meant by that is make the relative minor in to a major. So it's A not am, Now it goes:
C D E F G A B C
to
A B C# D E F# G# A

If you want to modulate to a key that has no common chords, then pivot chord modulation isn't going to be an option. You will have to utilize direct modulation.

You can do this by combining the dominant chord of the target key with good voice leading.

C - Dm - G - E/G# - A
-0-1-2---
-1-3-2-5-5
---2-0-4-6
-2-0-0-2-7
-3---2---0
-----3-4-