Hey all, I'm trying write a song that modulates between keys. The song starts in the key of E major, then goes to the key of G major. It sounds jumpy when that happens, but in a way that I think sounds good. However, I want the song to resolve in E major, but I don't know how to modulate back to that key without it sounding jumpy again. Does anyone have any sort of tips as to how to do this? Should I change to a 3rd key signature to help modulate smoothly back to this? Are there any sort of pivot chords I could use to do this? I'm not the best at theory, so if anyone knows how to do this, please explain it in the simplest way possible :P thanks!
B seems to be a note in both keys. Try playing a B7 chord/arpeggio somewhere in the G progression, which will call a strong resolution to E afterwards because of the D# note it includes. Which also acts as a borrowed chord from G minor i guess. Not something i do but if i did i'd try this way i guess.
The obvious way to move from E to G is via a D major or D7 chord. As the bVII, D should sound fine in an E major context. And D-G is just a V-I. You could set it up with an A major if you like. A is the IV of E but also the V of V in G, so A-D-G gives you a II-V-I in G, which is likely to sound good. The A can also be an A7 here if you like.

Getting back, the easiest way is probably using a B7 chord. Take a place where a Bm would normally appear in the key of G, and either replace it with or follow it with a B7, then go to E major. It's the exact same principle: you're using the sound of a V-I to set your new key center.

There are lots of other ways, but this is probably the most straightforward and versatile.
As Hotspur pointed out, the most common way is to approach via the V chord of G. You can even do a ii-V-I for a more solid modulation. Also, try using diminished 7 chords to modulate, they're vague tonally, so can be great as pivot chords!
Other options include slash chords. You can introduce chords from the destination key (E) over a static bass note from the current key (G).

G - A/G - F#m7 - E

The A is the IV in E.
It would be easier if we heard the song. Sometimes chords people are suggesting don't fit the song and it still sounds "jumpy". Many songs jump straight to the new key and it doesn't sound really "jumpy" (and going from E to G is pretty common). It also has to do with rhythm.

Sometimes two ideas just don't fit together that well. It might not even be because of the key change. They just don't have the flow. Usually I don't try to fit two separate ideas together, I try to come up with something new. Of course sometimes two separate ideas fit together really well. But I can't tell if I don't hear the song.

You could also try to play it in different key. Does the modulation have to be from E to G? You could try to go from G to A or something. Even though the original idea is in G, you can always change it.
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Mar 21, 2013,
What's the rhythm? form?

"Five of" modulations are also obnoxiously obvious in a lot of situations. There are a lot of cool non-dominant resolutions that rely on tight voice leading rather than root movement alone. Fm7 would voice lead gently back to an open E major (F -> E; C->B; Eb->E; Ab becomes G#).

Then, getting from G to E is simple: G - C7 - Fm - E. Displace the V-I so you're tonicizing an unconventional dominant, and the sound is an unexpected but smooth resolution to E.

But rhythm and form matter quite a bit in whether that would actually work.
Last edited by cdgraves at Mar 21, 2013,