#1
Hey guys.

In a song I've written, I've used the key of E Major in the verses and D minor in the chorus. I use an A Major to modulate which turns the D Minor into a D Harmonic minor (I believe). I have been told by various musician friends and teachers that this is quite an illogical modulation. Is there any reason to why they would think this? To my ear I think it sounds just fine and I like it (:

One trouble I'm having though is hitting the first note of the chorus melody. It starts on an A on the second fret of the G string (A3?). As I'm failing to hit this one note, it's throwing me off the melody completely. I can hit the note perfectly when I play the note without modulating from E Major. The last note of the verse melody is an A# (A#3?), a semi-tone up from the first note of the chorus melody. Do any of you have any tips or advice to help me hit the first note of the chorus melody and the following notes?

Thanks heaps. (:

TheAscendant
#2
The modulation is fine. Im not sure why you're having an issue playing a note if it is already being played as part of the A chord.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#4
Quote by TheAscendant
Hey guys.

In a song I've written, I've used the key of E Major in the verses and D minor in the chorus. I use an A Major to modulate which turns the D Minor into a D Harmonic minor (I believe). I have been told by various musician friends and teachers that this is quite an illogical modulation. Is there any reason to why they would think this? To my ear I think it sounds just fine and I like it (:


These "friends and teachers" don't really know squat. This is about as straightforward and easy as modulations get, and you're doing it just fine.

Only quibble: don't worry about D harmonic minor. You're transposing into D minor. Yes, the D harmonic minor is an artifact of that A major chord used in this context, but don't worry about it. Very few people every really truly think in terms of harmonic minor except as an analytical tool to explain this change. You're in D minor. You're fine.
#5
i personally don't like the sound but hey, whatever works. You're just using a predominant in E as a dominant in D minor so I don't see why it would be so weird a modulation Maybe Im missing something. Someone care to fill me up (in)?
#6
Maybe they are coming from the angle that in traditional western harmony, you don't normally see a modulation from the tonic to the ii.
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#7
Quote by TheAscendant
I have been told by various musician friends and teachers that this is quite an illogical modulation. Is there any reason to why they would think this?

yeah, and here it is: they're idiots

if it sounds the way you want it to, it's fine - not to mention that it's not an "illogical modulation" in any way
#8
If you're having trouble getting it to sound the way you want, it might help to add an Em before the A. That will make it a form of a ii V I, which is the most common turnaround used in jazz changes.

In a minor key, the ii is actually a half-diminished chord though, so you could try that, but it might be a little too abrupt when coming from the key of E major. One thing that might help is making the V into a 7b9 chord (A7b9).
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#9
Quote by food1010
If you're having trouble getting it to sound the way you want, it might help to add an Em before the A. That will make it a form of a ii V I, which is the most common turnaround used in jazz changes.


Of course, you could just think of the E major as being a secondary dominant. II V i may not be as common as II V I, but even still. It just makes the "friends and teachers" claim that this is wrong more bizare. I mean, if he was transposing to Dm via A and wanted to make the transition stronger, probably everybody's first reaction is, "Well, you could get there via the two" and suggest he stick some sort of E chord at the head of the progression.
#10
Quote by TheAscendant
Hey guys.

In a song I've written, I've used the key of E Major in the verses and D minor in the chorus. I use an A Major to modulate which turns the D Minor into a D Harmonic minor (I believe). I have been told by various musician friends and teachers that this is quite an illogical modulation. Is there any reason to why they would think this? To my ear I think it sounds just fine and I like it (:

One trouble I'm having though is hitting the first note of the chorus melody. It starts on an A on the second fret of the G string (A3?). As I'm failing to hit this one note, it's throwing me off the melody completely. I can hit the note perfectly when I play the note without modulating from E Major. The last note of the verse melody is an A# (A#3?), a semi-tone up from the first note of the chorus melody. Do any of you have any tips or advice to help me hit the first note of the chorus melody and the following notes?

Thanks heaps. (:

TheAscendant

Your chorus melody note is A. This the perfect 5th of the new tonic. Not really very strong at all.

I don't want to tell you what note you should put in a melody, but to create a stronger hint of the new key, try introducing a C#. This acts as two things;

1) leading tone of the new key
2) major 3rd of the dominant chord of the new key. 3rds are very strong chord tones.
#11
You cannot execute a smooth and musically convincing modulation by perceiving harmony through a scale perspective. It's simply impossible.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#12
Thanks for the reassurement guys. My music teacher will just have to ****in' accept it the way it is. ((:
#13
For my nightly attempt at causing controversy, I actually don't see an issue going to Dm directly from E major.

Considering Dm /Dm7/ Fmaj7/ fF major would all be subs of a very common minor 2nd chord change, E > F anyway.

You often see it done in the reverse as Dm > Am > F > E, which is aminor progression.

Your idea of the change could also include Asus4, as that would resolve 2 notes of the A major chord to the D minor. E > A > Asus4> Dm...
#14
Quote by Xiaoxi
You cannot execute a smooth and musically convincing modulation by perceiving harmony through a scale perspective. It's simply impossible.

A rather sweeping global statement about you think can't be done without offering any useful alternatives or practical advice.

@TS
If multiple people including your teacher have told you that the modulation is not working then reassurance on the internet from people that haven't heard your modulation does not mean all that much.

all we know is that you're using "A" as a pivot chord. In theory that should work but there maybe something in the wider picture that is going wrong.

If you're having trouble landing on your melody note after the modulation then it suggests your teacher may be right.

Any chance you can post what you've got - a recording preferably or if you can write music you could post what you're doing and you can get some much more constructive and specific feedback.
Si
#15
A as a pivot works fine. There tons of other options if your teacher doesn't like it, but first i would ask him WHY he doesn't like it.

You could use some kind of augmented 6th to modulate.

Bb D E G#, which could be considered as a French 6th in the new tonic of D minor or enharmonically E7b5 in E major. You can use this to lead to your A7 as the dominant of Dm. But i think it could lead directly into Dm as well.

Anybody a guitar who can try this out I'm at work,
Last edited by deHufter at Mar 25, 2013,
#16
Quote by 20Tigers
all we know is that you're using "A" as a pivot chord. In theory that should work but there maybe something in the wider picture that is going wrong.

If you're having trouble landing on your melody note after the modulation then it suggests your teacher may be right.


If the song is in E, then A would "destabilize" the progression leading up to Dm. Perhaps along the lines of I >IV >

My vote goes for dispensing with the A altogether, and simply go E > Dm. Granted the change has an Andalusion feel to it, and might not be appropriate to the style of the song.

Disclaimer: I have been drinking rum during the evening. So, your results may vary.
#17
I have written the piece on Guitar Pro 6. I could link it to this but I don't know how to do that. How do I?
#18
Quote by TheAscendant
I have written the piece on Guitar Pro 6. I could link it to this but I don't know how to do that. How do I?

"Go Advanced" (it's next to the "Post Quick Reply" button) -> scroll down a bit -> "Manage Attachments".

But can you save it as GP5 or something because I for example can't read GP6 files because I have TuxGuitar? It can open GP5 files though. Or then just post a midi file and I'm sure GP6 can export midi files.
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Mar 25, 2013,
#19
Quote by HotspurJr
Of course, you could just think of the E major as being a secondary dominant. II V i may not be as common as II V I, but even still. It just makes the "friends and teachers" claim that this is wrong more bizare. I mean, if he was transposing to Dm via A and wanted to make the transition stronger, probably everybody's first reaction is, "Well, you could get there via the two" and suggest he stick some sort of E chord at the head of the progression.
Well, sure. I mean E major and E minor function pretty similarly in D minor, considering they're both rooted on E.

The reason I mentioned the E minor is because it helps to move you away from the key of E major sooner and arguably more smoothly.
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#20
Quote by food1010
Well, sure. I mean E major and E minor function pretty similarly in D minor, considering they're both rooted on E.

The reason I mentioned the E minor is because it helps to move you away from the key of E major sooner and arguably more smoothly.
Well, you don't need to go through Em to get to Dm. You can go directly to Dm from E major.

I don't hear any real conflict or dissonance going directly to Dm from E. Call it a Phrygian 2nd.

As to whether it would suit this particular "exercise", remains to be heard.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Mar 25, 2013,
#22
I think the modulation didn't sound bad at all. Though before the outro there was something strange. The outro was cool though. Is it going to repeat that part and fade out?
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#23
Quote by Captaincranky
Well, you don't need to go through Em to get to Dm. You can go directly to Dm from E major.

I don't hear any real conflict or dissonance going directly to Dm from E. Call it a Phrygian 2nd.

As to whether it would suit this particular "exercise", remains to be heard.
You don't need to do anything. I was just offering an alternative.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
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#24
Quote by food1010
You don't need to do anything. I was just offering an alternative.
This entire thread is about how to get to Dm from E major.
Everybody has had some input, flat this, augmented that, pivot the other thing.

I'm just pointing out the obvious, E major to D minor, is a good sounding change in its own right.

I say most of you are over thinking the issue. I'm sure now I'll get accused of "under thinking it". But, that's what forensic discussion is all about, isn't it? Si? Nyet?
#25
Thank you for posting the song. It provides a much clearer (or not) picture of what is going on.

On my first listen the modulation sounded wrong. There is something not right about it but I couldn't quite put my finger on it.

I've been working through it and there is a fair bet that I've been picking apart. I don't like the transition back to the verse (two bars of a tied whole note). But you kind of built yourself a gap there that needed filling since the verse is two bars short.

By the way it's in D major for the verse and Cm for the chorus.

If I were going to be really hard on this I would make a whole lot of suggestions. But I'll focus on the key change.

Here is your chord progression...i'm not sure which parts are which, At first I thought the first two bars that repeat were an intro. but later they appear in the second verse so I think they may actually be part of the verse.

 
|D       |A   G   |D       |A   G   |
|Bm      |F#m G   |D       |A   G   |
|D       |A   G   |D       |A   G   |
|Bm      |F#m G   |D       |A   G   |
|D       |A   G   |D       |A   G   |
|Bm      |F#m G   |                    <--two bars missing?
                  |Cm      |Ab  Gm  |  <--first two bars of chorus or end of verse? 
|Cm      |Fm  G   |Cm      |Ab  Gm  |
|Fm      |G   Bb  |Cm      |Ab  Gm  |
|Cm      |Fm  G   |Cm      |Ab  Gm  |
|Fm      |G  Bb   |G       |(G)     | (back to start) 



See how there is an 8 bar pattern in the chorus that repeats to create a chorus 16 bars long and then you have two bars of a G kind of just tacked on...resulting in an 18 bar chorus.

And in the verse you have an 8 bar pattern that repeats three times minus the last two bars resulting in a 22 bar verse.

One option would be to put two bars into the verse at the end there and think about how to use those two bars to transition into the Cm for the chorus. Perhaps something like
|D |A G G7|

and when going from the chorus back to the verse you will have as your last two bars of the chorus |Fm |G Bb | You could try |Fm |G A A7| (or |Fm |G Bb A |

Go ahead and try these changes - if you save your original you can always scrap the changes and go back to the original. It might mean you have to make some other alterations here and there, but give it a go and see how it sounds. - I haven't tried it out myself but don't have time at the moment.

Also have another look at the melody. It feels broken around bars 7 and 9 (as numbered in GP5 file). it doesn't flow and feels wrong against the natural rhythm of the piece. - it might just be the conversion to GP5 I don't know but the timing just doesn't feel right at all there. I'm surprised to be honest your guitar teacher picked on the pivot chord for the modulation which is ok when the melody in those bars is quite jarring.

Good effort though. It takes a good amount of focus and effort to work through and complete a song. i have seen so many posts (and been victim myself) to the "just can't seem to finish this song" monster. So well done simply on the accomplishment of writing a song. Now revise it and see if you can make it better.


Peace.
Si
#26
Wow.. I did not expect such an analytical response. Thankyou muchly man. I'll do a bit of analysing in my spare time of it. In the melody line, I use a double-dotted note for the melody to work out properly (I was not consciously thinking about using a double-dot when writing it, it's just the way it has to be written for it to sound decent). I'm pretty sure GP5 can't read double dots.

I have transposed it down a tone in the GP version as i think it sounds nicer, but when i play it on guitar, I play it in E standard. The Bm, F#m and G act as a transition into the chorus. I believe this is what my teacher was picking holes in.

Could you explain a little bit more how the melody is quite jarring in those bars? Is it to do with the rhythm or something else? because the rhythm has been affected by the exportation to GP5.

But thanks man. I was not expecting a response like that. (: Rock On.
#27
Yes it is the melodic rhythm in those bars that is hard to listen to. I'll believe it is a GP5 conversion issue because the timing is so off.
I would have voiced a few of the chords differently to create smoother voice leading between them.

You say the Bm F#m G is a transition into the chorus. You can tell your teacher thatit's not the G. G is a Perfect fifth above C. There is no better chord to transition into C.

The problem is with the F#m that precedes it. You couldn't find a note further away from the key of C to build a chord on than F#. It works fine in the key of D but not as part of a transition into C. (in my opinion)

It took me a while to work this out I couldn't quite put my finger on it at first but maybe you're making the G work too hard in two quarter notes to tonicize the C which just makes the whole thing sound a little off.

But other's feel it sounds fine so

ps I made a mistake when typing up one of my suggestions in the last post. I have fixed it now.
Si