#1
Hi guys, I have a question regarding songwriting. Specifically, how to modulate if you're using music modes. I play in a rockband and we write pretty melancholic music. We have always had a quite intuitive way of songwriting, and it was only after learning some music theory on the internet, that we realized we were playing songs written around modes.

We have always used major and minor keys to write our songs, but we weren't really aware of the importance of the tonic, dominant and subdominant (we were young and naive ;-) ), so we ended up writing songs around music modes.

An example: we once used a G Major scale to write a song, but the song only contained the chords C, Em, D and C. So, as I understand it, that clearly makes it a song written around C Lydian, right? Correct me if I'm wrong.

Now, the problem is that we're trying to use modulation in our new songs. After two years or so we've gotten quite bored with writing songs that are only in one key, and we want to try something different. Enter modulation.

We've succeeded in writing some decent songs that contain multiple major keys (yes, major keys, not modes) using pivot chords, but we just like modes a lot better, because they seem to have cool vibes going on. However, all the songs in which we've tried to modulate between modes seem to fail. Could anybody help us out and give some information on how to modulate between modes?

Specifically in this song. It is written in two keys, but we're having difficulty connecting the different parts. The verse is in F Lydian (so the notes are identical to C Major), and the chorus is in C Mixolydian (identical to F Major).

Verse:
Am, F, Am, F,
G, F,
Am, F, Am, F

Chorus:
C, A#, Dm,
C, A#, Dm,
C, A#, Gm, Am, G (back to the verse)

Could somebody explain why the modulation to the chorus really doesn't sound that good? The verse has the typical dreamy sound of a Lydian mode, and the Mixolydian chorus really rocks, but we don't seem to be able to achieve a smooth transition. (The transition from the chorus to the verse however, does seem to work.)
#2
An example: we once used a G Major scale to write a song, but the song only contained the chords C, Em, D and C. So, as I understand it, that clearly makes it a song written around C Lydian, right? Correct me if I'm wrong.


you're wrong

your problem here is that you think that scales = keys and that you need to have a V-I to designate a key.

logic in music has its place when you understand that logic, but you're plugging in formulas randomly and expecting a pleasant outcome. use your ear. we're not gonna tell you every note in every chord and how the two (major) keys you're using are related - feed a man a fish, etc.

think in major and minor. think in accidentals. think in sounds and play with your instrument. your ears aren't going to be derailed by buzzwords and misunderstood definitions.

odds are, though, that you won't be able to piece together those two parts cohesively because they simply weren't written with cohesiveness in mind in the first place. live and learn
Quote by Kevätuhri
Hail isn't too edgy for posts, posts are not edgy enough for Hail.


Quote by UseYourThumb
You win. I'm done here.
#3
Quote by Hail
you're wrong

your problem here is that you think that scales = keys and that you need to have a V-I to designate a key.

odds are, though, that you won't be able to piece together those two parts cohesively because they simply weren't written with cohesiveness in mind in the first place. live and learn


I know that scales aren't keys. And that you don't need a V-I. I know that major and minor scales are about movement and modes are more static. And if I am mixing formulas, I'm sorry. Please enlighten me then, and tell me what I am doing wrong. I find it funny how people are often really good at telling other people they're wrong, but refuse to explain WHAT they're doing wrong.

If I knew what I was doing wrong I wouldn't have made the post.

And I tried to write the parts with cohesiveness in mind, but yes, they're not working. So I am here to ask why they're not working. I try to apply what I know of music theory. But I can only learn more by trying, AND by having other people help me out from time to time.

Am and F appear in both modes, so I thought they would make good pivot chords.
#4
I recently transcribed the song Road Rage by Catatonia. Very interesting how it travels through 3 different keys from verse to verse.
#5
btw it's Bb not A#
Quote by Kevätuhri
Hail isn't too edgy for posts, posts are not edgy enough for Hail.


Quote by UseYourThumb
You win. I'm done here.
#6
Quote by GuestRoomFan
Hi guys, I have a question regarding songwriting. Specifically, how to modulate if you're using music modes. I play in a rockband and we write pretty melancholic music. We have always had a quite intuitive way of songwriting, and it was only after learning some music theory on the internet, that we realized we were playing songs written around modes.

We have always used major and minor keys to write our songs, but we weren't really aware of the importance of the tonic, dominant and subdominant (we were young and naive ;-) ), so we ended up writing songs around music modes.

An example: we once used a G Major scale to write a song, but the song only contained the chords C, Em, D and C. So, as I understand it, that clearly makes it a song written around C Lydian, right? Correct me if I'm wrong.

Now, the problem is that we're trying to use modulation in our new songs. After two years or so we've gotten quite bored with writing songs that are only in one key, and we want to try something different. Enter modulation.

We've succeeded in writing some decent songs that contain multiple major keys (yes, major keys, not modes) using pivot chords, but we just like modes a lot better, because they seem to have cool vibes going on. However, all the songs in which we've tried to modulate between modes seem to fail. Could anybody help us out and give some information on how to modulate between modes?

Specifically in this song. It is written in two keys, but we're having difficulty connecting the different parts. The verse is in F Lydian (so the notes are identical to C Major), and the chorus is in C Mixolydian (identical to F Major).

Verse:
Am, F, Am, F,
G, F,
Am, F, Am, F

Chorus:
C, A#, Dm,
C, A#, Dm,
C, A#, Gm, Am, G (back to the verse)

Could somebody explain why the modulation to the chorus really doesn't sound that good? The verse has the typical dreamy sound of a Lydian mode, and the Mixolydian chorus really rocks, but we don't seem to be able to achieve a smooth transition. (The transition from the chorus to the verse however, does seem to work.)

Your verse is in A minor, not "F lydian". It doesn't resolve to F, it resolves to Am. Your chorus is in C major, using the b7 accidental. It resolves to C major. And please use Bb instead of A#. So why is the verse in Am? Because it RESOLVES to Am chord. And why is the chorus in C major? Because it RESOLVES to C major chord. So if it resolves to a major chord, you are in a major key and if it resolves to a minor chord, you are in a minor key. So simple. You can always use accidentals and it doesn't change your key. Sometimes accidentals work better than diatonic notes.

But about the modulation... Some parts just fit better together. Going from Am to C major usually works pretty well. But sometimes the parts just don't fit together. They might be too different. Modulations in pop music are usually done just by jumping straight to the new key and usually that's how they work the best - it doesn't sound forced (though you can make it sound forced really easily). You could also try ending the verse in a different chord. Use some other chord instead of F major. But as I said, the parts may just be too different and played together they just don't have the flow. You may need to write another part or change your verse or chorus so that it flows better. You could also use a long chord between the two parts or connect them with a drum fill or something. That's really usual.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#7
You can 'modulate' between modes, but I would focus on being able to identify simple keys first, TS.
#8
I'm not sure why you're separating major keys and modes like you can't have both. You can play in a major key and go through multiple modes. If you know the circle of fifths, modulation should be easier. Don't look at the modes. You're modulating to a different key, and that uses different chords. Look at the chords before you worry about modes for whatever.

Your verse is in A minor. You could go to C minor (the parallel minor of A minor's relative major) and that would give you Bb. You could go to E Major but you'd have to change you're chords a little. The circle of fifths would have your options laid out.
Quote by Fat Lard
Why would you spend tens of thousands of dollars to learn about a language you already speak? It was over before it even started dude

Quote by captainsnazz
brot pls
#9
I'd say verse is in Am, chorus in Dm. That's modulation. But there are no modes.

As stated above TS get a grip on keys before modes.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#10
Quote by AlanHB
I'd say verse is in Am, chorus in Dm. That's modulation. But there are no modes.

As stated above TS get a grip on keys before modes.

Yeah, I could hear the chorus resolving to D minor or C major. But it doesn't matter. You want to modulate smoothly and make the song flow. Try different chords, drum fill, sustained chord or maybe another part (pre chorus) before chorus.

To make the parts sound more "connected" they should have something in common (not too much of course because then they wouldn't be two separate parts and the song would sound boring) like rhythm. So for example try similar rhythms for both parts.

I don't think the problem here is modulating, the problem is connecting these two parts (of course modulation can make it a bit harder).

Though you could also transpose the chorus part. Some modulations work better or you could also make them be in the same key. Though sometimes staying in just one key doesn't work. Try different things, try different keys for the chorus.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115