#1
I have a question about some specifics examples in a few songs, where my knowledge of music theory fails as an explanation as to why something sounds good. Here is a sorta of long winded question I have about a Paul Gilbert song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CP9iH0OfJRc

Alright, starts out simple enough. It's a cute little riff in E Major. I understand how the modes work, and I get that the first riff works out, because even as the apparent 'root' changes, all of the notes are still relative to one another in the same diatonic scale. But then at 0:14, he literally plays the exact same riff, only in G major instead of E major. I am scratching my head was to why this form of modulation works. G is not found anywhere in the E major scale. G major and E major are not relative scales at all, and in fact, G major and E minor are. Is there some kind of rule that states what number of semi-tones a pattern can shift, in order to sound mildly disjointed but still appropriate for a song? I know there are supposed to be a few tricks for modulating from whatever key/mode to whatever other key/mode you want, but I don't really know what they are, and I suspect they are much trickier than this.

Here, I have a few other examples with minor scales moving by major thirds:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogpJk4ijv3U

Here, at 1:29, there's a chromatic riff (which feels pretty close to minor, and it get's harmonized later on.) Then at 1:47 it switches to a similar riff, but the root is a major third higher. The only reason I could see this making sense is because all of the notes from both riffs almost fit into like a half-whole diminished scale or something. Other than that, it seems like a totally random choice of notes which happen to sounds cool, but I don't really know why.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64M-1kCLIY4

Classic example! Alright, pretty much the whole song is just the root, a minor first, minor third, and major third. Again, making good use of the half-whole scale lol. But again, at 2:40, an altered version of the chorus riff plays, and momentarily after that, it's repeated note for note, only four semitones higher.

I've fooled around with the latter two examples and found that playing any minor scale pattern, and shifting that pattern uniformly through an augmented cycle (for example, playing in E, G# and C in any order) is a good way to change up a song. But for the life of me it still doesn't seem apparent as to why it works so smoothly.

I'm sure there are a lot of examples where you can find other songs modulating by any number of semitones, but can it just be done spontaneously? Why is it that when I try to pick two arbitrary scales in two arbitrary keys, and jam/shred them back to back, it doesn't sound fluid at all, but in these youtube examples, some riffs are moved up/down by intervals which aren't in the starting scale at all, and it sounds good?
#2
Basically if you play anything you want with conviction, you can pull it off.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#3
It's just called modulating. You shouldn't think about scales. Think about the sound. Sometimes modulations work, sometimes they sound too forced. Modulating a third up or down is very common.

But why it doesn't work when you do it is because you don't use your ears. You just play random notes and hope something awesome to come out. It doesn't work that way. Modulate when it sounds good. Don't just play random scales. Maybe come up with a riff and then try modulating the same riff. Don't shred because shredding without background has no point. Modulating has a lot to do with harmony.

Many times in rock and metal music you have one riff that has a root note. And if you want to change the chord, you just change the riff root and play it for example in A when the original riff was in E. For example Guns N' Roses - Welcome to the Jungle.
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#4
People often ask why 1 out of key chord works..

..some off these people sometimes listen to death metal.

Funny

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#5
Quote by MaggaraMarine
It's just called modulating. You shouldn't think about scales. Think about the sound. Sometimes modulations work, sometimes they sound too forced. Modulating a third up or down is very common.

But why it doesn't work when you do it is because you don't use your ears. You just play random notes and hope something awesome to come out. It doesn't work that way. Modulate when it sounds good. Don't just play random scales. Maybe come up with a riff and then try modulating the same riff. Don't shred because shredding without background has no point. Modulating has a lot to do with harmony.

Many times in rock and metal music you have one riff that has a root note. And if you want to change the chord, you just change the riff root and play it for example in A when the original riff was in E. For example Guns N' Roses - Welcome to the Jungle.

This has been the only helpful reply on the internet so far haha.

Quote by xxdarrenxx
People often ask why 1 out of key chord works..

..some off these people sometimes listen to death metal.

Funny

Yeah, it's pretty ironic.
#6
the paul gilbert one: the reason why it works, it's just an E major chord moved up a minor third. it's actually common to do arpeggios in ascending and descending minor thirds, people do this a lot with diminished arpeggios, but you can do it with pretty much anything with cool results. i think it's because like with the diminished, if you keep going up or down in minor thirds you eventually cycle around and end up with what you started with. with a diminished though i believe they are all inversions of the same chord. with a major chord that is not the case however, the first inversion of E on the low strings you may find shares some notes with the G major scale and chord, most notably G majors, major 3rd. and if you looked at G major, it has the major third of A# major which would be next if you kept going up in minor thirds from E. and you keep going until you reach E again.
#7
patterns make a difference. in the first two you posted (didn't listen to the third), the way the riff moves around its center note is the same or similar after the modulation. this is an easy way to maintain coherence while still having some kind of movement, but if it's abused it just sounds lame.
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#8
You can modulate wherever you want, the only trick is to make it sound good. Moving the whole band up or down an interval is a pretty simple means of changing key without actually preparing it harmonically.

Usually modulations are prepared with a transitional chord or short progression. You'll hear that kind of modulation frequently in pop music when they're moving to/from the bridge. Steely Dan is a great example, or just turn on a pop radio station.

Listen to stuff like Rush or Umphrey's McGee and you'll hear these "all at once" modulations everywhere.
Last edited by cdgraves at Sep 21, 2013,