#1
2 days ago i made a melody out of scratch, very simple melody but i liked the vibe. Then i went to a party on saturday, play it with some friends and they also liked it. We were a lot of musicians there, so we started analyzing the progression. It's a very very simple one, but it sounded very nice and we noticed that there's a key change from Am to A on the bridge. (I did this on porpuse when i was composing it)

So what i wanted to ask, is this a normal "trick"?

The "song" (I recorded it very fast yesterday, almost not mix nor production)

https://soundcloud.com/hendrixspirit/cuando-vi-tu-ipad


Intro
Am-Bm(dim)-C / Am-Bm(dim)-E
Verse
Am-Bm(dim)-C-E / Am-Bm(dim)-C
Chorus
Dm-E-Am-A
Dm-E-Am
x2

Chorus before bridge
Dm-E-Am-A
Dm-E-A

Bridge (change key to A Mayor)
A-Amaj7?-D-E
A-C#7-Bm-E
Outro (change key back to Am)
Am-Bm(dim)-C-E
Am-Bm(dim)-C (I don't resolve it on purpose xD)

So that in melodic notation is
Intro (Aminor key)
i-ii(dim)-III/ i-ii(dim)-V

Verse
i-ii-III-V/ i-ii-III

Chorus
iv-V-i-I
iv-V-i

Chorus before Bridge
iv-V-i-I
iv-V-I

On bridge, i use the Amayor (I) note of chorus to change key from Aminor to Amayor (The trick i'm talking about) and it goes.
A mayor key.
I-Imaj7-IV-V
I-iii-ii-V
Here i use the V (Emayor), that is in both minor and mayor to go back to the initial progression. Pretty nice sound and an easy melody.

Why i'm here is not to "brag" is to know how common this trick is, i play guitar for 15+ years but i'm pretty iliterate on theory (I know the basics, scales, modes, etc, but i don't tend to analyze my songs or from others)
Since 2002 using UG. This page teached me how to play guitar and help'd me to embrace the passion of my life: Music.
Last edited by tiky at Jul 4, 2016,
#2
There's I and then there's secondary dominants.

A-Dm is V/iv-iv.
Bdim-C is viio/III-III.

I'd suggest a study on predominant function chords, including applied chords (secondary dominants).

Edit: I just listened. Your Bdim is actually G/B, x2003x. And it functions as V/III. Bdim would be the notes B-D-F. You have B-D-G.
Last edited by NeoMvsEu at Jul 4, 2016,
#3
From the sound of it, I can think of a few Beach Boys/Love/Beatles tracks that employ a similar sort of thing.
#4
Can't listen right now, but if it sounds natural to you and doesn't feel forced, just run with it.
Yeah, uh-huh...that's what they all say.
#5
Can be kind of a clunky sound if it's repeated too much. I think Hall and Oates "Maneater" switches from minor to major to get back into the verse. Tom Petty's "Mary Jane's Last Dance" is in Am, but has an Amajor in the chorus. In that one, though, the chorus is a key change to Em, not just inserting a chord for functionality.

If it sounds funny to your ear, it's probably going to sound funny to other people's ears. What's the purpose of the Am to A change? That change has a distinct sound when it's used plainly, so if that sound is not what you're going for, maybe look at different ways of accomplishing the same thing. Consider the whole purpose in using the major chord there: strength of resolution. And why is V-i such a strong resolution? Voice leading. If you just want to use some tight voice leading to get back to Dm, you have like a million options. EbMaj7, C#dim, Edim...

As for doing the whole bridge in the parallel major, I think I question the purpose of changing quality but not key. From a tonal/functional perspective, it kind of defeats the purpose to make that change all by itself, because A major has no tension or resolution tendency relative to Am. The purpose of that change is typically to move keys, and cleverly wind your way back to the V of the original key. When you "modulate" to the parallel major, you lose that longer form of tension because you're basically setting up the exact same resolutions in the bridge as the rest of the song. Traditionally, modulation is part and parcel with the "B section".
Last edited by cdgraves at Jul 4, 2016,
#6
Thanks to you all, I definetely have to improve a lot my musician talk to come here, because i haven't understand a thing of what NeoMvsEu and cdgraves are answering me!!

Going to check the songs and try to see the changes.

I just wanted to make a little change, of mood to sad to a bit happy. I had a circle of fifths around and i saw that i could do it and it worked. But as i said i'm pretty iliterate on theory.

But for the last answer i see that i almost didn't change key at all. I will look in further and ask more questions after looking to the songs that you have said.
Since 2002 using UG. This page teached me how to play guitar and help'd me to embrace the passion of my life: Music.
#7
@cdg

Parallel keys




Sonata form is based on the fact that recapitulations stay in one key as opposed to the transition in the exposition. The transition in the recap is to either the same key or the parallel key (which OP does).

@OP: chord functions are great to learn in the realm of tonal music. They're well worth the effort to learn.
#8
Quote by NeoMvsEu
There's I and then there's secondary dominants.

A-Dm is V/iv-iv.
Bdim-C is viio/III-III.

I'd suggest a study on predominant function chords, including applied chords (secondary dominants).

Edit: I just listened. Your Bdim is actually G/B, x2003x. And it functions as V/III. Bdim would be the notes B-D-F. You have B-D-G.


Indeed in the guitar i play G/B, but i do play the B-D-F in the piano to try to "fix" that and it gives a nice feeling.. When i was composing doing the Bdim was to unpleasant to do the "hammeron-pullof "thing" feeling that is around the whole song.

That's the reason i put Bm (dim) between parenthesis! Never thought someone will check it so much :P

But i don't understand how being a G/B would work as a V or a III? I 'feel' like going G/B is like walking a stair up So that's why i thought it was a straight progression. i-ii-III

I googled predominant function chords and it seems i don't know nothing, and going to have to get some time between work to study the basics. I've noticed that i really don't know nothing on theory :-/

Thank for your help, and what i've gathered it's not an obvious "trick". It's not like i'm playing canon rock nor I-iv-IV-V (50's progression). This is because I did the other day a song on that one (I-vi-IV-V) and it sounded so familar that i looked it up and there was even a wikipedia page for it haha. (I still like the song altough https://soundcloud.com/hendrixspirit/ya-no-quedan-pastillas-mezcla-1)

I think i got what Cdgraves was telling, that my change of key it's not really 'it' because i can't resolve back to Am, and i'm forcing all that just to go to an upper mood, with a beatlesque trick but doin' it wrong.
Since 2002 using UG. This page teached me how to play guitar and help'd me to embrace the passion of my life: Music.
Last edited by tiky at Jul 4, 2016,
#9
G/B on guitar with B-D-F on piano combines to the notes G-B-D-F, which is a G7 chord (with B bass), not a Bdim. (Actual chord name depends on the instruments together.) It leads into the C chord.

G7-C is V7-I in C.
C is III in A minor.

--> there is a temporary moment where you make a stop in C major. G7 is literally acting as the dominant of C.
Am G7/B C E = i V7/III III V

THIS is what is called a secondary dominant. It's not the V of the overall song area, but in the little context, it is the V of what should be (and in this case, is) the next chord.

Same with A-Dm. Without context, it's V-i in D minor. D minor in A minor is iv. --> V/iv-iv.

(This is also partly why "L'amour est bleu" came to mind. It's full of secondary dominants.)

Secondary dominants are actually second year theory concepts in university, so one step at a time is good. Questions are always welcome here, anyways.
What do you know about dominant function chords? (i.e. what two Roman numerals can work as a dominant function?)

That you have some handle on Roman numerals is definitely an indicator that you DO know something, even if it takes a while to put a name to it.
(vi, IV, iv are some common predominant chords; IV is actually called the subdominant chord (lit. under dominant).)

FYI, bridge chords: A C#m7 D

Btw, about "forcing it", I think your idea was fine, but maybe the presentation could be better. Listen to 1:07-1:56 of the Chopin (3rd video). How does the music in the C section change the second time it's played (1:35-1:54) vs. the first time (1:14-1:34)?
Last edited by NeoMvsEu at Jul 4, 2016,
#10
Quote by NeoMvsEu
G/B on guitar with B-D-F on piano combines to the notes G-B-D-F, which is a G7 chord (with B bass), not a Bdim. (Actual chord name depends on the instruments together.) It leads into the C chord,

G7-C is V7-I in C.
C is III in A minor.

--> there is a temporary moment where you make a stop in C major. G7 is literally acting as the dominant of C.
Am G7/B C E = i V7/III III V

THIS is what is called a secondary dominant. It's not the V of the overall song area, but in the little context, it is the V of what should be (and in this case, is) the next chord.

Same with A-Dm. Without context, it's V-i in D minor. D minor in A minor is iv. --> V/iv-iv.

(This is also partly why "L'amour est bleu" came to mind. It's full of secondary dominants.)

Secondary dominants are actually second year theory concepts in university, so one step at a time is good. Questions are always welcome here, anyways.
What do you know about dominant function chords? (i.e. what two Roman numerals can work as a dominant function?)

That you have some handle on Roman numerals is definitely an indicator that you DO know something, even if it takes a while to put a name to it.
(vi, IV, iv are some common predominant chords; IV is actually called the subdominant chord (lit. under dominant).)

FYI, bridge chords: A C#m7 D

Btw, about "forcing it", I think your idea was fine, but maybe the presentation could be better. Listen to 1:07-1:56 of the Chopin (3rd video). How does the music in the C section change the second time it's played (1:35-1:54) vs. the first time (1:14-1:34)?



Thanks, i got now(after reading your post like 20 times hah) what you meant with G7-C. You are a very good teacher! it's like inside the song there's another "small song" where i do G7-C that is V-I, and even the principal key is Am, i'm playing in key of C that part (which is the same notes as Am, so no big deal here and it works). The "stair" i feel is putting the V, so i tension the melody and then i resolve to a C (in this case I).

I like the notation to! It's lovely that V7/III - III refers to the fifth7 (dominant?) chord of the key of C, that is the III of the leading key (Am). Now, transposing all of that to other keys would take me a while on another key without pen and paper (last time i did that was like 12 years ago, when i had 5 class of music theory).

It's harder to understand in the case of Dm-A.
You are saying:
Same with A-Dm. Without context, it's V-i in D minor. D minor in A minor is iv. --> V/iv-iv.


The chorus goes
Dm-E-Am-A.
Dm-E-Am?

How would the notation go then?
It would be like this right?
iv-V-i-V/iv
iv-V-i

What you are saying is when i use the A, is to tense the song to resolve back to Dm?? I can understand that, but it doesn't feel like that to my ears. I do feel like Dm gets very 'important in the chorus', that it still resolves to Am and that the A chord is just a passing chord with not too much importance. I only feel it as an important chord when i do the key change in the bridge.

I must admit i'm having a lot of fun trying to undertand this!

What do i know about dominant chords? I know that there are scales, that most western music that is what i normally compose is on minor or mayor.. That there's a way to present those chords in roman numbers, i learnt that to be able to transpose songs. Also i know that the V-I chord prog is great to resolve songs (whatever that means... ) I do understand that there's always a chord that resolves all the things (like to end that song) and that is normally the key that's the song is on it. And there's a chord that is great to play before resolving, and normally that's the V or the IV.

Sometimes when i'm blocked to finish a song i grab a circle of fifth that i have printed or use the interactive one on the internet to see other possibilities, hence i do see music a bit on roman numbers, but only if I put my thoughts on it.

The other day i was playing a ii-V-Imaj7 prog on reggae-bossa nova style, looped it, and started soloing a melody on dorian mode (without knowing i was playing on dorian) and almost passed out on how different (and awesome) it sounded from my clasical pentatonic leaks. I had to google the shit up to see what the hell was happening there. I also have another song that I had never understand why the mood changes so much even tough i keep playing the same chords on my guitar. Probably because i change key or mode in some place, i have always tried to do it again on other songs but i can't do it :/

I'm pretty profilical this days and i'm having some hard interest on understanding more theory, because i think it could really improve my compositions even though i have a developed ear and probably i'm doing some 'weird' stuff without knowing, like in this case.

I had good times reading someone on the net analyzing sometimes of the beatles
Since 2002 using UG. This page teached me how to play guitar and help'd me to embrace the passion of my life: Music.
Last edited by tiky at Jul 5, 2016,
#11
Quote by tiky

The chorus goes
Dm-E-Am-A.
Dm-E-Am?

How would the notation go then?
It would be like this right?
iv-V-i-V/iv
iv-V-i
Yes.
Quote by tiky

What you are saying is when i use the A, is to tense the song to resolve back to Dm?? I can understand that, but it doesn't feel like that to my ears. I do feel like Dm gets very 'important in the chorus', that it still resolves to Am and that the A chord is just a passing chord with not too much importance.
Right. But that's the effect a secondary dominant has - it just pushes the sequence a little more firmly on to the following chord, puts a little momentum into the change. You're right that at that point the key is still A minor. The A major just gives a little kick (as it were) up to the Dm.
Quote by tiky

What do i know about dominant chords? I know that there are scales, that most western music that is what i normally compose is on minor or mayor.. That there's a way to present those chords in roman numbers, i learnt that to be able to transpose songs. Also i know that the V-I chord prog is great to resolve songs (whatever that means... ) I do understand that there's always a chord that resolves all the things (like to end that song) and that is normally the key that's the song is on it. And there's a chord that is great to play before resolving, and normally that's the V or the IV.
You've got the right idea
Quote by tiky

Sometimes when i'm blocked to finish a song i grab a circle of fifth that i have printed or use the interactive one on the internet to see other possibilities, hence i do see music a bit on roman numbers, but only if I put my thoughts on it.
Yes, you only need to put your thought into it (ie theoretical knowledge) when your ear can't decide. It's like you're on a journey, and the theory is the map - pull it out of your pocket if you can't decide which way to go.
Quote by tiky

The other day i was playing a ii-V-Imaj7 prog on reggae-bossa nova style, looped it, and started soloing a melody on dorian mode (without knowing i was playing on dorian) and almost passed out on how different (and awesome) it sounded from my clasical pentatonic leaks. I had to google the shit up to see what the hell was happening there. I also have another song that I had never understand why the mood changes so much even tough i keep playing the same chords on my guitar. Probably because i change key or mode in some place, i have always tried to do it again on other songs but i can't do it :/
The important thing here is to use the terminology correctly (so it describes the sounds clearly and properly). So if you're improvising on a ii-V-Imaj7, which dorian mode do you mean?
If you mean the dorian mode of the ii, that's just the major scale of the key, so you're fully diatonic - and because the key centre is the Imaj7, it isn't really "dorian mode" at all. It's just "major key". It may be that thinking "dorian mode" is encouraging you to emphasise different notes (getting you out of your habits), but those effects are not modal. It's all about chord tones and chord extensions, relative to chord roots and keynote.
But if you mean the dorian mode of the I, that's introducing two chromatic notes (b3 and b7) which will give a kind of bluesy sound on a major key sequence - along with potential clashes with some chord tones.
Quote by tiky

I'm pretty profilical this days and i'm having some hard interest on understanding more theory, because i think it could really improve my compositions even though i have a developed ear and probably i'm doing some 'weird' stuff without knowing, like in this case.
Your ear is working well in the case of this song. (I'm not quite sure what you mean by "Bm(dim)" though. Do you mean Bm7b5? - that would be the "normal" (conventional A minor key) chord in your sequence at that point. (Bm might also work, but Bm7b5 is more usual.)
Quote by tiky

I had good times reading someone on the net analyzing sometimes of the beatles
Ah ha! The Beatles were very fond of that shift from minor to parallel major and back. While My Guitar Gently Weeps is probably the best known (A minor, to A major in the bridge). There's also Fool On The Hill (D major verse, D minor chorus), Here There and Everywhere (G major, G minor), Michelle (F major/F minor, mixed), Something (C major-A minor-A major). Also Norwegian Wood, which shifts from E mixolydian to E dorian.
Last edited by jongtr at Jul 5, 2016,
#12
To fill out a bit about what Jon said above

It doesn't hurt to put the progression on one line:
iv-V-i-((V/iv-iv))-V-i
Double parentheses show the secondary dominant part. Even though it's V-i in its little section, the OVERALL function of that part is a predominant iv.

@Jon: B-D-F were the notes he was playing on piano, so I'm sure it was just a B diminished triad instead of your half-diminished jazz ;D

@OP: section transitions, work on this.
#13
NeoMvsEu
Quote by NeoMvsEu

@Jon: B-D-F were the notes he was playing on piano, so I'm sure it was just a B diminished triad instead of your half-diminished jazz ;D
OK!

It leaves the option of the 7th interestingly open, of course.
Add an A (for Bm7b5), and it still resolves nicely to either C (as vii) or E (as ii of Am).
Add Ab (G#) for Bdim7, and it goes to C OK, but less well to E, because it's like a rootless E7b9 (G#dim7). It would go straight to Am better than it would go via E7.

Yeah, sorry, I'm going all jazz again...
Last edited by jongtr at Jul 5, 2016,
#14
It's not as common as some other tricks but it can be an effective change. If it sounds good then go for it. The common "tricks" are used so often because they work. The real magic is making it sound interesting and new.
Si