I need help on knowing when to abandon, so to speak, the key that a song is in. Whenever I write songs, there's not one note out of key. Of course, if you're good, you can have a bunch of notes off key and it can still sound great and can still fit the song. Any suggestions?
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There's nothing wrong with staying in key.

There's also nothing wrong with going out of key.

One cool thing you can do if you're going from a VII chord to a I chord (this is in a minor key, so it would be something like G to Am or G5 to A5) is play the note between then briefly (G G G G# (end measure) Am).
The key to going out of key (sorry for the lame pun, couldn't resist ) is knowing when to do it. Usually the best time to go out of key is when you want to build tension. Obviously you resolve that tension by ending up back in key. The best notes for this are usually leading tones (notes a half step below the note you plan to resolve to). Leading tones also make great grace notes. Another out of key note i find particular useful for building tension is a minor third over the root of a major chord. This had a very bluesy and satisfying sound, although i'm not sure exactly why. Or, you could just incorporate key changes into the actually chord progression. I find the best way to do this is either through sequences of chords, like a circle of fifths, or by substituting a chord in the key of a song with a chord in the chord that's being substituted's key, that just happens to be out of the key of the song, (sorry if that phrasing's not very clear...the best i could do ) like the V chord of the V chord.
you know in a major key of a song, you get something like.
I major
ii minor
iii minor
IV major
V major and so on..
is it the same format with a minor key, how would that work?

the leading tones a maj7chord right?

- tommy
Last edited by tombomb22 at Jun 24, 2006,