#1
I was wondering if anyone could give me a few tips on writing songs that switch from a major chord to the same minor chord, ie D Dm, in the chord progression.

I'm mainly interrested in making melodic, nice sounding music not metal or anything. A lot of my favourite bands have songs in which they switch from the major to the minor, or minor to major, and make it sound really good.

eg, the chorus in this http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/tabs/s/shins/phantom_limb_crd.htm
and the verse in this
http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/tabs/p/pulp/underwear_crd.htm

Whenever i write a chord progression with this sort of stuff in it, it just sounds...wrong. So what i really want to know is how to make it sound right.

I know a reasonable amount of theory but not much about chords. Am i right in saying that if you go from major to minor you changing key. Or is there a certain degree of the scale that allows you to stay in key.

So, any tips?

Thanks
12345abcd3
#2
Quote by 12345abcd3
I was wondering if anyone could give me a few tips on writing songs that switch from a major chord to the same minor chord, ie D Dm, in the chord progression.

I'm mainly interrested in making melodic, nice sounding music not metal or anything. A lot of my favourite bands have songs in which they switch from the major to the minor, or minor to major, and make it sound really good.

eg, the chorus in this http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/tabs/s/shins/phantom_limb_crd.htm
and the verse in this
http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/tabs/p/pulp/underwear_crd.htm

Whenever i write a chord progression with this sort of stuff in it, it just sounds...wrong. So what i really want to know is how to make it sound right.

I know a reasonable amount of theory but not much about chords. Am i right in saying that if you go from major to minor you changing key. Or is there a certain degree of the scale that allows you to stay in key.

So, any tips?

Thanks
12345abcd3


It doesn't happen very often to be honest - that's probably why it sounds "wrong" to you. If you're in a minor key then you really want to work the relationship between the minor and major chords that occur rather than modulate on chord directly from major to minor or vice versa.

If you want to use it then you're best bet is to use it at the end or beginning of a section, for example to end a verse on an unresolved note to emphasise the shift to the chorus. Whichever way you do it the result of juxtaposing the two is a very unstable feel, which makes it very awkward to try and accomodate it in the middle of a passage.
Actually called Mark!

Quote by TNfootballfan62
People with a duck for their avatar always give good advice.

...it's a seagull

Quote by Dave_Mc
i wanna see a clip of a recto buying some groceries.


stuffmycatswatchontv.tumblr.com
#3
only times ive successfully pulled it off is by using a lot of diminished arpeggios acting as transitioners....its hard to explain, basically they arent diatonic in any way

another thing that might work is trying messing with arpeggios patterns and playing this kind of progression:

Imi-bIII-bII-I

IE,

Ami-C-Bb-A

the bII major chord can often times add interesting tension to a piece, and it could work for that kind of modulation, but its gonna take some messing around
Quote by beadhangingOne
There is no music but metal and muhammad is its prophet.
#4
You by Radiohead (E, Em, Cadd9, G, D if I remember correctly)

I really like doing this a lot. It's sounds very nice when used in the proper places. For example, in one of my songs the chord progression goes:

C (4 beats) G (4 beats) F (4 beats) F (2 beats) G6 (2 beats)
C (4 beats) G (4 beats) F (4 beats) F (2 beats) Fm (let Fm ring out)
Ab (beats) Am (4 beats) Bdim7 (8 beats) C

It's kinda hard to give the right idea, but it resolves really well in my opinion.
#5
Use the V to I chord as a pivet


Or listen to dust in the wind. It just change the b3rd to 9th , then 11th
or sus2 or sus4
Last edited by Ordinary at May 17, 2008,
#6
It normally works really well spicing up IV-I transitions, if you throw in a IV-IVm-I.
That's because it takes the 3rd of the IV, which is the 6th of the I, and makes it a b3, which as you can work out is the b6th of the I. That note creates dissonance which is resolved when it moves the 5th of the I chord. Same thing happens in you throw in a major III rather than the usual minor. Lots of songs use the two chords together, look at "I'll Follow You Into the Dark" by Death Cab for Cutie or "All At Once" by Jack Johnson for some examplage. EDIT: "Creep" by Radiohead is a perfect example.

Also, read up on secondary dominants. I don't understand enough to the point of where I feel comfortable explaining the concept to someone else, but you can do a lot of cool minor to major stuff using that.
Last edited by bananaboy at May 17, 2008,
#8
try this

Dmaj, Dsus4,Dmaj
Dsus2, Dmin, Dsus2

It depends how to stum it or pick it.
You can even do this.
Drop D tune and use the low D as a padel,
then go axis pitch if you wanna solo over it.
Last edited by Ordinary at May 17, 2008,
#9
Wow, i totally forgot about creep (it's one of my favourite songs). I also like that death cab for cuite song. In fact it is kinda weird how many songs i like have been metioned seeing as i have a very weird taste in music.

Thanks for all the answers. I was kinda hopping someone could use one of the examples i've given (or creep) and tell me the theory behind that song in particular but defenitely thanks for all the answers.

In the first example (Phantom limb) it goes from the minor iii to a major III. Also, in "I will follow you into the dark" in the chorus (ignoring the E major) it goes from major IV to minor iv, or VI to vi depending on whether it is major or minor (which i'm not sure).

Are the above two right and do they contain anything which will help me write myself? And if so what because i can't seem to find any sort of pattern.

12345abcd3

Ps, i couldn't work out what was happening in Creep at all so if someone could tell me, that would be great.
#11
I always saw Creep as a song in G major.... but with 2 changes.

1. The 3rd (B) is major.
2. The changes from CMaj to Cmin

I can't offer more than that..... but i am in the same boat as you, i know basic theory and use it, but i still can't explain anything i like the sound of.
#12
This is rarely done when dealing with the tonic chord. However, I have done it on occasion when dealing with the V chord in a minor key.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#13
Take a look at Nude by Radiohead also. It starts on a G#m, then goes to G#, then up to the A. The G# sounds pretty dissonant and strange right after the G#m, but it resolves really well to the A.
Strat / SH-201 -> DOD Mixer -> ZVex Mastotron -> Fulltone Clyde -> BYOC OD II -> Ibanez FLL -> VS Chorus -> DOD FX 96 -> Boss DD-6 -> MXR 10-Band EQ -> Boss RC-2 -> Stereo Mixer -> Alesis PicoVerb -> Peavey Delta Blues 210/Yamaha Fifty112
#15
looking at creep, the C - Cm IV-iv sounds smooth as the only note being changed is E to Eb and it makes for nice voice leading. Then moving back to G, iv-I you get the chromatic motion of
C - B
Eb - D
and G is in both chords

You can also look at the Cm as being borrowed from the parallel minor of G, which is the iv chord from Gm

another example of maj/min transitions with the same root is phish's sample in a jar



  A   C   G   D              A   E   Em   D
[--------------------------------------------------]
|-10---8---8---7--------------5---5---5----3---|
|--9---9---7---7--------------6---4---4----2---|
|-11--10---9---7-----7---7----7---6---5----4---|
|----------------7-9---9-----------------------|
|----------------------------------------------|


just experiment and trust your ear, you can get some smooth sounds from this type of movement
Last edited by Stash Jam at May 18, 2008,
#16
The IV of a major key can just about always be followed with a iv(and usually followed afterwards by an I: F Fm C) and is just about the most common usage of this. My idea of the theory behind this is that the third of the IV chromatically resolves down to the fifth of the I.
Last edited by grampastumpy at May 18, 2008,
#17
You can have a progression like, say, Dmaj - Cmaj - Gmaj, and play in D Mixolydian, which sounds pretty major, then switch into power chords D5 - C5 - G5 for a guitar solo in Dm, then when you come back in after the solo switch to playing Dm. I haven't tried this but it works in my head.
#19
Quote by 12345abcd3
Thanks for all the help. I think the easiest way to do it is to use VI vi I so i'll try that it my chord progressions.

Thanks again
12345abcd3
Uh, are you sure you didn't mean IV iv I? I can't think of any instance of VI vi I but I'm sure that was a typo anyway.