I'm a pretty new to guitar and something I've always been a fan of are key changes in a song. Like towards the end of a song, when it sounds like the song is being brought up an entire step. I'm not exactly sure how to do it though. Let's say I'm playing this progression:


what chords would I play to give it that sound like it's been stepped up and what is the theory behind it so I can use it with other progressions? Sorry if my question is vague. The only song I can think of off the top of my head that uses a key change like the way I'm thinking of using it is "Love Story" by Taylor Swift if that helps. It changes at the end of the song. Can someone help me out? Thanks.
You could go up a step. if your chords are easy enough to do that with. Like play an F instead of a G, a B instead of an A.
Er, you could go to the relative major/minor, or the dominant chord (5th)

I'm new to guitar and have no idea what that means.

You could go up a step. if your chords are easy enough to do that with. Like play an F instead of a G, a B instead of an A.

What would be the step up for this chord:


I'm not sure what this chord is called so I'm not sure what the step up would be. I know the other 2 are variations of a G and a C so they would be F and D respectively right?
It's a little harder to do with open chords... It's much easier if you're using barre chords. You pretty much just take whatever chord progression you're using and move it up a whole step. Here, it looks like you're playing G, Cadd9, back to G, and then a Dadd11 (?) (is that the right name for the last chord?). Those are the one, four, and five in G. The G being the root, C being the four chord, and D being the five chord.

First things first; learn the major scale if you haven't. This will all go right over your head if you haven't yet. But I'm going to try and help explain this (though I really don't think I should be teaching this).

Your standard G-major scale is G-A-B-C-D-E-F#-G. A very common shape is this one here:


There are seven notes in the major scale, and the first note on the low E string is a G, which is your root. If you move that shape up a whole step, it would be an A (starting on the fifth fret). This is true with any position on the neck.

Your chords are built in thirds. If we give each note a number in the scale, then each chord is going to correspong to that number. For instance, E is the sixth note of the scale, so Em would be your six chord (in G).

G - A - B - C - D - E - F# - G
1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - R (R meaning root)

When constructing chords, you build in thirds. So for a C chord, you would go G, B, D, and then the seventh would be F# (which creates a really beautiful chord if you play them all together). Apply this to each note of the scale.

Unfortunately, I've got to go at the moment. More on this when I get back home tonight. Hopefully, one of the MT regulars can explain this better than I can.
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A whole step up from G would be A, and a whole step up from C would be D. F would be a whole step down from C.

A standard C major scale, which has no sharps or flats, is C - D - E - F - G - A - B.

Once again, here's that standard C major scale shape.


Your root note, C, is bolded. That is -- atleast to my knowledge -- the most common shape that people use to play the major scale. There are, however many shapes that you can play. This is just one of them. The key that this Taylor Swift song is in is G, however, so everything I say from here will be relative to the G-major scale.

The chord that you posted above my previous post was basically a D with the third (F#) in the bass, and the fourth (G) on top.

If you wanted to move that progression a whole step up, you'd probably want to play it like this, but it wouldn't sound quite the same because you wouldn't have all of those open notes in it.


Obviously, this doesn't sound quite the same, but it's basically the same chords.

Now lets talk about very basic chord construction (we're not going to move past three-note arpeggios).

When constructing chords, you usually do it in thirds (or atleast, that's the only way that I've been told to do it. I know that there are people who have done it in fourths, but it's usually thirds).

G - A - B - C - D - E - F# - G

Okay, G to B is a major third, which is two whole steps. B to D is a minor third, which is a step and a half (or 3 frets on the guitar). A standard major chord is a major third stacked on top of a minor third. These three notes create a G major triad. The notes in the first chord that you posted are nothing but Gs Bs and Ds.

The next chord is the Am chord, which in G is the ii chord. Your typical minor chord is a minor third stacked on top of a major third. If you count out your thirds from A, you'll get the notes A, C, and E. A to C is a minor third, and C to E is a major third.

Now keep in mind that chords aren't always necessarily voiced in thirds. It's actually very common to stack the fifth on top of the root, and then the root (played an octave higher) on top of the fifth, and then third on top of the root. What we're doing counting in thirds is really useful for determining what chords are actually in a scale (not all scales follow this same shape. Once you move on to modes, you'll see importance in knowing how to harmonize a scale).

If you apply what I showed you to the rest of the scale, almost every chord will be either a major or a minor chord. The only one that differs is your F#, which would be a minor chord with a flat five (which is created when you stack two minor thirds on top of each other). I'm pretty sure that you'd just call this an F# diminished chord, but I'd hold off until someone who knew a bit more about music theory than I do came along to confirm this.

I'm not going to harmonize the entire scale for you, because I've always found it beneficial to do these things for yourself. But you get the basic idea here. If you take it a step farther, you'll get your 7. A step farther than that, and you'll add your 9. After that, it's your 11, and then your 13. (Remember, there are seven notes in your scale, so your 9 is the same note as your 2, etc.)

A good lesson on music theory right here on UG can be found here. And good luck with the guitar, and music in general. If you ever have questions about anything, that's what this forum is for
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Last edited by Page&HammettFan at Oct 6, 2008,