Chord Chemistry. Part 2

Basic Modulation - Pivot Chord

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Hello again, thank you for the positive reviews for the last article, sadly life got in the way and this has been delayed for a while (years!). But someone asked a question about modulation, so here goes... Basic Modulation - Pivot ------------------------ Let's start in C, same as last time to keep things simple. Quick refresher of the chords in the key of C:
I      ii     iii   IV     V    vi    vii
Cmaj7  Dm7    Em7   Fmaj7  G7   Am7   Bm7b5
We are going to modulate from the key of C to G using what is referred to as a pivot chord. This pivot chord will be a chord that is common to both keys and so will make the transition smooth and seem natural. So let's have a look at the key of G..
I      ii     iii   IV     V    vi    vii
Gmaj7  Am7    Bm7   Cmaj7  D7   Em7   Fm7b5
Looking at G we can identify that Am7 is common to both keys and so we will use this as our pivot chord for the modulation. Did you read Chord Chemistry Part 1? If not I suggest a quick look as it covers cadences which we will need to use next to complete the modulation. Lets see what we've got so far.. Cmaj7 -> Am7 -> Gmaj7 Still doesn't sound like much of a key change does it? If you start playing in your new key of G it still feels like it was a very weak transition. So we will make use of our knowledge of cadences to enhance this key change and really solidify our new key. What is the strongest cadence? An authentic (also called perfect) cadence. Which we of course know is a V - I chord change. Hopefully. So lets make use of this in our modulation, we want to establish the new key as G so that will be our I, lets grab the V chord of G and wedge it into our previous chord progression in front of the G, we now have.. Cmaj7 -> Am7 -> D7 -> Gmaj7 Now when you start playing in your new key of G you will find it has been established much better an will feel more natural. Extra ----- This is a simple key modulation because both these keys (C and G) are very closely related. There's only a difference of one note between them, the key of G has an F#, while C has an F. These keys are also close together in terms of the circle of 5ths. If you want to transition to a more challenging key then there are certainly other methods that an be used and the best way to learn is to study songs that have the kinds of change your'e after and see how it was accomplished by breaking the song down with theory. In this way you'll soon start to see music more fluidly and less restrictive. Why? ---- This is the important part. Everything you do in a song should have some kind of meaning, purpose or emotion behind it. Simply changing keys for the sake of it will be much less successful then changing key to emphasize a musical idea. I will demonstrate this if anyone is interested, and we will have a look at what I like to call the "kicking it up a notch" key change. Sorry for the long delay but I have some free time now and will be happy to share what I've learned over the years with the community here. So drop me some comments and I'll see what I can whip up for you. Mark Jones

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    Davearia
    Good post. You are spot on when you say that changing key for the sake of is not effective. Key changes should feel natural and unexpected all at the same time. Personally I cannot stand those Micheal Bolton type modulations where it is so obvious that the song is about to modulate most likely by a tone and almost certainly never to change back from the key change which is a sin in itself. Please post more as I am a song writer who is always up for learning new tricks.
    SilverSpurs616
    Interesting, informative and effective- barely 2 minutes of reading and I have learned something worthwhile. Thank you!
    eatfresh1736
    Slash_is_a_God wrote: Isn't it F#m7b5 for the key of G major?
    I noticed that too. Either way, the article was short and to the point. Everyone can learn something from this.
    rushil2cool
    Fantastic lesson mark, learned someting quite useful from this. Good job, hoping to hear more from you in the near future.
    AiCPearlJam
    Why did you write everything as a 7th chord? You can use simple triads too. Plus you have the concept of preparing and resolving the seventh of a seventh chord that people will have to make exceptions for when deciding to play seventh chords .
    SilverSpurs616
    AiCPearlJam wrote: Why did you write everything as a 7th chord? You can use simple triads too. Plus you have the concept of preparing and resolving the seventh of a seventh chord that people will have to make exceptions for when deciding to play seventh chords .
    I think that by using all 7ths it establishes the diatonic keys better- for example in C, the 4th and 5th chords are both major but the 7th's are different (Fmaj7 & G7) so perhaps than that improves the modulations? I'm guessing here, I'm no pro when it comes to theory
    theknuckster
    SilverSpurs616 wrote: AiCPearlJam wrote: Why did you write everything as a 7th chord? You can use simple triads too. Plus you have the concept of preparing and resolving the seventh of a seventh chord that people will have to make exceptions for when deciding to play seventh chords . I think that by using all 7ths it establishes the diatonic keys better- for example in C, the 4th and 5th chords are both major but the 7th's are different (Fmaj7 & G7) so perhaps than that improves the modulations? I'm guessing here, I'm no pro when it comes to theory
    Not only do 7ths flesh out the sound, the C in the D7 chord wants to resolve by a minor second to the B in the Gmaj7 chord. Creating more leading tones makes for stronger cadences.
    Hells.Mascot
    Slash_is_a_God wrote: Isn't it F#m7b5 for the key of G major?
    Not only do 7ths flesh out the sound, the C in the D7 chord wants to resolve by a minor second to the B in the Gmaj7 chord. Creating more leading tones makes for stronger cadences.
    slowlybilly
    Great lesson on modulation. I like the way you threw in the D7 to solidify the change. Nice touch.
    guitar_jew
    The title caught my eye because Ted Greene did a book titled 'Chord Chemistry,' but I learned something I've never been able to find a decent lesson on, namely modulation. Thanks!
    rockgodman
    Yea now you can do lessons on chromatic modulation, parallel/relative key modulation, and modulation using 6th chords. So many parts to these lessons there will be
    SilverSpurs616
    guitar_jew wrote: The title caught my eye because Ted Greene did a book titled 'Chord Chemistry,' but I learned something I've never been able to find a decent lesson on, namely modulation. Thanks!
    Funny enough, I bought that book only last week. I haven't really delved into it yet but it's covers a lot of ground!
    JB95
    Why is all the chords mentioned, seventh chords? And why don't you call it B diminished instead of Bm7b5? Answer at my profile, and not at this topic, so I'll actually get the message.
    nido
    Very grateful for these Lessons. Please keep em coming , Im very eager to see what the complex parts will behold.