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gebz_15
KVRist
 
72 posts since 25 Jul, 2012

Postby gebz_15; Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:10 am Changing key in a song

Hi,

I am sure its probably on here, but I was wondering if some one can help. I have the Camelot wheel and was wondering if that shows the proper way to change to and from your current key.

Say for ease C major is related to A minor, but is that the right way of key changing or is there another way?

Please keep this in lame men terms LOL
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jancivil
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15103 posts since 20 Oct, 2007, from No Location

Postby jancivil; Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:01 am Re: Changing key in a song

Well, if one proceeds from 'right' vs 'wrong' by rules, or even by solid principles, a lot of interest will be precluded.
The principles of using cycle of fifths, is follow it 'round one step and that's the closest key in terms of the key signature; ie., we have but the one change. EG: C to G, zero sharps or flats to one sharp. C to A minor, same key signature. In that sense we've moved a minimum extent.

But, for instance a pretty popular key change in pop music since forever is a half step or whole step modulation. C to C#/Db or D. It's 'dramatic'. A lot of times it sucks IME, but some appear to really go for that one. And while this may seem counterintuitive, C to C# is called a distant modulation as it's as far as we can go in the cycle of fifths. This is why it's dramatic.

But you aren't guaranteed anything but a sort of safeness [on paper] if you go by what I indicated in my first paragraph. Will it, even from C to A minor, be convincing? What makes A minor the apparent or evident key, what device?
And we might want to deal in preparation. Or not! See that moving up a step above, it's abrupt, it's just the same thing up a semi- or whole tone suddenly. All of this is taste and preference, and context.

I personally am not sure I would recommend music theory of this sort in advance of learning songs to see what has been done. Already there is a temptation to think there are hard rules, right and wrong. Music Theory evolves when people did something differently than the convention may seem to insist on. It's usually not even theory (as in theory in scientific procedure), it's observation and description of known practices which have been seen to work in a consistent enough fashion.
Sometimes it's prescriptive, sometimes maybe it shouldn't be.
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donkey tugger
Boss Lovin' DR
 
4627 posts since 14 Mar, 2002, from the grimness of yorkshire

Postby donkey tugger; Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:14 am Re: Changing key in a song

jancivil wrote:
I personally am not sure I would recommend music theory of this sort in advance of learning songs to see what has been done. Already there is a temptation to think there are hard rules, right and wrong. Music Theory evolves when people did something differently than the convention may seem to insist on.


Excellent advice. There are many, many ways to move from key to key, depending on what type of effect you're going for (change in mood, to shock or disconcert etc etc..) and as above, the context is key here; e.g, what may seem jarring in a straight-ahead pop song may work in a more jazz inflected setting.

For an example of how key changes can work, Howard Goodall's tv programme on The Beatles gives a quite good simple explanation of how Macartney uses modulation in 'Penny Lane' to good effect, from 18 mins;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQS91wVdvYc
gebz_15
KVRist
 
72 posts since 25 Jul, 2012

Postby gebz_15; Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:15 am Re: Changing key in a song

Thanks jancivil !

Very use full I moved notes up by a 5th and amazing sounded like a treat. In your opinion what key would you change to from A flat Minor?

Thanks again
Jafo
KVRAF
 
1818 posts since 20 Dec, 2002, from The Benighted States of Trumpistan

Postby Jafo; Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:50 am Re: Changing key in a song

Method 1. Just do it. Simply start working in Am. Kinda clumsy, though. If you want it to be more elegant, set up a Dom7-Tonic change (E7-Am in this case) and you're set. Maybe even C-B7-E7-Am, a chained dominant cadence: that's not too long to bore people, and the Dom-Tonic relationship is as strong as it gets, so it'll have plenty of forward motion. (But see B below.)

Method B. Plagally modulate by the circle of 5ths. C - G - D - Am. Meh; too long and meandering, and it doesn't really give you any impetus to move forward. Maybe if you use one chord per beat, so that it happens rapidly. Two plagal cadences work fine if you're not changing key, however. (Say, bVII-IV-I, like in a certain long Beatles song.)

Method III. To expand on the Dom-Tonic theme, you could go C-F-Bb-Eb-Ab-Db-... nah, it's too silly. Too fscking long! Do not use. Ever. Unless you want to impress your music theory instructor.

Method 0x00000010. Try a rapid chromatic descent: C-B-Bb-Am; maybe via making the B or Bb or both minor. Double the root in the bass. It could work, depending on your song.

In summary: You can to prepare the change, which means setting up a forward motion towards the new key center. However, you don't want to take too long in doing so, because you'll just make people bored and uneasy while you show off.
Joy and kindness are acts of resistance -- fight the power!
Jafo
KVRAF
 
1818 posts since 20 Dec, 2002, from The Benighted States of Trumpistan

Postby Jafo; Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:53 am Re: Changing key in a song

My spies inform me that jancivil wrote:But, for instance a pretty popular key change in pop music since forever is a half step or whole step modulation. C to C#/Db or D. It's 'dramatic'. A lot of times it sucks IME, but some appear to really go for that one.

*cough* Barry Manilow, for example. Or "Other Barry" Gibb. It's even called the "Manilow Modulation" -- just go up a half-step to give a cheap and artificial sense of motion.
Joy and kindness are acts of resistance -- fight the power!
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jancivil
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15103 posts since 20 Oct, 2007, from No Location

Postby jancivil; Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:21 am Re: Changing key in a song

donkey tugger wrote:Howard Goodall's tv programme on The Beatles gives a quite good simple explanation of ...

Also to the topic see at 16:03 the modulation to IV, or the F to F7 to Bb in Hey Jude which is exemplary.

I should note here that Macca knew nothing of formal music theory at all, and didn't want to. But he is de facto doing music theory, as he knows what he's doing, he's made observations of what works and internalized it.


Per Mr Goodall's exposition, and the 'dreadful impasse' supposedly created by the avant-garde, there is a huge middle ground he's left off for the purposes of that assertion. And it should be said, additionally that Lennon and McCartney embraced avant-garde, McCartney was interested in Stockhausen and Lennon through Yoko was exposed to eg., Fluxus movement NYC notions.
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donkey tugger
Boss Lovin' DR
 
4627 posts since 14 Mar, 2002, from the grimness of yorkshire

Postby donkey tugger; Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:39 am Re: Changing key in a song

jancivil wrote:
Per Mr Goodall's exposition, and the 'dreadful impasse' supposedly created by the avant-garde, there is a huge middle ground he's left off for the purposes of that assertion. And it should be said, additionally that Lennon and McCartney embraced avant-garde, McCartney was interested in Stockhausen and Lennon through Yoko was exposed to eg., Fluxus movement NYC notions.


I wouldn't necessarily agree with all his opinions myself, but I do think he explains things well for non-musicians...when he stops pontificating and sticks to showing how things work.. :hihi:
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jancivil
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15103 posts since 20 Oct, 2007, from No Location

Postby jancivil; Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:29 pm Re: Changing key in a song

Right

- but for your advisement I will have bolted, he's pretty full of it on too many points. But for a beginner it may be a good sketch as to what tonality is and the usual or basic devices.
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spendthrift2
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103 posts since 9 Feb, 2010

Postby spendthrift2; Thu Jun 28, 2018 4:54 am Re: Changing key in a song

gebz_15 wrote:Hi,

I am sure its probably on here, but I was wondering if some one can help. I have the Camelot wheel and was wondering if that shows the proper way to change to and from your current key.

Say for ease C major is related to A minor, but is that the right way of key changing or is there another way?

Please keep this in lame men terms LOL

Your guess is as good as mine, but I would think that if you wanted to change key, you would not be playing A minor. Play something that doesn't "relate" as you say. I think that is when you would be changing the key. :tu:
gebz_15
KVRist
 
72 posts since 25 Jul, 2012

Postby gebz_15; Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:45 am Re: Changing key in a song

Please keep this in lame men terms LOL[/quote]
Your guess is as good as mine, but I would think that if you wanted to change key, you would not be playing A minor. Play something that doesn't "relate" as you say. I think that is when you would be changing the key. :tu:[/quote]


Great!

Thanks for your help :tu:
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jancivil
KVRAF
 
15103 posts since 20 Oct, 2007, from No Location

Postby jancivil; Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:40 am Re: Changing key in a song

Well, no. 'A Natural Minor' is not so different than 'C major', but A minor with a dominant (which is E major chord containing a note foreign to C, the leading tone to A), is certainly a quite different key.

which is why I wrote:Will it, even from C to A minor, be convincing? What makes A minor the apparent or evident key, what device?
And we might want to deal in preparation.

And even lacking that dominant, note well this: C major has as tonic the note C. A minor has as the tonic the note A. Maybe someone thinks that's nothing, but it's not. The naturally occurring ii chord is b d f, b diminished. In C that's the vii chord and a form of dominant chord, to C. Confer G7, g b d f; V7 of C. Functions are different and tonic chord is determinative.
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NoirSuede
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47 posts since 20 Jul, 2016, from Tangerang, Indonesia

Postby NoirSuede; Sun Jul 29, 2018 10:54 am Re: Changing key in a song

gebz_15 wrote:Hi,

I am sure its probably on here, but I was wondering if some one can help. I have the Camelot wheel and was wondering if that shows the proper way to change to and from your current key.

Say for ease C major is related to A minor, but is that the right way of key changing or is there another way?

Please keep this in lame men terms LOL

There's no limit to which keys can change into each other! As long as you connect them with a transition of a couple of chords that both of those keys naturally have (so no Eb9s or G#7s), you're good to go.
For example, in this piece i'm trying to change from C major to F minor:

Image

Basically what's happening is that I've dedicated the entire second bar to transition between C Major to F Minor, but you can transition with just 1 chord too.
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ChamMusic
KVRian
 
844 posts since 12 Jun, 2006, from Birmingham, UK

Postby ChamMusic; Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:15 pm Re: Changing key in a song

NoirSuede wrote:
gebz_15 wrote:Hi,

I am sure its probably on here, but I was wondering if some one can help. I have the Camelot wheel and was wondering if that shows the proper way to change to and from your current key.

Say for ease C major is related to A minor, but is that the right way of key changing or is there another way?

Please keep this in lame men terms LOL

There's no limit to which keys can change into each other! As long as you connect them with a transition of a couple of chords that both of those keys naturally have (so no Eb9s or G#7s), you're good to go.
For example, in this piece i'm trying to change from C major to F minor:

Image

Basically what's happening is that I've dedicated the entire second bar to transition between C Major to F Minor, but you can transition with just 1 chord too.


Sang this all through in my head and thought....'what the hell?'

Took it to the piano in case I was having a crazy moment and played it through...'what the hell?'

I'm sorry, it makes no sense at all!
Mark Taylor
Chameleon Music
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