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This video is an introduction to modulations and key changes. We explore many examples of modulations you’ve probably heard before, some which are direct transpositions up from their original key, and others that are more complex.
Key changes can be as simple or as difficult as you want them to be. At their heart, they make things sound different, so it can be an effective trick for extending the usability of a section to prevent it being bland, or to brighten it up or darken it by lifting it up or down respectively.
The following lessons are HIGHLY recommended if you are confused by anything in this video.
Writing in Major Keys: https://youtu.be/M8eItITv8QA
Writing in Minor Keys: https://youtu.be/j-j4g0ktPGw
The Dominant Chord and Secondary Dominant Chords: https://youtu.be/py4HaueW50Q
Borrowed Chords: https://youtu.be/7IdttvJSedg
Annoying Enharmonic footnote- In this video I refer to the keys of G# major and C# major which are theoretical keys. If I were to write this music out, I would certainly choose a key signature like Ab major and Db major, since double sharps (and B sharps) are a pain for me.
However, when referring to a key, the context is important- when we are transposing up from C a half step, we are literally sharping everything in the key of C, and it is helpful to think of that as C# Major. It is not, in my opinion, helpful to NOTATE it like that, which is why I included the key signatures of traditional keys and not the goofy ones with double sharps and what not. I’m only writing this because I know that by saying the words “G# Major” I’m going to receive an influx of comments saying that G# major is not a key, and if you decide to comment on me being wrong for that I’m going to call you pedantic and annoying 🙂
LINKS TO SONGS WITH KEY CHANGES + TIME STAMPS (Links not working as intended- click link then skip to time stamp mentioned!)
Half Step Modulations:
Michael Jackson- Man In The Mirror 2:52
Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell – Ain’t No Mountain High Enough 1:34
Whole Step Modulations:
The Temptations- My Girl 1:44
Whitney Houston- I Wanna Dance With Somebody 3:37
Didn’t mention this one in the video, but Whitney again with an incredible wholestep change in I Will Always Love You 3:10
Me – Come Back Home 2:41
Mr. Big- To Be With You 2:28
Celine Dion – My Heart Will Go On 3:24
Bon Jovi- Livin’ On A Prayer 3:24
Parallel Major/Minor shift-
While My Guitar Gently Weeps (between choruses and verses)
The Beatles – Norweigan Wood (between choruses and verses) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_V6y1ZCg_8
Neighbor Key change-
Twenty One Pilots- House Of Gold (Between Verses and Choruses)
The Supremes- I Hear A Symphony
John Coltrane- Giant Steps
Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse Of The Heart
Toni Braxton – Unbreak My Heart
I had to film this video FIVE times before I could start editing it. It was a disaster, first two times the audio was wrecked due to an intermittent low frequency hum that mysteriously started and went away. Third video I forgot to record an entire section (my fault for not working off a script). Fourth time the video was totally out of focus. Finally the fifth time I got it. It was a lot of wasted time and effort and was basically a lot of failure. The only reason I was able to get it right and not rush it out the door is cause my AMAZING PATREON SUPPORTERS are patient enough to fund these lessons and I don’t have to rely on appeasing the youtube algorithm by posting every week whether my videos are in focus or not!
So a big thank you to them, especially the following folks:
Lord of the Chords
This video has been reuploaded since I made a mistake in the first version- I accidentally thought Livin On A Prayer modulated up a half step (that’s why it’s in that section of the video). Stupid mistake, should have double checked! It’s why the editing is a bit wonky there 😛
Also this video has been copyright claimed by like 7 companies before it even went live, I find that simultaneously entertaining and disappointing.