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Changing Keys in Middle Song: Best way?

GUEST,.gargoyle 10 Oct 05 - 10:58 PM
M.Ted 10 Oct 05 - 08:58 PM
Tattie Bogle 10 Oct 05 - 07:39 PM
Don Firth 10 Oct 05 - 06:25 PM
M.Ted 10 Oct 05 - 04:39 PM
Don Firth 10 Oct 05 - 03:17 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Oct 05 - 02:03 PM
M.Ted 10 Oct 05 - 01:52 PM
GUEST,Billy 09 Oct 05 - 10:16 PM
GUEST,Bobert 09 Oct 05 - 10:12 PM
Bassic 09 Oct 05 - 09:49 PM
dick greenhaus 09 Oct 05 - 09:05 PM
Don Firth 09 Oct 05 - 06:36 PM
GUEST,leeneia 09 Oct 05 - 06:23 PM
open mike 09 Oct 05 - 05:27 PM
John Hardly 09 Oct 05 - 05:27 PM
jimmyt 09 Oct 05 - 05:16 PM
chico 09 Oct 05 - 04:58 PM
GUEST,Fullerton 09 Oct 05 - 02:45 PM
Don Firth 09 Oct 05 - 02:43 PM
chico 09 Oct 05 - 01:33 PM
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Subject: RE: Changing Keys in Middle Song: Best way?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 10 Oct 05 - 10:58 PM

Move into the third key (above/below) otherwise the audience is not aware/cognizant of the switch. (see previous discussions)

However, a half note shift from minor to major, in an ending.... leaves the audience with an expetancy and a nice bridge into the next tune.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

How nice to be OFF The Road again.


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Subject: RE: Changing Keys in Middle Song: Best way?
From: M.Ted
Date: 10 Oct 05 - 08:58 PM

I know what is clear cut, Don--


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Subject: RE: Changing Keys in Middle Song: Best way?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 10 Oct 05 - 07:39 PM

In major keys, if ever I do it, I would move from G/C/D combination to A/D/E because I'm NBG at barre chords. However it is a ruse well-beloved of Eurovision Song Contest songwriters (in fact probably mandatory!), so I tend to avoid it anyway!
TB


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Subject: RE: Changing Keys in Middle Song: Best way?
From: Don Firth
Date: 10 Oct 05 - 06:25 PM

No attempt to debate, M Ted. Just trying demonstrate that things are not as clear-cut as they sometimes seem.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Changing Keys in Middle Song: Best way?
From: M.Ted
Date: 10 Oct 05 - 04:39 PM

Don, don't care to debate with you--just trying to help someone out--

Just use moveable Chord positions, Chico, such as the C7:

3-3-2-3-x-x-x

or G7

3-2-3-4-x-x-x--

And and any others that you might like(you only need a few--basically a major, minor, and dominant seventh that you can ride up and down the low(E-A-D-G), the middle(A-D-G-B), and the high(D-G-G-E) groups of 4 strings)--


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Subject: RE: Changing Keys in Middle Song: Best way?
From: Don Firth
Date: 10 Oct 05 - 03:17 PM

M Ted, the change you describe is not, strictly speaking, a key change. As long as the only chords you are using are C, F, G or G7 (primary chords) and Am, Dm, and Em, E, or E7, (relative minor, which, within the context of the key of C, would constitute "color" chords"). Tossing an out of scale passing tone into the tonic chord before moving to the subdominant doesn't, by itself, constitute a modulation or key change. To constitute a full-blown key change, you'd have to establish the F unequivocally as the new tonic. This is usually accomplished by also using a full Bb chord (subdominant of the key of F) very shortly thereafter and avoiding a G or G7 (which would lead you back to C) for a bit.

This sort of thing is, of course, highly debatable. For example, the first known use of a dominant seventh chord (which contains a diminished fifth, or the "Devil in Music," which, for some peculiar reason was frowned upon by the Church and forbidden in liturgical music) was by Monteverdi in a madrigal arrangement he did of sumer is icumen in. At the very end, in the penultimate beat during the final cadence, the interval between two of the voices was a diminished 5th. If you take a vertical slice out of the score at that point, you have a dominant 7th chord. People were scandalized and horrified. Someone commented, "The human ear will never grow to tolerate such dissonance!" This interval is now found, of course, in every dominant 7th chord, and it's the famous "flatted 5th" of jazz. It's what gives a dominant 7th chord its "drop the other shoe" effect. Anyway, ever since then, musicologists have argued as to whether this was actually a dominant 7th chord, or did the offending interval come as a result of a passing tone in a polyphonic madrigal rather than harmonic song form? What did Monteverdi really have in mind?

Lotsa fun! Tends to keep musicologists safely off the streets.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Changing Keys in Middle Song: Best way?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Oct 05 - 02:03 PM

If you know you are going to want to move up one semitone at a time, work out how to play the accompaniment with just barre choirds, and then just slide up and keep playing the same shapes.

Not for folk songs, but there are songs where this works well. (I've got one song where I keep on going up one semitone at a time every verse and chorus. Good exercise for the fingers).


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Subject: RE: Changing Keys in Middle Song: Best way?
From: M.Ted
Date: 10 Oct 05 - 01:52 PM

It is a whole lot less complicated if you just learn some moveable chord fingerings--John Hardly is exactly on the money when he mentions three note chords--two or three fingerings will cover just about all the chords you might need--no barres required--

As to Don's comments--good info on how to change keys, but erroneous on appropriateness--theare lots of key changes used--anytime you move from say, C to C7 to F, you are changing key, and in exactly the way Don mentions--

As far as changing keys by moving up by a half step--think about that standard "spanish" effect that you get when you play an open E chord, then slide your fingers up a half step--

Jazz tunes tend to move through the circle of fourths, which is simple the process of modulating through the diatonic keys----Coltrane, as mentioned above, found a way to move by thirds instead--

And, in case no one else noticed, Chico was asking about how to change keys on the guitar, no musical genre specified--


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Subject: RE: Changing Keys in Middle Song: Best way?
From: GUEST,Billy
Date: 09 Oct 05 - 10:16 PM

To Chico,
Actually, the problem has already been (technically) solved. I have a capo which rolls. There is no makers name on it, but it consists of two hard rubber rollers; the top one which goes on the strings is wide at the outside and tapers into the middle to match the fretboard curve and the bottom roller is shorter and more tapered to fit on the back of the neck. The two metal rods the rollers are on (axles) are connected by two steel springs to maintain the tension. On one side the spring has a cap which comes off the axle so it can be attache or detached from the guitar. When not in use it can be rolled off over the nut. In use, it can be rolled from fret to fret in a tenth of a second.
Maybe your music store can track down one of these for you.


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Subject: RE: Changing Keys in Middle Song: Best way?
From: GUEST,Bobert
Date: 09 Oct 05 - 10:12 PM

Ya say ya wanta change keys in the middle of a song???

Like why???

Nevermind...

Okay, it can be done but it;s like makin' love to a grilla, gonna be on it's terms...

Now I ain't into the technical stuff to much but here's my suggestiion: use a break...

I mean, like yer gonn ahve to put some music in between the two keys... I do it on a few songs... Couldn't tell ya' what I'm doin' sinbce I play everythin by ear, but I know it takes some work to get from one key to another within a song...

Takes a "song-within-a-song" to pull it off as you do the shift...

The new key is gonna come off a down beat 'er an up beat and a little sellin'...

But, why???

If the song stands alone fine in one key, why change??? Other than the fact that you can (with work)???

Bobert


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Subject: RE: Changing Keys in Middle Song: Best way?
From: Bassic
Date: 09 Oct 05 - 09:49 PM

A purely personal observation this......I make no comment as to the rights or wrongs of modulating in the way chico aspires to be able to do on his guitar.....but I found that kind of modulation "for effect", when it comes to the "big finish", was so desperately over done in much of the popular music of the last 50 or so years that it just sounds "cheesy" to my ear now though this wasnt always the case. It now sounds like a cheap trick rather than a creditable musical idea.

I much prefer it when the musician looks for a "different" chord to emphasise a particular part of the song or some other musical device such as Dons alternate harmony line rather than a wholesale, and to my ear, crude "up a step" key change for the last verse/chorus. However, fashions do change and as Chico quite rightly says, its a personal thing and your own ear has to tell you if it feels right.......its just that mine dont really like it any more....sorry ;-)

Interestinc discussion however, about something that has been running around in the back of my brain for a few years now.


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Subject: RE: Changing Keys in Middle Song: Best way?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 09 Oct 05 - 09:05 PM

Or you can avoid the first position entirely, and use only movable chords (barre or otherwise_


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Subject: RE: Changing Keys in Middle Song: Best way?
From: Don Firth
Date: 09 Oct 05 - 06:36 PM

Chico, we know what was played on the lute 400 years ago because there was great deal of music written for the lute, including song accompaniments. See songs by Dowland and the many other Elizabethan era song writer / lutenists. The music (much of it in tablature and much in regular notation) still exists and is readily available for lutenists and guitarists alike. An internet search for "lute music" will turn up reams of Renaissance and Baroque music for the lute. Free to download. No copyright.

Also, musicians 400 years ago did not modulate or change keys in the middle of a piece. This we know for a fact. Such changes were rarely done until after J. S. Bach recommended the "equal temperment" system of tuning. This made it possible to modulate freely without the instruments sounding out of tune when in keys that were not adjacent to each other on the Circle of Fifths.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Changing Keys in Middle Song: Best way?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 09 Oct 05 - 06:23 PM

When I'm singing a ballad a capella, I like to change key to indicate a new speaker.

Instead of changing from Dm to Eb, why don't you change from Dm to Em? Em is more accessible on a guitar.


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Subject: RE: Changing Keys in Middle Song: Best way?
From: open mike
Date: 09 Oct 05 - 05:27 PM

advice; modulation in all things

best way is to walk up
the bass notes to the
next key

best to move "up"
not "down"


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Subject: RE: Changing Keys in Middle Song: Best way?
From: John Hardly
Date: 09 Oct 05 - 05:27 PM

Many folks do what you're asking about quite simply...

to modulate a 1/2 step on a guitar, simply hold your left hand firmly on the last ringing chord and reach behind your held left hand and move the capo with your right hand.

Kysers are excellent for this, as they have the clamp-grip up high where your right hand can grab it.

There is also a rolling style capo that you can hook with your right hand and roll over the fret to the next half step.

The other possibility is to use partial chords -- just use the same chord shapes that you're already using and move them up a fret. In some cases you will only play the fretted strings either by only plucking those strings or by muting the open ones beside them. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how few ringing strings you need for effective accompaniment (Bucky Pizzarelli says that only the three strings that define a chord should be ringing for an accompaniest anyway).


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Subject: RE: Changing Keys in Middle Song: Best way?
From: jimmyt
Date: 09 Oct 05 - 05:16 PM

Great post Don. Good explanation of the modulation technique and good advice.


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Subject: RE: Changing Keys in Middle Song: Best way?
From: chico
Date: 09 Oct 05 - 04:58 PM

"the idea of changing keys as an adjunct to musical interpretation is totally inappropriate. . ."

Thank you for your viewpoint. I respect it, but how do we know what exactly was played on a lute 400 years ago?

I intend to use Poetic License to make the performance the best possible -- and my ear tells me if I've overdone it.


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Subject: RE: Changing Keys in Middle Song: Best way?
From: GUEST,Fullerton
Date: 09 Oct 05 - 02:45 PM

You could move chromatically,

C    Csharp D - It's obvious but corny. (Three Wheels on my Wagon does this)

Much better is to go through a perfect cadence in your new key

C A7 D will take you there very effectively

If you wanted to get to, say, Eb

C Bb Eb

John Coltrane used this technique to get about ten changes of key in a 16 bar tune - Giant Steps.


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Subject: RE: Changing Keys in Middle Song: Best way?
From: Don Firth
Date: 09 Oct 05 - 02:43 PM

Chico, if the material in question is comprised of traditional folk songs and ballads, the idea of changing keys as an adjunct to musical interpretation is totally inappropriate.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm no "ethnic purist." I've spent a total of five years in music schools and conservatories, have studied voice and classic guitar, and although most of what I sing consists of traditional songs, I don't limit myself to that. I sing other things as well. But even with traditional songs, I sometimes use essentially classical music devices to enhance song accompaniments. For example, with a ballad such as The Three Ra'ens, I play a carefully worked out lute-like accompaniment on the guitar (I use a nylon-string classic, by the way). But it's a matter of fitting the accompaniment to the song. On a song like I Ride an Old Paint, I use straightforward chords and a simple "boom-chug-chug" right hand pattern, no more complicated than something Burl Ives might have used.

As far as modulating is concerned, the direct route is to play the dominant 7th of the key you want to move to, resolve it to the tonic, and there you are. For example, if you're in the key of C and you want to move to D, play an A7, follow it with a D, and take it from there. As for moving up the fingerboard by half-steps (one fret at a time), you have little choice but to condemn yourself to a lot of difficult barre chords. That's just the nature of the guitar and miscellaneous other musical instruments. Pausing to shift a capo, no matter how swiftly you manage to do it, is going to be pretty clunky, and it will tend to defeat the effect you're trying to create.

No, when it comes to folk songs and ballads—traditional songs—trying to create extra tension is best achieved by using your voice. Do it with phrasing. Emphasize the right words. But don't "ham it up." One way I use my voice to create greater intensity at the conclusion of a song is to move to a higher harmony line. With Sinner Man, on the last verse and chorus, I take a high harmony and end the song on the tonic note an octave higher than I would have ended it had I just stuck to the regular tune. Very effective!

But a little of this can go a long way. And if you do very much of it, you can expect the "ethnic purists" in the vicinity to start giving you the fish-eye.

Don Firth


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Subject: Changing Keys in Middle Song: Best way?
From: chico
Date: 09 Oct 05 - 01:33 PM

I use to play the piano where changing keys is very easy. But now with the guitar, changing 1/2 step up (from Dm chords to Ebm chords) is very difficult since the fingering is different.

So what is the best way to change keys with a guitar? I specifically refer to moving it up 1/2 step for the final verse of a song to give extra tension and effect to the singer and music.

If you use a capo, do you dare stop for a second to pull it up half a fret?

If not, what exact chord movements can you use to move from say C, to D?


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