Posts Tagged modulation
Continuing in my discovery of great modulations, here’s a gem I had forgotten about.
This modulation (2:00) kicks in after the bridge DOWN a whole step! For a comparison check out Train’s “When I Look to the Sky” for a similar move.
Great way to propel into the solo that follows.
And let’s not forget the fact that it’s possibly the only song known to correctly use the word “moot” in a lyric!
Until next time…
This is classic! It wasn’t until I read David Foster’s autobiography that I found he wrote this with Maurice, which really makes sense when you listen to it.
(Ben, were you the one who reminded me of this??)
Foster is a master at the slick mod. Maybe sophisticated is a better way to put it. Either way, here’s how it plays out:
Intro and verse:
Prechorus (“Something happened along the way…”):
B flat to F/A to D min to G min to F
E/F# to E to B/D# to G# min to C# min to B maj 7
(this is NUTS when you consider going a #4 or tritone away in a pop song; jazz, sure, but a big pop hit??)
then BAM AGAIN to the Chorus (we haven’t talked about common-tone modulation, but this is a GREAT example of one…):
C min 7 to
F min 7 to
B flat min 7 to
D flat over E flat
A flat minor (whoa!)
B major over D flat
F # major 7 (hold on…)
A flat minor 7, B flat minor 7,
C minor 7!! (starts the sequence again!)
I may cover the last chorus modulation on a later post, but this thing is amazing!
Until next time!
I just recently rediscovered this one-hit wonder from the 90′s, that demonstrates using the modulation of a perfect 4th from the verse to chorus, much like Gary Allan’s “watching airplanes” (see on a previous blog post).
In the case of Spacehog (LOVE that band name!), the verse is in the key of E, then to A for their choruses, and then back to E for the next verse.
See you next time!
Of course, I’m not sure the song would’ve ever made any traction on the charts if it wasn’t for the cool little “telephone” sound fx in the intro and verses.
I distinctly remember hearing this song for the first time and not believing this was Lindsay Lohan!
More recently, I looked up who wrote it and found two superstars behind it, specifically Greg Wells and Kara DioGuardi.
BTW, if you don’t know these two, do yourself a favor, and look ‘em up!
I’ve always been convinced that there was something magical going on in the chord progression, specifically the key mod.
Here’s the magic: the verse is in the key of C# minor/E major while the chorus is in the key of G# minor/B major, a perfect 5th away! While Gary Allan (“watching airplanes”) went with the perfect 4th mod, the perfect 5th still gives a smooth transition from verse to chorus, while giving a huge emotional lift, or page turn.
And note the end of the chorus steps right back to C# minor/E major.
Nice work Greg and Kara! (I write that as though they’ll ever read this, or that they care!)
See you next time!
Okay, so I didn’t know about Chicago until David Foster got a hold of them with Chicago 16 and 17. That’s when the “real” Chicago fans got REALLY ticked off about their new direction, and selling out. But I, slave to the radio and “Friday Night Videos”, LOVED it all!
So let me first say, if you want 101 arrangement tricks, check out ANY David Foster production. This song is no exception.
So, similar to my previous posts, check out what happens after chorus 2. In this case, they go to a vocal section with strings over the chord changes of the chorus, then kick back into the back half of the what should count as chorus 3.
THEN, new chorus up a step. BUT halfway through, they start a vamp with the lyric “when you love somebody”, alternating with Cetera’s semi-ad lib “end of time, always on my mind”.
No “solo” and no bridge. Now that’s slick!
(Of course, you gotta LOVE videos from the 80s! Great hair, the horn section is all playing synthesizers; just awesome!)
Another great example of creative use of the modulation. This is Gary Allan’s “Watching Airplanes”.
For those of you playing along at home, the verse is in F#, but the chorus is in B. He establishes the verse using the rock progression F#, E, B (or 1, flat 7, 4 in the numbers system).
What’s cool about this mod is that because “B” is in the key of “F#” (it’s the 4 chord of F# for you numbers people), it doesn’t jerk your ear as much as some other keys would.
Try this on your next song!
This is one of the most creative uses of the mod I’ve heard in a long time. It’s in Train’s “When I Look To the Sky”. After the bridge, they mod up a whole step for a half chorus BUT then come home to the original key to finish up the song. Psyche! Take listen!
This week’s modulation example comes from Rihanna’s “Only Girl (In the World)”.
The verse hangs out in the key of F# minor.
But then that chorus kicks in with a progression of G, to A, to B minor! What tweaks the ear so much (in my opinion) is the G chord being a 1/2 step up from the F# verse.
Note that having the key center of the chorus be B minor, which is actually the 4 chord in the key of F# allows us to get easily back to F# minor for the verse. Really nice!
The mod, or modulation (changing keys), in song arrangements has been around for a long time.
One of the more popular ways it’s been used (and maybe overused) is modulating at the last chorus, typically up a half step, or a whole step.
Celine Dion went to the bank doing this time and time again, most dramatically in her remake of “All By Myself” jumping up a minor 3rd at the last chorus! (Be careful using this idea in your song; only a few singers can sing this kind of range).