Image showing monitor of music composition window.

Compose A Song with Key Changes

Did you know there are 11 possible fundamental changes for every primary key? Almost every song stays in only one key and has melodies and key progressions derived from the same musical key. Structural changes, also are known as musical modulation, which creates mood shifts, which have the capability of being quite dramatic sometimes and too subtle at times. So, if you ever wanted to compose a song with key changes, then this article is perfect for you. Read on to know some frequent and extreme vital changes you can incorporate into your song.

Whole-Step Modulation Is Effective and Viable

This is the most common method of key change. This 60-year-old method is used to add energy to the last chorus of a song. In the key C major, the chords built from the scales C Dm Em F G Am Bdim. From there we move a whole step higher to the key of D major, the chords will be D Em F#m G A Bm C#dim. Here “#” means higher pitch.

Image showing musical symbol notes.

Considering the melody
The most critical factor for key changes in a song is to determine how many different pitches are in the new key that you are about to add. This determines how closely related the previous, and the new key is, and how subtle or dramatic effect it will have on your song.

Half-Step Modulation Shouldn’t Be Ignored

If you create a closer change for instance from C major to Db major (here b signifies flatness or a lower pitch), the key will surprisingly move further away. Therefore, melody and chord progression will almost always sound different due to the new tones that come out in the melody in the original key.

The popular song, “the man in the mirror” by Michael Jackson, is an excellent example of Half-Step Modulation.

Though there are more ways to compose a song with fundamental changes that creates different moods for a song, for now, use these methods to change the atmosphere of your song by switching from one key to another.

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