In the last lesson, we were learning about key modulation. It is a very important topic in music theory, and it’s the process of changing a key to another one. This is what makes possible, for example, to change the key of a song so that it can be performed by different singers and players.Key modulation is also called transposition.
So, when we say “transpose this song to F major” we mean “let’s modulate this song from the original key to the key of F major”.
Also, remember that when we transpose chords, we keep their types, that is, a minor chord transposed will still be a minor chord; a major 7th chord will keep as a major 7th, and so on.
Today we will continue to work on a few more examples, using some typical situations for both musicians and producers.
1) Lower the key of a song a half-step
Let’s consider the following example:
We have four bars in the key of F. By observing the key signature, we are able to tell the key of a song. Also, after checking the song’s harmony, we can also tell whether the song is in a major or minor key.
So, lowering the key of a song a half-step means just writing/playing it a half-step down, as shown below:
Notice that we transposed everything (melody, chords and key signature) a whole tone down.
2) Transpose the song to B flat major
Observe the following example:
Notice that we have a C Major example. To transpose it to Bb, all we need to do is to lower everything a whole step:
3) Transpose the song two whole steps up
For this example, let’s say that you don’t have the original sheet music, but only the chords, as shown below:
To transpose it two whole steps up is the same as going up a major third. So, the more you get familiar with intervals, the easier will be to work with modulation as well. Observe:
This is what most comping players do when they need to play for different singers, for example. It’s also very common that they have to modulate the chords in real time, while they are performing – they only have the original chords and play everything directly in the destination key. The more they train, the better they get doing that.
That’s it! Keep practicing and you will see your music skills getting stronger day by day.