― Rommel Cox, Monday, 20 January 2003 21:21 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Cozen (Cozen), Monday, 20 January 2003 21:31 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Alex in NYC (vassifer), Monday, 20 January 2003 21:41 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Myonga Von Ballast (Monty Von Byonga), Tuesday, 16 May 2006 03:53 (7 years ago) Permalink
Great key changes can really make a song, but pointless ones abound. Loads of 70s pastiche rock n roll stuff did the so-called Truck Driver's key change, moving up a tone, more than once, to convey mounting excitement towards the end; but really it just serves to show up the paucity of musical ideas in the song. Rockin Around the Christmas Tree (Shakin Stevens?) springs to mind.
― dr x o'skeleton, Tuesday, 16 May 2006 08:23 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Daniel Peterson (polkaholic), Tuesday, 16 May 2006 13:23 (7 years ago) Permalink
However, the inarguable champion of all key changes has to be "Walk The Line". Not only does he change keys every verse, he actually HUMS the home note, on record, to make sure he knows what he's doing! Memorable, strangely hooky, and folksy/intimate in a way that actually serves the song's narrative.
― Doctor Casino (Doctor Casino), Tuesday, 16 May 2006 14:48 (7 years ago) Permalink
"Think" (Aretha Franklin) gets points for being one of the earliest key changes there is.
Generally speaking, I like half-step key changes more than whole-step ones. "English Rose" by The Jam, for example.
"Day After Day" by The Pretenders rules because a) it comes early and b) it's a step and a half.
"Just Once" by Jeffrey Osborne is a great key change not so much on its own terms but because it's led into seamlessly by a bizarro bridge.
― Rick Massimo (Rick Massimo), Tuesday, 16 May 2006 14:59 (7 years ago) Permalink
― JAS, Tuesday, 16 May 2006 15:48 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Colin Meeder (Mert), Tuesday, 16 May 2006 16:12 (7 years ago) Permalink
oh FUCK yeah. OTM
also gotta give it up for badfinger's "baby blue" -- the key change into the bridge ("what would i dooooo..."), THEN the key change into the solo! they perfected that shit.
― Lawrence the Looter (Lawrence the Looter), Tuesday, 16 May 2006 16:42 (7 years ago) Permalink
I remember one summer back in the mid-'80s hanging out in the park with a cousin, listening to a lousy local country-rock band play a free concert in the bandshell. They closed "Elvira", that Oak Ridge Boys song, an endless rendition that climaxed with, like, a dozen repetitions of the chorus, a steady half-step upward modulation on each one. It was horrible and hilarious all at once.
― Myonga Von Bartok, Tuesday, 16 May 2006 17:36 (7 years ago) Permalink
The modulation on Louis Philippe's "Sweet Dollar Bill" is brilliant, too, both into the chorus and out of the chorus.
Both are tonic-mediant relationships, you uncaring non-technicians. The best way to change key, I think.
Although it's not a key change proper, the "I need your love..." section in Burt Bacharach's "This Guy's In Love With You" is pretty choice. The entire song sounds like it's in C, but then, in the chorus, it shifts gears and makes it sound like the entire song has always been in G.
― Owen Pallett (Owen Pallett), Tuesday, 16 May 2006 22:31 (7 years ago) Permalink
The worst key change happens at the end of the bridge on The Left Banke's "She May Call You Up Tonight". Ruins an otherwise perfect song.
― Owen Pallett (Owen Pallett), Tuesday, 16 May 2006 22:32 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Pleasant Plains /// (Pleasant Plains ///), Tuesday, 16 May 2006 22:38 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Myonga Von Bunny (Monty Von Byonga), Tuesday, 16 May 2006 22:48 (7 years ago) Permalink
The key change at the end of The Village Green Preservation Society always bugged me.
― kornrulez6969 (TCBeing), Tuesday, 16 May 2006 23:40 (7 years ago) Permalink
Great chorus, good guitar lick, so-so protest lyrics, ruined.
Big Country in a nutshell.
― the', Wednesday, 17 May 2006 08:01 (7 years ago) Permalink
Worst is the Houston/Carey/Dion thing already mentioned.
― Ant, Wednesday, 17 May 2006 08:14 (7 years ago) Permalink
― JimD (JimD), Wednesday, 17 May 2006 09:34 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Doctor Casino (Doctor Casino), Tuesday, 20 June 2006 16:36 (6 years ago) Permalink
― Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Tuesday, 20 June 2006 17:55 (6 years ago) Permalink
The first thing that struck me, and I don't even like the song all that much, was "Here In Your Bedroom" by Goldfinger, which jumps up for half the second verse and then goes back into the original key, unexpected and interesting.
I love when songs modulate up right before a solo (a la "And I Love Her" as noted upthread) other examples of that, Stacy's Mom by Fountains of Wayne, Trina Magna by Blues Traveler.
I also enjoy those rare occaisions where someone says "forget this half step up nonsense, we're going up a FOURTH." Seminal example of that being Son of a Preacher Man.
― Ash (ashbyman), Tuesday, 20 June 2006 18:51 (6 years ago) Permalink
― bernard snow (sixteen sergeants), Tuesday, 20 June 2006 19:21 (6 years ago) Permalink
― Brooker Buckingham (Brooker B), Tuesday, 20 June 2006 20:48 (6 years ago) Permalink
― Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Tuesday, 20 June 2006 21:09 (6 years ago) Permalink
Of course in the version "we all know and love" the silence is filled with church bells ringing and another round of "LADADLALDALALDLALADDDADADADA", a true travesty, even though I secretly prefer this version.
― JTS (JTS), Tuesday, 20 June 2006 21:29 (6 years ago) Permalink
― Jesus Dan (Dan Perry), Tuesday, 20 June 2006 21:32 (6 years ago) Permalink
-- Geir Hongro
Yeah, that's a good'un indeed. And hey, didn't Freddie & The Dreamers do nearly the exact same thing in "I'm Telling You Know"? Must be some kinda Merseybeat thing. (Actually, I think those sorts of key changes work best if they occur immediately after a bridge.)
― Monty Von Byonga (Monty Von Byonga), Saturday, 8 July 2006 08:00 (6 years ago) Permalink
Hm, remind me where there's a key change on that EP?
The best key change ever is the completely unprepared change from C major to F major in the bridge of "From Me To You". Totally revolutionary at the time (at least in a "rock" song)
It's a nice key change, but it's neither completely unprepared nor was it totally revolutionary. The C at the end of the verse acts as the pivot chord, and the addition of a single accidental is just not that mind-blowing. The G+ chord that comes a few bars later is cooler.
― Steve Go1dberg (Steve Schneeberg), Saturday, 8 July 2006 16:07 (6 years ago) Permalink
(musical explanation follows)
The chord progression is really brilliant and subtle. The song starts off in C, following a fairly standard chord structure that ends with a spicy G+ chord. It repeats itself in C, but when it gets to the G+ chord for a second time, it re-interprets the G+ as an Eb+ (augmented chords, like diminished chords, are symmetrical, and so any note in the chord can be treated as the root), and resolves to Ab major. It repeats the original chord progression in Ab major, and when it hits the Eb+ again, it now treats it as a B+ and resolves to E major. Same thing again, but this time the B+ gets treated as G+ again and the song returns to C, where it ends. So three key changes and a complete symmetrical (each modulation is by a minor sixth, a much-favored non-diatonic tone in major-key pop songs, also contained in the iv chord that appears in each verse) traversal of the circle of fifths. And the first several times I listened to it I didn't even notice the key changes. The little slide guitar bit makes the transitions super smooth. For all of their great harmonic tricks, I can't think of a Beatles song that does anything quite like this.
(end musical explanation)
― Steve Go1dberg (Steve Schneeberg), Saturday, 8 July 2006 17:41 (6 years ago) Permalink
Or maybe it goes around the circle of fifths, now I can't remeber
― Adam S S (Zephery), Saturday, 8 July 2006 20:14 (6 years ago) Permalink
― Steve Go1dberg (Steve Schneeberg), Sunday, 9 July 2006 03:23 (6 years ago) Permalink
― Steve Go1dberg (Steve Schneeberg), Sunday, 9 July 2006 06:04 (6 years ago) Permalink
"...the harmonic card trick contained in its intro remains one of their most clever and daring ever."
More from AWP:
"Quite unusually for Lennon and McCartney, we find here an old fashioned kind of intro in the style of, say, Gerswhin or Porter. It's fully developed as a section unto itself with material not heard in the remainder of the song, and set-off from what follows by a different texture in the instrumental backing track... Next note The harmonic shape of this section is another story entirely; hardly at all "old fashioned" and rather both ingenious and clumsy at the same time. At the very start you pretty much assume that the opening chord (e-flat-minor) is the i chord of the home key but as the music free-falls first through D-Major (A tritone substitution! -Ed) and then continues down to D-flat-Major, you're no longer so sure about that; in fact, for a couple measures, you're totally lost and out to sea — go ahead and admit it, it's good for your soul :-) Next note It's only after we come back to the e-flat chord in measure 5 that you quite regain your bearings, only now, this e-flat chord feels much more like a ii in relationship to the D-flat chord of the previous measure. The real coup is in the way in which the second time around, the music makes an harmonic pivot, using the same D-Major chord that had appeared more or less in passing during the first phrase, now as the I of the actual home key of the song."
― Steve Go1dberg (Steve Schneeberg), Sunday, 9 July 2006 16:14 (6 years ago) Permalink
― Tim Ellison (Tim Ellison), Sunday, 9 July 2006 16:19 (6 years ago) Permalink
― Tim Ellison (Tim Ellison), Sunday, 9 July 2006 16:22 (6 years ago) Permalink
― Rockist_Scientist (RSLaRue), Sunday, 9 July 2006 16:23 (6 years ago) Permalink
― Tim Ellison (Tim Ellison), Sunday, 9 July 2006 16:31 (6 years ago) Permalink
Right, that's what it says in the paragraph I quoted.
I mean both things: the original chromatic descent from Eb minor as tonic down to the VII chord and then using the chromatic passing chord as the new tonic the second time down. What the hell?
The chromatic passing chord, as I briefly alluded to, can be analyzed as a tritone substitution. It's a common re-harmonization technique in jazz, and George Gershwin used it in his songs, which is where I would guess The Beatles got it. I did a presentation on Gershwin in a 20th century music class where I compared his "I've Got a Crush on You" to "If I Fell." Both use that same tritone substitution anyway.
It works by substituting for the V chord the chord with its root a tritone away. So in Db major, a ii V7 I progression would be Ebm Ab7 Db. The chord a tritone away from Ab7 is D(7). The substitution works because Ab7 and D7 share two crucial notes: their third and seventh, C and F# (Gb). The Beatles don't use the seventh in the D chord, but it's the same principle. It also creates that slick chromatic root motion.
― Steve Go1dberg (Steve Schneeberg), Sunday, 9 July 2006 16:57 (6 years ago) Permalink
― Tim Ellison (Tim Ellison), Sunday, 9 July 2006 17:16 (6 years ago) Permalink
― Joe (Joe), Sunday, 9 July 2006 17:56 (6 years ago) Permalink
Simultaneously best and worst key change (between verse and chorus, obviously - i mean, how can you miss a key change like that)
― billstevejim (billstevejim), Sunday, 9 July 2006 23:55 (6 years ago) Permalink
i don't think that this is up for debate
― drich (drich), Monday, 10 July 2006 00:11 (6 years ago) Permalink
― Bryan Moore (Bryan Moore), Monday, 10 July 2006 02:48 (6 years ago) Permalink
I would like to hear the Homer and Jethro parody/fakeout trucker's key change mentioned here.
― Retrato Em Redd E Blecch (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 14 September 2008 04:29 (4 years ago) Permalink
The worst key change ever is in Billy Ocean's "Get Outta My Dreams (Get Into My Car)".
― Brooker Buckingham (Brooker B), Tuesday, June 20, 2006 4:48 PM Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink
I like how he doesn't try to sneak it on to you or anything, though - it gets a regal welcome! "Get out of my...Get out of MY! GET OUT OF MY DREAMS!" I like the gulf between that level of pomp and the topic of the song, which is demanding that a woman get into your car. Based on the spoken-word intro I wonder if this is being done at gunpoint.
― Doctor Casino, Sunday, 14 September 2008 04:44 (4 years ago) Permalink
I can't figure it out, but there's song acoustic singer-songwriter type thing that sounds like that guy from Sublime or a shittier Anthony Keidis, and the thing has about 5 key changes in it. It's short, but it packs a lot of irritation into its length. Ugh. My sister-in-law's iTunes is so annoying when she gets a mind to play it.
Then there was some song my friend Joseph and I were listening to repeatedly last fall with all of these brilliant uses of key changes, but I can't remember what right now.
― bamcquern, Wednesday, 24 June 2009 23:14 (3 years ago) Permalink
"there's song acoustic"
no I did not proofread that.
song - some, I guess