Finding a chord that pulls a song successfully into a new key can be a challenge. Here are some ideas that might help.
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There is of course no rule that says that all songs have to start and end in the same key. And many songs make great use of the effect of starting in a mainly minor key for the verse, transitioning to a major key for the chorus. Justin Timberlake’s “Mirror” is a good example of this.
It’s usually between the verse and chorus that a key change will happen if at all. The nice thing about a key change is that it can inject a nice shot of energy, and that’s why many songwriters do it. But getting that transition right usually means finding that one chord that works well in the old key and the new one.
Here is a list of possible key changes you might consider for your song. Everything is given in either the key of C major or A minor, but are transposable to any starting key you wish. For each key change, you are given an example of what a good transition chord might be – the chord that bridges the two keys.
The example progressions are just that: examples. You’ll notice that each sample progression is in two parts: a first part in the starting key, then a vertical line that shows where the new key area starts. What’s most relevant to your needs as a songwriter are the chords right at the transition. Otherwise, you can modify the progressions for your own use.
If you want a PDF of this chart to print, click on the link below:
If you have another key change in mind and can’t get it to work, please feel free to post your idea below, and I’d be happy to help.
Written by Gary Ewer. Follow on Twitter.
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