Most of the time, a song will begin and end in the same key, keeping that key throughout its entire length. If that sounds boring to you, it isn’t. At least not necessarily. Listeners are more likely to focus in on melodies and lyrics than anything else, and so it is completely fine to stay in the same key as a song progresses. You can even write an entire song using the same chord progression for every section.
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But there is something to be said for changing key as your song moves from one section to the next. In my own opinion, it gives you good opportunities to explore the beneficial musical contrast between major and minor.
But if you’re not sure how to change key, or which keys work well together, take a look at the following five examples. They all show how you might link various keys together, and benefit from the nice variety of sound they offer.
Sometimes it’s a change of key, but in some cases the key doesn’t really change — it’s more a case that the focus of the progression changes from major to minor.
They’re just suggestions, of course, so feel free to take them and change them, or use them as a starting point for your own key ideas. They’ll work at any tempo, in most genres, and so experiment away! Most of the time you may want to try repeating the verse and/or the chorus progression to get a good length that will work in your song.
I’ve put them all in C major (or a key related to C major) for ease of experimentation, but they’re all easily transposable to any key you wish. (There’s an online tool for transposing chords which you might find helpful is transposition isn’t easy for you yet, and you can find it here.
Remember that chords with a slash indicate that the note to the left of the slash is the chord name, and the note to the right is the suggested bass note.
- VERSE: Am Em F C |Dm Em F E || CHORUS: C F Dm G |Am Em F G |BRIDGE: Am Bb F G Dm Bb F G
- VERSE: Dm Em Dm Am |G Dm Em Dm || CHORUS: C G Am Em | F C Am G || BRIDGE: Dm A Dm Bb |F Dm Bb A | Gm Dm Bb F |Dm Em F G
- VERSE: C Dm C G |C Dm Am G || CHORUS: Ab Eb Fm G |Ab Eb Fm G|Ab Eb Bb Cm|F Fm Gsus G||
- VERSE: C F C G|Am F C G || CHORUS: C/E F C/G G | Am C Dm G||BRIDGE: Am Em Bbsus Bb |Am Em Dm G |Am Em Bbsus Bb |C/G G F G
- VERSE: Fmaj7 C Fmaj7 C |Dm7 Bb9 Am7 Gm7 ||CHORUS: F C/E Dm7 Bb9 |C F Dm7 G13
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