What Changing Key Can Do For Your Song

Most songs will end in the same key that they start in. If there is a key change, probably the most common one would be presenting the verse in a minor key, and then switching to the relative major key for the chorus. For example, you might start your song in A minor, and then switch to C major at the chorus. Since both those keys use the same key signature — no sharps or flats — they’re said to “related” to each other.

But there are many ways to change key in a song. Raising the key by a semitone in the final chorus repeats, for example (“Man in the Mirror”, Michael Jackson, is a good example), is a relatively common one in pop songwriting.

If you’d like to learn more about this sort of effect and what it can do for your song, take a look at the following short list. They’re all blog articles I’ve written over the past several years on this blog, and I hope you find them helpful.

“3 Cool Ways to Change Key”

Changing key within a song can add that spark of variety and uniqueness you might be looking for. Of course, key choice will be closely related to the vocal range of your melodies; you can’t put your song in a certain key if it puts the melody out of your own vocal range. More..

“A Quick Key Change Extends a Chord Progression’s Life”

I really do believe that most songwriters worry too much about the possible banality of their chord progressions. It’s OK for a progression to be boring and predictable. More..

How to Make a Downward Key Change Work

Regarding the changing of key within the same song (called modulation), the songs that start in minor for the verses and switch to major for the chorus are the most common kind. Here’s how that usually works. More..

Working Key Changes Into Your Songs

For most of the songs you’ll write, you’ll likely use the same key throughout. If you do happen to change key, the mostly common scenario is to put the verse in a minor key and then switch to the relative major for the chorus, like Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend.” More..

Quick Key Changes Can Solve a “Too Much Repetition” Problem

It’s not uncommon for songwriters to be looking for unique chord progressions that will, in turn, make their song sound unique. But some of the best songs written use very basic chord progressions, usually dictated by the expectations of their chosen genre.

Gary EwerWritten by Gary Ewer. Follow Gary on Twitter.

“The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 10-eBook Bundle“The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 10-eBook bundle comes with a free copy of “Use Your Words! Developing a Lyrics-First Songwriting Process”, along with an all-important Study Guide!

Posted in songwriting and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .

One Comment

  1. Very important topic thanks Gary! Did you receive that list of parallel modulation tricks I sent you via email? Those are some wonderful songs that demonstrate how mixing parallel keys creates a very striking effect!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.