Songs that change key in the middle, and back again

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Songs that change key in the middle, and back again

Postby Hugh-AR » 15 Nov 2019 22:51

I came across this video by David Bennett showing how some songs change key in the middle of them .. and usually back again. These key changes are what makes a song interesting, and the implication is that this is something that was done quite often in the past .. but not in recent 'pop' music.

Songs with a Downwards Key Change
The vast majority of key changes in pop songs move up, not down! So I've analysed the few songs that do modulate downwards, including Penny Lane, Layla, Wouldn't It Be Nice, Bohemian Rhapsody and You Are The Sunshine Of My Life, to get a better idea of what the downwards key change has to offer.

*CORRECTION*: I transcribed “You Are The Sunshine of My Life” all one semitone up from the original key! So it should be in B major modulating down to Ab major, not C major modulating down to A major. My analysis and all of that is still 100% accurate and relevant! Thanks to those who pointed that out. Sorry!



And another one by him:

4 Inventive Key Changes in Pop Music
I pick apart the key changes in 'Uptown Girl', 'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds', 'We've Only Just Begun' and 'God Only Knows' and analyse what makes them work so well.

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Re: Songs that change key in the middle, and back again

Postby Hugh-AR » 15 Nov 2019 22:56

Here's another song that has amazing chord changes in the middle of it:

While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Taken from Concert For George)

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Re: Songs that change key in the middle, and back again

Postby theleans » 04 Dec 2019 16:20

Hi,

I have no idea who I'm replying to, but here goes anyway on the above subject.

Nowhere here have I seen a mention of some of those wonderful 'really' old songs of the 20's 30's and 40's, where a number of such songs changed key for middle '8's', thereby bringing in more chord construction, and a greater degree of interest for the player.

Two such songs that spring to mind are - 'Moonlight In Vermont' and 'A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square'. Irrespective of what key I play these in, both songs change to 5 keys up. That is to say if playing 'Moonlight In Vermont' in Eflat, the key change is to 'G'. If playing 'A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square' in 'the key of 'Dflat', it changes to 'F'.

There were in this period, literally hundreds of songs that did this. And how much more interesting to the player, than the 3/4 chorded pop songs of the past 65yrs. As you can see, I'm prejudiced. !!!

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Re: Songs that change key in the middle, and back again

Postby dentyr » 04 Dec 2019 21:56

Hello, Probably the recent famous one:- Lara's Theme. Goes from G to Bb then back again. I like being cheeky with my T4 and hit the transpose button to change the key. Works fine for some who want to sing along but can't quite make the top notes. :wink: :) Regards, Den.
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Re: Songs that change key in the middle, and back again

Postby Hugh-AR » 06 Dec 2019 23:28

Hi Colin,

Thanks for suggesting those. That first one you mention, Moonlight In Vermont. Below is a 'backing track' for this song, showing the chords. Interesting .. what you said about the song changing key for the 'middle 8'.

MOONLIGHT IN VERMONT chord progression - Backing Track Play Along Jazz Standard Bible 2



And the second one, A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square is one that I play, and that has a great key-change in it. I play the song in Eb, so the middle bit is in G .. with a D7 after the Eb to lead into the key of G. Then there's an Fm7 and a Bb7 to get us back to the key of Eb.

Click the below to listen. Click the 'back button' afterwards to get back to this page.

A Nightingaqle Sang In Berkeley Square

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Re: Songs that change key in the middle, and back again

Postby Hugh-AR » 07 Dec 2019 00:08

Den,

Thanks for your suggestion too. Lara's Theme. Here's a YouTube clip of it being played on a Bohm organ. We can both hear and watch the key change .. and back again.

Dr. Schiwago / Lara's theme (James Last version) played on Böhm Emporio 600 organ



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Re: Songs that change key in the middle, and back again

Postby theleans » 07 Dec 2019 12:14

There are in fact, quite a number of songs that pass through 2 or 3 key changes. Thus:-

'It Might as Well Rain Until September'. - I normally play it in 'C' and the middle 8 goes through 'Db' and 'D' before returning to 'C'. Here's a YouTube clip of this song.

Bobby Vee - It Might As Well Rain Until September



'Girl From Ipanema' - I play this in 'F' and the middle 8 goes to 'F sharp' then to 'A' then into 'Bb', then returning to 'F'.

Here is my take on Girl From Ipanema.
Do a right-click to open it up in a New Tab
https://app.box.com/s/gmi594edlw35txhm8qlbj6w5a9qjyfci

I suspect that there are literally hundreds of songs with key changes such as those we've mentioned. And all the better for it. In all genres.

Here are a couple more real old songs which encompass key changes. Thus:- ‘Once In Awhile’ and ‘All The Things You Are’.

If I were to play ‘Once In Awhile’ in the key of ‘Bb’ it changes into ‘D’. Here's a YouTube clip showing this. Sung by The Chimes in 1961. The video may bring back some memories!

Once in a While - The Chimes 1961



In the case of ‘All The Things You Are’ it’s the transition from the verse into the main melody. If I were to play the verse in ‘G’ the main melody changes to ‘Db’. Again, a YouTube clip of this song.

All the things you are - Judy Garland
February 13, 1940 - NBC Radio "The Pepsodent Show Starring Bob Hope". 17 year old Judy Garland sings this song for the only time.




So you see, there are many of the ‘real’ old songs that come into this category. All of which reminds me, that I’ve now watched the YouTube video ‘The Truth – Why Modern Music Is Awful’. Very very interesting. However, I was amazed that one particular aspect of music was totally overlooked. Namely ‘chord structures’. To my mind one of the main changes to come out of popular music since 1955. It’s a subject which I feel very strongly about, and I might well write a document about it.

The TRUTH Why Modern Music Is Awful



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Re: Songs that change key in the middle, and back again

Postby theleans » 08 Dec 2019 22:17

Here's another one that changes key in the middle (a Medley of two). 'Wave' and ‘Desifinado’ (Slightly Out Of Tune).

'Wave' has two key changes.
Desifinado’ - I’ve played this in Eflat, which has a middle 8 in ‘G’.
So, both songs come under the banner of ‘changing keys’.
Click on the below to hear my version of these two tunes.

Wave / Desifinado
Do a right-click to open this up in a New Tab
https://app.box.com/s/qnrehm4fi20nfxk3ej3tly39saaezong

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Re: Songs that change key in the middle, and back again

Postby Hugh-AR » 09 Dec 2019 17:30

Here's another song that has a change of key for the middle 8. It was composed by a Rep who years ago used to stay at our Hotel on his way to Devon and Cornwall. His name was Mel Clode, and he used to have a band on board a cruise ship before settling down in UK and becoming a Rep for a cosmetics company. Every time he came to stay he would bring his keyboard and set it up to play through the amplifier of my Farfisa Organ. Wonder what happened to him? This is the song he would play every time he came.

Click the below to listen, then click the 'back-button' after to get back to this page.
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