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Been in the lab, reading up on some new science, experimenting, etc. I want to make sure I'm understanding how to modulate in the simplest way with the simplest progressions.

http://www.mediafire.com/?jwqq279z46qz5nn

First example I've got is a progression of a "VI VII v i" then "VI VII i" kind of progression. At bar 8, I used a ii(?) chord instead of a VII again, so that along with the i chord before it, they also act as the iv and v of my desired new key, Em.

So, in the new key, there's a "iv v i" that could be set up, so I just used a generic progression starting with the i.

http://www.mediafire.com/?l8gknridc5age5v

In this one, the first progression repeats basically "i VI" with VII's between them. At the end of that progression, I use v instead of VII, since they function the same way. I decided to have that v act as the VII of the new key, which will have to be F#m.

Am I thinking about modulation correctly?

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Not exactly sure what you mean by modulation in this sense, because whenever i hear modulation i think of vibrato lolz :???:

However, I really do like the way these are written and your chord choices make perfect sense.

You obviously have some pretty good music theory under your belt (i can tell by the way you are naming your chords with roman numerals)

I hope someone can answer your question better than i can i'll do some research as well and see if this is indeed what you call "chord modulation"

It seems to me though that whatever it is you were intending worked out exactly the way you wanted it too.

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I'm not really that fond of naming chords with roman numerals, because it doesn't really mean much to me (not even sure if I label chords correctly all the time, either).. I still think of them as just "six" or "five", not "minor fifth" or whatever.. so, I'm definitely not good enough with theory to be a legit writer. lol

You might've listened to a song and recognized it was in, perhaps, the key of C, but then later on, the notes from the C scale weren't matching up at all anymore. At that point, the song probably modulated.

Mimicking Motoi Sakuraba's prog rock style requires it. :/

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Modulation, simply put, is a change of key. This can be done a number of ways - there is no "set" way to go about doing it. You can use pivot chords or just jump right into the new key.

Pivot chords are usually the smoothest way to go about modulation, since it's a gradual change and not a sudden punch in the face (although, there are plenty of smooth direct modulations I can think of). For instance, if you're in the key of C and you want to modulate to the key of G, the only difference in key is the F becomes F#. Any chord that doesn't use an F or an F# is shared between those two keys: C, E-, G, and A-. Use any of these to pivot between the two keys, then bring the F# in and it won't sound so abrupt. Using the A- as a predominant to D7 (dominant of the key of G) is a very smooth and strong cadence into the new key.

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Been in the lab, reading up on some new science, experimenting, etc. I want to make sure I'm understanding how to modulate in the simplest way with the simplest progressions.

http://www.mediafire.com/?jwqq279z46qz5nn

First example I've got is a progression of a "VI VII v i" then "VI VII i" kind of progression. At bar 8, I used a ii(?) chord instead of a VII again, so that along with the i chord before it, they also act as the iv and v of my desired new key, Em.

So, in the new key, there's a "iv v i" that could be set up, so I just used a generic progression starting with the i.

http://www.mediafire.com/?l8gknridc5age5v

In this one, the first progression repeats basically "i VI" with VII's between them. At the end of that progression, I use v instead of VII, since they function the same way. I decided to have that v act as the VII of the new key, which will have to be F#m.

Am I thinking about modulation correctly?

The first modulation to E works all right, although you approach E with its minor dominant instead of the much stronger major dominant. If you used B major or B7 to approach E instead of B minor the modulatory effect would be a lot stronger. It doesn't sound bad the way it is now; it's just a question of how strongly you want the modulation to come across.

The second modulation doesn't work so well (as in "doesn't sound like a textbook modulation," not as in "doesn't sound good") because vii only functions like V if vii is diminished (spelled E-sharp, G-sharp, B, in the case of an F-sharp key). The major VII of F-sharp that you use here means that you're approaching F-sharp with something that doesn't sound like its dominant, so the key change sounds abrupt.

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If you're looking for strong modulations, look at the leading tone of the new key (the 7th scale degree). It's the most prominent note of the key and tonality is very much based on the instability of the leading tone pulling to the stable tonic.

V- has a b7 instead of a leading tone, and thus doesn't pull into the new key terribly well.

(this is exactly why the harmonic and melodic minor keys were originated, to incorporate the tonal relationship of V -> I-, 7 being the 3rd of V.)

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i have not listened to these things yet, since i'm at work, but i can say with a pretty good degree of certainty that the progression doesn't have a VII in it, simply because VII is impossible without changing two of the three tones in the chord (up a step). pretty much the only way to have a major VII chord is when it functions as a V/iii.

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Just what I was looking for. ^^

I'm still a little scared of using the harmonic and melodic, because they sound so different from natural. Like, I could do without the minor sixth in a minor key, because that thing's a little useless, but I couldn't live without using the minor seventh in my melodies.

I think I'm confused about the second example. I understand that F#'s diminished vii would be used if I wanted to move to F# major, but I only want to move to F# minor. So, shouldn't an E major chord be better than an E diminished chord?

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I'm not really that fond of naming chords with roman numerals, because it doesn't really mean much to me (not even sure if I label chords correctly all the time, either).. I still think of them as just "six" or "five", not "minor fifth" or whatever.. so, I'm definitely not good enough with theory to be a legit writer. lol :/

Well "six" or "five" will only get you so far when trying to communicate your chord progression. the roman numerals are very specific and are easier to understand once you know them.

As far as being a legit writer. You can make a pretty decent rock song with a simple i, VI, VII, chord progression. add in a V every now and then to spice it up lolz.

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Just what I was looking for. ^^

I'm still a little scared of using the harmonic and melodic, because they sound so different from natural. Like, I could do without the minor sixth in a minor key, because that thing's a little useless, but I couldn't live without using the minor seventh in my melodies.

I think I'm confused about the second example. I understand that F#'s diminished vii would be used if I wanted to move to F# major, but I only want to move to F# minor. So, shouldn't an E major chord be better than an E diminished chord?

i think you're mixed up. in a lot of ways. i'd visit musictheory.net for an hour or so and brush up a bit.

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The diminished chord is made using an altered version of the minor scale. You're raising the E (b7) to E# (7) to get the leading tone of the new scale - remember when I mentioned that leading tone being very important to pulling into new keys?

By raising the E to E#, you change the chord from E major (which is bVII, not VII) to E#o (VIIo). This leads to a much stronger resolve to the F#.

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Hmm, ok.

http://www.mediafire.com/?vtxr51fdhfcrxz6

In this, the first one is preferred over the second one, right?

http://www.mediafire.com/?olk233msuiyokh2

and if that were so, Am to F#m might look like this? It sounds a little harsh. Having that 6th being diminished seems really odd for Am to have in there, too. So, should I just not be trying to enter F#m like this?

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Correct, E#o does not belong to both keys. F# minor and A minor are three accidentals apart, and share no common chords to pivot off of, so you're going to have to do some more complex stuff to get between the keys. Possibly go through E minor quickly to get an F# in the mix, at which point you can pivot off a B- or D chord.

Or just do a more direct modulation and throw a C#7 in there out of nowhere and resolve to F#-.

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Ah, cool. I thought it was supposed to be something easy to get to, because I saw a few songs with modulations down 3 half steps.

It's easy to do when you're going from a major key down a minor third to a minor key (i.e. from a major key to its relative minor key) because the key signature stays the same. Not quite so easy when you go minor to minor since as IBBIAZ pointed out there's a difference of three accidentals. Generally speaking, the closer the key signatures are to each other, the easier it is to modulate between the keys.

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It's not just the tonic, it's the key.

Going from A major to F# minor is very easy, as they have the exact same key signature - also called relative keys. A minor to F# minor is different, though.

correct - F# minor is A major's relative minor. Am to F#m would require some more creative changing. i'd suggest the worship-band method of transposing - when you're ready to change, just do a V4-3 (V chord with a 4-3 suspension) in F#m, and hit the F#m hard enough to settle.

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Interesting stuff.

lol, should've worded it better. I did learn how the song I was looking at handled going from a minor key down 3 to another minor key, though.

In the key of Am, the progression was first set up to end in i, Am, but when it was ready to modulate, it ended with Asus4, then the next chord dropped that suspended fourth to the major third, making it a regular A major chord. That left an easy modulation down to F#m, being the relative minor of the very brief A major.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFMc40qxJK4#t=50s

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