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How do you change keys? Either within the song or transitioning between songs.

hey guys!
i was wondering if any of you had tips for the question in the title.
i really like the effect that changing keys within the song (e.g. leading up to a second chorus) gives that sense of emotional buildup. and i wanted to know how to transition between songs of different keys aside from just stopping the strum and starting in the new key.

just for reference. i play the guitar, and i know a pretty decent amount of music theory.

any help would be well appreciated!

Tags: change, key

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Using the IV/V chord in the new key is a fairly good way to change keys. For instance if you are in the key of C you can use the G/A to modulate to the key of D.

Also common tones are a good way to change keys. To go from Bb to D simply end the song in Bb on a D chord since the D note is common to both the Bb and D chord.
Using the IV/V chord in the new key is a fairly good way to change keys. For instance if you are in the key of C you can use the G/A to modulate to the key of D.

Also common tones are a good way to change keys. To go from Bb to D simply end the song in Bb on a D chord since the D note is common to both the Bb and D chord.
For between song transitions I cheated when I first started. I bought "The Praise and Worship Team Instant Tune-up" book which has a modulation chart. It shows how to get from any key to any other key using 3 different chord patterns. For example to get from C to D it suggests using any the these 3 patterns. 1) G for half a measure, A7 for half a measure; or 2) A7 for a full measure; or 3) Em7 for a full measure, G/A for a full measure. Sometimes I use just part or different variations of these suggested chords, or play around with my own modulations using chords common to both keys.
I don't think this is cheating anymore than getting the information from this site. Gotta learn sometime. I think this book is one of the best resources for modulation when you're learning. Check it out. Enough material to have you set for quite a while.
Please! Send more suggestions! We really struggle in this area. Sometimes, we just let the first song fade in a bit and then fade into the next one while someone is reading scripture or quoting a phrase of some kind. It works, but I like the modulation ideas. Flow is important.
One more thing to consider: what are the keys the songs are in? I have personally found that going up more than one and a half tones (three semi-tones) isn't really smooth. For example: F to A, C to E and all that. I also personally found that going down doesn't really work either. A to G? Naw...

When I lead worship, I would choose songs that allow me to go up in key for each song. For example:

1) My Hope is in You (A)
2) Made Me Glad (A-C)
3) Still (C-D)
4) A Shield About Me (D-E)

If you have a decent number of songs on your list it isn't very restrictive to choose songs this way. And this makes changing key very much simpler. :)
That's excellent advice. It certainly explains why we had to abandon some ideas...
There are alot of good ideas posted here about using a chord or series of chords to make the transition. There are also some online sites that discuss modulation if you want some more detail.

Another method we have used is to have the keys do a short instrumental which jumps up one step (without any 7th or other transition chord) and repeats the final line or segment of the current song in that higher key. Then sometimes the guitars jump right in with the new key, or sometimes we have the keys just sit on a sustain of just the root note of the new key for an extra measure or so before we do anything else. It all depends on what the mood of the song is, and whether there are other changes going on such as time signature...
Nice links Patti. Knowing the theory that makes modulations work is so much more useful than memorizing or having to look up transitional chords. Thanks.
thank you all for your prompt replies! :)

looks like i've got quite a few options now.
I picked up a nice tip from Tom Brookes (Integrity) about modulations, and transitions.

It's easy on a keyboard, but applies to guitar/bass also.

The strongest mods. are whole steps. The weaker are 1/2 steps.

Lets say were in the key of G maj. and we want to goto D maj.
Your transition will be what is called the 4/5 (four over the five) of the NEW key you want to go to.
Ex. At the end of a chorus/bridge we will play a G maj. chord over an A in the bass.
The chord is something like a G11 in the long form. In slash chord, it is written as: G/A
In the key of D, D is the root, the 4th of D is G...add the 5th in the bass (A) and, wahlah...transition is made.
You can also do a sus4 on the last line, repeat the sus4 up one a whole step, repeat the vocal line, and go from there.

You can actually go DOWN in key, but it gets a little clunky.

This works real well for major keys.
just wanted to give another big "THANKS" to you all.
i'm leading for the combined service this coming sunday (adult congregation included) so i'm definitely somewhat antsy.

i'll reply back with what i tried and how it went. :)


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