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I came across this amazing video my favourite song 21 Guns -Green Day
How did they change the scale of the song at 1:47 and at 3:00. What is the trick they are using here? How can I learn that? Being a piano player, I must know this great power of changing the key of the song during the song. This amazing key change in a song makes my day. It takes a song to the next level!
Anorher example of the same awesome thing can be in "Kiss the rain" - Yiruma at 3:23.
Please don't use complex words because I am not trained in music theory although I know the basics. That includes chord intervals, major minor chords, arpeggios, chord circle, etc.
Thanks to this amazing, supportive, responsive and simlly brilliant community of pianists! You guys have really helped me grow!
Last edited by Shreyansh Agarwal; 02/11/1811:33 AM.
Your question is two-fold. In the title of the thread you are asking how you can change the key in a song (1). Then you ask how Green Day and Yiruma are doing it (2). There are many possibilities all of which require some deeper understanding of music theory. You would not understand without that. And no, it cannot be explained in an easier way.
(1) For example: if you are through with the melody for the first time and you are on the tonic and you want to transpose by a subsidiary second, play the dominant seventh chord of the new tonic which then leads you to the new key signature. E.g. you end in C major, play Ab7, and then you can play the melody in D-flat major. The c is the common note, it is part of both chords, C major and A-flat7, and that makes the transition smooth. This is the easiest way to change to a new key, and you might do that without understanding what you are doing. Just do it, and it will sound fine. C - Ab7 - Db, and there you are. But I fear that quite a different problem arises there. In this case you must be able to play the melody in D-flat major...
(2) The song starts in B-flat major. At 1:47 the harmony changes from B-flat major (tonic, the strings are playing eb – d, eb – d; eb is the suspension to the d) to C major (the strings play f – e, f – e; f being the suspension to the e) which is the dominant of the new key signature F major, though the new part initially starts with a d minor chord, the parallel minor key signature. The move from B-flat major to C major "converts" the former tonic into the subdominant of the new key, followed by the new dominant which creates a cadence. At 3:00 you have the so-called “bridge” of the song, which is the song’s climax, a short new melody that "bridges" the first part and the reprise of the refrain. Such a bridge usually comes with some new harmony to catch the listeners’ attention, something like enharmonic key changes or the like. In this case, they are just going back to B-flat major again, starting from the final C major chord at the end of the F major section, the dominant, but they are interpreting it as the subdominant of G minor, which is the first chord of the bridge. The listener is expecting F major but gets G minor instead, unexpectedly, and that pricks his ears. The bridge has the chords G minor, E-flat major, B-flat major, F major (D7 in the repetition, then E-flat major, F7 which is the dominant of the subsequent reprise of the main theme in B-flat major again). Yiruma is moving from A-flat major to A major, see (1), but not only through the new dominant (E7) but through a descending fifth (I hope this is the correct word in English, "Quintfall" in German) via B minor-7 which has some dominant function to the following E major eventually leading to A major.
All in all, this is advanced stuff, nothing a beginner could understand. I can determine this by ear, though...
I've understood half of the green day song. But that B flat major to Cmajor to G minor is puzzling me. How can they interpret it as the subdominant of G minor when it is the dominant of B flat? How does that work? Is this some magic. How does it sound so amazing?
As far as Yiruma is concerned, I don't know what a descending 5th is. I will search it up on the internet.
I am very curious to know how you leaned dissect this. Although I can figure out the chords of songs on my own but getting to know so much by listsning is amazing! Can you suggest me some other songs which I can listen to which change their key? So that I can really learn this skill. Also if you could suggest any youtube video....anything free
Green Day are not really "interpreting" the Bb chord as the subdominant, maybe my formulation is incorrect, a chord like B-flat just can have different functions within different harmonic contexts. First it is the tonic but when C major and F major are following it is the subdominant within that new harmonic context. Bb - C - F is a cadence. After the cadence they are in the new key signature F major which lies one key further in the chord circle.
Originally Posted by Shreyansh Agarwal
But that B flat major to Cmajor to G minor is puzzling me. How can they interpret it as the subdominant of G minor when it is the dominant of B flat?
They are not playing that, they are playing Bb - C - F. Second, C major is not the dominant of B-flat (F is), C is the subdominant to Gminor, and that is what they are playing at the beginning of the bridge. In the Yiruma case: Bmajor is the dominant to E major which is the dominant to A major. b is 5 notes away in the scale from e which is 5 notes away from a (in descending direction, down on the keyboard). Now he changed B major into B minor7 but that does not really alter its dominant function (besides, the 7th note, the a, leads to the g# in the following E chord, and this g# leads to the base note a of the new tonic A major). Play the sequence "Ab - Bminor7 - E - A" and you will hear a smooth transition form Ab to A major.
Nothing about these things is magic.
I learned these things in my music classes in school and in my piano lessons when I was a child. Figuring out things by ear can be learned only to a limited extent, I think one must be a natural. When you play me a song I can tell by ear which key signature it is, also to some extent what notes an instrument is playing at the moment, but a I cannot explain how I am doing it and how I learned it. I just noticed in my piano lessons that I was able to do it, and since then I keep "practising" it whenever I hear something on the radio or on Youtube. I think you call that "perfect pitch". To me, each chord has a special character, like a colour, flats sound harder than sharps, C major sounds "simple", Db major and Gb major sound "noble"... Well, this last paragraph is probably not helpful for you, so you may forget it.
Oh, that is interesting. Thanks, KeepItInC! I was not looking at the sheet music. Actually, the first chord in bar 57 is not B minor7 (although it would sound very similar). I heard b-d-f#-a while it actually is e-d-f#-a, different bass note. So Yiruma is on the dominant E already and uses the a as a suspension to g#.