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  #1  
Old 03-04-2012, 01:49 PM
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Mission by Rush - key changes

[EDIT: I'm pretty sure what I'm missing here is Modal Theory. I suspect there wouldn't be so many key changes. Can someone help me with the mode?]

Hi all! I've been trying to teach myself music theory lately...well, actually I've been trying to teach myself theory for several years off an on, but I've had interest lately.

Rush is my favorite bands, and one of my favorite songs is "Mission" off of the "Hold Your Fire" album (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVXMTNKIEak)

Anyway, as an exercise, I figured I'd see if I could figure out the theory to it. There's a few things I'm missing, I think, so maybe someone can help?

The intro seems to be in the key of D, and the two chords are I (D) and V (A), then G (IV) and A (V).
Then the main verse..the key changes, right? To E? The chords for the verse are V (B), I (E), iii (G#m) and ii (F#m).

The chorus goes back to D with the same chords used in the intro. Then the verse and chorus again...then first guitar solo (verse).

Then the break is ANOTHER key change to Bbm (?) where the vamp is Bb5 - Db5 - Eb5 (I - iii -IV).

Then a riff in A (OMG another KEY CHANGE!) and then another modulation of the vamp up to B (B5-D5-E5).

Finally, for the bridge we go back to the intro chords, for the rest of the song everything returns to normal (thank God!).

So my questions...

1) Am I right in saying that the key changes a buhjillion times?
2) How would one come to this? Are there any rules you can see that I can't as to why these choices where made or where they just..."hey this sounds good, let's do this." I mean Considering modulation, the intro modulates up one key, and then down a whole + a half Bbm (aka Db). Down a 1/2 step again to A, then up a whole to B. Who would think of doing this? Maybe that's why they are such geniuses? I'm completely lost!

Anyone have any insight into any of this?

Thanks!

Last edited by pixelbox : 03-05-2012 at 12:21 PM.
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Old 03-05-2012, 01:42 PM
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Great Post!
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Old 03-05-2012, 02:19 PM
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Thanks!!! Now, uh.......

Can anyone answer my questions?!?!?
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Old 03-06-2012, 04:30 PM
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Hey Pixelbox,

You have the right idea! They are just forcing a modulation throughout the song, for an otherworldly / uplifting effect.

The only part that I'd not necessarily agree with in your analysis was the Verse, which I'd say is in B Major, I - IV - vi - V.

There are also tons of suspensions happening because the bass / keyboard isn't always following the guitar strictly, and vice versa. I didn't figure out the specifics there, but this is a really simple pop song at the core -- decorated with lots of lush chords.

Rush do this "continual modulation" all the time in their compositions. You can actually hear a lot of this in Nirvana, too. Especially on the Nevermind album. Devin Townsend is also really big on it, too.

-Carl.
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Old 03-06-2012, 05:07 PM
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Yay! Thanks for the help! Since I got it mostly right, now I'm confident enough to try a few more songs! This is neat!
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Old 03-08-2012, 01:57 PM
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Cool, let me know how it goes. This is right up my alley because I consider Rush the greatest rock band. They had everything! My favorite album by them is Hemispheres.
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Old 03-16-2012, 03:39 PM
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Sorry Pixel if this doesn't pertain to your post, I'm new to key changes, haha.

Carl, do you mind elaborating how Nirvana utilizes modulation in their music?
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