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Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 8,382
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 8,382
08/01/2006 2:38 pm
Originally Posted by: bunmiadefisayo...but i wanted to know how i could do it seamlessly so there wouldnt have to be a pause when i want to shift keys. Like for instance you play a I IV V cadence, instead of going back on home key after V, what chord can i use to transition to the new key i want (lets, for argument's sake say i want to move up a whole step).

Play the V chord of the NEW key you are changing to. Or play the IV-V or the ii-V of the new key. Also, look for chords that contain common tones for better integration (or "smooth sounding" transitions - or "seamless" as you say!). For example:

Key of G major: G, A, B, C, D, E, F#
Key A major: A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G#

They share the notes A, B, D, E, F#. So out of those notes you can make a D major chord or a B minor chord (or B minor 7). When you play the D chord it will sound as the V of G major, but the IV of A major.

The next important part is to consider the rhythm or phrasing you use. If the song typically uses one chord per measure of 4/4 and is structured in 4 bar phrases then use THAT format. Don't play against it unless you want to draw attention to the key change. To make it sound "seamless" or "natural" figure out a way to keep that same order.

An actual song or chord progression would help here to use as a concrete example. I will use this as an example:

| G \ \ \ | E min \ \ \ | C \ \ \ | D \ \ \ |

Now if your song does this all the time simply adding an E chord as a extra measure will sound awkward.

| G \ \ \ | E min \ \ \ | C \ \ \ | D \ \ \ | E \ \ \ |

So you might want to consider keeping with the 4 measure phrasing but altering the chords slightly in order to get to key of A major:

| G \ \ \ | E min \ \ \ | C \ \ \ | D \ E \ |

Or just go right to the new V chord:

| G \ \ \ | E min \ \ \ | C \ \ \ | E \ \ \ |

Doesn't sound too bad because the C major and E major share the note E.

I like this type of choice personally:

| G \ \ \ | E min \ \ \ | B min 7 \ \ \ | E7 \ \ \ |

Because the first 3 chord are solidly in key of G and the last 2 are in key of A. So you get a bit of overlapping there. :)

Finally (I know I sound like a broken record here :P) but voice leading is very important and frequently overlooked as a way of making smooth transitions. So here is one way of playing that last example:

G E min B min 7 E7

Then right into A major chord and key!
Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

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