Tip #116 – Key Change with a Predictable Melody

Once you established an “earworm” melody in the listener’s… ears of course, you have the ability to pull out the rug from underneath them and do a key change.


Well, first take a look at the composition below:

Say that the first four measures is the original motif/chorus/theme… whatever you want to call it. We know that on every repeat the second measure of the four measure pattern the melody is an A4.

However, that pitch can be harmonized in a multitude of ways. Looking back at the example above, the pitch is now harmonized with an A major triad instead of an A minor triad. This chord then acts as a IV chord in a IV-V-I progression taking us to the key of E Major.

This sounds smooth to the ear because we were already expecting that A to happen… just not the other notes around it.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Feel free to comment, share, and subscribe for more daily tips below! Till next time.

Author: Bryan M. Waring

Bryan Waring is a graduate of USM's School of Music with a B.M. in Performance – Composition and is now attending Belmont University for a M.M. in Commercial Media – Composition & Arranging. During his time at USM, he studied violin with Dino Liva and composition with Dr. Daniel Sonenberg, as well as has premiered several pieces during the semiannual Composer's Ensemble concert series. In 2017, Bryan was a writer for the original musical theater work of "Molded By The Flow," directed by Paul Dresher and Rinde Eckert. Outside of school, Bryan has been involved with writing music for videogame developers at Portland's CI2 Lab, collaborating with the King Tide Party, and studying with Larry Groupé (Straw Dogs) in San Diego. Now living in Nashville. Along with composing, Bryan teaches music to children, receiving the Master Teacher Award for his work at ESF Camps; and does audio engineering for live ensembles. Besides talents in music, Bryan is a team-player in any competitive work environment; equipped with skills in leadership, organization, mathematics, creativity, communication, and managing. On the side, Bryan has worked as a model for several skilled artists in the New England area. Among his other accomplishments include obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout in April 2013 with a project of building a side parking area with guide rails for Webb Mountain Park in Monroe, CT.

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