Tips For Changing Keys In A Song

Have you ever wondered how to go about changing keys in a song? Possibly in the last verse, or in a bridge, or something like that?

If you’ve ever tried changing keys in a song before, it’s possible you’ve run into the question of which chords to use while doing that.

The trick that I teach in today’s guitar lesson is quite simple, but requires a little bit of knowledge of guitar music theory. The basic idea is that you use the V chord of the key that you’re starting in as the “push” chord for going to the next key. Then you can change to the I chord from the next key, and you’ll notice that the old V chord has now become the new IV chord! It is because this chord is shared between the two keys that you can use it for changing keys in a song, and it will always sound great.

In my Unlocking I IV V course I dig into this concept a lot more, and if you’ve gone through that course before you’ll know what I’m talking about. This is just one example of how numbers can actually be very useful in transposing music, because the example I gave above doesn’t require any note names, and yet it is applicable to every single key. To make this more specific, we can give names to those chords….

In the key of G, your I IV V chords are G C and D. The key you would shift up to from G is A, and the I IV V chords there are A D and E. Immediately you can see that the only shared chord is the D… So if you use the D chord just before shifting to the A, your ear isn’t going to complain.

Try changing keys in a song by using one of the other chords and you’re likely to draw some very strange looks from your audience!

Click Here For The Unlocking I IV V Course

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  1. Jodie
    6 years ago

    AFAICT you’ve covered all the bases with this answer!

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