Musical Composition, Theory and Songwriting/Getting back to original key from bridge


Hi Clare,

I am trying to compose a song and am stuck on getting back to the original key from the bridge. The song is in C, and for the bridge I have Em...Am,Em....Am,Em....Am, F#....B. I then want to get back to C and have tried several combinations with B, Am, G7,C being the closest but not quite right. Any advice would be great thanks.



Hello again Mike,

You're not thinking in the key, though.  I bet you haven't established your home key and you certainly haven't moved out of it so that F# chord will stick out like a sore thumb.

You've got a bass line that's a series of ascending fifths (E A F# B) so why not continue the series with G7 C?  

You want my advice?  Go and learn theory properly - make sure you understand *thoroughly* about intervals, triads/chords and their inversions, diatonic scale construction and the cycle of fifths.  If you're going to compose a song you need an understanding of how music "works". It's the difference between picking up a few phrases in a foreign language and learning the language properly; if you don't acquire a complete grasp of the grammar and syntax you'll never progress beyond baby talk.

Hope this helps.  

Musical Composition, Theory and Songwriting

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Clare Redfarn


All aspects of the academic/theoretical side of music, including harmony, counterpoint, elementary composition, history, harmonic analysis, aural training, sightreading - the lot! Please note I'm not primarily a composer so I can't help with composition beyond what's required for Grade 8 theory or A'level. And don't ask me about psychoacoustics or music psychology as I have no knowledge of, nor interest in, either subject.


58 years as pianist (soloist and accompanist); 43 years as harpsichordist (soloist and continuist); 10 years as violinist and 6 years as bassoonist (youth orchestras/chamber groups); 46 years as piano teacher, coach in performance/interpretation (all ages, instruments and levels) and private tutor (mainly the old O'level, Grade VI+ ABRSM theory/practical musicianship, A'level and undergraduates); 21 years as ballet pianist (Cecchetti syllabus).

Member of Musicians' Union in Britain 1978-1989 and 1991-2009.

I've been writing professionally since I was 20 - too many programme notes to count over the years and a number of articles. Additionally, from 1996-2000 I was a Music Assessor for London Arts and as such regularly wrote critiques of concerts given by recipients of Arts Council funding.

MA in European Cultural Policy & Administration (Warwick University, 1994)
B Mus with Honours (London University, 1977)
Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Administration (City University, 1982)
Licentiate of Royal Academy of Music in Piano Teaching (1976)
Licentiate of Royal Academy of Music in Harpsichord Teaching (1978)

Studied RAM Junior School (1966-74), then as full-time student (1974-78).

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