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Musical Composition, Theory and Songwriting/starting a song in one scale but ending it in another scale


QUESTION: Hi, I sing and play the piano, have some doubts.

If there are 4 verses in a song and if I want to sing the first three verses in G major scale and want to sing the fourth verse in a different scale to add a little beauty to the song, which scale should I choose. Is it A major, D major or C major or any other options ? And how can I change it, what are the chords I should use when changing. How is this used in Pop music. Please can you give any songs as examples.

And can I also add more beauty if I sing the first three verse in a tempo and then increase or decrease the tempo in the fourth verse. How is this done in Pop music. Please can you give any songs as examples.

Please do reply.


  I have read your question and I'll give you ''an answer'' since music choices are like buying a car, choosing a desert or wearing a pair of pants - all subject to personal taste... (there are no rules)

  if you choose to change key on the last verse, usual choices are to go up a step  (like to A from G OR to Ab -)  a simple PIVOT CHORD (LEADING tone chord could be as simple as playing the V7 (or E7 CHORD to the key of A) usually pop songs don't have a series of chords that blend the old key to the new key, as you might find in a more formal performance setting.

   In the 4th verse tempo, it usually sung slower for more emphasis, (and more powerful ending) or sung faster if the desire is to condense the sound for a more EXCITING and shorter ending..

  I don't have a song example, but FRANK SINATRA is a performer that always does HIS OWN SPIN on a song interp and performance,,, and TOM JONE ALSO HAS HIS OWN renditions of popular songs,,, also check out TINA TURNER  for personal interp of a standard song,... and make sure you listen to ELVIS... these classics are good examples of how people can change a song to make it personal and a wonderful performance..

      I hope this helps, let me know if I can be further help...

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi, thanks so much. Please can you explain the "simple PIVOT CHORD". Is it like if I change the song from G major scale to A major scale I should play E7 in between to make the changing beautiful. Is it the only chord i should play while changing from G major scale to A major scale or is there any other option. Please do reply.


     I appologize for the delay, my life was hectic over here... but YES, the pivot chord is the key chord (or sequence of chords) that establish the NEW KEY, AND IT needs to h ave the accidentals that constitute the NEW KEY . SO YES AN E7 chord is the chord to transition from G  to  A   , but if you were in a position to PLAY A MODULATION (sequence) passage, you'd play a ii 7   V 7  of the new key before arriving at the key of A maj.  It is also a good idea to locate a COMMON CHORD in BOTH THE OLD AND NEW KEYS to help establish a SMOOTH transition instead of an ABRUPT one .. so that the COMMON CHORD is heard, (and the ear believes it is still in the OLD KEY) BUT IT IS THEN you decide to call it the NEW KEY sequence of chords from that point on, and continue as if you had made the switch ...
      for eg. a B m     a   D MAJ.       are both common chords to G and A  KEYS,     

     also it is ''cool'' to use an  '' a minor '' chord AND USE it as an  A MAJOR CHORD by simply changing modality, AND THAT chord also could be used as a transition chord,,   also note that diminished 7th chords are also used frequently in modulations because ANY DIM. 7TH CHORD MAKES A dominant 7th chord ( V 7) by simply moving one note of the dim. chord down a half step,  so a creative ''modulation '' is to use a passing tone chord in the diminished 7th spot, and   drop the desired note of the 4 note options and you immediately have a V 7 chord to play with.. (a nice trick and a good chance for some excitement in the arr. of this key change).

      that is a good sample of choices, ,

there is a chart of modulation examples available for church organists, and for use bye the pianist also... I collected a large number of these materials in my youth (im now 71 years old) and used them a lot, so that now, I can modulate easily without the use of charts or written chord symbols...   

      hope this helps,  
chuck (thanks for the question) this is the first time I have been asked about MODULATIONS,  I"m happy to help..

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi, thanks so much.

So if I play from G major scale to A major scale the chords i can play in between are
Bminor7, E7, D7 . Please let me know if this is correct and also the chord progression, which chord first, which one second which one third, is there a fourth.

Please do reply.


   I'm sorry that i made the assumption that if you were wanting CHORD INFORMATION, you were already familiar with the CIRCLE OF 5THS, with CHORD PROGRESSIONS, with CHORD STRUCTURE and CHORD USAGES,...
that should be something you'd need to dig into and get some books / teacher, something to aid you in this process.... so to answer your question specifically if you were to use those common chords I mentioned, and you want to use them in their proper order of ''PROGRESSION'' you'd go from the Bn, to E7    to A (ii,  V,  I )  or you'd use D,  E 7,   A (IV,  V,  I)    
   I assume you realize that the missing information that you need is way to extensive to keep giving you here in this format, and that you'll need to research it out,
     If there are local college teachers, who can point you to sources, or books, or maybe there is something online, (I don't know)
i learned my stuff while i was younger and going to college as a music major, learned it from my piano teacher, learned if from the many books and charts i purchased from music stores all while i was in my high school and college years.. YOu might not need to do all that for yourself, since much info .. is attained now through electronic research... SO GOOD LUCK, thanks for asking a unique question to the music of our work, I do hope you research this fascinating subject... I know I enjoyed it

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I am a professional musician, I can play by ear, I arrange music write music, teach music in the public school system, and teach privately. My father was a school music teacher, and I have written three volumes for teaching beginning string players, taking them from scratch to high school level. I have performed in a local production of Music Man (musical) with celebrities John Davidson/Susan Watson and have my masters degree in education. I retired from the classroom in 2004 with 38 yrs. experience-now still substituting for music- and writing arr. for my cello trio(with two audio cd's and one dvd of a performance) I have directed church choirs and am principal cellist in our local community orchestra. I really love to arrange music for the groups I perform in and sing and have music in my life every day. A day without music, is a mistake, like having a day without sunshine.


Employment history: I have been employed by our local school district since 1967 as a music teacher from grades 1-12 Organizations: I play cello principal chair in the local community orchestra, and sing in a chorus,and perfom in a barbershop quartet

Education: My early life in high school and college was summer workshops in choral conducting with founder of Westminster Choir College (N.J.) Dr. John F.Williamson (in Who`s Who in Music) and summer workshops with Robert Shaw in San Diego Grad. of Sacramento STate Univ.and masters from Univ. of La VErne, ca

Awards: awarded the Bank of America award in my high school senior year for music

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