All in the Key
June 12, 2006 2 Comments
Scott made a mention about me pointing out some musical geekery in a Head Automatica song. I’ve done it before on this site, and I’ll do it again. Here’s a post with popular music samples that have key changes. Audio samples were created with Audacity
Wikipedia gets a little hairy on their definition of what’s happening. Speaking in the most basic terms I can, a key change is when the pitch “base” that a song uses changes somehow, rises or falls. A mode change is when the mood of the song changes from happy to sad. I don’t really know too much more about modes of songs… so I’ll leave that to the professionals.
For the guitar players out there… think about it like this: playing Smells Like Teen Spirit (the easiest song ever) —- then slapping a capo onto the 4th fret and playing Smells like Teen spirit again. The notes are the same distance apart, but you’re using a higher pitched “base” with the capo.
There’s something I miss about Murray—not being around the musical geniuses.
The key changes:
- Head Automatica – Beating Heart Baby – this is one that just slaps you in the face. You’re officially tone deaf if you can’t hear the change. The chorus in one key is played, then the key changes and the chorus is done again.
- Ben Folds – All is Fair – I think this is a key change. If it isn’t, someone let me know. I believe it’s a secondary dominant chromatic modulation—a little more difficult to hear, but it’s there.
- System of a Down – Streamline – this one happens right at the end of the song. I can’t remember the term, but there is actually a term for what they do at the end of this song. I think this one is just a mode change.
- The grandaddy – Kyle’s Mom is a Stupid Bitch (from the south park movie). This is just a little over one minute long but the key goes up a half step each verse. This song quickly escalates the South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut drinking game to the next level.