Transposing vs Modulation?

TDOT

New member
What is the difference between transposing and modulation?

Can someone explain this and maybe give an example,
reading these music theory books, I keep seeing transpose and modulate, but they seem similar and I'm trying to distinguish the difference.
 

krushing

Moderator
This might not be exactly correct as my theory is a bit hazy, but I've always thought that transposition is shifting a whole song to a new key (or, as the term implies, "position") while modulation is an in-song key change.
 

TDOT

New member
Thanks, yea based on what I'm reading I'm pretty sure that's correct.
I don't know if anyone else can answer this but when you modulate a chord progression to a keys relative minor, how would change the vibe of the song if it's acutally playing the exact some chords? I understand the tonic in the new key is different, but the chords still remain the same.

In my lessons, they say a good key to modulate to is a Major keys relative minor.

If for example in the key of C:
I-IV-V C-F-G

I modulate to the key of Am (i think this is right)
III-VI-VII C-F-G

those are the exact same chords so how that give a sense of change? Despite the fact that the tonal centre changed.

Correct me if i'm wrong please, I've breaking my head over this.
My friend the other day played an example of modulation from C to Am and I could hear it, and it sounded great but now on paper looking at it and trying to understand I don't get it.

maybe my modulation from C to Am was off.
 

AG Beats

New member
the same exact notes in a different scale/key have a totally different feeling. 'C' in c major does not FEEL the same as 'C' does in a minor. Just modulate and youll see how different it feels lol. Its not something you understand on paper, its something you understand with your ears. Bandcoach should be in here any minute to give you a few paragraphs of game


and dont modulate to a different progression. Play the same progression in A minor play a 1 4 5 in C then play it in A minor. Most of the time thers a few notes that lead up to the modulation. Im not a theory expert or even close and ive actually started revisting and want to master theory lately, so I might not be 100% correct but like i said band coach is on his way believe me lol
 
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AG Beats

New member
not sure if this is totally right, but I think it's modulating. And this is what i was saying to do
 

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TDOT

New member
the same exact notes in a different scale/key have a totally different feeling. 'C' in c major does not FEEL the same as 'C' does in a minor. Just modulate and youll see how different it feels lol. Its not something you understand on paper, its something you understand with your ears. Bandcoach should be in here any minute to give you a few paragraphs of game


and dont modulate to a different progression. Play the same progression in A minor play a 1 4 5 in C then play it in A minor. Most of the time thers a few notes that lead up to the modulation. Im not a theory expert or even close and ive actually started revisting and want to master theory lately, so I might not be 100% correct but like i said band coach is on his way believe me lol

I understand C and Cm don't sound the same when I just play the individual scales, they have different intervals within the scale giving a different sound and feel. As with Ionian and all the scales, I'm pretty sure it's the intervals that give a certain feeling.
C has the major 3rd and Cm has the minor 3rd etc.

But C Major in the key of C is the exact same as C in the key of Am
C,E,G that doesn't change, so when I play my progression in C,F,G
and I play it in the key of A CFG
the notes remain the exact same so how would that changing the mood.
When I play melodies I get it, the tonic is different, the intervals are different so I can hear the difference.

But I'm looking at the C and Am scales breaking my head over this basic progression, I used C,F,G because it's easy and then I play.
Even though C is the I in the key of C and the III in the key of Am the notes remain the same.
If I go I-IV in C so C-F
or I go III-VI in Am also C-F what's the differrnce?
Maybe I'm using a bad example and my progression needs to be more complex and last longer to hear the difference.

AG Beats thanks for the response, gonna try some things out here.

Hope bandcoach can clear this up, a lot of time I'm just thinking too much,

lol I'm reading information too so I haven't been able to actually try and apply it yet gonna try later tonight when I touch the piano.

It's probably easier then I'm making it seem and that's why i'm getting stuck here.

Any examples?

---------- Post added at 06:27 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:57 PM ----------

Think I'm doing it wrong if I want to modulate in my song let's say my verse to a bridge or something for example.
My I-IV-V, when I modulate to my relative minor, is it still I-IV-V in the relaive minor or does it become III-VI-VII?
 

AG Beats

New member
the note C does not have the same feel in the C Major scale as it does in the A minor scale. Or any other scale that contains the note C. It is the same exact note yes, but in context with the other notes of whatever scale your in it has a differnt feel.


I'll wait for BC to come clarify maybe send him a PM, but did you listen to what I posted?

In my mind if you want to "modulate" to another key during a song you would still play the same progression only in that scales form. Its the same way that all the major scales are DO RA ME FA SOL LA TI DO and sound similar but have different feels when you play them. Your playing the same thing essentially, its just different notes.

So in my mind if you want to modulate from C to Am playing a I IV V you would just lead into it by a few notes to sound good then proceed to play I IV V in Am.

im not good at putting it into words but bc could really clarify
 
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TDOT

New member
Got you bro thanks for the rsponse,
I totally understand that C in CMajor won't sound the same as C in Am.
C is C regardless, if you play the note individually it's the same sound.
What makes C different in Am then in CMaj are the intervals used to reach the note.

If C is the tonic in one scale and then the mediant in another, it doesn't play the same role and will therefor give a different feeling when you play the scale.


I was mixing things up before and that's why it didn't work out the way I though,

What I was doing was say in the key C
I-IV-V


instead of playing
I-IV-V in Am

I was transposing to the exact same chords which would be
III-VI-VII Am

Think I understand better now
 

AG Beats

New member
I know lol thats what I was trying to tell you in my first post. The theory shit is just confusing. Its mainly just to tell other people what youre doing but Im trying to get a better hold on it too so instead of pecking around I can just do what I want. Cause I can hear symphonies in my head lol.


But yeah man i wasnt tryin say youre wrong or anything like that just show u that shit has diff feels. I was learning that from this theory vid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1G506EquzM
 

TDOT

New member
I know I wasn't taking it that way bro, glad u responded though thanks for that.

I'm surprised bandcoach hasn't touched this yet lol any time I post something in the theory thread, I'm assuming he'll be the one to answer but no sign of him yet, maybe this has already been posted and that's why...not sure though.

I'm getting a grip on it though.
What do you do for your modulations AG?

I've been practiving moving to the new key by playing it's V7 chord right before entering the new key, but I'm still trying to understand that fully, because if I'm going Major to Minor, then the 5 chord would be Major. :S so there's another road block lol

Or I was showed to find the pivot chord, which is a common chord in both keys to get you ready to transition to the new key.
 

AG Beats

New member
Man you can lead up with a few notes or whatever like u hear in that example I posted. Im no pro at It ive only done it in a beat once and it was an accident lol though I dont contribute anything to luck.

And then theres the example I posted. And just practice on the keys. Im proabably right around the same stage as you with the theory.


But yeah for real BC is normally on this stuff maybe hes away/busy or something. Either way he responds to PM's he loves helpin with the theory.
 

TDOT

New member
Alright cool, what I tried last night and it sounded pretty good, but obviously basic.
But anyways it worked and lead to a smooth enough transition to the new key.
I played the V7 chord of the new key right before modulating to the new key. Sounded alright...

This is something I was to master or be really good at, at least understand the theory behind it.
A lot of melodys and progressions I hear are very repetitive and boring, I want to be able to switch moodd during a verse or for the chorus for example.

Yea I was gonna PM bandcoach but I wanted it to be a thread for everyone to see, no one seems to be checking the posts though,
 

Pumpthrust

New member
Alright cool, what I tried last night and it sounded pretty good, but obviously basic.
But anyways it worked and lead to a smooth enough transition to the new key.
I played the V7 chord of the new key right before modulating to the new key. Sounded alright...

This is something I was to master or be really good at, at least understand the theory behind it.
A lot of melodys and progressions I hear are very repetitive and boring, I want to be able to switch moodd during a verse or for the chorus for example.

Yea I was gonna PM bandcoach but I wanted it to be a thread for everyone to see, no one seems to be checking the posts though,
You may wanna look into secondary functions. I suggest finding taking a theory course or finding a local instructor to give you some in-depth guidance.
 

AG Beats

New member
yeah i was gonna say the dom 7 my boy always telling me thats what u use before modulating so yeah that explains why it sounded cool. It is basic tho.
 

bandcoach

Zukatoku - Mod Scientist
this totally blew past my vision, that and a day out of the loop with a repeat of my stomach virus from the start of the year (doctor doesn't know either so we are going to do series of tests before acting).

So, first up kudos to Krushing as he got it on the head in his statements.

transpose means to move - it comes from the mathematical operation of the same name - you gotta remember that the guys who were writing up music theory were also first class mathematicians of their age. They studied both subjects and so were prone to using terms in both spheres for similar actions.

We live in a transposed musical world whether we like it or not.

If I want to write for the orchestra or a big band or a concert band I deal with transpositions, mainly in the woodwind and the brasswind. This is because certain lengths are better suited for building some instruments in and give a more consistent and predictable tone as a result.

Anyway I digress.

Modulation is the movement from one key to another.

Simply put it involves the use of harmonic change to arrive in the new key

So moving from C to Am or C to G or C to F is a case of picking a progression and then getting there. Sounds simple huh?

It actually is a whole lot simpler than you realise. If you have read any of my posts about secondary dominants you already understand the principle: prepare the new key centre by approaching it with it's dominant chord (chord V|v-I|i i.e. V-I|v-I|v-i|V-i). It works better if the chord is actually a dominant 7th chord (built as 5-7-2-4 in the new key).

Some examples

C to Am

[mp3]http://www.bandcoach.org/fp/audio/modulationEx-01.mp3[/mp3]

modulationEx-01.png


Harmonically the movement is C: I-IV-V- a: V[sup]7[/sup]-i-iv-V[sup]7[/sup]-i

or C-F-G-E[sup]7[/sup]-Am-Dm-E[sup]7[/sup]-Am

When describing modulations either abrupt or transitioned, we show each key by using either Capitals for major keys and unicials (lower case) for minor keys

C to G

[mp3]http://www.bandcoach.org/fp/audio/modulationEx-02.mp3[/mp3]

modulationEx-02.png


Harmonically: C: I-IV- G: V[sup]7[/sup]-I

C-F-D7-G

C to F

[mp3]http://www.bandcoach.org/fp/audio/modulationEx-03.mp3[/mp3]

modulationEx-03.png


Harmonically: C: I-V-IV-I F: IV-I-V[sup]7[/sup]-I

C-G-F-C-Bb-F-C[sup]7[/sup]-F
 
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AG Beats

New member
Even though you always seem to use terms that confuse me a little more, I think I have a basic understanding in my head. I just recently started revisiting the very very basics of theory, so I'm hoping to get a firmer understanding of all the technical stuff very soon.
 

TDOT

New member
Coach is back!!!
Good looking on the response, and hope all is good with your virus.

I was able to get the drift on transposing vs modulation, tranposing is playing a tune in another key, modulation is modulating to another key in the same song.

I'm going to have to realy read this over to get a firm grip on it, it always takes me some time to take your information in.

I'm going to have to look up those other threads though on Secondary Dominants.

Any thing off the top that we should definetely know about Secondary Dominants chords with relation to transposing?

From I could take in so far though, is that you have your progression in the one key and you proceed to the V7 chord of the new key prior to making the change to the new key...Correct me if I'm wrong.

I got a little lost in this part:
"prepare the new key centre by approaching it with it's dominant chord (chord V|v-I|i i.e. V-I|v-I|v-i|V-i). It works better if the chord is actually a dominant 7th chord (built as 5-7-2-4 in the new key)"

I was also told that the "pivot" chordis another way to modulate and that a good way to do so is to find a strog chord that is present in both the old and new key, and use that as a means to lead into the new key.

Sometimes it also doesn't work, here's another example of something I tried yesterday.

I was trying to recreate Styles P's-Daddy get that cash ( or my own twist)

My Chords where in the Key of C and goes: vi-V-IV stretching the IV the rest of the 2 bars.

I was just an an exprience seeing what it would sound like to modulate to the same progression in the key of Am.

I did 8 bars in the key of C and then 8 bars in the key of Am.

So on my last 2 bars in the key of C, I played they:
vi-V-IV and the last 2 beat played V7 of Am and then proceeded to the 8 bars in the new key.

Is this correct?
 

bandcoach

Zukatoku - Mod Scientist
I was able to get the drift on transposing vs modulation, transposing is playing a tune in another key, modulation is modulating to another key in the same song.

I'm going to have to really read this over to get a firm grip on it, it always takes me some time to take your information in.

I'm going to have to look up those other threads though on Secondary Dominants.

Any thing off the top that we should definitely know about Secondary Dominants chords with relation to transposing?

in terms of transposition there is no place for secondary dominants unless they already exist in the original key; i.e.they aren't used to facilitate a transposition

From I could take in so far though, is that you have your progression in the one key and you proceed to the V7 chord of the new key prior to making the change to the new key...Correct me if I'm wrong.

The normal route is via the V[sup]7[/sup] of the new key, which hopefully exists as a chord in the existing key with little modification needed. This is true of my 3rd example where we use C[sup]7[/sup] as the penultimate chord, requiring only that we flatten the B to create the dominant 7th chord. V[sup]7[/sup] followed by chord I or chord IV contains so much strong information about the new key (1-3-5-7-2-4 or -5-7-2-4-6-1) that we can be confident the new key is established.

I got a little lost in this part:
"prepare the new key centre by approaching it with it's dominant chord (chord V|v-I|i i.e. V-I|v-I|v-i|V-i). It works better if the chord is actually a dominant 7th chord (built as 5-7-2-4 in the new key)"

That is just me being ultra rigid in presenting all possible versions of the V-I cadence using both major and minor chords. The essence is that we need to hear V[sup]7[/sup] - I or V[sup]7[/sup] - i to feel confident about the modulation being successfully established.

I was also told that the "pivot" chord is another way to modulate and that a good way to do so is to find a strong chord that is present in both the old and new key, and use that as a means to lead into the new key.

Generally your pivot chord ends up being either the new I or new IV. E.G. modulating from C to G, you would move something like C-F-C-G-D-G and the function is
C: I-IV-I-V-V-of-V-V
C: I-IV-I G: I-II-I

The pivot is the G chord between the C and D chords so it is acting as both chord V in the old key and chord I in the new key.

Sometimes it also doesn't work, here's another example of something I tried yesterday.

I was trying to recreate Styles P's-Daddy get that cash ( or my own twist)

My Chords where in the Key of C and goes: vi-V-IV stretching the IV the rest of the 2 bars.

I was just an an experience seeing what it would sound like to modulate to the same progression in the key of Am.

I did 8 bars in the key of C and then 8 bars in the key of Am.

So on my last 2 bars in the key of C, I played they:
vi-V-IV and the last 2 beat played V7 of Am and then proceeded to the 8 bars in the new key.

Is this correct?

So I am going to write out the actual chords so that we can see what is happening:

1234123412341234123412341234123412341234123412341234123412341234
AmGFAmGFAmGFAmGFE[sup]7[/sup]FEDmFEDmFEDmFEDm
C: viVIVviVIVviVIVviVIVa: V[sup]7[/sup][sup]b[/sup]VIViv[sup]b[/sup]VIViv[sup]b[/sup]VIViv[sup]b[/sup]VIViv

Which leads us to conclude that both F and E are pivot chords as the F exists in both progressions and the E[sup]7[/sup] is used to prepare the shift to the new key. It is interesting to note that in both examples there is no appearance of chord I|i.

This might suggest that the original progression is actually in Am and the modulation has been to Dm via a non key chord E[sup]7[/sup]
 

AG Beats

New member
I know this is like the caveman's way to say it, but am I wrong in saying to modulate from C to Am you could just play a I-IV-V-I in both keys? so

C-F-G-C

Am-Dm-Em-Am

Is that not modulation?
 

bandcoach

Zukatoku - Mod Scientist
NO!!!!!!

It is imitation of a major sequence then played as the relative minor sequence.

if we are modulating to Am then we need to hear an E major chord at some point resolving to the A minor chord. If we hear an E[sup]7[/sup] then we are even more convinced that we have moved to A minor. This is because the two active tones in the E[sup]7[/sup] chord G[sup]#[/sup] and D pull us towards A and C

E[sup]7[/sup]Am
DC
BC
G[sup]#[/sup]A
EA
 
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