Monday, 20 September 2010

Cadences, Changing Keys Notes Within a Chord


Now it’s time to start talking about cadences. A cadence is 2 chords which make a phrase; there are several types of cadences. These cadences are listed as: Perfect cadence, imperfect cadence, interruptive cadence and a plagal cadence

A perfect cadence is a 5 – 1 progression and is usual meant for a very pure sound and sometimes signifies the end of a phrase
A half cadence is either; 1-5 2-5, 3-5 4-5 and an half is useful for writing more filler areas if you’re stuck. It’s considered a weak cadence
An imperfect cadence is just 1-5 cadence. It is weak cadence however it is usually given in areas where you want to keep the flow going
An interrupted cadence (or deceptive cadence) is 6-5. It usually gives a hanging feeling and is considered a weak cadence as a result
A plagal is 4-1. A plagal cadence is useful if you want your piece to sound religious very common in Bach pieces and Baroque music
This should give you some idea on how to end pieces, end phrases and give the piece more feeling

Now once you have selected a set of chord you have to make a melody, this also has to be in the same key using the same sharps and flats you discover from researching your key you picked.

Now to do a melody you have to get your chord and play some notes relating to that key over it, best bet is to research whatever genre you are aiming for and make your melody like similar artists. For example let’s use C major and for a melody use the C major scale and play notes within the chords. Now if you want something a bit more interesting use quick notes that are outside the chord which adds a bit of spice to the piece

For this there is a diagram showing the notes within a major or minor chord, showing you which notes you can use

7.1.The Melody to Chord chart

Major Chord => Root, Major third, Perfect Fifth
Minor Chord => Root, minor third, Perfect Fifth
Diminished Chord => Root, minor third, diminished fifth
Major Seventh Chord => Root, Major third, Perfect fifth, Major Seventh,
Major minor seventh chord (aka Dominant 7) => Root, Major third, Perfect fifth, minor seventh
Minor seventh Chord => root, minor third, Perfect fifth, minor seventh
Half diminished aka minor 7 flat 5 chord => Root, minor third, diminished fifth, minor seventh

So for this you must select your key, play a chord and from that chord you can use either a 3rd or a 5th

So using C major as an example

1 (C major) C, E, G
2 (D Minor) D, F, A
3 (E Minor) E, G, B
4 (F Major) F, A, C
5 (G Major) G, B, D
6 (A Minor) A, C, E
7 (B Diminished) B, D, F
8 (C Major Full Octave) C, E, G

C minor melody notes

1 (C Minor) C, E, G
2 (D Half Diminished) D, F, A
3 (Eb Major) E, G, B
4 (F Minor) F, A, C
5 (G Minor) G, B, D
6 (Ab Major) A, C, E
7 (Bb Diminished) B, D, F
8 (C Minor Full Octave) C, E, G

Once you have something good, make that your chorus and then write some less catchy for your verse but make the verse and chorus the same throughout, maybe change keys if you want but you can see my other posts for what key to change to and how to change key. This will make the piece a bit more interesting
Now whatever your piece sounds like, try and write lyrics to correspond with the feel of it. If the chorus is quite dark and depressing, maybe write about a loss of something? If the piece sounds quite happy and upbeat then write about something you like maybe?

8.0.Changing Key

If you have picked a key, get your chord pattern from that scale. If you are working in D major this has a sharpened C and F just to be sure. You can use the chords; D, Em, F#m, G, A, Bm and C# diminished in that key, however you can make variations such as sus2's, sus4's and 7th's
Now if you want to change key you will need to select a key. If you are working in D major you can go to a few different keys. These keys can either be E major, A major, G major or B minor. Now whichever key you want to go in you can use 2 conventional harmonising methods. These are either by a 5-1 cadence or by using a swing chord.
Now a 5-1 is taken the 5th chord of the new key and the 1st chord of the new key. This is a very common way of doing it and it sounds very nice. Let's take for example going into E major from D. Now the chords in E major are E, F#m, G#m, A, B, C#m and D# diminished. Now to do this 5-1 cadence you have to use the B major chord then E major chord then you will be playing in the key of E. This is the same for going into any key
Now the other method is a swing chord (or pivot chord). A swing chord is using a chord that both keys have within each other. So you're in D major and for the purpose of example I will use E major this method is also a much more common these days because it is much easier and sounds smoother

Now D major has: D, Em, F#m, G, A, Bm and C# diminished
and E major has: E, F#m, G#m, A, B, C#m and D# diminished

Notice they have some similar chords? Now to change key using this method you will have to use a chord within both keys and for this method on this example we can use either F#m and A major.
Now if you play that chord you can go into the new key however this swing chord is usually followed by a 5th chord. So for this example you are In D major, play an A major chord then a B major chord. This will show that the B is no longer a minor and that the key has been changed.
Both of these methods are very conventional but they sound good and are very useful methods for changing key

8.1.Keys you can go into

This post is about keys you can and should go to and chords you should use.
You said you're in D major right? This means that you're using the chords, D, Em, F#m, G, A, Bm and C# diminished. Now the keys you can go in are usually the 2nd in the original key, the 5th of that key, the 4th of that key and if you want it to sound depressing the relative minor
Now the 1st, 4th and 5th ones are fairly easy, you're D so D, Em, F#m, G, A, Bm and C# diminished which means

The 2nd Super Tonic= E major
The 4th Sub Dominate= G major
The 5th Dominate= A major

These are all fairly simple and easy to grasp changing to and if you refer to my guide on changing key, you can learn how to change keys. However the most common one is A major especially when going to chorus’s, however going to the super tonic is fairly uncommon but still a very used key change
Now the relative minor is a bit more complicated. Now you're in D major and to get into the relative minor you have to go 3 half tones down. 

A half tone is indicated by a flat or sharp. For example F to F# is going up by a half tone and B to B flat is going down by a half tone. Now from D major you have to go down 3 half tones so that's B minor this will make the piece sound depressing that's the choice you have


  1. Very in depth, never really read much into music theory till I found this blog :o

  2. Stay with me, here is more to come, including how to write in certain style