The Official KSAND Kent Sandvik Web Site

Producer, guitar player, composer and maker of noise.

Using Different Keys in Tracks

Posted on | June 18, 2007 | 2 Comments

blue_cat.jpegSomething I’ve noticed for a while is the lack of using different keys in the same track. This is especially true of minimalist music, I guess it has to be minimalist on all levels. But it’s true of a lot of underground dance music — staying in the same key.

Hmm. There’s always something dynamic about switching keys in a song. The old pop-trick was to go up two semi-tones at the last chorus, it kind of elevated the chorus and gave it a more dynamic expression.

In classical music, the way playing with scales and especially keys is always fun, there’s no limit sometimes what composers did concerning even switching between minor and major keys across the whole composition. And speaking of Debussy, that’s a challenge concerning finding keys that are constantly in motion.

Anyway, I think contrasts are good, they are another spice to be used and not keep it hidden in the closet. Just now I’m working on DNA Tones, Part Three, and the the latter part of the track will have a key change that is six semitones up from the original place. I even use another bass line and sound in that part, just to have fun when composing tracks.

PS: This is yet another picture in my ‘blue cat’ period of photos…


2 Responses to “Using Different Keys in Tracks”

  1. patrice
    June 22nd, 2007 @ 10:12 PM

    Hey. Have been reading your blog for a few weeks now. Some useful stuff. Thanks.

    Any recommendations re books or free online resources on music/songwriting theory that include tips similar to the two semi-tones one you mention?

  2. Kent Sandvik
    June 23rd, 2007 @ 12:01 PM

    Hmm, I have to think about it. I don’t have anything on the top of my head just now. Maybe an Amazon search could bring up books related to songwriting.

    The hard way, but interesting one, is to take artists and bands that you like, and analyze how they do it, go through their music, let’s say Depeche Mode, and figure out their formula. Most composers have a certain style they fall back to, and that makes them unique and special, too.

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