View Full Version : Modulation

Mar-03-2004, 8:30am
I'm working on a set which requires me to modulate from major to minor and back - as it's C17 music, I thought I'd use a "tierce de Picardie" for minor to major - but does that lead between relative minor & major, or corresponding? Is there a similar "signpost" to get from major to minor in the first place? Any advice gratefully received.

Jim Garber
Mar-03-2004, 8:54am
Wow... I have been playing music for about 30 years -- not that I know everything -- but I was amazed by how I haven't a clue what you are talking about. Is this some early music jargon?

I did look up tierce de picardie (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tierce_de_Picardie), tho and figured out that C17 is the 17th century.

Sorry I can't help you but I am sure that others on this list will chime in.

BTW when you say "working on a set" does that mean you are composing in the style or performing.

Pardon my ignorance...


Mar-03-2004, 9:01am
Not composing - just playing. Relative minor eg A minor is the relative minor to C major (shares the same key signature), corresponding major - C major #/ C minor where the 3rd gets changed (and 7th in some forms)

Mar-03-2004, 9:10am
[QUOTE]" from major to minor and back"

Do you mean relative or parallel keys? Either way, the Picardy third is not really a devise for modulation, just an ad hoc, momentary alteration in a cadence.

And Jim's question is most relevant: What exactly are you trying to do?

Mar-03-2004, 9:32am
hey, I just posted a minor/major related question too without noticing this one. but mine is a little different. I have a russian tune with what appears to be a minor third imposed over a major chord in the measure. the chord is B7. (3/4 time) the d is marked (#) on the second beat of the measure, but the melody calls for an unmarked (d) in the first beat. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif

the rule is the accidental is when and after it is marked, for that measure. so I DO play a d natural, imposed over this B7 chord? (BTW, it sounds good either way)
in action, the D# would go, ( D#-C-B) very gypsy.
the natural (d-c-b) not as gypsy but that minor third makes a nice expressive harshness

Mar-03-2004, 9:37am
I'm trying to link the Bach "notebook" minuet to the "Clavier book" one (from the tab archives). OK, I'll need to transpose one or both, but that's not the problem. If I'm in G major, is it easier on the ear to go off into E minor, or to go into G minor? I thought the Tierce would help prepare the listener for the change back - if you can suggest a better way, I'd be delighted to hear it.

Mar-03-2004, 10:17am
I remember something from band in school days, some kinda picadilly kinda word, usually refers to a song modulating at the END, right?
a minor song ends on the major or vise versa.

Mar-03-2004, 10:45am
Well, gilgamesh, both are equally feasible; it really boils down to your own preference. What is [QUOTE]"easier on the ear" lies in the ear of the listener.

I do follow your logic, though: If you cadence on a Picardy third (i.e. a major tonic chord) at the end of the minor piece, well, you already ARE (so to speak) in the parallel major (i.e. from G minor to G major).

I would, however, advise you that such a change of mode (i.e. from major to minor but on the SAME tonic) is not a modulation proper, nor does it offer the aural/aesthetic benefits of one, such as the "shifting to a new plane", a whole new set of correlations (i.e. where is the dominant, where is the subdominant, etc. etc.), so the effect is truly minimal.

Bottom line: All the theory professors in the world can't change what you like and don't like. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif Make your own ear happy, first.



Mar-03-2004, 10:56am
Kind of "pluck it & see" eh?

Thanks for the advice - I think I'll try them first in C maj and A minor as the easiest transpositons - Gmaj down a string for C, G min add 2 to all fretting for A minor.

Mar-03-2004, 11:21am
I would probably opt for the minor piece followed by the major piece in parallel rather than relative keys (e.g., g minor to G major). #Such a scheme always has a greater sense of conclusion to me...but that may only be me. This scheme was very common in the early 19th c. to pieces in "Italian" sonata form (i.e. two movements).

There is a rather famous Bach prelude for lute/lautenwerke in c minor (BWV 999) that ends on a G major chord...I guess a kind of Picardie-third-on-the-dominant ending...or somethin' (please correct me, o' ye musicologists). #It is common to follow that prelude with the fugue for lute (BWV 1000, arranged from that in the first sonata for unaccompanied violin) in g minor. #On guitar, these are usually taken in d minor and a minor respectively. #You could try a similar Picardie-third-on-the-dominant ending on the minor piece and launch into the major piece from that relative dominant...but I don't know that I'd recommend that!

Mar-03-2004, 11:27am
[QUOTE]"c minor (BWV 999) that ends on a G major chord"

That, Eugene, is no Picardy-third-on-the-dominant but a "half-cadence" or "interrupted cadence". The difference is not merely one of terminology: While the Picardy third is a modal alteration of a TONIC chord (obviously), the dominant at the end of a piece is still a dominant, serving as a "harmonic cliffhanger", if you know what I mean... You see my point regarding function, I trust.

Mar-03-2004, 11:59am
Absolutely, The kind of thing that would prompt Beethoven to leap from his bed, run downstairs, and conclude the cadence loudly and angrily at his fortepiano (back when he could still hear...and wasn't dead). Thanks.

Mar-03-2004, 12:22pm
Another thought for coupling minuets, when dances of the same form were paired in baroque suites (this includes those by Bach himself), the first was often repeated da capo after the second. If this notion appeals, I would recommend the major minuet followed by the minor minuet at a contrasting tempo followed by the major minuet again, but this last time without playing the repeats. The key scheme I would recommend would again be: minuet I in G major-minuet II in g minor-minuet I in G major without repeats (or C-c-C, A-a-A, etc. at your discretion). To echo Victor, the most important thing is to satisfy your own ear and sense of symmetry. Enjoy!

Mar-04-2004, 7:12am
That's about what I was thinking - by the time of Bach, all the notes are there (Bach himself being one of the first to insist on that, IIRC), so the earlier trick of "making divisions" on repeated dance sections is out of court. The idea came from the "suites" of Ballets & #Voltes that David Munrow drew from Praetorius' "Terpsichore" - though I suppose, being English, I ought to call them "Bookes of Lessons". http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Mar-19-2004, 2:36am
Hi, I'm a composition major, and I have to think about this sort of stuff all the time so perhaps I can help.

About Bach's BWV999, it does not end on a picardy third or a half cadence. It is a full-fledged modulation to the key of G major. The piece starts in minor and modulates to the key of the major 5th. The ending chord is not the dominant(V) of c minor but in fact, the tonic(I) of G major. If you listen to the piece, the final chord does not sound unresolved at all, as a half cadence would. I don't know what piece was intended to come after that prelude- it was not the fugue, but performers often pair them because the final chord of the prelude leads into the fugue very nicely (it's in the parallel minor).

About your sets- it generally sounds cohesive to go to keys that are plus or minus a sharp or flat from the prededing movement (up or down a 4th or 5th), and parallel and relative keys work equally well. You don't necessarily have to modulate to the next movement if it is in a related key.

I think you have a good idea about going from major to minor and back to major again in your sets. I would not recommend ever starting in major and then going to minor without returning to major again (it is a downer), though minor to major works fine. Also, in classical pieces, I would caution against adding picardy thirds that the composer did not intend, even if it sounds good. Listeners who know these pieces might consider it a "less than genuine" interpretation- and the Anna Magdelena Notebook and WT Clavier pieces are very well-known.

Hope this helps in some way. Good luck on your performance, I'm sure it will be a pleasure! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Mar-19-2004, 2:41am
...plus or minus a sharp or flat from the "prededing" movement...

Oops, typo- I meant "preceding" movement