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Thread: Key Change

  1. #1
    Registered User
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    Oct 2005
    Trenton Ontario Canada

    Default Key Change

    Hi all,

    If I have a reel in Em, what would be the most dramatic key change for the next tune in the set? Going to G major? Or another minor key?

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  3. #2
    Registered User DougC's Avatar
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    Jan 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
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    Default Re: Key Change

    I would approach this question another way. Find a tune set that has a really dramatic change and figure out what keys/modes the tunes are in. After all, it is you that think it is cool.

    What reel is it? There may be a famous setting with other reels.

  4. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Aberdeen, Scotland

    Default Re: Key Change

    I've heard numerous theories about sets and also numerous great-sounding sets that don't follow any theory.
    Some say it should always ascend - D, G, A ... others like G, Em, D .... trust your ears I suppose.

  5. #4
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    May 2005
    Halifax, UK

    Default Re: Key Change

    I play Planxty Irwin in D and follow it with The South Wind in G, it works very well.

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  6. #5
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    Nov 2002
    Llanidloes, Wales

    Default Re: Key Change

    There are certain 'logical' key changes (i.e. ones that can be rationalised in terms of music theory), like jumping up a 4th or a 5th, major to relative minor (e.g G major to E minor) or vice versa, minor to major with the same tone centre (e.g. A minor to A major) or vice versa. But remember that music theory was only invented to explain what already exists. Often, the most 'dramatic' key changes are the ones that do not follow the 'rules'. Also, bear in mind that there are many factors in putting tunes together effectively besides what keys the tunes are in - every tune has its own character; it is perfectly possible to have a great set of three, four or more tunes all in the same key.

  7. #6
    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
    Connecticut, USA

    Default Re: Key Change

    You can have a lot of fun trying to make messages with your tune titles, if nothing else seems to catch your ear. We have "the elopement set" which is "Haste to the Wedding," "Saddle the Pony" and "Off She Goes," for instance. Someone I know had a whole "murder" set which ended with "I buried my wife and danced on her grave" ... A lot of people seem to put "Man of the House" and "Woman of the House" together. I was thinking you can do a whole set of "Boys" tunes -- Boys of Ballysodare, Boys of Malin, Boys of Blue Hill (not that set of course, I'm just trying to recall all the "boys" tunes I know off the top of my head).
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