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Key changes in Beatles songs
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Joe
Pepperland
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25 July 2011 - 12.48pm

I was playing Penny Lane to Ted the other day (got to start 'em young) and Ellie said: "Ooh, truck-driver's gear change!" And it has got one, though The Beatles didn't often rely on those sorts of cliches (was it even a cliche in 1967?).

I don't know if there's a thread about key changes in Beatles songs, but they didn't often feature them. The only other ones I can think of are Sgt Pepper (Reprise) and the guitar solo in And I Love Her. Are there any others?

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Joe
Pepperland
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25 July 2011 - 12.55pm

Aha. Should have looked a bit harder. There's also the solo in Octopus's Garden. Here's some more info: http://www.gearchange.org/muso_intro.asp (I disagree with him on Good Day Sunshine and Bungalow Bill though).

So let's widen it a little. Are there many solo Beatles songs with key changes? My Sweet Lord has a pretty obvious one when the drums come in, and that article also mentions Teddy Boy and Happy Xmas (War Is Over). I bet McCartney relied on it a few times.

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McLennonSon
In the middle of the roundabout
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25 July 2011 - 1.06pm

Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite! a-hard-days-night-ringo-15

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kelicopter
Sitting in an English Garden
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25 July 2011 - 1.30pm

Mull Of Kintyre has a very clichéd key change on the final chorus.

And Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds. The verse, bridge and chorus are all in different keys. This site claims that it's one of the top 10 key change songs ever; Penny Lane's also on the list.
http://www.musicradar.com/news.....221289/6 

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McLennonSon
In the middle of the roundabout
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25 July 2011 - 1.34pm

The others......

The following people thank McLennonSon for this post:

Silly Girl

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Joe
Pepperland
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25 July 2011 - 2.00pm

Wow, that was impressive. Thanks!
I'm not sure I agree with all of them though. SFF doesn't have a key change AFAIK, nor does IWY(SSH). And is there really one in Mr Kite!? I'm away from a piano or guitar so can't check, but don't recall there being one. Happy to be corrected.

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mr. Sun king coming together
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25 July 2011 - 2.05pm

Doctor Robert, as well.

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McLennonSon
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25 July 2011 - 2.29pm

Hey Joe, what does AFAIK mean? I'm a little slow todaypete-best

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Joe
Pepperland
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25 July 2011 - 5.55pm

As far as I know. Sorry, I use that quite a lot. I presumed people knew.

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Bjway
On The Hill
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25 July 2011 - 8.37pm

I think it depends on how you define Key change, I mean there are songs like Piggies or Magical Mystery Tour where the chord progressions change a bit and makes it feel like a new key, but it doesn't remain there for a long time. Songs like Sgt. Peppers Reprise have definite key changes. I think there are also songs where it's hard to tell what goes on (no pun intended) like Savoy Truffle or I suppose Martha My Dear. Other debatable songs I can I think of: You Never Give Me Your Money, Sun King, The End, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Birthday, I'll Be Back, I'm Happy Just To Dance With You, The Fool On The Hill, Your Mother Should Know, Lovely Rita, We Can Work It Out and Not A Second Time. They really used interesting techniques on these songs.

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JET!
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25 July 2011 - 8.40pm

I think for Mr. Kite, maybe McLennonSon was talking about the beginning?

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GniknuS
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26 July 2011 - 3.18am

There's no key change in Cry, Baby, Cry, it's straight up G.

Things We Said Today has a key change, "me I'm just the lucky kind"

Here, There, and Everywhere features a key change in the bridge.

I don't believe there is a key change in Doctor Robert

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McLennonSon
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26 July 2011 - 9.50am

WELCOME BACK GNIK!!!!

 

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GniknuS
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26 July 2011 - 6.27pm

Thanks, not sure where I went though.
Perhaps some key changes are unneccessary, but I always like to look at them to see how they get back. But they certainly weren't abused by the Beatles, if anything some of their best progressions are great examples of drawing a chord out by using deviations. Like LSD where John allows the A to create that dream-like atmosphere, or Something when George draws the C out. I haven't seen that in many other groups, usually it's more of a rush to get to the IV or V or whatever. The LSD progression is really impressive.

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mithveaen
Sitarday's room
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26 July 2011 - 6.39pm

Joe said:

I was playing Penny Lane to Ted the other day (got to start 'em young) and Ellie said: "Ooh, truck-driver's gear change!" And it has got one, though The Beatles didn't often rely on those sorts of cliches (was it even a cliche in 1967?).

I hadn't read this about Teddy!!! Good to know he's getting into the Beatles. *fingers crossed* And the website is quite interesting thanks for sharing Joe!!

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Into the Sky with Diamonds
New York
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2 September 2011 - 9.56pm

Not sure if going from major to minor qualifies as a key change .

Will check with my Boston Conservatory graduate daughter!

(great thread by the way).

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Von Bontee
A Hole In The Road
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2 September 2011 - 10.29pm

Oh man, those "truck drivers gear changes" irritate me so much! (Most of the time, at least...) I was so happy to discover the existence of both the term and that accompanying website a couple of years ago - I'd always assumed I was the only one to find them both noticeable and annoying, that it's nice to have a handy little name to give 'em. When I redid "Penny Lane" for "Alternate Hystery Tour", I tried to pitch-correct that final chorus to restore it to the same key the rest of the song is in - and wound up botching it fairly obviously, but never mind.

"Good Day Sunshine" I don't mind so much, because it's so obviously the "end" of the song, and we don't get an entire full extra chorus, if that makes sense. Actually I guess it's pretty personal and arbitrary - sometimes those types of key changes just seem to me to be the right choice for the song, and the rest of the time they're just artificial and superfluous and lazy.

As for "Strawberry Fields Forever", I know George Martin says that two segments of the song are in the same key (allowing for the speed adjustment), but I know I've read another source that claims there's actually a half-step difference between the two, so who knows? Let your ears be your guide, I guess.

One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!"
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GniknuS
Rain? I don't mind
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2 September 2011 - 11.40pm

Technically, the verses of Penny Lane are in B and the chorus is in A, and Paul just keeps the last chorus in B, so I'm not sure if that would qualify as a truck drivers key change, but certainly the other choruses are, even though they are brilliantly done.

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Bjway
On The Hill
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3 September 2011 - 3.51am

Up until recently I didn't mind the truck driver's gear change, but now I agree with Von and sometimes they can be cheesy and annoying. Although Penny Lane doesn't annoy me so much cause it doesn't stay changed for long. I'd say it counts as gear change though because the chorus is usually in A and then all of the sudden it's in B, since the verses are a completely different section and the verse does not change keys at any point it doesn't count. With Good Day Sunshine it sort of goes from B quickly to E then to F, but it's an odd transition so it doesn't sound irritating. The Strawberry Fields change is less then a semitone, but there's still a slight difference, a quarter-tone or so.

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Into the Sky with Diamonds
New York
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3 September 2011 - 5.55pm

A simple shift from a major key to a minor key does indeed qualify as a key change - so I suppose there are many key changes. OK with me!

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