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Key changes in Beatles songs
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17 December 2011
5.29am
mzp007
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"And I Love Her" has a nice key change for the third verse, starting with George's beautiful classical guitar solo...

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Beatlebug
5 April 2018
7.57pm
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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 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?  

Also, later in the thread, BBer "GniknuS" wrote:

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.

That "truck-driver's key change" Joe mentions was referred to by a classical music teacher I took in college as "modulatory rape" (he didn't take too kindly to it).  Country music tends to do it a lot.

While I agree that Penny Lane has a key change at the end, it's an ingenious one because as GniknuS points out, it's not really a change, it's a reversion to the logic of the main verses being in B. The real key change is when every chorus dips down to A from B.  Thus Paul is achieving the powerful sense of a key change at the end, but only by making the chorus (the second, repeated time) follow the key logic of the main verses and go back to the B it would have gone back to had he had another set of verses to sing.

I hope that's clear as mud.

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8 April 2018
8.24am
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Vera Chuckandave
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The key change at the chorus of Penny Lane has always impressed me as it's so subtle and you just couldn't imagine the song flowing anywhere else. Generally key changes in songs move up a tone (or semi-tone) to accentuate/further emphasise choruses etc, but here the same effect is achieved by the dropping of a whole tone....incredible.
Can't be sure about this, but I like to think that the best Beatle tunes appeared initially in the composer's head allowing both the fluctuations of key and chordal progressions to go wherever the melody took them...a-hard-days-night-ringo-13

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8 April 2018
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Or to put what I said the other way: Every time Paul goes into the chorus, it sounds like the song is going up or "advancing" when actually it's going down a whole step in key, from B down to A. Then when the chorus segues back to the main part, it sounds like a step down, but it's actually going up from A back to B.  Only at the end does he achieve the effect of the actual elevation from A to B sounding as clear as a bell like an "upward and onward" movement.

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8 April 2018
3.31pm
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sir walter raleigh
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The path he takes to get to the E chord, which is the dominant for A, is damn impressive. I think it goes Abm7 - Gmaj7- to the F#, and then naturally down to the E. Dave Mason’s Trumpet arppegio perfecty accentuates this progression. It sounds so muddy, but then clears out so well. 

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