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Are there any Beatles/Solo songs that use modular shift (key change one half step up or down)?
14 July 2023
10.43pm
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Sea Belt
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I can’t think of any Beatles or Solo songs that do this.  Can anyone think of one?

What I’m speaking of I’m not sure how to explain since I’m not that knowledgeable about music technicalities.  Basically, it’s where the main melody is in its main key with its chords, then at a certain point (usually towards the end) the main melody shifts in key, usually one half step up.  Sometimes musicians then continue shifting up by more half step increments.  A non-Beatles example is Stevie Wonder’s “Golden Lady” — he first shifts up the main melody at 3:30, then as the song is repeating its main melody on a long fadeout, three more shifts, at 3:50, 4:10, and 4:28.

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14 July 2023
11.39pm
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Sea Belt said
I can’t think of any Beatles or Solo songs that do this.  Can anyone think of one?

This sounds like what is known as the “truck driver”s gear shift” or the “truckers gear change” or some variation of that. I think Joe might have started a thread for that very topic; at the very least he’s discussed it (I’ll look for the thread in a minute*) …

I usually scorn this songwriter’s trick, both because it’s a lazy way of earning excitement (and because they’re extra-hard to attempt to play along with if you’re a terrible “guitarist” like me…); but in the right circumstances it just works brilliantly. (To my ears)

First Beatles example that comes to mind is on the finyl repetition of “Penny Lane is in my ears, and in my eyes”

*here it is:

https://www.beatlesbible.com/f…..les-songs/

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GEORGE: In fact, The Detroit Sound. JOHN: In fact, yes. GEORGE: In fact, yeah. Tamla-Motown artists are our favorites. The Miracles. JOHN: We like Marvin Gaye. GEORGE: The Impressions PAUL & GEORGE: Mary Wells. GEORGE: The Exciters. RINGO: Chuck Jackson. JOHN: To name but eighty. 

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15 July 2023
12.51am
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Sea Belt
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Thanks @Von Bontee — interesting thread.  A lot of what was discussed isn’t the “truck driver gear change” which is a specific subtype, but still interesting.  I’d forgotten about Good Day Sunshine , but when you think about it, as a songwriter one has a choice, keep repeating that chorus into a fade out in the same key, or amp it up at the tail end?  It seems to me a great place to use that trick — though I agree it should be used only sparingly.

Another non-Beatles song that does it is George Benson’s “On Broadway”.  The song is very repetitious and ostensibly monotonous with its 3-chord vamp, so I don’t mind the modulation at all, which he does twice I think — except when I’m playing along doing bass riffs, each time I have to quickly slide my capo up.

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15 July 2023
4.25pm
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Sea Belt said

Another non-Beatles song that does it is George Benson’s “On Broadway”.  The song is very repetitious and ostensibly monotonous with its 3-chord vamp, so I don’t mind the modulation at all, which he does twice I think — except when I’m playing along doing bass riffs, each time I have to quickly slide my capo up.

The modulations in “On Broadway” (both George Benson’s and the Drifters’ hit versions) sound to me like Leiber and Stoller were influenced by modal jazz, particularly Miles Davis’ “So What”, the famous opening track from “Kind Of Blue”

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16 July 2023
2.16pm
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Beatlebug
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And I Love Her comes to mind immediately, as it goes from C-sharp minor to D minor.

And yeah I normally get annoyed by the “truck drivers gear change” because it usually sounds lazy, but it definitely works in certain places, and And I Love Her is one such place imo. Penny Lane is a really good usage as well.

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17 July 2023
3.35am
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Sea Belt
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Does And I Love Her go back to C#m after the guitar solo?

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17 July 2023
3.36am
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Beatlebug
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No, it stays in D minor through the end (and finishes on a Picardy third, a D Major chord)

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17 July 2023
3.38am
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Sea Belt
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Cool — that’s what I hoped.

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26 November 2023
10.26pm
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pepperland
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Other than And I Love Her mentioned earlier, they didn’t do many sudden key changes up or down a tone or a semitone. Not so abruptly anyway. The Penny Lane one is really smooth that it goes down from B to A and you can hardly tell because it’s done so well.

Good Day Sunshine does it but not in the cliche final verse way. Piggies does a similar thing but it barely counts because it’s just strings at the end going up a semitone.

Something interesting that hasn’t been mentioned is that the original How Do You Do It ? demo had a modulation up a tone at the end but the Beatles didn’t do it for their rendition. They intentionally didn’t use the key change because I guess they thought it sounded corny even back in 1962!

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27 November 2023
10.43pm
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Beatlebug
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Yeah, the Penny Lane key change is smoother than silk soaked in butter. I had no idea there was even a key change for years until I read about it.

Also HEY HEY HEY @pepperland!!!!! john-lennon-salute_gif

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