Shared chords

Computer Music - - Make Music Now / Music Theory Made Easy -

Here’s an­other way to make a smooth, log­i­cal and mu­si­cal tran­si­tion. Let’s use the ex­am­ple of chang­ing from C ma­jor to D ma­jor once again.

If you pro­gram out the notes of both these scales and in­spect them, you should see that the two have sim­i­lar­i­ties and dif­fer­ences. C ma­jor has a C and F

C# F#. while D ma­jor has and On the other hand, the two scales do share a few notes: D, E, G, A and B.

The idea be­hind a shared chord (some­times called a ‘pivot chord’) is to use notes be­long­ing to both the scales – the orig­i­nal and the des­ti­na­tion – to form a chord to tran­si­tion between the two. This chord will act as the last chord in C ma­jor, but it’s also an ac­cept­able one in D ma­jor, so it works for a smooth tran­si­tion.

So, for our re­main­ing notes – D, E, G, A and B – what chords would qual­ify as the pivot chord? Two ob­vi­ous tri­ads are G ma­jor (G-B-D) and E mi­nor (E-G-B) – these pro­vide a bet­ter tran­si­tion between the two keys.

Once you’ve got a chord worked out for the tran­si­tion, there’s noth­ing stop­ping you ex­tend­ing it and in­vert­ing it, as demon­strated on the pre­vi­ous two pages. Us­ing the same avail­able notes, E mi­nor could be ex­tended to E-G-B-D, while G ma­jor could be ex­tended to G-D-B-A, for ex­am­ple – and any of these can be in­verted as you see fit, de­pend­ing on the ex­act tran­si­tion between the pre­vi­ous and next chords.

In the video, we demon­strate this with G ma­jor, even­tu­ally rest­ing on a combo that falls between the A mi­nor chord be­fore and the C ma­jor af­ter.

In our video, we show you how to make smooth tran­si­tions between two scales

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