TonalityGUIDE - basic tonal music theory and analysis for undergraduates
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Longer Progressions

introduction diatonic chromatic

introduction | fifths | seconds | thirds

introduction | chain of 5ths | modulation by 5th

key and modulation
longer progs.

Modulation by fifth is dealt with in considerable detail in the key and modulation section which can be reached by clicking on the link in the blue triangle to the left of this text. This page therefore gives two examples: the first modulates flatwards on the circle of fifths and the second modulates sharpwards.

In the following example, the music modulates one step flatwards on the circle of fifths. It is simple to modulate flatwards using a pivot chord - I in G is also V in the new key of C. This is part of the reason why flatwards modulation feels so easy - the dominant (chord V) of the new key is diatonic in the old key.

A modulation up a perfect fifth - sharpwards on the circle of fifths - is more effort, it does not feel so 'natural' or 'easy'. This is partly because, unlike with flatwards modulation, the dominant of the new key is not diatonic in the old key. In the following example, as is common, the modulation is abrupt and uses a secondary dominant chord.

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