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Sep 23, 2021 - 9:40:44 AM

sethb

USA

617 posts since 2/16/2005

I need some help in creating a chord progression that will make a key change from Eb to C, and then back to Eb.  I'm working on the tune "Dream" by Johnny Mercer, and am used to playing it in C for chord melody.  But I'm also accompanying a vocalist, who is an alto and needs to sing it in Eb (but an octave lower).  I can certainly comp in Eb for her, but we'll need to start in Eb for the vocal, go to C for the instrumental, and then back to Eb for another vocal.  And while I could solo in Eb, that would be pretty far up the neck and I think it would sound a lot better in C.  

I'm used to changing keys mid-song with a 7th or an augmented chord, such as C/C7/F or Bb/Bb+/Eb, or G/G7/C, or even C/C#/D, for example.  But this change from C to Eb and back to C has me stumped.  So far the best I've come up with is Eb to G7 to C, which isn't great.  I'm also aware of the "just do it" school of chord changes, where you don't have any transitional chords and just jump from one key to the other one, but I'd prefer something a little smoother.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated!  SETH

Sep 23, 2021 - 10:48:57 AM
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3902 posts since 3/28/2008

One approach that works in a large percentage of cases is to make your way--either abruptly or by more gradual modulations--to the 5 chord of the new key. If the abrupt move from Eb to G7 is too stark for you, how about Eb->Cm->Ab->G7, or something like that?

Sep 23, 2021 - 11:33:49 AM
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lature

USA

176 posts since 12/11/2017

Bela wrote a song called "See Rock City" : Eb -> F -> C

It also sounds good the other way: C -> F -> Eb

You could also walk the circle of 5ths with: C -> F -> Bb -> Eb

Sep 23, 2021 - 11:46:20 AM

9 posts since 11/18/2018

2, 5, 1’s are common key changes in jazz. So Eb > Dmin > G(7) > C.

Sep 23, 2021 - 12:03:47 PM
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8990 posts since 8/28/2013

I can think of several transition passages. How about Eb-Bbdim- G7. which is the dominat of C. I also find that Eb-G7 works okay, too, but there are, at least to me, more interesting transitions, like Eb-A7- Abmaj7-G7. To get back to Eb, you could simply go C-Bbdim-Bb7, but there are others I find nicer, such as C-Cmin7-Amin7flat5-Bb7add6.

You have to watch your chord voicings, and maybe drop a 1st or 5th here or there to make these sound good, of course.

I think, in the long run, you simply need to experiment. It's a good way to discover some new sounds.

Sep 23, 2021 - 4:19:51 PM

sethb

USA

617 posts since 2/16/2005

Thanks to everyone for their thoughtful and helpful suggestions.  I'm going to have to sit down and play through some of these ideas and see what works best. 

One avenue that was suggested, and which I hadn't considered before, was using one or more diminished chords.  I have a feeling that a diminished chord could be quite helpful in making the key change, but I won't know until I actually trot out the banjo and dance on the fingerboard for a while.

Thanks again for the all the suggestions, and I will let you know what I come up with.  SETH

Sep 23, 2021 - 8:29:22 PM

Omeboy

USA

2960 posts since 6/27/2013

Would it irritate anybody if you finally departed from Eb to C7 (formed at the 10th fret) and then did your solo in F?
Meanwhile, I think your G7 transition from Eb to C is certainly a solid step if you want to stay with C.
@Sethb

Sep 24, 2021 - 8:11:27 AM
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RB3

USA

1096 posts since 4/12/2004

Below is a link to a recording of The Little Old Log Cabin In The Lane by Jim Eanes that uses an interesting approach for changing keys. I believe that the banjo player is Allen Shelton.

Little Old Log Cabin In The Lane

When I played in a band in the early Eighties, our repertoire included Why Don't You Tell Me So?  I knew a solo in the key of G, but the singers in the band couldn't sing it higher than the key of F.  Our mandolin player suggested that we use the same approach used by Eanes.  It worked great and I got to play all the solos.

Sep 24, 2021 - 6:58:44 PM

sethb

USA

617 posts since 2/16/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Omeboy

Would it irritate anybody if you finally departed from Eb to C7 (formed at the 10th fret) and then did your solo in F?
 


Unless I'm mistaken, going from Eb to F wouldn't be feasible in my situation.  I think that playing DREAM in chord melody in F would  require me to start with an F chord at the 12th fret. That's even higher up the neck than if I tried to play it in Eb around the 10th fret. 

I have no problem playing chords in that portion of the neck's stratosphere, but at least for me, I find that melody chords  sound better (fuller and more resonant) if I stay lower on the neck, especially if I'm playing tenor guitar with plectrum CGBD tuning.   

But as always, I appreciate that you took the time to make the suggestion, so thanks!  SETH 

Sep 25, 2021 - 7:32:13 AM

1877 posts since 2/10/2003

quote:
Originally posted by sethb
quote:
Originally posted by Omeboy

Would it irritate anybody if you finally departed from Eb to C7 (formed at the 10th fret) and then did your solo in F?
 


Unless I'm mistaken, going from Eb to F wouldn't be feasible in my situation.  I think that playing DREAM in chord melody in F would  require me to start with an F chord at the 12th fret. That's even higher up the neck than if I tried to play it in Eb around the 10th fret. 

I have no problem playing chords in that portion of the neck's stratosphere, but at least for me, I find that melody chords  sound better (fuller and more resonant) if I stay lower on the neck, especially if I'm playing tenor guitar with plectrum CGBD tuning.   

But as always, I appreciate that you took the time to make the suggestion, so thanks!  SETH 


Try stepping down in half steps.  Harmonically what gets to C from Eb would be:  Eb to Ebdim(7), Dm(7), Db(7), 

Sep 26, 2021 - 5:12:55 PM

sethb

USA

617 posts since 2/16/2005

After spending a fair amount of time at the fingerboard and trying out various chord progressions, here's the two I came up with and like the best for an Eb/C/Eb key change.  Both are variations of the suggestions that were posted here by various folks:

Eb (at the 3rd fret) to F (at the 5th fret) to G (at the 7th fret), then G+ (at the 7th fret) to C (also at the 7th fret)  

C (at the 4th fret) to Gdim (at the 2nd fret) to Bb7 (at the 6th fret) to Eb (at the 10th fret)

Thanks again to everyone who offered possible solutions!  SETH

Oct 8, 2021 - 4:26:56 PM

89 posts since 5/24/2013

Eb major or minor?

Oct 8, 2021 - 4:28 PM

89 posts since 5/24/2013

Bb would work.

Oct 8, 2021 - 5:40:46 PM

12274 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by sethb

C (also at the 7th fret)  

C (at the 4th fret)


C (Major?) at 7th and 4th frets? In G tuning?

I can't envision this. Do you mean something else?

Oct 19, 2021 - 6:47 AM

sethb

USA

617 posts since 2/16/2005

Sorry for the delay in answering your questions -- but yes, I did mean Eb major and C major.  And I am not using G tuning; I'm using standard plectrum tuning, which is CGBD. 

Hope this clears things up, but if not, let me know!  SETH

Oct 19, 2021 - 9:12:41 AM

3243 posts since 10/17/2009

quote:
Originally posted by sethb

.... needs to sing it in Eb (but an octave lower).  I can certainly comp in Eb for her, but we'll need to start in Eb for the vocal, go to C for the instrumental, and then back to Eb for another vocal.  And while I could solo in Eb, that would be pretty far up the neck and I think it would sound a lot better in C. 


I might be missing something in your comments but not sure why need to go pretty far up the neck, as Eb is only a step and half higher (3 frets) than C.

If relying on open strings for C, putting a capo on the third fret would work to make it Eb.

Oct 19, 2021 - 9:51:25 AM

sethb

USA

617 posts since 2/16/2005

While it's true that Eb is just three half-steps higher than C, pushing a song from C to Eb pushes everything else up three frets as well, including melody chords that may have already been above the 12th fret to start with.

Maybe it's just my ears, but once I get past the 14th fret or so, I'm wishing that I wasn't!   SETH

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