Changing Key With Diminished Chords Made Easy [Music Theory]

Tommaso Zillio

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diminished modulation

The diminished chord is one of the most versatile chord in music. It can do things that other chords can't do, and it resolves a number of problems in an elegant and practical way.

(Just to be precise, here I'm talking about the diminished 7th chord, not just the diminished triad. I'll explain it exactly in the video below)

Today we see one of the applications of the diminished chord to the problem of modulation. What is modulation?

Modulation in music means "changing key". There are many reasons to change key in a music piece - for variety, for emotional expression, to create special effect.

The main challenge here is to do change key in a smooth way i.e. connecting the two keys in a way that 'leads' the listener from the former key to the next one without any bump in the way.

The diminished chord offers one super-easy way to do just that.

In this video we will take a very simple chord progression in 8 different keys, and we will see how a diminished chord can connect these 8 keys seamlessly. Once you have seen this trick, you will be able to use it immediately in your own music.

If you are interested in techniques for smooth modulations, here's a lesson with some more tricks to change to a very distant key without a single bump in the road.

Of course, to really learn from this video below you want to play all the examples on your guitar too:

Of course, there would be much more to say about modulation. And we barely touched on the topic of voice leading in modulation (a fundamental topic if you want your key changes to sound natural and smooth).

To know everything about voice leading and modulation, have a look at the Complete Chord Mastery guitar course that will lead you though all the ins and outs of writing and playing great chord progressions on your guitar.


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