Talk:Modulation (music)

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Enharmonic Modulation[edit]

The enharmonic modulation section described some examples of combining diminished 7ths' and dominant 7ths'/augmented sixths' in a single paragraph that was hard to follow and understand what the author was attempting to illustrate. As explained in the edit history, I have deconstructed this and made sense of it, re-writing with the same examples and logic but with full necessary context to understand the points being made; I also feel I have provided much more depth to this and corrected some inaccuracies. Originally, some quasi-tonics were described in inversion (which would not establish tonality in the new key). I have spent a few days editing this and making sure all information is accurate however if anyone wants to proof read that would be welcome; I'm not a regular wiki user but any points or validity of chord spellings etc. could be discussed here before editing (if required) in order to double-check first. Manc24 (talk) 21:22, 6 April 2016 (UTC)

Gear change?[edit]

The term "gear change" is totally unfamiliar to hundreds of books and articles on harmony, and it is, at best, a gimmicky and misleading metaphor used by a few amateur music theory teachers who ought not to think they understand very much about music. Efraimkeller (talk) 16:02, 26 February 2013 (UTC)

Shift modulation[edit]

What happened to the link to the truck driver's gear change website? That's pretty relevant. -- (talk) 22:31, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

Agree with above. Maybe the sources were really a bit non-neutral, but I am pretty sure that when an average music listener thinks about modulation the first thing he has in mind are the numerous examples of finales in pop songs. And this should definitely stay in this article ... (talk) 20:22, 18 February 2013 (UTC)


My proposed outline:

  1. Intro: In music, modulation is the act or process of changing from one key (tonic, or tonal center) to another, also known as a key change. This may or may not be accompanied by a change in key signature.
  2. Types of modulations: prepared vs unprepared, smooth vs abrupt
  3. Smooth modulations: by fifth, to relative minor/major, circle of fifths
  4. Abrupt modulations: truck driver's gear change
  5. Function of modultion: divides first subject from second subject in sonata form, not used with full chromatic or twelve tone technique, modulatory space
  6. Other
    1. A sequence, which is the repetition of a short passage at different pitches, may involve modulation, but usually does not. In cases where the key is changed, the sequence is sometimes called a rosalia.
    2. Metric modulation is named after pitch modulation.
  7. Conclusion
I thought the article would benefit from listing and describing the various types of modulations... some rearrangement of the original outline and material made it flow better. Should probably come back and supply musical examples. Mindspillage

Great content, wonderful additions. Do you have sources? However, I would remove the link to "closely related key", and tonicization repeated under "Compare with". I also would disagree that the modulation under discussion is possible in twelve tone music. Hyacinth 07:37, 28 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Created an article (if stubby) on "closely related key" instead of leaving the link red; I thought it deserving of its own page. I've heard "modulation" referred to in twelve-tone, though not, clearly, changing key -- but I can't find my source; changing back until I find the accursed text again! One more list of modulations linked to that I used for reference. Mindspillage 18:59, 28 Jun 2004 (UTC)

The article could use some material on the purpose of modulation as well... providing interest in music. From one perspective, all music is about a journey through keys, building tension as it moves away from the tonic, and resolving that tension as it moves back towards the tonic - and modulation is vital in that process. It's something like a plot of a story/novel. Maycontainpeanuts 13:00, 12 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I don't think it's appropriate to discuss ring modulation at the end of the article. The articles purpose is to inform the reader in it's relation in music theory. Discusion ring modulation and the like detracts from the articles purpose. 18:20, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

FIXME -- someone edited the section about common modulations. The page cannot stay as it is now.

I'm the same guy of the FIXME note above. Thanks for fixing it, at least partially. (The comment above was anonymous because I didn't have an account. I just made it now). I have a few doubts about including the reference to Persichetti. His book does not deal with common-practice tonality and therefore does not have any treatment of modulation as it is described here (in the dominant/tonic sense). Wouldn't it be better to pick another primary reference such as Piston or some other more traditional harmony text? Persichetti could be left as additional reading. Rikypedia 02:24, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

Re: ring modulation[edit]

Having learned the signal-processing meaning of 'modulation' before the key-change meaning, I'm interested in the background of this dual usage. To me it's an ongoing source of confusion, though not nearly as bad as the way guitarists reverse 'vibrato' and 'tremolo'. Many musicians know about 'ring modulation' and 'frequency modulation', but then there's plain 'modulation' that doesn't seem to have anything to do with them. At least not in the sense of being a more general term.

There are some algorithms that use signal-processing modulation to achieve musical modulation, but I'd expect musical modulation to be a much earlier term. Any ideas?

TeknoHog 16:03, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

Moravian modulation[edit]

Please, would somebody explain me what kind of modulation is the so called moravian modulation ? Thanks in advance. --PeterSarkoci 18:28, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

Moravian modulation is modulating a whole tone lower (subtonic), especially in minor keys ([1]). See also: Moravian scale. Hyacinth (talk) 05:53, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

Moravian modulation is a term introduced by Leos Janacek. The melody in this modulation is descending from the tonic towards the seventh. The explanation given by Janacek himself is found in: Stedron, Bohumir, ed. Leos Janáček: letters and reminiscences. Artia, 1955. Jurian81 6 june 2015

Chromatic Modulation[edit]

This example is ambiguous because the IV in C is also a common chord between C and Dm (it would be III in Dm), thus one could call this a common chord modulation. Can we agree to fix this? Also, I hate capitalism. Amber388 (talk) 04:44, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

Every chord in any key could be a chord in another key. Hyacinth (talk) 09:02, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

The seventh chord from the left in the Chopin Prélude example[edit]

Is that really a V13, and not simply V7 decorated with an appoggiatura or passing note? Double sharp (talk) 15:47, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

Technical Point[edit]

Changing the key without changing the key signature only reflects bad writing skills. It is not musically acceptable to change a key without changing the key signature, as a general rule. Where it happens this way, the music is still technically in the same key, but rather the mode has changed, as opposed to the key. Therefore, this point needs clarification. (talk) 02:44, 28 August 2017 (UTC)