An Easy Way to Modulate Up A Half-Step
We are going to start a "piano tips and tricks" segment on our blog. We will discuss and explain common tips and shortcuts that can be applied in a variety of performance and teaching settings.
§ An Easy Way to Modulate Up A Half-Step
During my tenure as a professional gospel and jazz pianist, I have picked up a few neat, easy tricks that really help in improvisational and band performance. One of them is how to modulate up a half step.
Modulating up is very useful, especially in gospel music, as it occurs quite frequently. Therefore, it will add to your musicianship greatly to learn a smooth, harmonious method on how to do it.
Say you're playing in the key of D. If you want to modulate up a half-step to the key of E-flat, you can follow this simple pattern.
When you get to the root (or Tonic, D), simply:
1. Move, in tempo, down to an A/C# chord
2. Move to an A-flat/B-flat chord (an A-flat sus.4/B-flat note also works)
That's it. It's that simple. Now you're ready to modulate to E-flat, smoothly and harmoniously. So, the full progression is
1. D chord (tonic)
2. A (chord)/C# (note)
3 A-flat (chord)/B-flat (note) >
4. E-flat (the new Tonic)
(You may wish to linger longer on the third chord. It gives the ear adequate preparation for the modulation.)
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