Music education always & always looking forward.

Melodic & Harmonic Concepts

Interval Reinforcers


Obviously, there are many different types of modulations, although the "Gear Shift" is one of the more common types heard in popular music.  Here, they will be divided into three categories.

General Key Change Examples

Minor/Major Transitions

Flattened Submediant Modulation

  • The Beach Boys - "Wouldn't It Be Nice"
  • Beyonce - "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)"
  • Billy Joel - "Uptown Girl"
  • Buddy Holly - "Peggy Sue"
  • The Decemberists - "16 Military Wives"
  • The Platters - "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes"


Much of Western music, and a large majority of popular music, is heard in basic Ionian mode (do re me fa sol la ti do), but there are six other modes based on the same scale degrees.  Here are a few examples that show up in popular music.

Dorian Mode

Phrygian Mode

Mixolydian Mode

Aeolian Mode 


Popular music features a number of typical cadences, but sometimes, a less standard cadence appears in a pop song.

Deceptive cadence

PIcardy Third

  • Bob Dylan - "Ain't Talkin'"
  • Guns & Roses - "Sweet Child of Mine"
  • Lionel Richie - "Hello"
  • Mates of State - "Nature & the Wreck"
  • No Doubt - "Don't Speak"
  • Roberta Flack - "Killing Me Softly"
  • Seal - "Kiss from a Rose"
  • Yes - "Roundabout"

Aeolian Cadence

  • The Beatles - "Not a Second Time"
  • Sonic Youth - "The Diamond Sea"


Have a suggestion for a song to include here that aurally demonstrates this particular concept?  Write me on the Contact page!!

Direct (???) Modulation & Symmetrical Compound Meter in Queen's "We Are the Champions"

Rhythm & Meter Concepts