Skip to content
Do you have adblock enabled?
 
If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(NPR)   Most pop songs used to have key changes, but they don't anymore. Why not? NPR asks the question   (npr.org) divider line
    More: Interesting, Music, key change, key changes, Chris Dalla Riva, Stevie Wonder, pop music, common ways, hip-hop  
•       •       •

1029 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 30 Nov 2022 at 6:25 PM (8 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



67 Comments     (+0 »)
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


Oldest | « | 1 | 2 | » | Newest | Show all

 
2022-11-30 4:29:50 PM  
Uhm... the lowest common denominator keeps getting lower and lower, maybe?
 
2022-11-30 4:33:57 PM  
heck, many songs in the 70s also used to have time changes.
 
jbc [TotalFark]
2022-11-30 4:38:25 PM  

freddyV: heck, many songs in the 70s also used to have time changes.


Some even had time passages.
 
2022-11-30 4:41:53 PM  

jbc: freddyV: heck, many songs in the 70s also used to have time changes.

Some even had time passages.


Time Has Come Today.
The Chambers Brothers - Time Has Come Today (Audio)
Youtube hIqwzQ7g-Cc
 
2022-11-30 4:54:04 PM  

jbc: freddyV: heck, many songs in the 70s also used to have time changes.

Some even had time passages.


Some keep flowing like a river to the sea.

To the sea.
 
2022-11-30 5:05:34 PM  
The rule: Always go up a step on the last chorus. Examples...
Cheap Trick-Surrender
Bon Jovi-Livin On a Prayer
 
2022-11-30 5:09:42 PM  
It became considered kind of a cheap trick, so has fallen out of fashion for a bit. Don't worry, they'll be back.
 
2022-11-30 5:14:26 PM  
Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2022-11-30 5:30:29 PM  
If the object of the exercise these days is to be as repetitive as possible, I don't see how changes in key or time help to accomplish that.
 
2022-11-30 5:38:11 PM  
In the 20s and 30s, a surprising number of pop songs would be instrumental for literally their entire first half, then just repeat the music, but with lyrics. It freaked me out the first dozen or so times I encountered it.

// And I just realized we're going to have to specify 1920s and 1930s moving forward.
 
2022-11-30 5:47:05 PM  
Key changes are interesting to the ear.   Modern pop is not about being interesting.
 
2022-11-30 6:14:44 PM  
Because the second an actual band with instruments shows up, they get shown the door.
 
2022-11-30 6:29:09 PM  
Most pop songs used to have musicians and melody. Now there's no profit in quality, so there is none.
 
2022-11-30 6:31:05 PM  
No, they didn't.
 
2022-11-30 6:36:09 PM  
Pop 'songs' aren't about music anymore.  It's about a hooky phrase and rhythm repeated in a loop for 2 mins 18 seconds.  Program a bit of noise as the floor, mix it to sound the same as whatever else is being played at the clubs, and put it out there. If it misses, make some minor adjustments and turn out another one next week.
 
2022-11-30 6:53:42 PM  
Maya Rudolph's "Key Change" (from the Netflix Michael Bolton Valentine's Special, which is farking hilarious) is a wonderful song where I guess all the missing key changes from the last 3 decades went.

Also, whither key changes in the middle of a progression?

Toad The Wet Sprocket - Something's Always Wrong (Official Video)
Youtube fK7bwIVrQFs


// ok, so that's less "key change" and more "borrowed single chord" (second half of the verse phrase, the ending D "should" be a Dm - I think)
// not like you knew the difference...
 
2022-11-30 6:54:08 PM  
Do you know who had key changes in all their songs?

Barry Manilow.

Think about it. Is that what you want?
 
2022-11-30 7:02:01 PM  
Because it used to be that most pop singers could sing in more than one key?
 
2022-11-30 7:05:16 PM  
The Most COMPLEX Pop Song of All Time
Youtube ZnRxTW8GxT8


This is a great take on an 80s pop song that modulates the entire time, and includes a hilarious anecdote about him being an overconfident jazz musician doing a gig.
 
2022-11-30 7:12:20 PM  

Dels: Most pop songs used to have musicians and melody. Now there's no profit in quality, so there is none.


I believe that the mid 60s-90s were an amazing era of pop music ("pop" being everything from rock, pop, disco, soul, R&B, rap, metal etc, etc) that we're still realizing was an embarrassment of riches. But there was endless amounts of crap that made the charts that we've rightfully forgotten.

The 70s are a good example: From Genesis to Donna Summer there was fantastic music....but John Travolta and Starlight Vocal Band is what topped the charts. Crap has always floated to the top.
 
2022-11-30 7:22:49 PM  

zimbach: Do you know who had key changes in all their songs?

Barry Manilow.

Think about it. Is that what you want?


He did write the songs.
 
2022-11-30 7:25:51 PM  
NGL, I have some Barry in my rotation.

But then again I have a whole lot ofarkLW 800 Top 40 AM Gold, Rosalie blessed Bubblegum in my rotation as well.

My older brothers were doing FM and WABX well before my little girl psyche could appreciate Led Zeppelin.

/I wish I still had my 1974 CKLW Firecracker 500 poster. Kung Fu Fighting was #1
//Remember thinking that The Beatles ripped off Elton John (Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds)
///When I was I 13, in 1978, I won two albums in the same week by being caller Number 8 on CKLW:  The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl (which began a lifelong obsession) and Lace and Whiskey by Alice Cooper
////Rare 4th slashie for Rosalie

https://wcsx.com/2022/08/12/radio-legend-getting-a-statue-in-windsor/

Bob Seger's tribute to Rosalie
 
2022-11-30 7:27:04 PM  
Buried deep in the article is the very truth about music, no musical education in public schools.  If a kid never hears an instrument played or is encouraged to play an instrument, the skill withers.  Pianos are not cheap and lessons aren't either, but years ago, every neighborhood had at least one piano teacher and parents would find the money for extra private lessons.

Kids without access to musical instruments create music based on words, rhymes, and a steady backbeat.  It's a little genre called rap and it will be a big thing someday.
 
2022-11-30 7:29:17 PM  

KwameKilstrawberry: NGL, I have some Barry in my rotation.

But then again I have a whole lot ofarkLW 800 Top 40 AM Gold, Rosalie blessed Bubblegum in my rotation as well.

My older brothers were doing FM and WABX well before my little girl psyche could appreciate Led Zeppelin.

/I wish I still had my 1974 CKLW Firecracker 500 poster. Kung Fu Fighting was #1
//Remember thinking that The Beatles ripped off Elton John (Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds)
///When I was I 13, in 1978, I won two albums in the same week by being caller Number 8 on CKLW:  The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl (which began a lifelong obsession) and Lace and Whiskey by Alice Cooper
////Rare 4th slashie for Rosalie

https://wcsx.com/2022/08/12/radio-legend-getting-a-statue-in-windsor/

Bob Seger's tribute to Rosalie


CKLW, I mean
 
2022-11-30 7:32:07 PM  
Didn't "Crimson and Clover" have a key change because of a studio/mastering mistake?
 
2022-11-30 7:51:28 PM  

zimbach: Do you know who had key changes in all their songs?

Barry Manilow.

Think about it. Is that what you want?


maybe not all his songs, but you could pretty much say the same thing about Kenny Rogers. I play guitar (badly) and I have a lead ear when it comes to notes and keys, but his songs were the first that I noticed the changing keys.

another cool key change is Harry Chapin's 3000 Pounds of Bananas. the key goes up half a step a time in the song as the tempo gets quicker. if you ever watch a live performance of that song, you can see him slide the capo up the neck a feet at a time

/I guess the reason it fell out of favor is that kids today can't figure out how to do a cool key change like that in Pro Tools
 
2022-11-30 8:22:40 PM  

Diagonal: Uhm... the lowest common denominator keeps getting lower and lower, maybe?


Rick and Morty - Human music
Youtube S1jWdeRKvvk
 
2022-11-30 8:23:36 PM  

poconojoe: zimbach: Do you know who had key changes in all their songs?

Barry Manilow.

Think about it. Is that what you want?

maybe not all his songs, but you could pretty much say the same thing about Kenny Rogers. I play guitar (badly) and I have a lead ear when it comes to notes and keys, but his songs were the first that I noticed the changing keys.

another cool key change is Harry Chapin's 3000 Pounds of Bananas. the key goes up half a step a time in the song as the tempo gets quicker. if you ever watch a live performance of that song, you can see him slide the capo up the neck a feet at a time

/I guess the reason it fell out of favor is that kids today can't figure out how to do a cool key change like that in Pro Tools



Harry, that sucks.
 
2022-11-30 8:27:11 PM  
I watch a lot of kpop.  They keep it interesting, to me, anyway.

NMIXX "O.O" M/V
Youtube 3GWscde8rM8
 
2022-11-30 8:39:49 PM  
clicks and whistles don't have a key!

oops, gotta run. Matlock's on.
 
2022-11-30 8:42:56 PM  

zimbach: Do you know who had key changes in all their songs?

Barry Manilow.

Think about it. Is that what you want?


This. I generally think modulations are the sign of a lazy songwriter. He is the poster boy for it. But, TBF, show tunes are snow tunes.
 
2022-11-30 8:43:36 PM  
well, that was a weird typo, but I'll stand by it.
 
2022-11-30 8:46:17 PM  
Because if they did someone might mistake pop songs for actual music?
 
2022-11-30 8:49:24 PM  

Dr Dreidel: Maya Rudolph's "Key Change" (from the Netflix Michael Bolton Valentine's Special, which is farking hilarious) is a wonderful song where I guess all the missing key changes from the last 3 decades went.

Also, whither key changes in the middle of a progression?

[iFrame https://www.youtube.com/embed/fK7bwIVrQFs?autoplay=1&widget_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.fark.com&start=0&enablejsapi=1&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.fark.com&widgetid=1]

// ok, so that's less "key change" and more "borrowed single chord" (second half of the verse phrase, the ending D "should" be a Dm - I think)
// not like you knew the difference...


+11 for Toad reference
 
2022-11-30 8:58:01 PM  
Pop music is all about the "costume" changes.
 
2022-11-30 9:00:05 PM  

BizarreMan: zimbach: Do you know who had key changes in all their songs?

Barry Manilow.

Think about it. Is that what you want?

He did write the songs.


You raid his closet, don't you?
 
2022-11-30 9:29:55 PM  

zimbach: Do you know who had key changes in all their songs?

Barry Manilow.

Think about it. Is that what you want?


And like him or not, you hear one of his songs and you know it's him.  Most pop music now sounds like somebody mumbling their shopping list under their breath while half a dozen of their friends grunt in the background.
 
2022-11-30 9:39:34 PM  

Exile On Beale Street: The rule: Always go up a step on the last chorus. Examples...
Cheap Trick-Surrender
Bon Jovi-Livin On a Prayer


Actually, Livin' On a Prayer goes up by a third. Don't know of the story behind that one, but it sounds like Jon Bon Jovi was trying to show off his vocal range with the high note he hits during the chorus.
 
2022-11-30 9:56:53 PM  
"Hip-hop is a rejection of a lot of the tropes of traditional musicianship," Charnas says.

FTFH


/Now you kids get off my lawn!
 
2022-11-30 10:19:28 PM  
I seem to remember a song called "Ride my Carousel" or "On a Carousel" where the key modulated up each verse.  But I'm old and my memory isn't what it used to be.

The Hollies maybe?
 
2022-11-30 10:23:29 PM  
Given that most entertainers today can't sing and wouldn't know a key change from a key chain...
 
2022-11-30 10:35:56 PM  
Also, Jimmy Webb.  Alternate chords, key changes, rhythm changes and it all was beautiful.

"Up, Up and Away", "By the Time I Get to Phoenix", "MacArthur Park", "Wichita Lineman", "Worst That Could Happen", "Galveston" and "All I Know".[1]

Thats just for starters.. Love you Jimmy
 
2022-11-30 10:53:06 PM  
Billlie | 'RING X RING' M/V
Youtube i9jhxOwcaw0
 
2022-11-30 11:15:44 PM  
This entire thread smells like a vat of Ben-Gay and Metamucil.
 
2022-11-30 11:25:12 PM  
Ooh, I just remembered this one. 
Johnny Cash - I Never Picked Cotton
Youtube 9OOA9w2EWtM
 
2022-11-30 11:33:34 PM  

North_Central_Positronics: jbc: freddyV: heck, many songs in the 70s also used to have time changes.

Some even had time passages.

Some keep flowing like a river to the sea.

To the sea.


Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2022-11-30 11:56:56 PM  
How about a towfer?

The Guess Who - No Sugar Tonight / New Mother Nature (Audio)
Youtube yMG-Mi9I0-k
 
2022-12-01 12:03:27 AM  
It's not lack of musicianship, there are plenty of studio musicians who could manage it and even the hackiest producer could create a key change with a slight turn of a dial.

Truth is, modulation was a nifty trick to bump up the energy of a song say, somewhere in the second repeated chorus after the third verse. Most pop music these days comes out full bore from the first measure, and there is nowhere to reasonably increase the energy from there.
 
2022-12-01 12:33:13 AM  
Key modulation of the kind discussed in TFA is best left to Broadway and certain very specific types of prog rock. It's pretty farking cheesy at this point.
 
2022-12-01 1:01:20 AM  
Because pop songs today are anodyne pap sung by talentless morons on auto tune?
 
Displayed 50 of 67 comments


Oldest | « | 1 | 2 | » | Newest | Show all


View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

This thread is closed to new comments.

Continue Farking




On Twitter


  1. Links are submitted by members of the Fark community.

  2. When community members submit a link, they also write a custom headline for the story.

  3. Other Farkers comment on the links. This is the number of comments. Click here to read them.

  4. Click here to submit a link.