minor to major

Hey, people who know more about music theory than I do:

How does one go about shifting a piece of music from a minor key to a major one? (Assume, for the purposes of this discussion, that I’m just looking to transpose a simple melodic line. No chords or anything to worry about.)

This entry was also posted at http://swan-tower.dreamwidth.org/601316.html. Comment here or there.

6 Responses to “minor to major”

  1. brooksmoses

    For something in C major, you would take all of the E’s, A’s, and B’s in the melodic line and move them down a half-step — to E-flat, A-flat, and B-flat, respectively. (If you have things that are already one of those flats, you then need to fudge something appropriate-in-context with them.)

    For something in other majors, you do the equivalent — things that are two whole steps below the base note, one whole step below it, and two whole steps above it get moved down a half-step.

    • dr_whom

      But you might refrain from flatting the seventh and perhaps the sixth—i.e., the B and perhaps the A—if doing so would make the melodic line really weird. For instance, a scale leading up to C really wants to have a B there, not a B-flat. The flat third—the E—is totally essential, though.

      (The so-called melodic minor scale specifically uses A and B natural when the melody is going up the scale and A-flat and B-flat when the melody is going down; but you have more flexibility than that.)

  2. nnozomi

    The above commenters are providing helpful advice on shifting a piece of music from major to minor. You can shift from minor to major basically by doing the reverse; the single thing which will make the most difference is raising the third a half step: that is, a piece in C minor will have E-flats in it, and you can make it sound more like C major by making them all E-naturals. Another way to describe it might be comparing the key signatures of the minor and major keys and changing the notes likewise (the key signature of C minor has B-flat, E-flat, and A-flat, while the key signature of C major has no flats or sharps at all, so to go from one to the other you would take any B-flats, E-flats and A-flats and make them all naturals, and so on).
    I hope that makes sense, and that you don’t mind something of a drive-by comment. I miss music theory…

  3. squishymeister

    The easiest way is to modulate up the circle of 5ths. As my theory teacher used to say, the 5ths is like a merry-go-round. You can get on it and ride until you feel like getting off at a new key ;).

    (if I’m remembering this right, this music theory class was back in 2001)

Comments are closed.