indigo76 wrote: ↑
Tue Aug 31, 2021 10:27 am
sorry for the newbie question — I started leaning music theory in earnest and I would like to know exactly what is meant by the term “modulation”.
Do I modulate if I, say, play the diatonic chords of a scale? For example a melody in C major and accompanying chords like the I, V and IV.
Or do I modulate if I change the root note/ tonic? I.e. if I were to change from C major to D minor within a song and from that point on play notes in the key of D minor.
Thanks in advance!
Modulate comes from the early times, when there were several MODES, and means, literally, changing the mode.
When tonalitly relagated modes to oblivion, with were left with just two – Major and minor. The term “modulation” started to be used, tthen, to designate the change pof tonality (which could or not change mode). Fort example if you “modulate” from G Major to D Major (a common modulation) you aren’t changing MODE, but you are changing tonality.
To answer directly to your questions:
1. Do I modulate if I, say, play the diatonic chords of a scale?
NO, you don’t. Using chords doesn’t necessarily change the tonality (most of the times, it doesn’t).
2. do I modulate if I change the root note/ tonic? I.e. if I were to change from C major to D minor within a song and from that point on play notes in the key of D minor.
YES, that’s what “modulation” nowadays usually means.
There are other things that should be taken into account (like “tonicization”, for example) but it’s better leave them out for now.
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