1. #1

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    I have a question about pivot modulation.

    As far as I can understand, the quick definition of a pivot modulation is a key change with a shared chord in between the the two keys used to 'pivot' on.

    I immediately thought ah! I Walk The Line by Johnny Cash. Yet when I read some of the online material on this I see it described as a direct or shift modulation instead.

    Modulation Methds, Ways and Means - How Music Really Works

    A Fine Line to Walk: Direct Modulation (Repeatedly) in Johnny Cash's "I Walk the Line" — Rebel Music Teacher

    The way I understand it, it's clearly a pivot modulation. Am I wrong???

    Here is my chord analysis of the song:

    Pivot Modulation Theory Question-i-walk-line-pivot-modulation-jpg

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Haven't thought about that song for a long time. Anyway I gave it a listen.

    Pivot modulations most often occur via a progressional sequence transitioning off of harmonic content common to both keys. In this song, each new key is established simply by lingering on the former IV chord long enough for the ear to settle in and accept it as the new tonic with each new section starting on the V chord as you indicate.

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by bako
    Haven't thought about that song for a long time. Anyway I gave it a listen.

    Pivot modulations most often occur via a progressional sequence transitioning off of harmonic content common to both keys. In this song, each new key is established simply by lingering on the former IV chord long enough for the ear to settle in and accept it as the new tonic with each new section starting on the V chord as you indicate.
    Cool, so in your view it is a pivot modulation then?

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by bako
    Haven't thought about that song for a long time. Anyway I gave it a listen.

    Pivot modulations most often occur via a progressional sequence transitioning off of harmonic content common to both keys. In this song, each new key is established simply by lingering on the former IV chord long enough for the ear to settle in and accept it as the new tonic with each new section starting on the V chord as you indicate.
    Yes..Ted Greene and others teach this technique to establish a different tonal center ..(letting the ear "adjust" to a new "home")

  6. #5

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    Is it a pivot modulation?
    It could be argued either way, people like to argue.

    I would say yes because it arrives in the new key pivoting via a
    chord functioning in both keys although it does so by elongation
    as opposed to a linking chord sequence.

  7. #6

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    Pivotal Modulation is a pretty fancy name but it's a very interesting subject.

    My favorite example is Blue In Green. Simplified chords:

    Bb - A7 - Dm/Db7 - Cm/F7
    Bb - A7 - Dm
    E7 - Am - Dm

    Here we go :-)

    A7-Dm in line 2 is okay. So is E7-Am but...

    Is the first Bb in Bb or Dm?
    Is the Db7 just a passing chord or a sub for G7 therefore the V of Cm?
    Is the Cm in Cm or the ii of F7 in Bb. Or both?
    Is the final Dm in Am, Dm or Bb (because the tune goes round and round)?

    This isn't an abstract theoretical question either. When you play the tune it really matters what you play over what.