TonalityGUIDE - basic tonal music theory and analysis for undergraduates
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Key and Modulation


introduction major and minor the circle of fifths ways of modulating spotting modulations

relative | parallel

The following passage also modulates from a major to a minor key. Unlike the major and relative minor, whose relationship is defined by the number of notes they have in common, the most important relationship in this example is that the two keys share the same tonic note (in this case C).


C minor is said to be the parallel minor of C major, and this relationship is most often used in Classical music to introduce a contrast. The above extract from a Mozart String Quartet shows the join between the Menuetto and Trio that form the second movement. The Menuetto, which is repeated at the end, is in C major and the Trio is in the C minor. The movement as a whole therefore follows a common pattern in this sort of movement of major-minor-major.


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