Parallel Key Modulation - How To Change A Song From A Minor Key To A Major Key

Parallel Key Modulation - How To Change A Song From A Minor Key To A Major Key

by Simon Candy


Parallel Key Modulation Article ImageIn this video, I am going to show you a really cool concept called parallel key modulation that has the ability to totally change the mood of a song.

I will take you through a tune called St James Infirmary changing it from a minor key to a major key.

We are basically reharmonizing the song.

The result will have St James Infirmary portray a totally different mood, yet it will still somewhat resemble the original tune, providing you with much more scope to work with when creating arrangements on your guitar.

What is a parallel key?

A parallel key is two keys that have the same tonic but have a different quality, one is major and the other is minor.

For example the parallel key of C Major is C Minor.

The Parallel key of C Minor is C Major.

Modulation simply means to change, in this case change key.

So we have Parallel Key Modulation.

Sometimes songs will switch between parallel keys, however here I want to show you how to use this concept to totally reharmonize a song changing the mood of an existing piece of music from the get go.

Watch the video below as I walk you through the process of applying parallel key modulation using St James Infirmary, converting the song from the key of A minor to A Major. This will change what is traditionally a very morbid tune to something that sounds upbeat, bright and happy.

I am also going to play both the chords and the melody of the resulting arrangement together on one guitar to demonstrate some varied possibilities when doing this.

Check out the video below to learn how:



Converting St James Infirmary From Minor To Major

The Original Tune

Here is the tune St James Infirmary:


Parallel Key Modulation St James Infirmary Tune


Converting The Melody

To convert this tune from A Minor to A Major we need to see how the notes of both keys compare:

Parallel Key Modulation Note Comparison








And then convert the melody accordingly by changing the points of difference between the two keys:

Parallel Key Modulation Melody Converted  1

Parallel Key Modulation Melody Converted  2


Converting The Chords

To Convert the chords of the tune from Minor to Major we need to also see how the chords of both keys compare:

Parallel Key Modulation Chord Comparison








 And then convert these accordingly:


Parallel Key Modulation Chord Converted  1

Parallel Key Modulation Chord Converted  2


St James Infirmary Arrangement

Here is one way you could then put the chords and melody together to create an arrangement of a our newly converted tune St James Infirmary: 


Parallel Key Modulation Arrangement 1

Parallel Key Modulation Arrangement 2


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