The simplest modulation possible

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I am in the middle of arranging my next CD at the moment and am very busy, so this is going to be short and sweet today.  I am going to give you the simplest modulation possible, and believe it or not, I use it all the time.  You can sum up the rule in three words:

Just Do It…

Don’t worry about a formula or chord progression or getting to the V7 in the new key. Just play a phrase in the old key and play it again in the new key.  In many cases (not always), it sounds great.  I tend to use it most when I am going up a half step or whole step.

Here is an example of this modulation from “My Jesus I Love Thee” on my most recent CD.

Look at the pattern I am using in measures 21-22 and then notice I repeat it in measures 24-25 in the new key of D.

If you used a theme or pattern in your introduction, return to it and use it like this during a modulation. That makes things simple and helps tie your arrangement together.

Practice strategy:
Take a simple song like “Just As I Am” and work on using this modulation. Come up with a simple pattern for the introduction and then use it for the modulation (play it once in the old key and then again in a new key a step or so higher).