I'm just starting to learn music theory, and i worked out the chord progression of the song "Wet Sand" by Red Hot Chili Peppers. It has the chords G, D, Em and Bm as well as some fills that are all based on the G major scale. However, when it comes to the main solo, it starts with a G# and C#. Is there some kind of theory behind it, or shouldn't i care about these things very much. I thought that it would be easier to transcribe songs if i know the key it's in, but now it seems that it might not be the case.

Thank you very much!

  • 2
    The song changes keys to E major. – Tony Apr 2 '13 at 18:09
  • It's a common trick, called a "phrase modulation". You should train your ears to recognize it. Everything's suddenly different! is probably a phrase modulation. – luser droog Apr 3 '13 at 5:15
  • Solo's actually in G#minor,at the end, so G# is a perfect note to start it.Knowing the key of a piece is a great help to transcribing or soloing over, but this one just happens to change key (or possibly modulates). – Tim Apr 3 '13 at 10:39
  • In addition to the great theory information in the comments and answers here, we should keep in mind that music theory is at least partly (if not mostly) a "rationalization" after the fact of decisions that are really artistic in nature and therefore somewhat ineffable. Analyze enough modern rock music and you'll come across a lot of examples where it sounds good but doesn't completely make sense in terms of western harmony. – Todd Wilcox Apr 8 '13 at 19:21
  • it would be good to edit this question to make it more general (applying to all songs with such a key change), using Wet Sand as an example. – naught101 Apr 10 '13 at 3:22

You are correct - the song is mainly in Em or G - sounds more like Em to me.It then modulates to E maj. At the solo, it changes to G#m. An excellent thing with every song is to find the key, and theoretically work out the other possible chords - in G, it'll be G, Am, Bm, C, D,Em, and the not often used F#m7b5(I wonder why.....!). However, some songs modulate, or even change key, so at that point, obviously, a new set of chords will apply.

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