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I want to modulate from a chorus that's in F# minor to a verse which is in D# minor. Do you know a good (preferably short) chord progression/transition for this modulation?

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  • Melodic lines are important too, not just chords. Jun 20 at 11:55
  • Those two chords transition well because of the common tone (F#) so you can do it cold without a transition if you like. “Light My Fire” is a classic example, Am-F#m with an A melody note marking the transition between the chords. Jun 20 at 15:26
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In F# minor, D#m is a chromatic mediant (#vi), so a direct modulation from D (VI) to D#m (#vi) would be pretty smooth, because the F# is shared between both chords.

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Keys a minor third apart always share the same dim vii chord, with an enharmonic spelling, so it's always easy.

a min --> g# dim --> e# dim --> f# min

Note that the V7 chord is VERY near the dim vii (only 1 note 1/2 step different) so you could alter to this:

a min --> g# dim --> C#7 --> f# min.

Spellings

  • g# dim = g#, b, d, f
  • e# dim = e# (respelling of f), g#, b, d
  • C#7 = c#, e#, g#, b (d dropped down to c#)
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Just jump in. That Chromatic Mediant shift sounds nice, doesn't it! No need to flatten it out.

The note in common between the two tonic chords is F♯. Is that the last note of the old melody and the first of the new one? Remember, melody can also link a modulation, it's not just about chords.

If you insist, ii7 V7 of the new key can always be used as a set-up. But be careful it doesn't kill the magic.

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To go from F# minor to D# minor, if you want to avoid an abrupt-sounding change, you can just follow the circle of fifths: good old F#ather C#harles G#oes D#own and, oh look, there we are.

E.g. using a string of secondary dominants: F#m, G#7-C#m, D#7-G#m, A7-D#m.

Or without: F#m, C#m, G#m, D#m.

Since we are going around by fifths, the mood change of a descending minor third step between keys is not felt at all.

(I'm guessing you're trying to avoid that, otherwise you'd just do it directly and not ask anyone.)

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