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Recently, while listening to contemporary and pop music, I discovered that many song uses an I - V - i or i - V - I modulation. For example, C major to G major to C minor. I want to know whether there is a name for this particular modulation technique?

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I would call it a parallel modulation, since you're modulating to a parallel key. Googling for that term confirmed that this is what they are called, and led me to this video:

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    Just want to add here that it is important to note the difference between modulation and progression. If this is a tonal region with a distinct shift to another tonal region, then we can consider it a modulation. If it merely passes through the chords described above, it is a progression and therefore should be though of a modal mixture as opposed to a parallel modulation. – jjmusicnotes Sep 7 '14 at 15:18
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Hardly a modulation, as it goes to major on the last bar, but a piece that's in minor for its entirety but finishes with a tonic major. That's called a Tierce de Picardie. The 'Picardy third'. In the dim and distant past, a lot of serious music used this as an ending, somewhat brightening things up.

Going from major to minor is, I think a lot less common.A couple of examples would be nice.

  • Picardy third is even "mandatory" in endings like Im/I7/IV/V7/I, since once you have heard the major 3rd in I7, ending with the minor tonic would sound "disappointing". For the major to minor progression, well you have a lot of them in Schubert pieces, including simple juxtaposition I/Im. It's a very effective way to come back to a dramatic minor part, symphonists in the 19th century use this a lot. I had been taught this under the name "minorization". – Alexandre C. Sep 6 '14 at 11:18

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