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I'm struggling to get from E Minor to a Bbsus chord. Once I get there, my modulation to C minor is good but I'm struggling to find something that moves me smoothly to the Bbsus. Any thoughts?

  • By the way Bb sus 'what' - sus2/sus4 ??? - And which music style ? 'Jazzy' with a lot of tensions allowed or more 'Classical', 'Pop' ? - How many bars are available - slow or quickest possible modulation??? And above all 'for which instrument' - solo or arrangement/orchestration? – mramosch Sep 17 '15 at 1:50
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    @mramosch I think if it doesn't say 2 it's 4. In classical music the suspension always held a note from a previous chord that becomes fa->mi in the new chord. – luser droog Sep 17 '15 at 2:48
  • In classical music there is also a suspension that holds a note from a previous chord that becomes re->mi in the new chord ;-) -> IV V I -> chords progression in C-major: C/F/ A -> D/G/ A -> D/G/ B -> E/G/ C – mramosch Sep 17 '15 at 9:19
  • @mramosch nope that's called a retardation not a suspension see musictheory.net/lessons/53 – Dom Sep 17 '15 at 14:17
  • @Dom: I am referring to the analog phenomena that _@luserdroog calls a 'suspension'... - just sus2 instead of sus4... - Or do you say this is a C(ret2)-chord instead of C(sus2)-chord ? – mramosch Sep 17 '15 at 15:23
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I don't know why you need to use Bbsus, but I can think of two other ways you can modulate.

  • First, a way to modulate from E minor to C Minor is chromatically. Very simple, by flatting the E and B. Em is E,G,B and Ebm (III of C minor) is Eb,G,Bb. So, by this chromatic modulation, you find yourself to the C minor scale. *

  • And secondly, while on E minor, you can play Em (i), G(III) which G is the V of C minor and simply play Cm afterwards.

These two tonalities are a bit afar; E minor has one sharp while C minor has three flats, so the two aforementioned methods might sound a bit off, but they are the quickest way there.

A more smooth, but longer way would be to follow the circle of fifths leftwise. E minor to A minor to D minor to G minor to C minor, but that would take more time.

Since you like the sound of Bb sus, you can approach it chromatically. Similarly to the first way described above, you can play Em (E,G,B) and flat the E and B to Eb and Bb respectively, remove the G and you have the Bbsus chord. This might not be really smooth. Another way would be to play some other chord from the E minor scale that contains either the note E or the note B.

*Generally, chromatic modulations are used to approach tonalities that far apart.

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    I don't know that I need the Bbsus, but it takes me where I go and helps build to the dramatic last verse. Plus I just like the sound of it :-) I'd like to keep it if I can get there smoothly, If not, I'll reconsider. But thanks for your suggestions...I'll try them out and see if I can get anything to work. Thanks! – Tracey Sep 16 '15 at 12:46
  • @Tracey I added a way to use Bbsus, but it would be the smoothest; it will sound similar to the first way I posted – Shevliaskovic Sep 16 '15 at 13:11
  • Thanks! I'll have more musical play-time tonight than I had last night, so i'll play around with that and see what I come up with. – Tracey Sep 17 '15 at 14:00
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Yes, you need a chromatic modulation, if you don't want to use another key for the modulation.

This is maybe the simplest one.

enter image description here

  • Where's the B-flat sus4 chord? Are the Bs in the second chord supposed to be flat? – Todd Wilcox Sep 16 '15 at 18:17
  • The main question is how to modulate from e-minor to c-minor. The user had a question about Bb-sus chord, which is not found in e-minor neither very useful as a modulation tool to c-minor. Therefore, my explanation offers a solution to modulation from e-minor to c-minor. – octo Sep 16 '15 at 18:58
  • I guess it depends on what part of the question one sees as the essential part. I was keying off of: "...I'm struggling to find something that moves me smoothly to the Bbsus. Any thoughts?" – Todd Wilcox Sep 16 '15 at 19:03
  • I agree. But Bb-sus is already Eb-major which is very far away from e-minor, and therefore very close to c-minor. If you need to have Bb-sus in e-minor and still not entering c-minor: it is very hard task. I would like to see how Tracey's progressions are moving and where it stops. – octo Sep 16 '15 at 19:09
  • @ToddWilcox you're right, my issue was/is getting to the Bbsus from E minor. I don't have time to figure out how to insert an image of the section but the progression is i (Em) - i (Em7/D in bass) - iv6 (this is where I'm struggling...changing E to Eb helps, I'm just not sure it's enough) - Bb sus - Bb - Cm. Sorry if that's confusing, I couldn't figure out how to insert the image :-) – Tracey Sep 17 '15 at 15:00
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By the way Bb sus 'what' - sus2/sus4 ??? - And which music style ? 'Jazzy' with a lot of tensions allowed or more 'Classical', 'Pop' ? - How many bars are available - slow or quickest possible modulation??? And above all 'for which instrument' - solo or arrangement/orchestration?

  • For a quicky from 'Em' to 'Cm' on the Piano just go 'Barbra Streisand':

| Em Em | F/G G || Cm(add9) | ...

The highest notes also

| e e | f g || g | ...


With the progression IV/V - V - I respectively IV/V - V - i (as seen from your new tonic) you can go absolutely everywhere in one bar. Major or Minor! Em is already part of C - you just decide in the last moment to go 'minor'... ;-)

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    Bb sus usually refers to sus 4 – Shevliaskovic Sep 17 '15 at 8:13
  • Yup, sus 4. It's a handbell arrangement of Kingsfold, more on the classical side. I'm moving from a somewhat contrapuntal 3-part texture to chords, so it's relatively thin. The Bbsus is where it builds before moving to c minor, I just wasn't happy with how I got there. The addition of an Eb to a previously a minor chord helped some, I'm still pondering if it was enough. But thanks to everyone who has weighed in for the help. – Tracey Sep 17 '15 at 13:57

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