The chords for Radiohead's Creep follow this pattern: G Bm C Cm

My question is whether the C->Cm constitutes a change of key and if so which keys are being used and why does this 'work'?

  • 3
    Possible duplicate of Unconventional use of iv and I7 chords – jdjazz Jul 30 '17 at 17:21
  • It looks like the Cm chord is a minor iv chord in the key of G. This might make the question a duplicate of the question I've linked to above. – jdjazz Jul 30 '17 at 17:22

No key change. Cm is from the parallel key of G minor, a common borrowing. It's not even considered a modulation.


The second chord is actually B major, acting as secondary dominant to E minor. However the E minor is avoided via deceptive motion to C major. Depending on who you ask, this is either a modulation or it isn't, but there is certainly an accidental (the D sharp).

After the C major comes a C minor which is acting as minor subdominant of G to set up plagal motion back to G.

So there is continuous tension between the keys of G major and its relative minor, E minor. Even though there isn't a single E minor chord in the song. Nifty, huh? I love Radiohead.

  • Well spotted on B maj. Modulations take on the mantle of a new key, albeit for a short while. There's no indication in this situation that it's moving away from G (maj or min), so it can't be called a modulation - by anyone who understands...and as you state, the mod would be into Emin (at that point) which we never get to see. But going to Cm won't constitute a mod either. – Tim Aug 1 '17 at 7:54

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