God will make a way starts in F scale (as far as I know).
So the chords are from F major scale. (F, Bb, C, Dm).
This is fairly simple.

But if you check the lyrics-chords from the line "By a roadway in the wilderness", the chords change to C#, Eb, Ab chords (which I guess are from C# scale).
This is also understandable.

But if you keep going down to the line "He will do something new today", you will see the line ends in C and D chords which are definitely not from C# scale.

I would like to know if there is some music theory rule which is applied in this song.
Your answers would definitely help me clear our this doubt.

Added question: If you try to play the lead of this song, from the line "By roadway in the wilderness" , the notes start deviating from the original scale.
i.e some notes are still of the same scale but few notes are coming out of the scale.
Can someone explain this.
If anyone is interested, I can post the notes of the song.

Updating the question after NReilingh♦ answer:
Please ignore my two replies. I tried to edit and delete but not able to do so.

You are right, in the video, he starts off with F major, but then shifts to G scale.

But from the lines “By roadway in the wilderness” to “But His word will still remain” he shifts to Eb scale if I am not wrong (I am guessing through the chords used : Eb , F, Bb, G chords).
I have heard scale shifts in songs and the shifts generally are within +2 to -2 range of the original scale.
However this shift was say almost 4 scales down the original but still sounding good.
He ends the line “He will do something new today.” in C, D and E chords.

I tried to read up regarding tonicization and chromatic mediant but it was too technical for me. If possible can you explain it in simpler terms. It might benefits others amateurs too.

You can check the video here : "God will make a way by Don Moen"

  • I really wanted to know whether this shift of scale in a song (mostly at the end) does have a name in english or it is called just like Shift/Change of Scale, Chord...etc etc? Please answer me.... or mail me at davidsuchan@gmail.com – user2534 Jun 26 '12 at 6:44
  • @DavidSuchan It's called a modulation, and as discussed in this question and answer, it is better to refer to it as a change in key rather than in scale. – NReilingh Jun 26 '12 at 15:23
  • @NReilingh, thanks for the introduction to modulation. I read about it and it looks pretty interesting. Maybe I should try to incorporate this concept in my next composition. – Jeril Nadar Jun 29 '12 at 11:04

The C - D chords at the end of the changes you posted are just a turnaround for raising the key to G major, as noted at the bottom of the changes. (G major: IV - V - I)

The video you posted doesn't match the changes--in that version, he takes the key up to G right after the first stanza.

You're right that the overall key is F major. That part in the middle is just a brief tonicization of the chromatic mediant. The changes you posted call it G#, but Ab major is a more correct spelling. Chromatic mediants are often used in music meant to be "uplifting."

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  • I think you will start to understand a little better if you learn about musical keys and functional harmony. Scales shouldn't typically be used to analyze anything more than notes in an isolated melodic fragment. For harmony, we interpret the function of each chord relative to a tonic note and harmonic quality, i.e. a key (G major, D minor, etc.). – NReilingh Jun 17 '12 at 20:26
  • @jeril-nadar: i agree with NReilingh that it modulated temporarily to Ab major (it's parallel minor's relative major, if that makes sense). That is until " ... will i see." Notice that the last chord he uses in Ab major is a VI major, which brings it back to the original key, F major. After finishing the first stanza, he changes key to G. – mey Feb 12 '15 at 12:46
  • Don Moen uses a similar change of key ( modulation by minor third) in some other songs as well. eg. I just want to be where YOU are. The modulation is also temporary, and goes back to original key using VI major as it's pivot/bridging chord. – mey Feb 12 '15 at 12:50

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