How could I modulate smoothly from A# minor to B minor?

  • 1
    This is impossible to answer without any context or limiting conditions. The number of possible solutions is huge. For instance 1) how long the modulation should take? 2) what is "smoothly"? 3) do you want to get it done in a "jazzy" or a more "classical" way? 4) do you need to modulate with melody alone, or do you have some harmony to back it up? How many voices? ... etc., etc.
    – Ramillies
    Nov 18 '19 at 11:42
  • You can even start with A# -> A#m-> A#°7->B->Bm (major-minor as relative chords, dim7 = vii°7. Play this with triads in octavas like the Bbm concerto by Tschaikovsky Nov 18 '19 at 18:18
  • The first step would be to "modulate" from A♯ minor to B♭ minor.
    – phoog
    Nov 18 '19 at 18:24
  • 1
    First tell us - why would you want to? Nov 18 '19 at 20:33
  • I'd like to hear an attempted modulation that is not "smooth". Nov 20 '19 at 12:01

When modulating by a half step, one trick is to exploit the enharmonic equivalence between the German augmented-sixth chord and the dominant-seventh chord.

In A♯ minor, the German augmented-sixth chord is F♯ A♯ C♯ D𝄪; since this chord sounds the same as the V7 in B (F♯ A♯ C♯ E), you can easily resolve to B minor and strengthen the modulation from there.

This also works going backwards: you can go to a V7 in B minor, but then resolve it as if it were the German augmented-sixth in A♯ minor.

  • If one just heard that chord, how would one know which it was?!
    – Tim
    Nov 18 '19 at 12:19
  • 2
    As with most things in music, it's all about context and how it resolves.
    – Richard
    Nov 18 '19 at 12:44
  • On a semi-serious note, with modern music, I'd only hear it as the V of Bm - I expect a lot of modern composers (pop etc.) wouldn't know about German +6.
    – Tim
    Nov 18 '19 at 12:50
  • A few examples from Beethoven and Mozart.
    – Michaelyus
    Nov 18 '19 at 13:47

Modulation and key change generally speaking uses the V chord of the new key. So you'd have a bar or two of F♯ or F♯7 leading into the new key of Bm.

You could also lead into that F♯ with an A♯diminished chord, using it as a pivot note. That gets the job done in one or two bars.


In jazz, the most apparent solution would be to modulate via II-V-I:

A#m7(Bbm7) Cm7 |C#m7b5 F#7 |Bm7 |

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