Parallel Keys (or homonymous keys) are those that have the same tonic (fundamental note – 1st degree) and a different mode (major or minor). For example, the parallel key of C major is C minor.

You may have noticed that the difference between two parallel chords is just on one note: on the third. This represents an interesting opportunity when it comes to modulation, because modulating parallel chord would be to maintain the same tone by subtly changing only one note (this note makes all the difference, as it changes the major to minor and vice versa!).

Don’t worry, we will work on this more and show examples when we study modulation techniques. Our intention here is just to bring the definition of the concept so that we can approach it without problems later.

Go to: Closely Related Keys

Back to: Module 8