Asked • 03/19/19

How do I correctly borrow chords from one key to another?

So how does one decide to borrow chords? Let's say I am in the key of C Major. Can I borrow chords, say, from the G Major key? How does this work?

2 Answers By Expert Tutors


David W. answered • 03/21/19

5.0 (116)

Music Theory Professor and Composer with 5+ Years Teaching Experience

Ellynne P.

This is an interesting question. I come from a jazz background. Often chord substitutions are used. The most common substitution is the tritone sub, used for smoother bass voice leading. It is my experience that you can change chords in a composition (reharmonize) as long as the new harmonies replace the same function of the original chords. Often borrowing from outside the key is commonly done in jazz. Secondary dominants and the V of V (described above) are used often in jazz.


Still looking for help? Get the right answer, fast.

Ask a question for free

Get a free answer to a quick problem.
Most questions answered within 4 hours.


Find an Online Tutor Now

Choose an expert and meet online. No packages or subscriptions, pay only for the time you need.