Disquiet Junto Project 0570: Key Change

These instructions popped up at disquiet.com/0570 (thanks to the powers of automation) shortly after 12:10am Pacific Time on December 1. (I was asleep at the time.) The email containing those instructions went out via tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto later in the morning (after I woke up), and then I posted them here, on the Junto Slack, and my Mastodon account, and Instagram, etc. And if you’re on Mastodon, please use the #DisquietJunto tag. Much appreciated.

Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto music community, a new compositional challenge is set before the group’s members, who then have just over four days to upload a track in response to the assignment. Membership in the Junto is open: just join and participate. (A SoundCloud account is helpful but not required.) There’s no pressure to do every project. It’s weekly so that you know it’s there, every Thursday through Monday, when you have the time.

Deadline: This project’s deadline is the end of the day Monday, December 5, 2022, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, December 1, 2022.

Tracks are added to the SoundCloud playlist for the duration of the project. Additional (non-SoundCloud) tracks appear in the llllllll.co discussion thread.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto):

Disquiet Junto Project 0570: Key Change
The Assignment: Make music that changes keys

Step 1: There’s been news of how, in the past decade, the newest most popular music doesn’t change keys as often as the most popular music used to. (I’m being cautious by being specific that this is about the most popular music, because the data relates specifically to No. 1 singles.) Read about it here:



Step 2: Record a piece of music that does change keys. (Don’t feel required to record music that aspires to mass popularity.)

Eight Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0570” (no spaces or quotation marks) in the name of your tracks.

Step 2: If your audio-hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to also include the project tag “disquiet0570” (no spaces or quotation marks). If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to subsequent location of tracks for the creation of a project playlist.

Step 3: Upload your tracks. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your tracks.

Step 4: Post your track in the following discussion thread at llllllll.co https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0570-key-change/

Step 5: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 6: If posting on social media, please consider using the hashtag #DisquietJunto so fellow participants are more likely to locate your communication.

Step 7: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Step 8: Also join in the discussion on the Disquiet Junto Slack. Send your email address to marc@disquiet.com for Slack inclusion.

Note: Please post one track for this weekly Junto project. If you choose to post more than one, and do so on SoundCloud, please let me know which you’d like added to the playlist. Thanks.

Additional Details:

Deadline: This project’s deadline is the end of the day Monday, December 5, 2022, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, December 1, 2022.

Length: The length is up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0570” in the title of the tracks, and where applicable (on SoundCloud, for example) as a tag.

Upload: When participating in this project, be sure to include a description of your process in planning, composing, and recording it. This description is an essential element of the communicative process inherent in the Disquiet Junto. Photos, video, and lists of equipment are always appreciated.

Download: It is always best to set your track as downloadable and allowing for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution, allowing for derivatives).

For context, when posting the track online, please be sure to include this following information:

More on this 570th weekly Disquiet Junto project – Key Change (The Assignment: Make music that changes keys) – at: https://disquiet.com/0570/

More on the Disquiet Junto at: https://disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here: https://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co: https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0570-key-change/

The cover image for this project is from DALL·E 2, where “key change into another key” was the prompt.


And the project is now live.

Hi all :slight_smile: . Recorded a live jam with Norns running Flora script. Keystep was plugged into Norns as a midi controller. Root note key changes were made through Flora params whilst controlling additive melody and clock speed with keystep.

A shorter duplicate track of the Norns recording of Flora was passed through UA’s Silo (minus reverb), UA’s G8 (noise gate) and UA’s sandman (delay).
Added some texture with ‘Noises’ vst.


It’s been a long, long year so I thought I’d let my hair down with this one. Of course - as always - it all started out quite serious.

For some reason, Stereolab’s middle-to-late recorded era came to mind (Cobra, Sound Dust) which consists of a heap of tunes that take all kinds of unexpected left turns with key changes. Then I thought of Bowie…then I thought of Eno’s nonsense melodies and lyrics…then it became this in a couple of hours.

My rationale was to compact the semblance of a catchy song into two minutes with interesting development and shift between the keys of E to Bb to C and D in a relatively brief span of time. The lyrics are simply what came into my head at the time, but the reference to the leaking pipe under the sink is autobiographical. By far the silliest thing I’ve recorded for the Junto but it was a great deal of fun to knock together.


Lyrics and pacing all together is genius here! :raised_hands: :clap: :clap: :raised_hands:


Hi, this one’s perfect for me, I do change keys all the time and coincidentally yesterday I finished mixing a terrific project I’ve been involved since last September, where I focused on that, modulations, key changes.
But this one I’m sharing is a track I’ve been working on since July 2022, eventually a week ago I decided to drop this take and start all over with a solo piano version. It has some key changes, not really sections but there’s a permanent “unstable key” feel throughout.
Key changes go like this:
1st bar E minor
4th bar A minor
5th bar F# minor
8th bar B minor
9th bar G major
and then back to E minor for the coda.
All repeated twice in this version, with an extended coda.

I played:
Classical guitar
Drums (brushes)
Acoustic bass guitar
Wine glasses (background sequence)
Celesta (from sample library)
Synth pad


The usual setup with granular effects added.



The playlist is now rolling:


It was an oversized container of laundry gel that knocked a pipe off under the sink for me just under a month ago. That and pushing far too much into a small space. The water went straight into the cupboard below and out to quickly soak the kitchen carpet. It’s something else to walk into the kitchen and it sounds like your in a swamp! :smiley: Thanks for this :slight_smile:


I don’t think I’ve ever done a key change in any of my projects unless by accident, so thank you for this challenge. I had a lot of fun putting this together. This piece shifts from E minor to D minor and back to E minor. I used NI Playbox and ThePhonoLoop Tape.01 plug-ins within Ableton Live for most of the sounds and effects. AudioThing Noises was used to create the background drone.


Hey All, I really don’t know any keys. I am from the plunking school of music. I used some stock chords in different keys and did some arping around. It keeps a pop feel and could be a soundtrack to a very cheap /cheesy sci fi show I guess. Hope all are well.

Peace, Hugh


Sorry, posted it in the wrong group, the one from last week: Stream [disquiet0570] Lock by Fake Genius | Listen online for free on SoundCloud


I instantly had the idea to create (again…) a piano-track with noise-ambiance. This time I didn´t want to use Hainbach´s Landfill Totem but create my own sounds.

I started out to build these sounds. I searched freesound for “key” and selected one recording of a bunch of keys and one of a keyboard key. I preprocessed them with Audacity (Paulstretch, etc.) and then built two Padshop-sounds (Cubase´s granular synthesizer) with modulations, and one Cubase sample-track.
The more pad-like sound was build with a Harmonium-sample from a new free pianobook.instrument in Padshop. The last accompanying instrument is a bass trombone from Spitfire.

I played around with these sounds to get in the mood… Then I improvised the piano track in separate takes. In the first section changes between C-major and G-major occur, the second section is mainly in Es-major, but there are also F-major chords which don´t belong there (not enough music theory to give it a name)… In the end the piano turns to G-major.
All other sounds/instruments were added afterwards, improvised on the keyboard to the piano-track.


Hey all,
Great concept Marc.
I am uploading now and not sure I actually have a key change anymore. I may have cut it out when I was editing.
I used the new Labs tape piano on this plus the DFAM and Minilogue.
I had to bribe my wife to sing. One take and she is gone. The result is edited from a longer jam after reading the prompt.


Here I arpeggiated Felt Instruments’ Helenko celeste and played two sets of keys sampled into Ableton’s Simpler. I then passed both through the Felt Instruments Smugi sequenced filter bank. Bass is Softube’s Monoment Bass, again passed through Smugi. There is a synth pad following along. Keys are changed. Keys are jangled. We stay mostly in A Dorian with a couple of visits to C Maj. Similarly we stay mostly in the office keys but make a couple of visits to the house keys.


With the end of the year approaching and my backlog of material increasing in size, I used the opportunity to rework an existing song to fit the criteria of this prompt rather than start a new one from scratch.

When first developed, I made use of a Logic feature that allowed for the random generation of notes and rhythms, effectively allowing the DAW to create a melody for me. I then rearranged the notes to create a more pleasant melodic motif. The lead instrument in question is the default “Classic Electric Piano” patch in Logic, with absolutely none of the settings adjusted.

For the rhythm tracks, I programmed some percussion on the Arcade Frenzy patch on top of some apple loops. The song also features a gourd gifted to me by a high school biology/homeroom teacher and a very quiet flexatone (the latter of which is tucked away near the end of the composition)


4 voices VCV patch. Keeps changing keys. But the key changes often feel more like gestures than like harmonic movement.

The source sound were 4 tracks of a generative VCV patch that I edited. The oscillator and filters for all voices are derived from a single CV source. I thought of that cv source as my key control. It’s a cv mixer summing 2 Rungler style inputs, a sequencer (Mindmeld Shapemaster) and a shenanigans CV doing sweepy things. The inputs are quite chaotic so don’t feel like they are in a key, but changing the offset for the whole mixer especially helped create moments of ‘key change’.

The other trick I used to hint at harmony is with the the polyphonic vocal part (Plaits). The chaotic key cv is fed to a sample and hold, and then through Instruo harmonàig to get chords. (The chords have the same rhythm so I think of them as a single voice.) The sample and hold on this voice also means that the other voices often change key while the vocal part stays on the same notes.

The distorted bass part prominently features @Allieway_Audio Koan with a vult filter inserted in the send/return. There is another voice derived from the same oscillator as the distorted bass but fed through a filter without Koan. They both behave very differently so I treated them like 2 voices and recorded them separately.

I kept the tracks synced (as recorded) during edit (just cutting and moving the blocks of synced tracks.) Some effects were added during mixing.


Amixo progession programmed with Suggester app. imported to Ableton, altered & adjusted. added bass, trombone, a few other elements. added Fmin 9th motif starring as “the shift”. tried to keep it simple for a change. subtle reverb and coloring courtesy of Speakerphone App. Its very nice.
Took a day or 2 to hear that Brian Wilson got ripped off,. but it came out of my heart first, the Bacharach Trombone was totally obligatory and premeditated.

This was my chance to do that Princelike super pop tune with a bunch of Key changes ala Earth Wind & Fire but you know, my plans, if I have them, rarely make out the brain onto the tape. Man I really really needed these weekly assignments to get into a more productive workflow and to keep learning new things about music, so thanks Marc and everyone involved in this really cool weekly challenge, a lot of great music here,


Yet another take on plain triadic harmony with a modulating bridge from Gm to Am.

Drones added as an attempt to purge verbal thought (as I consider it a disturbing side of the mind while producing and consuming music) and also because I’m shy and feel too naked releasing clean tonal material.

Made with AKAI Force.