Monday, August 18, 2003

Truck Driver's Gear Change
The Truck Driver's Gear Change Hall of Shame website explains in their FAQ what this phrase means in the realm of popular music.

Many writers and arrangers feel that when their song is in risk of getting a bit tired, it can be given a fresh lease of life by shifting the whole song up a key, usually in between choruses, towards the beginning of a "repeat-till-fade" section. You may have heard this technique informally referred to as "modulation", but the correct ethnomusicological term for the phenomenon is the truck driver's gear change. This reflects the utterly predictable and laboured nature of the transition, evoking a tired and over-worked trucker ramming the gearstick into the new position with his – or, to be fair, her – fist.

Here is a list of offending gear changes by Artist, and here is an example of an offense - committed by REM in the song "Stand".


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