Question on Constant Structure Movement in Smoke Gets in Your Eyes Tutorial

I was revisiting the Smoke Gets in Your Eyes Solo Piano arrangement and had a question in regards to the B section outro.

What is the logic behind the Constant Structure Movement played towards the end of this song? I get that there are maj7s going a whole step down up until a half step up to Dbmaj7 which is the “new key”, but would then go from a V-I to end the song in Fmaj7. However, I’m a bit confused as to the harmonic significance of the change and why would it go from the Dbmaj7 to a C7 to Fmaj all of the sudden.

Would appreciate any input on this. Also posted it on the forum as opposed to the video as other members might see it should they have a similar question in the future. Thanks in advance!

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Hi @jose2 , thanks for writing!

What I’m doing there is based on the melody of the song; when we get to the Dbmaj, you notice that I’m playing the melody of the first bar, just in the key of Dbmaj:

Here in the original key (1st bar of the arrangement)
Screenshot 2022-10-23 at 9.38.49

And here in the key of Dbmaj:
Screenshot 2022-10-23 at 9.38.32

As you can notice, not only the melody is the same, but also harmonically the two chords (Ebmaj - F#dim & Dbmaj - C7/E) are the same. You might wonder how F#dim and C7/E can have the same function, but when you look at the chord tones, you’ll notice that they both are b3 diminished in their own keys:

In the end of the arrangement, I “started” the melody again in the key of Dbmaj, but then immediately used the C7/E(Edim) as a dominant to Fmajor, taking the arrangement once more into a new key.

In this situation, the C7/E (Edim) is working both as a part of the harmony of the tune, and simultaneously as a dominant to Fmaj. Chords like this that have two different functions are called ‘pivot chords’, and are very useful in arrangements, to create more harmonic movement with modulations and reharmonizations.

If you want to dig deeper into the diminished harmony, here is a tutorial on the topic. Diminished chords are one of the most important things to understand, as they are the base of all functional harmony.

I hope this helped, let me know if there are any further questions!


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Thanks @Tuomo! The key change had me so flustered I didn’t notice it was basically the same melody in Db as the tonic.

That clears up a ton, however I still wanted to know what the bar prior de the Dbmaj modulation meant harmonically. I see a change from F#maj to Emaj to Dmaj. I see that it follows a similar approach, being based off a combination of the melody that ends both the B section and the 2nd A section. However, in the earlier instances on the song, dominant chords where used as opposed to the maj chords used in the endings (i.e., the ending of the first B section ends in F#7 before changing keys and the ending of the second A section uses a E7 tritone to resolve to Emaj6). Hope that makes sense and thanks again!


yes, usually I use dominants to move to different keys or sections, however, in the outro I’m using more modal approach, taking a static chord (in this case major 7th chords), and moving it in structural way, first in whole steps (F#maj - Emaj - Dmaj), then half a step down (Dmaj - Dbmaj).

Basically, if you take any chord/voicing, and move it in a symmetrical pattern, in half steps, whole steps, in thirds etc. it will sound good. This is called “constant structure movement”.

You can try this easily! Just take a basic voicing, and move it in any pattern. Here some examples:

  • major 3rd up - minor 2nd down - major 3rd up - minor 2nd down etc.
  • minor 3rd down - major 2nd up - major 3rd down - minor 2nd up

Let me know if any further questions!


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Thank you! That really clears everything up. I’ll give this exercise a try.

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