Carole King - It's Too Late - Key Change Analysis - How would you think about it

Would love some feedback on whether I’m analyzing this song in the most efficient manner.

As far as I can tell, it starts in the key of G on a 2-5 progression for the verse (Am7-D6)

Then the last 4 bars of the verse leading into the chorus go:
Am7 - Gm7 - Fmaj7

Now we have resolved in a new key (F) and the last 4 bars of the verse could be called 3 - 2 - 1 in F.

However when we start those 4 bars, the Am7 still feels like the 2 of G.

So at what point do we consider the key to have changed? When we hit the Gm7?
It seems at that point that the key becomes nebulous and it is uncertain until we feel the resolution on the Fmaj7. So I would say that it is not until that point that we have actually established a new key.

But if I were trying to write this progression independent of key (ie, only in numbers) how would I convey a key change like that? Is there another way I could think about this? How would you analyse this song?

Edit: link to the song on youtube

I’m very new to IFR , so here go’s

The question of what KEY are we in when we approach the transition from the verse to the chorous, I believe is relative. Both keys are supported ( either as the 2nd or as the 3rd ) as a way for the listener’ s ear to modulate from one key to the next. So to answer the question of " when would we be active in the new key " I would suggest the 3 note of the 3 - 2- 1 transition serves as the 3 in the new key. I consider this as the 3 of the 3-2-1 flow is directed by our “intent” … for where it takes us.

Welcome to the forum @ryking & @Larry .

I haven’t anything to say on this subject since I simply don’t get involved in this sort of analysis (my interest is in free exploration of musical ideas).

However, I have observed that when it comes to thinking of tunes in numbers the typical approach in IFR is to keep the same ‘1’ pretty much all the time unless the key change is going to go on for a very long time.

Welcome @ryking and @Larry.

As @DavidW says, in IFR terms unless a piece changes tonal centre for a considerable period of time, it usually tries to maintain the key (signature) of the music throughout.

I’ve not l look at this song in detail, but if it starts with note 1 being G, with chords Am and D, which note sounds like “home”? Does G/note 1, does it sound major? or does note 2 sound like home, is it minor? And when it moves to the chorus you say it moves to an F chord, which would be b7 if G is note 1, does it sound like a b7 chord?

These are the questions I’d be asking myself. The song does move around, but I would be trying to analyse it with an underlying scale/key, and trying to see how it moves over this scale.

That may or may not help, but I’m not really at the chord analysis stage in IFR yet.

I just looked at the song, and also played along with it. It is in the key of A-, which is the 6th HE of C, so the key signature is C. When you say, ‘key change,’ I go by the technical definition, which is change of key signature, also called modulation. This song does NOT modulate.

The chords of the intro are A-7, D6, A-7, D6—these are 6min7 and 2min6, in the key signature of C. The G-7 and the Fmaj7 are 5 chords and 4 chords respectively. Every chord in the song is in relation to C major.

There are, however, chords with outside notes, such as the Bbmaj7. Bb is a b7, which also appears in the G-7.

I looked at the official melody (the Tapestry book), and there are no outside notes–all in A- (key signature of C).

I hope this helps.