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  #1  
Old 10-23-2006, 06:28 PM
HereIGoAgain HereIGoAgain is offline
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Default Dminor - The Saddest of All Keys.

Dminor - it's been said that a song in Dminor can make people weep instantly. Some would even say that it is the saddest of all keys. Take, for instance, this video of one of our own AGF members playing the piano:

Dminor: Saddest of all Keys

Now, it does have a certain sadness to it. However, is it really that sad?

It has been said that before "tempered tuning," each key had its own "atmosphere," so to speak. Instruments had to be tuned specifically for a certain key. Tempered tuning, in theory, was supposed to make intervals uniform and to place all keys in the same "atmosphere." (This drives us all nuts sometimes, as the guitar was developed before tempered tuning.)

So, folks, is Dminor *really* the saddest of all keys? Is there one that could be sadder? What key is the happiest of all keys?

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  #2  
Old 10-23-2006, 06:36 PM
Ju1ia Ju1ia is offline
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(weeping instantly)

C Major is clearly the happiest key...no sharps or flats to worry about.
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Old 10-23-2006, 06:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HereIGoAgain View Post
...Instruments had to be tuned specifically for a certain key. Tempered tuning, in theory, was supposed to make intervals uniform and to place all keys in the same "atmosphere." (This drives us all nuts sometimes, as the guitar was developed before tempered tuning.)
Hi HIGA...
Guitars are built with tempered scale now - just like pianos.

I'm not sure one could support a case for D minor being the saddest key tempered or not.
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Old 10-24-2006, 02:43 PM
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I have heard that F is "The Key of Love"
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Old 10-24-2006, 03:07 PM
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When my 12 string is out of tune whatever key I play in is pretty sad...
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Old 10-24-2006, 06:50 PM
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Hmm, I don't know. Southern Man by Neil Young starts out with a Dminor chord.
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Old 10-24-2006, 07:00 PM
SongwriterFan SongwriterFan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ju1ia View Post
C Major is clearly the happiest key...no sharps or flats to worry about.
And no black notes. (I play piano).

Funny thing about keys on the piano. I can only play reasonably well (or not so well) in a few keys.

The ones I find easy to play in:


C
Eb
G
F

Others are much more difficult for me.


I play best in G-demolished, though.
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Old 10-24-2006, 07:30 PM
FLDavid FLDavid is offline
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Originally Posted by SongwriterFan View Post
And no black notes. (I play piano).

Funny thing about keys on the piano. I can only play reasonably well (or not so well) in a few keys.
The ones I find easy to play in:
C
Eb
G
F

Others are much more difficult for me.
I play best in G-demolished, though.
Happiest key may be F# (all black keys): a nice happy 6th chord

I sound pretty sad in the key of B major (thank goodness for the handy transpose feature on my ol' Roland XP80--I just play along in E )

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Old 10-24-2006, 11:29 PM
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According to a thread from Berklee School of Musichttp://www.berkleemusic.com/discuss/...age_id=1419065 and a scientific paper published by two professors at University of Sheffield, http://musicweb.hmt-hannover.de/esco.../MS9v2En.htm#6, (in other words folks that know a whole lot more about music than I do), since tempered tuning came into being, there is no difference between keys. Differences lie mainly with the 3rd and the 7th, so that D minor is no sadder than E minor or C minor, and C major is no happier than Ab major (just easier to play without a capo).

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Old 10-24-2006, 11:38 PM
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Matt,
I believe that everybody's perception of pitch and reaction to pitch is different, therefore, to interpret the sound of a particular chord or key is highly subjective.
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Old 10-25-2006, 12:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bern View Post
...I believe that everybody's perception of pitch and reaction to pitch is different, therefore, to interpret the sound of a particular chord or key is highly subjective.
Hi Bern...
Not sure that each individual perceives pitch differently or uniquely from all other humans. We do share a lot of physical and emotional similarity with others in the human species.

People in groups at pitch oriented events (called concerts) do tend to respond similarly to the music presented, so there must be some reactions to music which are shared by large groups within society. And there is no denying that audiences at musical events respond in similar fashion - dancing, clapping, tapping etc. This is apparently in response to the music being presented.

Good composers know this and write and arrange accordingly to harness that power. Sometimes they are probably happy accidents that happen to move people.

Often they are in response to cool licks that guitarists or pianists have been working out on their own that moved them - and when they are integrated into compositions and played they seem to move others as well...we call them hooks.

Try playing the chord progression to ''G-L-O-R-I-A'' in another key or on another instrument and it doesn't create the same response as those simple little licks played on the original version by Eddie And The Hotrods.

I know in my ''keyboard phase'' days, that it at least appeared that people in audiences responded to certain keys and the voicings of large fat sounding fill chords played at fairly substantial volumes more than others.

My explorations lead me to think that either certain keys carry more energy and are therefore preferred by certain groups of writers and instrumentalists, or else the instruments themselves are more prone to developing energetic sounding music and therefore are associated with the keys that are easiest to play on those instruments (ie guitars play better in sharps).

A theory floating around the musical community is that sharp keys portray more energy than flat keys, and that flat keys tend to sound more mellow than sharp keys.

It might be that guitars lend themselves better to playing in sharp keys, and those who write with guitars tend to write more energetic songs that create the perception that sharp keys are more exciting.

Or it could be a match made in heaven, sharp keys easily played on instruments which are played more percussively and energetically producing even more exciting compositions.
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  #12  
Old 10-25-2006, 01:17 AM
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Old 10-25-2006, 02:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljguitar View Post
Not sure that each individual perceives pitch differently or uniquely from all other humans. We do share a lot of physical and emotional similarity with others in the human species.
Fingernails scratching on a blackboard ? Some people are not bothered by the sound...
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljguitar View Post
People in groups at pitch oriented events (called concerts) do tend to respond similarly to the music presented, so there must be some reactions to music which are shared by large groups within society. And there is no denying that audiences at musical events respond in similar fashion - dancing, clapping, tapping etc. This is apparently in response to the music being presented.
I don't think that a concert situation as you describe is a good example, because there are other factors which come into play. Familarity of the music, idolizing the performers, being in a group of friends or simply being turned on by the rhythm are a few non-pitch oriented reasons.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljguitar View Post
Good composers know this and write and arrange accordingly to harness that power. Sometimes they are probably happy accidents that happen to move people.
I don't think composers write in certain keys, other than to accommodate their vocal range or their instrumental arrangements, to attract an audience.
I'll go with the 'Happy Accident' theory...
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljguitar View Post
Often they are in response to cool licks that guitarists or pianists have been working out on their own that moved them - and when they are integrated into compositions and played they seem to move others as well...we call them hooks.
Licks, hooks, riffs are subjective. For example, the opening riff of 'Satisfaction' (Stones) was liked by a lot of people, but not all, include your truly.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljguitar View Post
Try playing the chord progression to ''G-L-O-R-I-A'' in another key or on another instrument and it doesn't create the same response as those simple little licks played on the original version by Eddie And The Hotrods.
I believe the original version was by Them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ljguitar View Post
My explorations lead me to think that either certain keys carry more energy and are therefore preferred by certain groups of writers and instrumentalists, or else the instruments themselves are more prone to developing energetic sounding music and therefore are associated with the keys that are easiest to play on those instruments (ie guitars play better in sharps).
Your subjective exploration ! That's exactly my point, Larry.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljguitar View Post
A theory floating around the musical community is that sharp keys portray more energy than flat keys, and that flat keys tend to sound more mellow than sharp keys.
I've never heard people say said, but if certain people feel that way, I would not argue their perception of sound.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljguitar View Post
It might be that guitars lend themselves better to playing in sharp keys, and those who write with guitars tend to write more energetic songs that create the perception that sharp keys are more exciting.
Hmm...interesting thought...it could be or maybe just their familiarity of the instrument, perhaps. (?)

Interesting topic...
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Old 10-25-2006, 03:05 AM
ParleyDee ParleyDee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bern View Post
I don't think composers write in certain keys, other than to accommodate their vocal range or their instrumental arrangements, to attract an audience.
I'll go with the 'Happy Accident' theory...
Bern, in Baroque times, and at least part-way through the Classical period and quite possibly later, they did. Certain keys in different tuning systems had particular characters and composers chose those keys deliberately to emphasise the feeling the piece was intended to have. Understanding this, knowing the characters the different keys were felt to have and using it as a guide to interpretation is part of "historically-informed performance practice".
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  #15  
Old 10-25-2006, 03:55 AM
Johnny X Johnny X is offline
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Quote:
this video of one of our own AGF members playing the piano:


What member?


.
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