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Chopin’s 200th Anniversary

Celebrate one of the greatest piano composers in history, Frιdιric Chopin, by listening to the Polish pianist Krystian Zimerman’s performance of Ballade no 2 in F-major while following along in Chopin’s autograph manuscript. Read more >>

Poll
Question: - Is there a LIST? or Just THEORY? Specific KEYS:Certain Keys create Certain Moods, Feelings-MOVIES -
keys and moods - 0 (0%)
keys and feelings - 1 (100%)
Total Voters: 1

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Author Topic: - In Specific KEYS:Certain Keys create Certain Moods, Feelings-MOVIES -  (Read 1311 times)
pianoplayerstar
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« on: September 09, 2016, 07:24:43 PM »

Members:

I remember reading somewhere where someone said certain pieces and compositions in certain keys create certain moods.

For instance, play in the Bb major for sad songs and pieces.
Play in the F# minor for more subdued jazzy reminiscent pieces... and so forth.

Is this just a theory? Purely Subjective?

Or is there an actual RULE on this like the Circle of 5ths?
pps
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perfect_pitch
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« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2016, 10:48:51 PM »

No... there isn't...

End of thread.
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vaniii
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« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2016, 10:53:41 PM »

No... there isn't...

End of thread.

This.  When shall we expect your next opus.
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dcstudio
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« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2016, 11:18:36 PM »

Members:

I remember reading somewhere where someone said certain pieces and compositions in certain keys create certain moods.

For instance, play in the Bb major for sad songs and pieces.
Play in the F# minor for more subdued jazzy reminiscent pieces... and so forth.

Is this just a theory? Purely Subjective?

Or is there an actual RULE on this like the Circle of 5ths?
pps

The concept of ethos within the ancient Greek modes (differing from the modern major modes) attributed differing feelings or power to each mode. I.e. Dorian mode was thought to increase virility.

There are intervals such as the tritone that create tension when played harmonic or melodic. Usually in movies the use this cliche to indicate danger.

Certain keys? Well when we play the blue we use the flat keys--they sound better, darker, but that also make life easier for the sax players too.

I did hear Billy Joel say he found Amajor to be "cold"

If you want a dark sound Bb major wouldn't be the best maybe Bb minor or an amalgamat
ion of the two.  Keys are chosen to present the theme or themes in a pleasant register.  Vocal range is often a deciding factor as well.  There is no rule.

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ted
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« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2016, 12:34:06 AM »

They don't for me, one key is as good as another, but I have no idea which key I am listening to anyway. My teacher knew exactly what he heard but it mattered little to him either. Perhaps the associations form through habits unrelated to sound.
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piano petals
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« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2016, 01:24:50 AM »


There is an interesting view of key signatures at artofcomposing.com. Go to the December 2012 blog of Jon Brantingham and scroll down.  Roll Eyes
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keypeg
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« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2016, 02:20:06 AM »

Look up temperament, and the different tempering of piano keys historically.  The tempering or tuning of pianos in modern times is a kind of compromise making all keys equally playable and everything just slightly out of tune vis-a-vis each other.  Before that, certain keys (in the sense of G major, Db major etc., not in the sense of piano keys) had different qualities because of the tuning.  When the tuning or temperament changed, this phenomenon also went away.
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quantum
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« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2016, 03:09:58 PM »

Another question is, did composers choose to write specific moods in specific keys and did that in turn lead to the notion that a key evokes a certain mood.  During the period where non-equal  temperaments were the mainstay, perhaps this was the case.  But following that, did the practice of writing specific moods into keys continue further into the period of time where equal temperament was the norm, as if continuing the long held associations with keys? 

Is the mood-mode relationship dependent on composer intention?
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« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2016, 07:29:46 PM »

I would think that certain keys are also chosen because of the instrument being written for.  Black keys (lots of black keys in the signature) are better for the hands of a pianist. G and D major are good for violins because of how they are tuned, sympathetic resonance etc.  I understand that for a lot of wind instruments it's the keys with flats because of their tuning and makeup.
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pianoplayerstar
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« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2016, 09:14:29 PM »

"dcstudio", thank you.  YOur answer, although not full, is VERY helpful. tHank you.

"Dcstudio" gave us some good tidbits of examples (not actual rules, because this topic of KEYS and MOODS is all relative), such as flat keys create a blues and morose kind of sound.... yes, i'm sure this is arguable, but still, it's a STARTING POINT.

... and the STARTING POINT is what I was looking for.

"ted" - thank you as well. "ted" is implying that certain keys are played to make it attainable for certain altos or sopranos.. for basic singing.

...and "keypeg", thank you - you mention that it sometimes just easierly both mechanically and physically to play in certain keys.

... i'm taking a look at the "artofcomposing.com" someone shared with us here as well... Thank you.

MOODS & KEYS:  THis is what i'm concerned with, whether certain keys have been predominantly used in JAZZ & POP to develop certain keys.

.. I"m sure there is a GENERAL INDUSTRY STANDARD "or" STARTING POINT on this theory of mOODS & KEYS?
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dcstudio
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« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2016, 10:45:06 PM »

Apologies pianoplayerstar.  I gave as complete an answer as my education and my lifetime spent in this pursuit would allow.  To the best of my knowledge there is no "rule" at least not as I understand this question. 

Please feel free to research this on your own and bring your findings to the forum as thus far all you have done is ask questions and draw conclusions based on your own preconceived notions. Do you plan on studying the piano...ever?
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keypeg
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« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2016, 11:22:45 PM »

...and "keypeg", thank you - you mention that it sometimes just easierly both mechanically and physically to play in certain keys.
I think you missed one of my posts.  I wrote about temperaments and the history of tuning.  If you saw that post, have you had a chance to look that up?  It is fascinating reading, and it should answer your question.
The  consideration of instruments is not actually an answer to your question, but merely points out why certain keys might be chosen.  It is also not always in terms of ease.  For example, violin strings are tuned G, D, A, E.  When you play in the key of D, the notes of all these strings are in that key, so they will be played often.  You will get "sympathetic resonance" (another thing to look up and explore Smiley ) which will make everything sound sort of bright and shiny.  If you play in the key of Db, there is no sympathetic resonance since none of those open strings can get excited, and you get a more dull, unshiny, flatter sound - and this will also affect the mood or colour.  Various instruments have their own peculiarities.  You might also want to look up the properties of each instrument group and indvidual instruments.  There is an excellent series on the history of the French horn featuring Barry Tuckwell which taught me a lot - and not just about the horn.
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dcstudio
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« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2016, 12:19:32 AM »

I think you missed one of my posts.  I wrote about temperaments and the history of tuning.  If you saw that post, have you had a chance to look that up?  It is fascinating reading, and it should answer your question.
The  consideration of instruments is not actually an answer to your question, but merely points out why certain keys might be chosen.  It is also not always in terms of ease.  For example, violin strings are tuned G, D, A, E.  When you play in the key of D, the notes of all these strings are in that key, so they will be played often.  You will get "sympathetic resonance" (another thing to look up and explore Smiley ) which will make everything sound sort of bright and shiny.  If you play in the key of Db, there is no sympathetic resonance since none of those open strings can get excited, and you get a more dull, unshiny, flatter sound - and this will also affect the mood or colour. 

I remember that from orchestration class. I also remember being taught to give the strings first consideration always.  These are concepts that reach far beyond being an accomplished pianist.  In fact, unless that pianist has studied extensively and has knowledge of other instruments--as keypeg does because she is also a violinist -- they wouldn't know of such things generally speaking.  I wonder why they interest the OP. 
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pianoplayerstar
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« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2016, 12:55:49 AM »

B flat is for blues moods

Sharps are generally accepted piano music

Flats are generally jazz music

I was particularly looking for some kind of chart with keys and the moods in which each can generate in a song
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georgey
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« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2016, 01:42:02 AM »


I was particularly looking for some kind of chart with keys and the moods in which each can generate in a song


Assuming equal temperament tuning on the piano:

C major – Happy
C minor - Sad
C# major- Happy
C#  minor – Sad
D Major – Happy
D Minor – Sad
Eb Major – Happy
Eb Minor – Sad
E major – Happy
E Minor – Sad
F major – Happy
F Minor – Sad
F# Major – Happy
F# Minor – Sad
G Major – Happy
G Minor – Sad
Ab Major – Happy
G# Minor – Sad
A Major – Happy
A Minor – Sad
Bb Major – Happy
Bb Minor – Sad
B Major – Happy
B Minor – Sad
B# Major – Happy
B# Minor – Sad
Etc.
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pjjslp
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« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2016, 02:20:18 PM »

Assuming equal temperament tuning on the piano:

C major – Happy
C minor - Sad
C# major- Happy
C#  minor – Sad
D Major – Happy
D Minor – Sad
Eb Major – Happy
Eb Minor – Sad
E major – Happy
E Minor – Sad
F major – Happy
F Minor – Sad
F# Major – Happy
F# Minor – Sad
G Major – Happy
G Minor – Sad
Ab Major – Happy
G# Minor – Sad
A Major – Happy
A Minor – Sad
Bb Major – Happy
Bb Minor – Sad
B Major – Happy
B Minor – Sad
B# Major – Happy
B# Minor – Sad
Etc.

Hahaha! Loving this! Georgey, I suspect you would be fun to get a beer with.
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pianoplunker
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« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2016, 10:02:52 PM »

Assuming equal temperament tuning on the piano:

C major – Happy
C minor - Sad
C# major- Happy
C#  minor – Sad
D Major – Happy
D Minor – Sad
Eb Major – Happy
Eb Minor – Sad
E major – Happy
E Minor – Sad
F major – Happy
F Minor – Sad
F# Major – Happy
F# Minor – Sad
G Major – Happy
G Minor – Sad
Ab Major – Happy
G# Minor – Sad
A Major – Happy
A Minor – Sad
Bb Major – Happy
Bb Minor – Sad
B Major – Happy
B Minor – Sad
B# Major – Happy
B# Minor – Sad
Etc.

Now I am laughing and crying at the same time. Thanks Georgey for setting the mood
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dcstudio
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« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2016, 11:31:43 PM »

B flat is for blues moods

Sharps are generally accepted piano music

Flats are generally jazz music

I was particularly looking for some kind of chart with keys and the moods in which each can generate in a song

HuhHuh?  Ok.  You must be a genius. All of us here are amazed by your understanding of music.  Please post your playing... because if you can play like you BS that would really be something.

Lol
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lostinidlewonder
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« Reply #18 on: September 12, 2016, 11:36:57 PM »

I don't know about the key you play a piece in creating a different mood but the chord families do certainly encourage the imagination.

I found this thank goodness which saved me having to type lol

http://howmusicreallyworks.com/Pages_Chapter_6/6_17.html

Major
(e.g., C)
Happiness, cheerfulness, confidence, brightness, satisfaction
Minor
(e.g., Cm)
Sadness, darkness, sullenness, apprehension, melancholy, depression, mystery
Seventh
(e.g., C7)
Funkiness, soulfulness, moderate edginess
Major Seventh
(e.g., CM7)
Romance, softness, jazziness, serenity, tranquillity, exhilaration
Minor Seventh
(e.g., Cm7)
Mellowness, moodiness, jazziness
Ninth
(e.g., C9)
Openness, optimism
Diminished
(e.g., CΊ)
Fear, shock, spookiness, suspense
Suspended Fourth
(e.g., Csus4)
Delightful tension
Seventh, Minor Ninth
(e.g., C7♭9)
Creepiness, ominousness, fear, darkness
Added Ninth
(e. g., Cadd9)
Steeliness, austerity
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pianoplayerstar
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« Reply #19 on: September 13, 2016, 12:49:15 AM »

"lostinidlewonder" hits this poll on the dot.

thanks, this is exactly what I was looking for.
Thanks a bunch.
pps
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georgey
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« Reply #20 on: September 13, 2016, 01:03:46 AM »


I don't know about the key you play a piece in creating a different mood but the chord families do certainly encourage the imagination.



"Key", "Chord", "Note", "Scale".  They may all mean the same thing to pianoplyerstar.  Or he/she may just be getting her/his words mixed up like I sometimes do.
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georgey
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« Reply #21 on: September 13, 2016, 07:25:04 PM »

In some ways I am warming up to Pianoplayerstar’s style of writing.  IT IS FUNNY!  I could go on having fun with this, but I decided this is my last post to any of his/her threads.  

I saw a member here who started playing piano without lessons and decided as one of his first pieces to play Chopin Op 10 # 12 with the left hand fingered using only the 4th and 5th fingers.  He also had the attitude that he can teach others here that this is the best way to learn.  He was unwilling to listen to others.  Believe it or not, I did not mind this person posting because I believe his feelings (as misguided and illogical as they were) were genuine.

I’m not sure this is the case with Pianoplayerstar.  He may be another Andy Kaufman just having fun with this.  He may not be. I don't know.  It will be up to each of us individually to judge.  In some ways I would love to continue having fun here.  I’m still trying to get Pianoplayerstar’s approval on something  Wink.  It is VERY tempting to continue because it is so funny, but this will be MY last post in his threads.  I do wish the best of luck to Pianoplayerstar.
 
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ted
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« Reply #22 on: September 13, 2016, 09:12:08 PM »

I hate to say that, but as someone with perfect pitch, who can identify these chords by ear instantly - I don't feel that particular chords can really conjure up emotions like that post claimed...

Speaking as someone without absolute pitch, but who recognises and uses very many chord types, I am inclined to agree that an isolated chord, heard out of context, contains no fixed meaning. But then I do not think music in general has any meaning other than that which my mind imposes, so I might be peculiar in this respect. Meaning derived from social, historical and biographical data prior to the event of listening can be tempting and even fun, but I seriously doubt it is intrinsic to the sounds themselves in the same way as within a language. But then I am not a musician, so what do I know, I suppose ?
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lostinidlewonder
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« Reply #23 on: September 14, 2016, 12:04:32 AM »

I hate to say that, but as someone with perfect pitch, who can identify these chords by ear instantly - I don't feel that particular chords can really conjure up emotions like that post claimed...
So you think a minor chord sounds as "happy" as a major chord? Or what about Scriabins obsessive thoughts about the mystic chords? Smiley
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« Reply #24 on: September 14, 2016, 10:30:34 AM »

So you think a minor chord sounds as "happy" as a major chord? Or what about Scriabins obsessive thoughts about the mystic chords? Smiley

No - there's a clear fundamental between Major and minor, but they are 2 absolute parallels which are used in music (major and minor keys) - either one of them favouring Major or minor chords.

As for things like a C added 9th... I don't feel it makes you think of austerity. A lot of those other chords can be used in Major or minor keys, so I feel that there is a sort of ambiguity that doesn't let these chords to have distinct feelings or emotions.
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dcstudio
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« Reply #25 on: September 14, 2016, 11:45:16 AM »

No - there's a clear fundamental between Major and minor, but they are 2 absolute parallels which are used in music (major and minor keys) - either one of them favouring Major or minor chords.

As for things like a C added 9th... I don't feel it makes you think of austerity. A lot of those other chords can be used in Major or minor keys, so I feel that there is a sort of ambiguity that doesn't let these chords to have distinct feelings or emotions.

Totally agree.  That's why different people perceive different emotions and feelings from the same piece  of music.  Many factors other than the key or chord are involved. 
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« Reply #26 on: September 16, 2016, 05:29:17 AM »

No - there's a clear fundamental between Major and minor, but they are 2 absolute parallels which are used in music (major and minor keys) - either one of them favouring Major or minor chords.

As for things like a C added 9th... I don't feel it makes you think of austerity. A lot of those other chords can be used in Major or minor keys, so I feel that there is a sort of ambiguity that doesn't let these chords to have distinct feelings or emotions.

I agree with this. To define major/minor happy/sad is a musical myth. In modern blues or jazz, major and minor are often played at the same time for a "mood".  Is JS Bach's famous prelude in C major happy or sad ? I feel nostalgia, not really happy or sad, not sure. Depends on what kind of day I am having I guess

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j_tour
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« Reply #27 on: September 16, 2016, 07:46:22 AM »

I did hear Billy Joel say he found Amajor to be "cold"

Well, since it's "not pay attention to morons" day, we now know that A major is a crisp, clean, fragrance-free key.

In all seriousness, Billy Joel is a fine musician and I'm sure he has a lot to teach us all.
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timothy42b
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« Reply #28 on: September 16, 2016, 11:56:26 AM »

So you think a minor chord sounds as "happy" as a major chord?

Yes, outside of the context. 

I do not think there is anything inherently sad about minor chords, but all of us have been exposed to many many sad songs with minor chords and have developed an association. 

This is narrow Western culture thinking - if we had more exposure to other musical forms we might have a very different perspective. 
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Tim
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« Reply #29 on: September 16, 2016, 12:57:26 PM »

Yes, outside of the context. 

I do not think there is anything inherently sad about minor chords, but all of us have been exposed to many many sad songs with minor chords and have developed an association. 

This is narrow Western culture thinking - if we had more exposure to other musical forms we might have a very different perspective. 

I agree with this. Minor chords can still resolve and why may give a different 'positive' feeling to major chords, they can still be satisfying in a positive way.


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« Reply #30 on: September 16, 2016, 01:16:05 PM »

Yes, outside of the context. 

I do not think there is anything inherently sad about minor chords, but all of us have been exposed to many many sad songs with minor chords and have developed an association. 

This is narrow Western culture thinking - if we had more exposure to other musical forms we might have a very different perspective. 
agreed, it is particularly evident in the study and analysis of Russian/soviet music where major/minor relationships intertwine more and sometimes merge into a 'super key' as this paper describes
http://emerald.tufts.edu/~mdevoto/RussianSubmediant.pdf

just an example. I many folk melodies  and the implied harmonic underpinnings, joy/sorrow is not neccessarily inherrent to a major or minor key, it's the juxtaposition of them in context to rest of the music, concept of space and time (key use of silence) and other aspects of a tune or harmony and allow the listener to form an opinion on happy vs. sad. its more a  norm but not hard and fast and is something brought about by conditioning the ear.

we also see this in Bartok's music, where the folk tunes many times did not fit into a western std music tradition, so a happy or sad could not necessarily be made to fit against the backdrop of pure major or minor.
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classicalinquisition
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« Reply #31 on: September 16, 2016, 03:25:12 PM »

I think what Star is asking is whether or not the playing or composing of Minor keys engenders feelings of blues. The simple answer is yes; the more detailed answer is it depends as to the juxtaposition as someone in this board stated.  with Major keys, again, it depends on how it's played
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classicalinquisition
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« Reply #32 on: September 22, 2016, 09:12:10 PM »

HuhHuh?  Ok.  You must be a genius. All of us here are amazed by your understanding of music.  Please post your playing... because if you can play like you BS that would really be something.

Lol

no need for his posting, but i am curious about this flats and sharps comment.  although true and generally accepted as jazz musicians tend to use flats quite often, but it goes completely counter to most if not all of chopin's pieces and he was not a jazz musician. dc, let's be a little more genteel with your comments. lol
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dcstudio
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« Reply #33 on: September 22, 2016, 11:47:57 PM »

no need for his posting, but i am curious about this flats and sharps comment.  although true and generally accepted as jazz musicians tend to use flats quite often, but it goes completely counter to most if not all of chopin's pieces and he was not a jazz musician. dc, let's be a little more genteel with your comments. lol

I am quite genteel...relatively speaking and Jazzers tend to use flat keys for a number of reasons that have nothing whatsoever to do with Chopin's affinity for C# minor... in  which by the way he used the parallel major of Db for his B sections.  So, how does using flat keys go counter to all of Chopin's pieces and what does that have to do with the price of tea in china?
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« Reply #34 on: September 22, 2016, 11:55:32 PM »

Isn't a flat major Chopin's most used key?  Tongue
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classicalinquisition
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« Reply #35 on: September 23, 2016, 03:16:45 PM »

I am quite genteel...relatively speaking and Jazzers tend to use flat keys for a number of reasons that have nothing whatsoever to do with Chopin's affinity for C# minor... in  which by the way he used the parallel major of Db for his B sections.  So, how does using flat keys go counter to all of Chopin's pieces and what does that have to do with the price of tea in china?
none of chopin's ballades at least 1-4 have a key signatures formally requiring sharp keys, except perhaps accidentals or changes in the middle of the piece. in general, his nocturnes, even concertos are predominantly in flats
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dcstudio
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« Reply #36 on: September 23, 2016, 03:33:58 PM »

no need for his posting, but i am curious about this flats and sharps comment.  although true and generally accepted as jazz musicians tend to use flats quite often, but it goes completely counter to most if not all of chopin's pieces and he was not a jazz musician. dc, let's be a little more genteel with your comments. lol


none of chopin's ballades at least 1-4 have a key signatures formally requiring sharp keys, except perhaps accidentals or changes in the middle of the piece. in general, his nocturnes, even concertos are predominantly in flats

Huh?? What on Earth are you trying to say.  Lol please explain...I really have no clue
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dogperson
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« Reply #37 on: September 23, 2016, 04:30:50 PM »


Huh?? What on Earth are you trying to say.  Lol please explain...I really have no clue

Whatever he is trying to say about Chopin, it is not accurate.
Of the 19 Nocturnes in Paderewski's edition, 10 are in flats and 9 are in sharps.
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dcstudio
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« Reply #38 on: September 23, 2016, 05:06:44 PM »

Whatever he is trying to say about Chopin, it is not accurate.
Of the 19 Nocturnes in Paderewski's edition, 10 are in flats and 9 are in sharps.
Inaccurate is an understatement...
the musical reasoning of laymen can be so dreadfully difficult to understand. I have run into so many people like this. They approach my piano and tell me to play things...or describe how they want me to play something. Sometimes they know how to say a musical term....like counterpoint or polyrhthm....they cannot define it but they think by saying it over and over I will suddenly understand what they are asking of me.  Lol...but what do I know...
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j_tour
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« Reply #39 on: September 26, 2016, 03:20:49 AM »

I have run into so many people like this. They approach my piano and tell me to play things...or describe how they want me to play something.

You know, some of us have friends who are guitarists.  No need to get so personal!

Smiley

I am kind of interested to know your opinion of why, besides the obvious reason (writing for/playing with transposing horns and reeds), it happened this way.

I know (or think I know) that a lot of the Tin Pan Alley songwriters were pianists, even if they just played "arranger piano," so simplicity of key signatures makes sense when it comes time to write out a leadsheet.

There are some standards in G (one sharp), maybe even more than in F (one flat), but beyond a few cases, which I'm drawing a blank on (and remembering I'm probably remember wrongly), obviously you're right:  most standards seem to be in Eb, Cm, Dm, F, G, Bb, and maybe Ab.

I don't know that there's anything inherent in the geometry of the keyboard that makes Bb so much more "normal feeling" than A -- I picked those two keys because it seems to me there's an equal amount of blues playing in both keys, but in my non-scientific, non-anything survey, I think most players will go with Bb for just a blues tune, played solo, with no concern for whatever a horn player might do.  Despite that all kinds of people can, do, and have absolutely killed it in A on blues, regardless if they were forced to by the bandleader, or whatever.

Or Db over D.

Guitarists will tell you stuff about playing higher on the neck and open strings for different keys, but aside from blues licks, where you get used to sliding from a black note to a white note, I'm really curious how it all got started.

Maybe it's just all myths, traditions, stories, all the way down, and I've heard plenty, but I wonder if anyone found anything more concrete to add.
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