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Topic: Why are pieces written in C# minor so popular?  (Read 12872 times)

Offline ca88313

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Why are pieces written in C# minor so popular?
on: April 03, 2017, 05:52:06 PM
Examples:

Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 14, Op. 27, No. 2 (played by Vladimir Horowitz):

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Chopin's Fantaisie-Impromptu (played by Nikita Magaloff):




Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C# minor (played by Sergei Rachmaninoff):

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Offline themeandvariation

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Re: Why are pieces written in C# minor so popular?
Reply #1 on: April 03, 2017, 06:13:26 PM
Because it is too difficult to compose in key of B doublesharp minor.
4'33"

Offline mjames

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Re: Why are pieces written in C# minor so popular?
Reply #2 on: April 03, 2017, 07:12:54 PM
Because it's in the best top 3 keys of all time. It's only natural that composers wrote their best in the best keys possible, and it's only natural that people enjoy the best works.

Ranking:

1. C minor
2. F minor
3 C sharp minor

Offline brogers70

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Re: Why are pieces written in C# minor so popular?
Reply #3 on: April 04, 2017, 12:39:14 AM
Because keys with 3-4 sharps or flats are easier to play in the piano.

Offline outin

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Re: Why are pieces written in C# minor so popular?
Reply #4 on: April 04, 2017, 03:02:32 AM
Because people in general have such bad taste?   ::)

Offline pianoplunker

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Re: Why are pieces written in C# minor so popular?
Reply #5 on: April 04, 2017, 04:13:55 AM
Examples:

Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 14, Op. 27, No. 2.

Chopin's Fantaisie-Impromptu.

Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C# minor.

Maybe because Db minor requires an Fb ?

Offline chopinlover01

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Re: Why are pieces written in C# minor so popular?
Reply #6 on: April 04, 2017, 04:35:40 AM
It has to do less with an one key being better than another than it does with particular moods being attached to keys. The pieces which evoke moods of sadness, despair, tend to be written both in minor keys and a specific subset of minor keys: F minor, C minor, C# minor, F# minor, G minor, et al.

This stems from the old system of tuning where certain keys were unplayable, and because of this, certain keys really did sound different than others.

This association of mood with key has stuck with the public since then, more or less, but especially with composers. Most people couldn't care less if Moonlight Sonata is in C# minor or C minor, but a musician, and especially a composer, worth their salt can probably tell you. Your ears have been indoctrinated into associating keys with moods, simply because you've likely been listening (probably exclusively) to Western, 12 tone music.

Here's a good video on the subject:

Offline j_tour

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Re: Why are pieces written in C# minor so popular?
Reply #7 on: April 05, 2017, 05:41:01 AM
Same reason F#-minor is common.

I'd like to know why some asses write music in C# rather than Db, but we don't live in a perfect world, I guess.
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline ca88313

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Reply #8 on: April 18, 2017, 06:21:45 PM
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Offline kuska

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Re: Why are pieces written in C# minor so popular?
Reply #9 on: April 18, 2017, 07:40:06 PM
cause unity is also popular

/sorry, a C# coding joke/

Offline visitor

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Re: Why are pieces written in C# minor so popular?
Reply #10 on: April 18, 2017, 07:48:24 PM
i'm not so sure, i mean i cannot recall many pieces written in C hashtag

Offline chopinlover01

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Re: Why are pieces written in C# minor so popular?
Reply #11 on: April 19, 2017, 11:04:38 PM
I have been listening to piano concertos, piano sonatas, preludes, etudes and symphonies written by Romantic composers, for example, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Nikolai Medtner, Frédéric Chopin, Franz Liszt, Ludwig van Beethoven, Anton Rubinstein, André Mathieu, Franz Xaver Scharwenka, Moritz Moszkowski and baroque composers, for example, Johann Sebastian Bach. Their music is primarily tonal and chromatic. I do not associate keys with moods because music can be interpreted in many different ways.


Nevertheless, you associate music with moods, do you not? Transpose any of those pieces a tritone up, say, and tell me it gives the same energy/quality.

Offline ca88313

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Reply #12 on: April 20, 2017, 08:34:47 AM
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Offline chopinlover01

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Re: Why are pieces written in C# minor so popular?
Reply #13 on: April 20, 2017, 02:13:52 PM
The mood of a piece can be altered by using performance techniques such as playing a piece faster/slower, using dynamic contrast, using rubato, playing legato or staccato, increasing/decreasing the use of the sustain pedal, using the soft pedal, playing a piece with passion/no passion etc. In my opinion, the performer can use these techniques to intentionally change the mood of a piece.
These are implied.

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The same moods/emotions can still be evoked by transposing a piece and playing it in exactly the same way every time. I do not think that the mood/emotion of a piece can be determined by its key signature alone.
Here's my thing; you make the earlier decisions you mention based on the piece you are playing, no? This piece is in a key. Your interpretive decisions could well be informed by this key.
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Atonal music does not have a clearly identifiable tonal centre. If atonal music music does not have a key signature then does that mean no emotions can be evoked by listening to it? The logic of associating key signatures with moods may make sense in the context of tonal music but it does not seem to make sense in the context of pure atonal music. What are your thoughts on this matter?
To me, atonal music emits emotion from the lack of melody, lack of consonance. That's a personal thing, though.

I'm not even saying that, to the trained listeners, that key centers are these end-all posts that have a generic theme to each of them, just that we have a tendency to associate pieces with certain keys.

Offline ca88313

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Reply #14 on: April 20, 2017, 04:01:22 PM
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Offline pianoplunker

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Re: Why are pieces written in C# minor so popular?
Reply #15 on: April 20, 2017, 04:53:51 PM
The mood of a piece can be altered by using performance techniques such as playing a piece faster/slower, using dynamic contrast, using rubato, playing legato or staccato, increasing/decreasing the use of the sustain pedal, using the soft pedal, playing a piece with passion/no passion etc. In my opinion, the performer can use these techniques to intentionally change the mood of a piece. The same moods/emotions can still be evoked by transposing a piece and playing it in exactly the same way every time. I do not think that the mood/emotion of a piece can be determined by its key signature alone.

My argument is almost perfectly opposite except for the bit about technique, pedaling , etc. changing the key does change the mood, feel, instrumentation , etc.  in my ears I hear a different piece when it is in a different key. Being that classical music never gets transposed, those with training/experience in classical-only do not understand that. C# minor is the perfect key for Moonlight Sonata. No doubt in my ears

Offline chopinlover01

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Re: Why are pieces written in C# minor so popular?
Reply #16 on: April 21, 2017, 04:16:16 AM
I just cannot understand how the key signature can significantly influence the interpreter's interpretation. In my opinion, the composer's dynamic, tempo and pedal indications provide the most amount of insight and the key signature provides the least amount of insight into the composer's intent. However, our opinions on interpretation are likely to differ. Perhaps you can enlighten me by describing the emotions/moods that you associate with each individual key signature.
Dynamic, tempo and pedal indications? What about where there are none, like in works of Bach or Handel?

Again, I'm mostly playing devil's advocate. I don't generally associate keys with moods, because I play things I like in multiple different keys.

That being said, Bach's keys would have actually had different moods with each key, empirically speaking, since their method of tuning was different and allowed only 15 keys.
 

Offline ca88313

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Reply #17 on: April 21, 2017, 02:23:08 PM
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Offline chopinlover01

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Re: Why are pieces written in C# minor so popular?
Reply #18 on: April 23, 2017, 11:26:48 AM
Why did composers such as Bach, Chopin and Rachmaninoff write preludes in all 24 major and minor keys? The key obviously did not matter because they were eventually going to write 24 preludes in all the major and minor keys but other factors such as dynamic, tempo and pedal indications would have been used predominantly to express the composer's intent.
....? Just because they used all 24 keys doesn't mean they didn't associate those keys with a mood. In fact, if anything, the character of the individual pieces in those keys would be more damning evidence contrary to your view than to mine.
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During the Baroque period, composers such as Bach and Handel could have written sparse dynamic, tempo and pedal indications because it could have been common practice during that period to interpret music more freely.
Not exactly; tempo marks were sparse at best, typically absent, even for pieces like sarabandes (which are traditionally slow dances) or pieces wherein the tempo is extremely ambiguous (ie a Fantasy). Dynamic and pedal indications as we know them on the modern piano are not applicable to Baroque music, as neither of those things were possible on period instruments of the time. You did have different pedals/stops on a harpsichord, but none of them sustained. The only instrument with any dynamic variation was the clavichord, which, as the joke goes, can play from about mp-ppp.
 
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If that was the case, performance indications could have been included to aid the performer rather than restrict their performances to exactly what the composer had written.
Once again, incorrect, assuming you're referring to the Baroque era. The whole "fidelity to the score" movement didn't actually come about until about mid-classical to early romantic, give or take a couple decades. In fact, in the Baroque era, it was not common but mandatory to be able to improvise in a contrapuntal manner (Bach himself required that his students be fluent improvisers).
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Contemporary performers attempt to adhere completely to the score which is good because they are respecting the composer's intentions.
First, you'll have to specify both which artists and which composers you're talking about; certainly not with some, who will often write their own cadenzas to concerti (a common practice until Beethoven stamped it out), both classical and romantic/late romantic.
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However, pianists born over 100 years ago such as Rachmaninoff, Horowitz, Cortot and Moiseiwitsch used rubato and rolled chords (based on their recordings) which should not have been rolled even though they could have been played without having to be rolled. The use of these performance features may have been contrary to the composer's intent but it could have been common practice during the Romantic period to play the piano freely.
Broad generalizations aside, you're missing the entire reason they did things like this (especially someone like Cortot); they made an artistic statement.
I promise you, if you spend your entire artistic career worrying about what the original artist wanted to say, and not what you want to say, you'll end up producing unoriginal art.
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In conclusion, everyone's interpretation is subjective which means there cannot be a definitive interpretation.
...which is completely beside the point.

Offline ca88313

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Reply #19 on: January 18, 2018, 12:39:34 PM
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Offline fftransform

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Re: Why are pieces written in C# minor so popular?
Reply #20 on: January 22, 2018, 01:36:27 AM
If you pick any key, then you can name 3 just-as-famous pieces written in it.


What even is this thread...

Offline ca88313

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Reply #21 on: January 25, 2018, 01:17:01 PM
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