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What do the keys mean to you?


Dave Bryce

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As one who believes that different key signatures definitely have different personalities/colors, I find that there are absolutely certain keys that I lean towards depending on my mood.

 

Some examples for me - F#min seems to show up when something is bugging me. Eb is always good when I want to be soothed, or I want to soothe someone else. Bmin is dark and mystical. I think of Ab as being kind of a hopeful key. I equate C with a very simple kind of happiness. Gmin usually indicates a quiet sort of introspection. If I'm not sure what I'm feeling, I usually default to something like Emin....

 

...and, of course, Dmin is (say it with me) the saddest of all the keys... http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/wink.gif

 

I find that the songs that I choose to play and/or write frequently reflect these choices.

 

Anyone else feel similarly about the different keys? Are there certain keys that you're more inclined to reach for than others? Does it depend more on your mood, your level of skill, or something else?

 

dB

:snax:

 

:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

 

Affiliations: Cloud Microphones • Music Player Network 

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Dave:

Interesting topic.

 

Funny, too, how we perceive things. You think Dm id the saddest key, but to me it's Bm. That could be because one of my signature pieces was the Mozart Concerto in Dm, (Concerto 20, or 21. I can't remember anymore) and it doesn't sound sad to me at all.

 

DM is my favorite key. For some reasons, my fingers feel natural playing in that key. Others I like are G, Em, Eb, Ab, and Cm.

 

I love soloing in BbM. I think that's because of "Firth of Fifth," and "The Cage" medley.

Setup: Korg Kronos 61, Roland XV-88, Korg Triton-Rack, Motif-Rack, Korg N1r, Alesis QSR, Roland M-GS64 Yamaha KX-88, KX76, Roland Super-JX, E-Mu Longboard 61, Kawai K1II, Kawai K4.
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Maybe my ears work differently or I'm just weird but the key makes no difference whatsoever to me.

 

I play my songs in different keys almost everytime I play them...the position I first sit in or the instrument I'm playing has more to do with it than the sound/feel of the keys. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/wink.gif

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I always wondered about this. Lovely topic.

 

First of all, I am more aware of keys when playing the piano. With the synths, the timbral variation appears to reduce my sensitivity to key selection.

 

Some leanings:

 

- Eflat - warm, positive (Aflat is similar)

- C brassy, cheerful, shallow (G & D are similar)

- C minor - The saddest (I think it is the first chord of the pathetique sonata that does this for me.) G minor is similar

- C# minor, F# minor, G# minor, etc. - kinda lachrymose without being tragic. More like somebody complaining.(Clarinettish?)

- E major, B major - Brassy like C but with more substance.

 

Regards,

 

Jerry

 

 

 

 

------------------

www.tuskerfort.com

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C min: dark but hopeful

 

A min: Could be dark and sombre or sometimes happy.

 

F min: Frustration . .

 

B flat: Happiness

 

C: Simple happiness

 

G: Same as C.

 

D: Very Up mood!!

 

I think the keys in which I compose songs actually have as much influence on the song as the song has on the key I choose.

 

Albert

Gear: Yamaha MODX8, Mojo 61, NS2 73, C. Bechstein baby grand.

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I'll go further; keys have colors as well as moods..

 

C, F, G: Upbeat, peppy, happy, yellows and oranges..

E, B, A: Regal, warm... Greens and browns, Earth tones

D: Uplifting... Whites, Cyans

Eb, Bb, Ab: Neutral happy, primary colors, maroons

Db, Gb/F#: "The Bee Gees Kees"... They just sound 70s... http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif

Am, Bm, Cm: Neutral-grey, rainy

Em, Dm:Mossy greens, dark, foresty sadness

Gm, Fm, Ebm: Elegant, precise darkness, navy, dark grey, black, wine... Ebm is the "Chicago" key

Bbm, Abm, Dbm: Mysterious, greys, very rainy. Manilow sad.

Gbm: Who cares, whoever writes in this key is a mutant. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif

 

------------------

Cheers!

 

Phil "Llarion: The Jazzinator" Traynor

www.mp3.com/llarion

Smooth Jazz

Cheers!

 

Phil "Llarion: The Jazzinator" Traynor

www.llarion.com

Smooth Jazz

- QUESTION AUTHORITY. Go ahead, ask me anything.

http://www.llarion.com/images/dichotomybanner.jpg

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Originally posted by R:

I haven't seen Spinal Tap, but I guess now I should?!?

 

Immediately. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.

 

If you've seen the film "The Last Waltz", which is a documentary that Martin Scorsese did about The Band, it's even funnier.

 

dB

:snax:

 

:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

 

Affiliations: Cloud Microphones • Music Player Network 

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The Keys? That's a bunch of islands off the southern tip of Florida, right?

 

I'm kind of divorced from keys. The music that I hear in my head rarely comes out in the "right" key when I finally get to an instrument. Oddly, it doesn't suffer from any key coloration whatsoever until I hear it for real. Keys are completely interchangeable in my mind, and music sounds good no matter how I transpose it in my imagination.

 

When the sounds hit the air, they differences become very apparant. I've been blaming this on the Jersey polllution, but it seems to be a universal effect from the comments I see here.

 

Up to four sharps or five flats, the sharp keys seem bright, like red, orange, or yellow. Flat keys seem cool, like blue or green. Sharps are sweet like wine or candy; flats are tangy and gutsy like a good beer. B is confused key. It seems to suffer the most from equal temperament. If B were a person, it would be a drag queen. Gb is a split personality. It can be cool like the other flat keys, or it can be bright and frivolous.

 

Cm sounds sadder to me than Dm. Am and Em aren't sad, but rather full of emotion, full of fire.

 

Keys are subtle. You can write sad or happy music in any key. Sometimes a bit of tension between the key and the style of music adds spice to the recipe.

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Originally posted by Dave Bryce:

Immediately. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.

 

If you've seen the film "The Last Waltz", which is a documentary that Martin Scorsese did about The Band, it's even funnier.

 

dB

 

Will do Dave, thanks for the tips! Roland

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I just wanted to say that I love this thread. When I first came to this forum, I enjoyed a lot reading topics like the ones about "transposing" vs "the real thing", "classical" or "self taught", korg vs roland (which digressed into a lot of interesting issues)... This thread about the keys is one of them. Of my friends, there's only one who is also interested in music and playing keyboards, but he is still a bit behind me (I didn't think that was possible -- makes me feel better http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif ), so this forum is the closest thing to intelligent music discussion I have had so far in my life. So thanks everybody for building discussions like this (and in this case, thanks specially to Dave for starting the thread).

 

I don't have much to say about keys. I have more questions than answers, but one of those questions is exactly this one we're talking about: do keys really have an _objective_ personality or mood? and if they do, which is this mood for each of them? I don't know, but I think I tend to associate some keys to certain feelings just because of some kind of previous association with the mood of certain songs or things I've played in that key. I mean that, at my current, primitive state, I would not be able to defend a certain "mood-key" connection like a universal thing which everybody (musicians and not musicians, just a casual listener) will perceive. I don't discard being able to objectively perceive the differences when some years have passed, my repertoire is bigger, my abilities have grown, etc. (however, please note that I am not discussing the absolute pitch ability to perceive different keys - I'm talking about associating feelings and moods to keys from an objective point of view).

 

Again let me say that this forum hosts excellent discussions. Where else on the internet could I read things like comparing B to a drag queen or Gb to a split personality (by the way, I totally agree with this one!)?

 

Cheers!

 

------------------

= blue =

 

 

 

This message has been edited by Blue on 09-18-2001 at 06:50 AM

= blue =
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Originally posted by Dave Bryce:

The Dmin reference was a joke, big guy...you have seen Spinal Tap, right? http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/wink.gif

 

dB

 

Not in about 15 years or so. I plain forgot. Getting old sucks: They say the mind is the first thing to go. It isn't. I just can't remember what is!

http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gifhttp://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gifhttp://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gifhttp://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gifhttp://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

Setup: Korg Kronos 61, Roland XV-88, Korg Triton-Rack, Motif-Rack, Korg N1r, Alesis QSR, Roland M-GS64 Yamaha KX-88, KX76, Roland Super-JX, E-Mu Longboard 61, Kawai K1II, Kawai K4.
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Originally posted by dansouth@yahoo.com:

Up to four sharps or five flats, the sharp keys seem bright, like red, orange, or yellow. Flat keys seem cool, like blue or green. Sharps are sweet like wine or candy; flats are tangy and gutsy like a good beer. B is confused key. It seems to suffer the most from equal temperament. If B were a person, it would be a drag queen. Gb is a split personality. It can be cool like the other flat keys, or it can be bright and frivolous.

 

You guys that can equate colors to keys amaze me. I wish I could do that. I don't perceive any color equivalent whan it comes to music, more like an emotional equivalent.

Setup: Korg Kronos 61, Roland XV-88, Korg Triton-Rack, Motif-Rack, Korg N1r, Alesis QSR, Roland M-GS64 Yamaha KX-88, KX76, Roland Super-JX, E-Mu Longboard 61, Kawai K1II, Kawai K4.
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Originally posted by IanD:

Anyone who has not seen "This is Spinal Tap" should watch it ASAP.

Its one of the funnest films of all times.

 

WARNING!!!!

 

You may not want to watch it with anyone who is not a musician, and/or has not done gigs. If you do, you may find that they don't think it's as funny as you do, and you may have to explain stuff to them...

 

dB

:snax:

 

:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

 

Affiliations: Cloud Microphones • Music Player Network 

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I'm ashamed to admit that I have also not yet seen Spinal Tap.

 

It's especially weird because Rob Reiner is my favorite director!

 

My wife would be someone I'd have to 'splain most of it to... http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/frown.gif

 

------------------

Cheers!

 

Phil "Llarion: The Jazzinator" Traynor

www.mp3.com/llarion

Smooth Jazz

Cheers!

 

Phil "Llarion: The Jazzinator" Traynor

www.llarion.com

Smooth Jazz

- QUESTION AUTHORITY. Go ahead, ask me anything.

http://www.llarion.com/images/dichotomybanner.jpg

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Originally posted by Steve LeBlanc:

My God...Phil...hit the video store ASAP...you HAVE to see this movie...it's got your sense of humor all over it. It is easily amongst Reiner's best work, I think it was his first film.

 

 

I think it was his second film, right after The Sure Thing, a sweet John Hughes-like teen road movie with John Cusack and Daphne Zuniga. Or maybe Spinal Tap was first. No matter. I love that movie for the ensemble vibe: it was all pretty much improvised, edited out of some 200 hours of film. And of course Guest/McKeon/Shearer wrote and performed all the music. Christopher Guest has done some other musical parodies, in very different genres (like a Seeger/Weavers folk trio parody) but all equally sharp and witty. I think the guy can really play.

Check out the Sweet Clementines CD at bandcamp
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According to the IMDB, Spinal Tap was first, 1984, and The Sure Thing (SHOTGUNNING A BEER!!!) was 1985...

 

Here is his directorial filmography, in reverse chronological order:

 

Story of Us, The (1999)

I Am Your Child (1997) (TV)

Ghosts of Mississippi aka Ghosts From the Past (1996)

American President, The (1995)

North (1994)

Few Good Men, A (1992)

Misery (1990)

When Harry Met Sally... (1989)

Princess Bride, The (1987)

Stand by Me (1986)

Sure Thing, The (1985)

This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

 

Quite a resume... http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif

Cheers!

 

Phil "Llarion: The Jazzinator" Traynor

www.llarion.com

Smooth Jazz

- QUESTION AUTHORITY. Go ahead, ask me anything.

http://www.llarion.com/images/dichotomybanner.jpg

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Oh, and a mystery prize to anyone who can remember the title of the original composition that Nigel Tufnel proceeds to play after he proclaims Dm to be the saddest of all keys. The piece is also described as a kind of blend of Mozart and Bach, or "Machish."

 

Title anyone?

Check out the Sweet Clementines CD at bandcamp
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Interesting topic, even before Spinal Tap came up! To be honest, I'd never really given much thought to the concept of different keys having inherently different moods before now. I'd always assumed that moods were created by the character of the piece- melody shape, chord changes, modes, modulations, sounds, etc.

 

But I'll definitely think about it more now. I wonder if the most successful songwriters/composers are aware of this and use it to greater effect. BTW, has anyone else heard of F being referred to as "the key of love", or is that just a Vegas thing?

 

Peace all,

Steve

><>

Steve

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Originally posted by SWBuck1074@aol.com:

BTW, has anyone else heard of F being referred to as "the key of love", or is that just a Vegas thing?

 

Peace all,

Steve

 

I was told by my piano tuner who's a great pianist in his own right, that songs in the key of Eb are more pleasing to the ear.

 

Hmmmm. I guess if that were true then all commercial songs would be transposed to Eb. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

 

Albert

Gear: Yamaha MODX8, Mojo 61, NS2 73, C. Bechstein baby grand.

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