A question of key
I’ve always had a strong preference for music in a minor key. I love that wistfulness, the poignancy that comes with flattened 3rds. And discord and chromaticism call to me, and are all the better for being framed in a minor key.
And then there’s the matter of how sharp, how flat? For me: four flats, yes please; three sharps, no thanks. Music that expresses triumph or pure joy hardly ever resonates with me.
Of course, on an equal tempered instrument, it makes no inherent difference how sharp or flat a key is. And many instruments can make adjustments to pitch in order introduce tonal colour in any key. However if an instrument is tuned to a non-equal temperament, then the keys really do have distinct characters. And keys have long-held associations with particular moods, so a composer may call on a key to paint that mood.
So… F minor is my key.
And never A major. Except, of course, for the delicious Andantino movement in Schubert’s A major piano sonata D959 (and so many other examples that break the rule 😊)
What about you? Is key crucial? Do you have a favourite key?
Or is it actually mood that’s important, and key just one way to get there?
Great response, @capriccio!
What makes the Last Post so poignant? It’s surely the association and not the key of C major!
The ambiguity of C major intrigues me. How about this setting of the poem Lúa Descolorida by Osvaldo Golijov, sung by Dawn Upshaw?
Ms Upshaw describes it as “the saddest song in C Major one could imagine”
I’ve always had a strong preference for music in a minor key. I love that wistfulness, the poignancy that comes with flattened 3rds.
I, too, love the sense of wistfulness and "melancholy" of music in the minor key, unless of course the occasion calls for a sort of trippy, happier tunes! But if I'm choosing something to actively listen to, in normal circumstances it's probably often going to be be something in a minor key!
And, I'm listening to the beautiful Schubert andantino you suggested 👌
(the next track in the album I selected is an Impromptus in C minor, actually! See, serendipity at its best 🤷♀️. It's op. 90 D899, by the way).
BBC Radio 3 is so wonderful! (I hope it’s easily available outside the UK)
A few minutes ago: Composer of the Week, who this week is J.S.Bach.
And now a concert recorded by the Carducci Quartet, performing my favourite Beethoven String Quartet, Op 95. In F minor, of course 😊