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Old 11-11-2012, 03:28 AM   #1
Dan477
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Are minor keys sad?

Minor keys aren't always depressing. Why do we associate minor keys with sadness, and major keys wtih happiness?
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Old 11-11-2012, 03:35 AM   #2
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I think maybe just as quick reference? I don't think they are definitions.
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Old 11-11-2012, 03:44 AM   #3
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because people have no idea what they're talking about, and make broad over-generalizations.

it's all about how you use the notes.
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:02 AM   #4
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Because people are stupid, and also because of it's sound in relation to the major scale, presumably.
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:16 AM   #5
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Because of the way they have been used historical. In older musical movements/genres composers would use certain things to paint moods and emotions. Often times minor keys are used to paint that sad emotion, obviously not always, but it is a very contemporary use of minor keys.

I don't understand why this is an issue really it's just an association people make.
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:48 AM   #6
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If you think i-iv-N6-I64-V7-i sounds sad, then...I don't know.
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Old 11-11-2012, 05:15 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan477
Minor keys aren't always depressing. Why do we associate minor keys with sadness, and major keys wtih happiness?


Partly history and partly pedagogy.

I don't know about you but when I was kid I got taught that minor keys are sad. Probable reason for that is that if you're teaching 5 year olds you have to generalise a bit. It's no good banging on about F minor being associated with passion and B minor being the key of passive suffering. Its far less confusing to start with "Minor keys are sad" and introduce complications later.

On the history side, well lots of really intense music got written by famous composers in minor keys. Beethoven thought of B minor as a "black key" (black in terms of emotion); Mozart expressed sadness and tragedy using G minor.

Thing is, the idea that certain kinds of music express different emotions isn't anywhere near new. The ancient Greeks thought the different modes expressed different characteristics, although if you listen to the Ancient Greek modes you'd have a hard time hearing that.
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Old 11-11-2012, 05:56 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleepy__Head
Thing is, the idea that certain kinds of music express different emotions isn't anywhere near new. The ancient Greeks thought the different modes expressed different characteristics, although if you listen to the Ancient Greek modes you'd have a hard time hearing that.
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Old 11-11-2012, 06:47 AM   #9
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I think we have to concede that the saddest of all keys is D Minor.
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Old 11-11-2012, 07:45 AM   #10
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Because they're used to that effect in our culture, especially movie orchestral scores. Though "sad" isn't the word I'd use.
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:09 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan477
Minor keys aren't always depressing. Why do we associate minor keys with sadness, and major keys wtih happiness?


Happy and sad are the metaphors people use to teach students how to hear major and minor.
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:47 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AeolianWolf
because people have no idea what they're talking about, and make broad over-generalizations.

it's all about how you use the notes.

For sure.

But if you just play a Gmajor chord. Then a gminor. I think almost anyone would agree with the TS.
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Old 11-11-2012, 05:00 PM   #13
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no

generalizations bro
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Old 11-11-2012, 06:23 PM   #14
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thank you so much TS for realizing this and not making me cringe with your post after reading the title

you're automatically more qualified than 98% of music theory teachers in high schools across the US

not that that's saying much, but good for you
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Old 11-11-2012, 06:51 PM   #15
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Oh come on, 14 posts and no one has linked Spinal Tap:



Edit: Sorry, JohnRegular has a Spinal Tap reference in an earlier post.
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Old 11-11-2012, 11:26 PM   #16
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This one's in E minor, yet I find it pretty cheerful.
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Old 11-12-2012, 12:28 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chronowarp
If you think i-iv-N6-I64-V7-i sounds sad, then...I don't know.

Was the major I in second inversion a mistake? or was it suppose to go to parallel major?
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Old 11-12-2012, 12:40 AM   #18
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I would just like to say if you play an A major triad and compare it to and A minor triad, don't you guys think the Amin chord does sound sad and the major does sound happy?
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Old 11-12-2012, 01:03 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CryogenicHusk


This one's in E minor, yet I find it pretty cheerful.


it's in C major.
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:01 AM   #20
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You guys might want to read up on music aesthetics to gain better insight into some of the arguments people have come up with. Although many believe that what we perceive as sad and happy is a result of social conditioning. I'm quite sure I ran into a journal article about research that has been done on a tribe that has never experienced western classical music, and asked them to point to a bunch of diagrams with a range of different expressions. And most of them pointed to sad and happy faces that people who grew up with western music have pointed to. However, I don't know if they tried it with minor and major chords played next to each other. <- But then again I'm a skeptic when it comes to this, and I'm biased towards thinking we think a major chord is happy and and a minor chord is sad due to social conditioning. But there is not enough proof on either side that is completely convincing enough, which is why academics are still debating this.
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