#1
After reading some threads on here where people have talked about how all notes are essentially "the same", and it's the intervals between them that matter, I seem to be really confusing myself, because I think I have a favourite key.

Whenever I write something, I try transposing it to different keys to experiment with its sound, and anything always sounds amazing to me in Eb major. I mean, other keys sound great, but whenever I put something I write in Eb it just sounds. . awesome.

So, is this weird? Does anyone else experience this? To be honest, it's a bit of a hinderance because I end up writing a lot of stuff in Eb, and obviously, it starts to sound a bit samey.
#2
i like E major
and Gminor
i try to use others but yeah those are favorite to write in
#3
Quote by JackMorris
Does anyone else experience this? To be honest, it's a bit of a hinderance because I end up writing a lot of stuff in Eb, and obviously, it starts to sound a bit samey.


i could write 100 pieces in Eb major and any similarities would be minimal at best. so the "obviously, it starts to sound a bit samey" isn't indicative of what key you use, but rather that you're staying in your comfort zone. basically, it's not the key, it's you. not trying to insult you, just making sure you realize. maybe try writing some pieces for instrumentation other than guitar. couldn't hurt your compositional ability. it's only a hindrance if you make it a hindrance.

but yes, i have a particular fondness for flat keys -- particularly F, Bb, and Eb major. still, i find that some other keys sometimes express melodic ideas better than others. if that weren't true, i'd probably write all of my works in those keys.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#4
I use C major A LOT. and then I have key changes to B, Bb, G, D, or F, most of the time.
#5
Quote by AeolianWolf
basically, it's not the key, it's you. not trying to insult you

Don't worry, I'm not insulted, I know I need to work on my compositional skills a bit more

It's good to know that it's common, I thought I just had a messed up ear
#6
Unfortunately, all keys are not the same due to temperament, which is why some keys sound more triumphant, natural, or unnatural than others. If your guitar is intonated so that your Eb major/minor scale is closest to being true, then that may be why you prefer its sound to the others.
#7
Quote by NewShred
Unfortunately, all keys are not the same due to temperament, which is why some keys sound more triumphant, natural, or unnatural than others. If your guitar is intonated so that your Eb major/minor scale is closest to being true, then that may be why you prefer its sound to the others.


this. so very this.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#8
Quote by NewShred
Unfortunately, all keys are not the same due to temperament...


All keys are the same (except for major and minor distinctions) due to *temperament. The relative structures are uniform.


*Assuming equal temperament. There are an assortment of unequal ones in which your statement holds true.
#9
Quote by Dodeka
All keys are the same (except for major and minor distinctions) due to *temperament. The relative structures are uniform.


*Assuming equal temperament. There are an assortment of unequal ones in which your statement holds true.


well, of course the structures are the same. that's the genius of equal temperament. but a piece in D major sounds very different from the same piece played in Ab major (at least to me).
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#10
I tend to favor my car key over my other various keys.

OT: D minor
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#11
Quote by AeolianWolf
well, of course the structures are the same. that's the genius of equal temperament. but a piece in D major sounds very different from the same piece played in Ab major (at least to me).


I'm not discounting that sort of thing, only the idea it comes from equal temperament (though NewShred didn't specifically refer to it).
Last edited by Dodeka at Aug 1, 2010,
#12
Even though we have established equal temperament wouldn't the overtones have influence over the sound of different keys?
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#13
If I'm trying to figure stuff out, I mostly just use C Major / A minor.
But after that, I tend to transpose to whatever sounds intresting with open string voicings or trying to avoid a progression that sounds too fammiliar
#14
After enveloping myself in Eb Major for awhile, that's pretty much my favorite key. But when I think of melodies in my head a lot of them are in D or G Major. Every now and again I'll get an Ab Major.

I think I'm in the same boat as Aeolian though... I prefer Flat keys in Major compositions.
#15
Personally I tend to avoid keys. Combination, while less efficient, are far easier to remember than the location of a key. Not to mention it's hidden in your brain, not under the welcome mat.

When I'm in standard tuning, E Major is my jam.
i don't know why i feel so dry
#16
I tend to write in Flat keys. Mostly Eb major and Cminor, on of my compositions in in Eb minor.
#17
Quote by AeolianWolf
well, of course the structures are the same. that's the genius of equal temperament. but a piece in D major sounds very different from the same piece played in Ab major (at least to me).


Some would say that's the downfall of equal temperament... It's well documented that composers up until the late nineteenth century generally favoured various well tempered tunings with unequally tempered fifths, and that many opposed equal temperament, partly because it dispels some of the individual characters of keys. There are other reasons which aren't relevant to this particular discussion.

Of course, the introduction of ET has shown that these characters actually exist for a large percentage of musicians, despite intervals being the same in all keys (assuming playing an equally tempered instrument, of course) - many people (myself included) are drawn to the sound of "flat" keys, because they sound warm and rich.
Last edited by National_Anthem at Aug 1, 2010,
#19
The flat keys like F and Eb sound really good to me. G and D can as well. I think that D is the one I can notice the most just by hearing it.
It's something you pick up on after a certain amount of experience, listening and being aware of what you're listening to I think.
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Last edited by FacetOfChaos at Aug 1, 2010,
#20
Quote by JackMorris
What's this temperament thing you're talking about? Could someone give me a quick overview of what it means?


When trying to apply "ideal" tuning systems based on ratios of small integers, discrepancies called commas quickly show up where slightly differing pitches fall under the same note name in traditional theory. Tempering refers to the adjustment of notes away for their "ideal" ratios in order to make these commas go away. It's basically just distributing out the error from these commas over a certain number of pitches. There are countless ways to go about it.
#21
^ lolo I don't think he's going to get that if he has no previous knowledge of it.

So JackMorris basically up until a few hundred years ago musical pitches were based on intervals that occurred naturally in the overtones. Each scale had perfect ratios for the twelve western notes in a chromatic scale. Off the top of my head I can recall a minor third 6/5, the major third 5/4, a fourth 4/3, and a fifth 3/2, and obviously an octave 2/1. Because of this each key meant each note was a slightly different frequency. So playing a song in C major followed by one in G required tuning every instrument to the necessary frequencies. This is also meant if you modulated key in a song that pitches would be off in relevance to eachother. I've been to a performance of Mozart's work where the instruments were tuned to just temperament. At some parts you couldn't tell the difference, others the notes clash and sounded horrible. It's hard to appreciate this after being exposed to ET your entire life.

So you can imagine how tedious this could of been. Which is why equal temperament was established. In ET the next chromatic note (a semitone) is related to the other by the same factor. Therefore pitches are the same frequency no matter what key they're in, which made instruments such as the piano possible. We cannot hear the subtle differences in the relation of frequencies or how they are slightly different from the overtones, which is why the phenomena works.
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#22
Quote by Wiegenlied
^ lolo I don't think he's going to get that if he has no previous knowledge of it.


It was the "quick overview" he wanted. Too quick, maybe?
#24
Quote by Wiegenlied
I've been to a performance of Mozart's work where the instruments were tuned to just temperament.


Just temperament is a contradiction. Just intonation is untempered.
#26
Quote by Wiegenlied


So you can imagine how tedious this could of been. Which is why equal temperament was established. In ET the next chromatic note (a semitone) is related to the other by the same factor. Therefore pitches are the same frequency no matter what key they're in, which made instruments such as the piano possible. We cannot hear the subtle differences in the relation of frequencies or how they are slightly different from the overtones, which is why the phenomena works.


That's not entirely true. From around 1600, various "well" tempered tunings, where 5ths are "tempered" (altered) by varying amounts in order to try and have the optimum balance between keeping both 3rds and perfect fifths pure. People were aware of equal temperament, but generally avoided it. Around the mid-eighteenth century, equal temperament began to catch on, but it's not until the early 20th century that equal temperament was a universal.

In equal temperament, the fifths are very close to being pure, 4ths are still pretty good, but major 3rds are really very wide in comparison to pure 3rds, and minor thirds are narrow. This doesn't make much of a difference melodically, but it can make chords quite uncomfortable to listen to.
#27
Quote by National_Anthem
In equal temperament, the fifths are very close to being pure, 4ths are still pretty good...


Fourths are just as close to pure as the fifths are. However far off a meantone interval is from its JI relative, their inverses will differ by the same amount, just in the opposite direction (e.g. the 12-edo fifth is flat by 1:12 of a Pythagorean comma and the 12-edo fourth is sharp by 1:12 of the Pythagorean comma).