#1
Hey what's up. I'm new to these forums as you can see! I know i can learn a lot from you guys since I have a feeling you are as passionate about guitar and music in general as I am.

Check this out. These are the different keys and their meaning. I think this might as amazingly helpful to you as it was to me. Feel free to share your opinion on this.

C Major
Completely Pure. Its character is: innocence, simplicity, naivety, children's talk.

C Minor
Declaration of love and at the same time the lament of unhappy love. All languishing, longing, sighing of the love-sick soul lies in this key.

Db Major
A leering key, degenerating into grief and rapture. It cannot laugh, but it can smile; it cannot howl, but it can at least grimace its crying.--Consequently only unusual characters and feelings can be brought out in this key.

C# Minor

Penitential lamentation, intimate conversation with God, the friend and help-meet of life; sighs of disappointed friendship and love lie in its radius.

D Major
The key of triumph, of Hallelujahs, of war-cries, of victory-rejoicing. Thus, the inviting symphonies, the marches, holiday songs and heaven-rejoicing choruses are set in this key.

D Minor
Melancholy womanliness, the spleen and humours brood.

Eb Major

The key of love, of devotion, of intimate conversation with God.

D# Minor
Feelings of the anxiety of the soul's deepest distress, of brooding despair, of blackest depression, of the most gloomy condition of the soul. Every fear, every hesitation of the shuddering heart, breathes out of horrible D# minor. If ghosts could speak, their speech would approximate this key.

E Major
Noisy shouts of joy, laughing pleasure and not yet complete, full delight lies in E Major.

E minor
Naive, womanly innocent declaration of love, lament without grumbling; sighs accompanied by few tears; this key speaks of the imminent hope of resolving in the pure happiness of C major.

F Major
Complaisance & Calm.

F Minor
Deep depression, funereal lament, groans of misery and longing for the grave.

F# Major
Triumph over difficulty, free sigh of relief utered when hurdles are surmounted; echo of a soul which has fiercely struggled and finally conquered lies in all uses of this key.

F# Minor
A gloomy key: it tugs at passion as a dog biting a dress. Resentment and discontent are its language.

G Major
Everything rustic, idyllic and lyrical, every calm and satisfied passion, every tender gratitude for true friendship and faithful love,--in a word every gentle and peaceful emotion of the heart is correctly expressed by this key.

G Minor
Discontent, uneasiness, worry about a failed scheme; bad-tempered gnashing of teeth; in a word: resentment and dislike.

Ab Major
Key of the grave. Death, grave, putrefaction, judgment, eternity lie in its radius.

Ab Minor
Grumbler, heart squeezed until it suffocates; wailing lament, difficult struggle; in a word, the color of this key is everything struggling with difficulty.

A Major
This key includes declarations of innocent love, satisfaction with one's state of affairs; hope of seeing one's beloved again when parting; youthful cheerfulness and trust in God.

A minor
Pious womanliness and tenderness of character.

Bb Major
Cheerful love, clear conscience, hope aspiration for a better world.

Bb minor
A quaint creature, often dressed in the garment of night. It is somewhat surly and very seldom takes on a pleasant countenance. Mocking God and the world; discontented with itself and with everything; preparation for suicide sounds in this key.

B Major
Strongly coloured, announcing wild passions, composed from the most glaring coulors. Anger, rage, jealousy, fury, despair and every burden of the heart lies in its sphere.

B Minor
This is as it were the key of patience, of calm awaiting ones's fate and of submission to divine dispensation.

Source:Affective key characteristics
#2
I've always enjoyed things like this. It always fascinates me how certain people classify keys, and how others do it differently. For instance, I don't agree with any of those! They all have certain uses.

My favorites out of those though:

D Minor
Melancholy womanliness, the spleen(?) and humours brood.

A minor
Pious womanliness and tenderness of character.
#3
If I played a song in one key for someone, and then played it a semitone higher a half an hour later, they probably wouldn't notice the change (without perfect pitch), so I'm gonna call bullshit on keys being as different as this implies, honestly.
#4
Definitely! Classifying a key would be impossible as it's a matter of opinion. I considered the fact that this was a research done in the 18th and 19th century. Like for example, Fur Elyse by Beethoven (stairways to heaven of the piano) Is written in A minor which sort of coincides with this.

I would love to hear about your classifications as i am really intrigued how music can effect your emotions.
#5
Quote by Macabre_Turtle
If I played a song in one key for someone, and then played it a semitone higher a half an hour later, they probably wouldn't notice the change (without perfect pitch), so I'm gonna call bullshit on keys being as different as this implies, honestly.


I agree that this is bull. It's easy to get misled with something like this, TS. It's called a self-fulfilling prophecy. The only things to consider in choosing a key is the range of certain instrument, especially the voice, and the timbre of instruments in certain ranges.
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#6
Ab Major sounds pretty f-ing brutal lol, it is forever known now as the key of Metalz majorz
#7
This is really only feasible with just intonation, which admittedly was what was primarily around in the 18th and 19th century, and may consequently have influenced the ears of musicians and listeners around this time. When intervals on instruments weren't "perfect" in the sense that they were completely even then maybe D Major did sound happier, more triumphant, etc. etc. But since the pretty much absolute takeover of equal temperament, the little bumps between keys have been just about smoothed out, and keys really do sound just the same.
Last edited by grampastumpy at Sep 12, 2010,
#8
D Minor
The saddest of all keys


Fixed.
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#9
Wow I've always wondered why a song changes it's entire character when I transpose it to a different key. Now I know.

They should really call capos "emotion changers".

I'm with the skeptics here - you can try all you want to determine emotional change from one note to the next, but it's all about the song structure, melody and other conventions used within the song that matters - not the key.
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#10
Quote by Eastwinn
I agree that this is bull. It's easy to get misled with something like this, TS. It's called a self-fulfilling prophecy. The only things to consider in choosing a key is the range of certain instrument, especially the voice, and the timbre of instruments in certain ranges.


I knew joining this site would be a great idea! Thank for your input it will really save me from from a lot of shit down the line. I had a feeling that writing a song based on this hindered the creative process.
#11
Quote by stringwave
I knew joining this site would be a great idea! Thank for your input it will really save me from from a lot of shit down the line. I had a feeling that writing a song based on this hindered the creative process.


Were you really considering using this as a basis for writing songs? You're right in thinking that it would severely limit you. Something as easy as changing the key of a song for a singer's range would introduce all sorts of concerns if you took this list seriously.

The closest thing I could relate it to would be choosing a girlfriend/boyfriend based on their star sign. Oh, you're a Leo? Sorry, I'm a Leo too so we aren't going to get along, despite the fact that we do. Seeya!
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#12
I suppose all this would be in reference to C major. Sort of like an interpretatio of modes. Everyone starts out on C major, as far as I know, so that sound sticks in your head. Perhaps with that as your starting point, this might make sense. Radom/cool list.
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#13
Quote by stringwave
I had a feeling that writing a song based on this hindered the creative process.
It's not because most people in this thread (including myself) don't agree with your initial post that it should be a hindrance to your creativity. Many beautiful things were created based on wrong ideas, or more appropriately, on theories that later turned out to be wrong.

Beauty never needs to be right. It serves a purpose by itself.
#14
You guys realize that this is from the baroque era when affection (emotion) was a major factor in songwriting, right? It may not be rooted in anything, but it served an important purpose when it was a part of songwriting.
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#15
Quote by tubab0y
You guys realize that this is from the baroque era when affection (emotion) was a major factor in songwriting, right? It may not be rooted in anything, but it served an important purpose when it was a part of songwriting.

So? That doesn't make C Major any more pure than A Major (aside from the lack of naturals).
#16
Yes it does, because I said so. :P

As I think about this a little more, I might not laugh so easily about this premise. When it comes down to it, we are talking about harmonic frequencies received through the ears into the brain. Who knows (wonder if any studies have revealed something about this?) how those frequencies attract detract or otherwise influence certain areas of the brain? Can we confidently say that two different pitches by themselves, are perceived in the exact same way? I can't.

Anyways, interesting post. I remember hearing once about the intervals in Happy Birthday and how they affected different people regardless of culture or prior exposure to them, in a similar way.

Anyone else ever hear of this?

Best,

Sean

PS by that definition - the most intense metal ever would be a combination of Ab and B Major!
Last edited by Sean0913 at Sep 13, 2010,
#17
Quote by DiminishedFifth
So? That doesn't make C Major any more pure than A Major (aside from the lack of naturals).

And that's exactly where the purity comes from. This wasn't meant for modern audiences, so don't try to equate it to them. It's the same reason people buy antiques. Sure it's old and not as cheap or efficient as modern stuff, but it still holds value.
Quote by corduroyEW
Cheap amps are "that bad". They suck up your tone like cocaine at Kate Moss' party.


I am Michael!
#18
Quote by tubab0y
And that's exactly where the purity comes from. This wasn't meant for modern audiences, so don't try to equate it to them. It's the same reason people buy antiques. Sure it's old and not as cheap or efficient as modern stuff, but it still holds value.
It probably did hold a fair bit of value when instruments were built with just intonation. Equal temperament has literally made every key exactly the same, but before it came around Db major was definitely intervallically DIFFERENT from C major on a piano for example.
#19
Quote by Sean0913
As I think about this a little more, I might not laugh so easily about this premise. When it comes down to it, we are talking about harmonic frequencies received through the ears into the brain. Who knows (wonder if any studies have revealed something about this?) how those frequencies attract detract or otherwise influence certain areas of the brain? Can we confidently say that two different pitches by themselves, are perceived in the exact same way? I can't.

Anyways, interesting post. I remember hearing once about the intervals in Happy Birthday and how they affected different people regardless of culture or prior exposure to them, in a similar way.

Anyone else ever hear of this?
Daniel Levitin talks briefly about it in one of his books. He describes an experiment where people from tribes in Africa and I think Sounth America who supposedly never heard western music, are exposed to different songs ranging from classic to rock to study what effect it has on them. I don't exactly remember the outcome, but I think only basic feelings where universal, like happy and sad music (major and minor keys).
Quote by tubab0y
You guys realize that this is from the baroque era when affection (emotion) was a major factor in songwriting, right?
Modes have specific moods associated to them. Here's an overview from the middle ages, but Plato and Aristotle described them already in 350 BC.
#20
Quote by Withakay
Daniel Levitin talks briefly about it in one of his books. He describes an experiment where people from tribes in Africa and I think Sounth America who supposedly never heard western music, are exposed to different songs ranging from classic to rock to study what effect it has on them. I don't exactly remember the outcome, but I think only basic feelings where universal, like happy and sad music (major and minor keys).
Modes have specific moods associated to them. Here's an overview from the middle ages, but Plato and Aristotle described them already in 350 BC.



Yeah but the point that is being made is that different MAJOR keys evoke different emotions, not the sounds associated with these keys, just the major scale itself and however many sharps and flats in said key

Modes may have specific moods associated with them, as may different genres but certainly not keys. I mean, its just an outline of which notes to use in a piece
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#21

D Minor
The saddest of all keys

Fixed.

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#22
Quote by Tominator_1991
Yeah but the point that is being made is that different MAJOR keys evoke different emotions, not the sounds associated with these keys, just the major scale itself and however many sharps and flats in said key
I gave my opinion about it briefly in an earlier post. This was just extra information.
Modes may have specific moods associated with them, as may different genres but certainly not keys. I mean, its just an outline of which notes to use in a piece
I'm not even convinced that the moods that modes induce are universal. They could well be cultural.

But, yeah, I agree with all you said.
#23
Quote by Withakay
I gave my opinion about it briefly in an earlier post. This was just extra information.
I'm not even convinced that the moods that modes induce are universal. They could well be cultural.

But, yeah, I agree with all you said.



Yeah people in uzbekhistan could hear the phrygian dominant and be like "pfffft! dat is nuthing!" *proceeds to play crazy 300bpm microtonal music on crazily sized multi piped flute
Quote by BlitzkriegAir
1. Get drunk
2. play pentatonic scales fast
3. throw in some divebombs and pinch harmonics
4. Get killed onstage
5. become legendary guitarist instantaneously


Quote by Holy Katana

How dare you attack the greatness of the augmented sixth?
#24
Quote by Withakay

I'm not even convinced that the moods that modes induce are universal. They could well be cultural.


This is indeed correct. Anyone heard some Indian pop music lately? Or contemporary songs from the middle east? It is quite clear that what their concepts of accessibility are different to ours. I was actually quite surprised in Dubai watching the top 10 hits in that country, and at least half of them were what I regarded as traditional middle-eastern songs. It became very clear that they do not regard the major scale as their basis for music.
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#25
So if I'm trying to evoke a particular emotion should modal writing be the way to go?
#27
Quote by stringwave
So if I'm trying to evoke a particular emotion should modal writing be the way to go?

The best answer is that it depends. Modal writing is a fairly consistent way to evoke certain emotions but it's not always the best.
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Cheap amps are "that bad". They suck up your tone like cocaine at Kate Moss' party.


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#28
Quote by stringwave
So if I'm trying to evoke a particular emotion should modal writing be the way to go?
No. You can evoke practically any emotion you want with any scale.

It's less about the notes you use and more about how you use them. This includes rhythm, phrasing, tone, harmony, and even melodic structure (which includes the melodic intervals between notes).

Of course the notes used is important, but it's not more important than all that other stuff.
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Last edited by food1010 at Sep 14, 2010,
#29
Quote by stringwave
So if I'm trying to evoke a particular emotion should modal writing be the way to go?
As an artist, you should do what you feel. If you like modes, use modes. If you like a particular scale, use that scale. But don't neglect the theory. You should clean up you initial ideas by applying the rules. It will almost always make your song sound better.

As a student, you could study other songs that convey the desired feeling and try something similar, but with enough new elements to make it original.
Quote by food1010
It's less about the notes you use and more about how you use them. This includes rhythm, phrasing, tone, harmony, and even melodic structure (which includes the melodic intervals between notes).
I was going to write something along those lines, but you beat me to it. :-)

I think you can add tempo, volume and dynamics to that list. I also think it is more a change in these elements that produce emotions, more than just the set of parameters you start with. Phrasing is indeed very important. But modulation is very powerfull too, as are speed changes.