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#1
Minor keys aren't always depressing. Why do we associate minor keys with sadness, and major keys wtih happiness?
#2
I think maybe just as quick reference? I don't think they are definitions.
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#3
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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#5
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.
#7
Quote 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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#8
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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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#10
Because they're used to that effect in our culture, especially movie orchestral scores. Though "sad" isn't the word I'd use.
#11
Quote 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.
#12
Quote 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.
#14
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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#15
Oh come on, 14 posts and no one has linked Spinal Tap:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgViOqGJEvM

Edit: Sorry, JohnRegular has a Spinal Tap reference in an earlier post.
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Last edited by Quintex at Nov 11, 2012,
#17
Quote 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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#18
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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#20
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.
#21
Quote by GoldenGuitar
But there is not enough proof on either side that is completely convincing enough, which is why academics are still debating this.


only fucking stupid ones who have nothing better to do. what about anger, lethargy, fear, hate, relief, comedy, whatever gray area lie between happy and sad? are those automatically discounted? i've heard plenty of music that made me feel a lot more than those 2 emotions, both instrumental and with vocals.

if you were to hear a vocal ensemble, odds are you'd think it was a hymn or gregorian chant even if it was a freshly written piece that catered to modern tonality simply because of the timbre - there are several variables outside of the realm of note choice that go into play if you're going to get into "musical aesthetics" outside of the functions of notes when you choose to only play 7 out of the 12 possible tones available in western music.

it's all about context. somebody earlier said something about comparing a major and minor triad - what about where those triads are in relation to the tonic?

there's absolutely nothing black and white in music, or in most things beyond raw facts.
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#22
Quote by AeolianWolf
it's in C major.

You seem to be correct. I made the incorrect assumption that it was E minor from the title. But it never sounded like E minor to me. I just looked at the sheet music of that movement and indeed it seems to be C major. Whoops
Last edited by CryogenicHusk at Nov 12, 2012,
#23
Quote by GoldenGuitar
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.


Nah just play around with a major pentatonic progression and then make it minor using the same basis. The major will almost always give more of a happy feel. Its something I use when I'm just randomly plucking around and say to myself that sounds to happy. A couple accidentals into the minor scale usually fixes the issue.

Be it social conditioning or not I'll leave to the scholars.
#24
I remember my music teacher talking about how historically minor had been considered the cheerful key and major the more depressing, until it was changed during the baroque period...

I really think it's because people tend to use minor keys in songs with sad lyrics...associations is the key word here I guess.
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#25
You know what I think is more sad and lonely than minor keys?


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#26
Quote by J-Dawg158
You know what I think is more sad and lonely than minor keys?


the search bar

THats because when people DO use it, we get 3 year old threads popping up.
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#27
Quote by amonamarthmetal
THats because when people DO use it, we get 3 year old threads popping up.


yeah it must feel weird seeing threads older than you are sorry dude
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#28
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rsqg95anNw

This song is in G major and I find it more sad than happy.

And also, minor chords aren't sad at all. Play a 12 bar blues with minor 7 chords instead of dom7 and I don't think it sounds sad at all. But if you replace the v chord with a dom 7 V chord, it gives much more tension and "feeling". It might start sounding sadder. It's all about how you use the chords/melody, lyrics and the background (tempo, instruments used, instrumental arrangement, etc). If the song I posted had different instruments playing some circus music style stuff (chords and melody would still be the same) and it was faster, it would sound much more "happy."

For example many of the most "happy" songs include a minor chord (I-vi-IV-V). In a major song ii and vi chords are very common and I don't think they make the song any "sadder."
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Nov 12, 2012,
#29
I think music is sad if it sounds sad. If you want to make sad music, then write about your baby girl dying and having no money to pay for a funeral.
#31
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#33
Five syllables here
Seven more syllables there
Hail can lick my dong
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#35



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#36
Haikus are awesome
But they don't always make sense
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#37
Quote by Hail
only fucking stupid ones who have nothing better to do. what about anger, lethargy, fear, hate, relief, comedy, whatever gray area lie between happy and sad? are those automatically discounted? i've heard plenty of music that made me feel a lot more than those 2 emotions, both instrumental and with vocals.

if you were to hear a vocal ensemble, odds are you'd think it was a hymn or gregorian chant even if it was a freshly written piece that catered to modern tonality simply because of the timbre - there are several variables outside of the realm of note choice that go into play if you're going to get into "musical aesthetics" outside of the functions of notes when you choose to only play 7 out of the 12 possible tones available in western music.

it's all about context. somebody earlier said something about comparing a major and minor triad - what about where those triads are in relation to the tonic?

there's absolutely nothing black and white in music, or in most things beyond raw facts.


Wtf are you on about, I didn't say they didn't try anything else because I honestly don't know. Also, it was pieces of music they played for the tribe, so there was a context, and there were more than two choices to choose from.
If you've studied Gregorian Chant, then you would know the timbre itself would not be enough to tell you what it was. There are much more finer details that make up that idiom. And you'd have to know these either subconsciously or consciously to write something convincing. As for Hymns, I don't know.
When did I ever imply that there weren't "several variables outside of the realm of note choice"? Also music aesthetics had nothing to do with experiment.
Last edited by GoldenGuitar at Nov 12, 2012,
#38
what can i say here
about writing a haiku
this thread now sucks hard
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#40
why does every MT thread seem to be a train to cincinatti that ends up in albuquerque?
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
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