#1
I recently heard that the ancient Greeks believed each key has its own unique sound - e.g. C Major = happy, Bb Major = solemn etc. (those were the examples used to explain it to me, wish I had more).

Anyway could someone please explain this to me, maybe write out all the other supposed 'moods' of the different keys or link me up to a website about it?

Many thanks, Michal.
#2
I remember there was a classical version, used in opera etc, but I don't have the link.

I, too, would like to see this.
#3
if you think about it...it makes perfect sense
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#4
Maybe you're thinking of specific modes instead of keys? I've heard some people describe certain keys as having emotional qualities but I don't hear them. Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, a Russian composer, had synesthesia and saw each key as a specific color, it's pretty interesting to read about.
#5
I recently heard that the ancient Greeks believed each key has its own unique sound - e.g. C Major = happy, Bb Major = solemn etc. (those were the examples used to explain it to me, wish I had more).


that was in a thread yesterday
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#6
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Maybe you're thinking of specific modes instead of keys? I've heard some people describe certain keys as having emotional qualities but I don't hear them. Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, a Russian composer, had synesthesia and saw each key as a specific color, it's pretty interesting to read about.


i've always wondered what it must be like to be synesthetic, especially in these days, it kinda sounds like an interesting condition, to be honest
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#7
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that was in a thread yesterday


I mentioned it at one point in the pit

And to whoever mentioned it, I'm definitely referring to keys and not modes.
#8
Quote by michal23
I recently heard that the ancient Greeks believed each key has its own unique sound - e.g. C Major = happy, Bb Major = solemn etc. (those were the examples used to explain it to me, wish I had more).

Anyway could someone please explain this to me, maybe write out all the other supposed 'moods' of the different keys or link me up to a website about it?

Many thanks, Michal.


Equal temperament is a compromise that allows an instrument (most notably, the piano and guitar) to play all keys equally well (and equally out of tune), making the key you choose irrelevant. In reality, it's impossible for most instruments to play all keys perfectly, meaning that when you tune something to play, say, C major perfectly, other keys go out of tune in their own unique ways, giving each key it's own "color".
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#9
think of it in relative terms instead. a note only sounds relative to the note that was played before it. im pretty sure that the different feel of keys only really applies to pitch perfect people, it has less bearing on us who dont have it
Last edited by Def at Feb 25, 2008,
#10
Quote by Archeo Avis
Equal temperament is a compromise that allows an instrument (most notably, the piano and guitar) to play all keys equally well (and equally out of tune), making the key you choose irrelevant. In reality, it's impossible for most instruments to play all keys perfectly, meaning that when you tune something to play, say, C major perfectly, other keys go out of tune in their own unique ways, giving each key it's own "color".

I think Archeo is on to something here.
#11
Quote by Archeo Avis
Equal temperament is a compromise that allows an instrument (most notably, the piano and guitar) to play all keys equally well (and equally out of tune), making the key you choose irrelevant. In reality, it's impossible for most instruments to play all keys perfectly, meaning that when you tune something to play, say, C major perfectly, other keys go out of tune in their own unique ways, giving each key it's own "color".

pretty much. If I recall correctly, sharps generally brighten the tone while a key with flats is darker. I think my band teacher said Db major is the darkest major key. Though we're playing this piece that modulates to D major and for the longest time after modulating it stays really dark, and that's a bright key. Compared to another piece I played recently in D major, the color is so much darker. So part writing and progressions have a lot to do with it as well, it's just a sort of rule of thumb.
#12
Equal temperament is a compromise that allows an instrument (most notably, the piano and guitar) to play all keys equally well (and equally out of tune), making the key you choose irrelevant. In reality, it's impossible for most instruments to play all keys perfectly, meaning that when you tune something to play, say, C major perfectly, other keys go out of tune in their own unique ways, giving each key it's own "color".


This isn't entirely right. What is referred to as the "uniqueness of the key" was essentially destroyed by the modern equal tempered system. The significance of Bach's work 'Das Wohltemperierte Klavier,' or 'The Well-tempered Klavier' was that it sought to explore the well-tempered tuning system, which allowed for sharps and flats to be treated enharmonically while maintaining the "uniqueness of the key.". In the Equal Temperament, where the only difference in tones is the highness or lowness of the pitch the character of the key, in the traditional, pre-equal tempered system is destroyed. That is not to say that there is no unique qualities to our keys today, but that it just so happens that such characteristics are almost entirely indistinguishable for those who do not have a special trait (such as perfect pitch or synesthesia), and these characteristics are not like those of the classic peoples (to which is pertinent to the the TS's original question) .
#13
pretty much. If I recall correctly, sharps generally brighten the tone while a key with flats is darker. I think my band teacher said Db major is the darkest major key.
By that reasoning, C# major would be the brightest key as it has 7 sharps. I'm sure I don't need to point out that Db major is enharmonic to C# major.

Unless of course, you aren't speaking in terms of equal temperament.
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#14
This isn't entirely right. What is referred to as the "uniqueness of the key" was essentially destroyed by the modern equal tempered system.


That's what I said.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
Last edited by Archeo Avis at Feb 26, 2008,
#15
^ I know.

In reality, it's impossible for most instruments to play all keys perfectly, meaning that when you tune something to play, say, C major perfectly, other keys go out of tune in their own unique ways, giving each key it's own "color".


Is what I was addressing as not being a true answer to TS question since it doesn't pertain to the tunning system of the Greeks (which is in fact, unknown as I understand) or even the tunning system of those people who preceded us by 300-400 years.