• Register
  • Help
Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 35

Topic: Ever Wonder Why?

Share/Bookmark
  1. #1

    Ever Wonder Why?

    Here's something that I have often wondered about for many years. Why do minor chords and scales evoke a different mood than major chords and scales and vice versa?

    What is it about flating a major third making it a minor third? Is it something deeply hidden in the human psyche or is it something unique to the Western scales and musical structures.

    Has anybody else ever thought about this? What are your opinions??

    Tom

  2. #2

    Re: Ever Wonder Why?

    I doubt that it's hardwired in human brain since different cultures use different scales, so it must be a Western thing.

    One possible theory: You learn from childhood on that minor songs are "sad" and it sinks in your sub-consciousness.

    By the way, have you noticed that some of the saddest songs are on a major-scale?

  3. #3

    Re: Ever Wonder Why?

    Your assignment for tonight: write a happy, upbeat, cheerful tune in a minor key.

    --gary shannon
    http://www.soundclick.com/garyshannon

  4. #4

    Re: Ever Wonder Why?

    Not only don't we know why major sounds happy and minor sounds sad,
    we also don't have a clue why human beings like music in the first place.

    There are psychologists and other experts who have offered any number of
    theories - but none of them are based on any facts. The fact is we simply
    don't know.

    Hmmm, if major sounds happy and minor sounds sad, do diminished chords
    sound neurotic and augmented sound psychotic?

    - k
    "An artist is someone who produces things that people don't need to have, but that he - for some reason - thinks it would be a good idea to give them."

    - Andy Warhol

  5. #5

    Re: Ever Wonder Why?

    Here's another thing that I ponder. Why do some major keys and scales sound brighter and less bright compared to each other. For example, F# major for me is the "brightest" sounding major key and scale - compared to, say F major which, for me, is the most dull.

    Why is that??? Maybe something to do with the frequencies of the notes. Maybe the frequencies in the F# major scale hit our sonic "sweet spot". Who knows? Yet another unfathomable dimension to the mystery of music.

  6. #6

    Re: Ever Wonder Why?

    It depends on how the instrument is tuned. There are at least a dozen ways to divide the octave into twelve tones. To quote Wikipedia: "It is impossible to tune the twelve-note chromatic scale so that all intervals are "perfect"; many different methods with their own various compromises have thus been put forward. The main ones are: ... "

    at which point the article goes on to explain the various systems.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musical_tuning

    The main point is, in most tunings the mathematical intervals between successive notes of the scale are different from one key to another, and so the same chords in one particular key will have a different "character" in another key. Two perfectly tuned notes in a chord will produce no "beat notes". Since no keyboard tuning can keep all the intervals perfectly tuned in all keys, each key produces slightly different beat notes depending on the inherent tuning errors in that key. Thus the different character of the same interval in different keys.

    String instruments are more flexible than keyboard instruments, and a good violinist can show you the very real difference between c-sharp and d-flat, even those are the same key on the keyboard, robbing the pianist of ever making that subtle distinction.

    But we, of course, have the pitch bend wheel.

    --gary
    http://www.soundclick.com/garyshannon

  7. #7

    Re: Ever Wonder Why?

    The answer to me lies in this: that music is the food of the soul. And it comes in many different flavours. These flavours impact on our souls and thus reflect different moods on us.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Steve_Karl's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA 15206 USA
    Posts
    1,425

    Re: Ever Wonder Why?

    My brother has had his doctorate in musicology for a long time now and he and a psychologist wrote a book about this.

    I sent him a link to this thread and said " this is why you should be a member of this forum !"

    Him and I have talked about this in he past and he has a facinating take on it, but I can't even begin to describe it the way he does, so I won't.

    Maybe he'll drop in. It would be fun for me.

  9. #9

    Re: Ever Wonder Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas J
    Here's something that I have often wondered about for many years. Why do minor chords and scales evoke a different mood than major chords and scales and vice versa?

    What is it about flating a major third making it a minor third? Is it something deeply hidden in the human psyche or is it something unique to the Western scales and musical structures.

    Has anybody else ever thought about this? What are your opinions??

    Tom
    when I was teaching piano in order to show the difference in the way Major and minor scalses and chords sounded, I would have them sing Happy Birthday in a minor key.
    Samantha Penigar
    http://www.myspace.com/samanthapenigar

    http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/...p?userid=13306

    Dream it! Then Do it! Good things come to those who work while they wait. [COLOR=purple]Persistence[/COLO

  10. #10

    Re: Ever Wonder Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by fiziwig
    It depends on how the instrument is tuned. There are at least a dozen ways to divide the octave into twelve tones. To quote Wikipedia: "It is impossible to tune the twelve-note chromatic scale so that all intervals are "perfect"; many different methods with their own various compromises have thus been put forward. The main ones are: ... "

    at which point the article goes on to explain the various systems.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musical_tuning

    The main point is, in most tunings the mathematical intervals between successive notes of the scale are different from one key to another, and so the same chords in one particular key will have a different "character" in another key. Two perfectly tuned notes in a chord will produce no "beat notes". Since no keyboard tuning can keep all the intervals perfectly tuned in all keys, each key produces slightly different beat notes depending on the inherent tuning errors in that key. Thus the different character of the same interval in different keys.

    String instruments are more flexible than keyboard instruments, and a good violinist can show you the very real difference between c-sharp and d-flat, even those are the same key on the keyboard, robbing the pianist of ever making that subtle distinction.

    But we, of course, have the pitch bend wheel.

    --gary
    http://www.soundclick.com/garyshannon
    But of course, this isn't true on a piano. On a piano which has been well tuned then every semitone step is identical, and any interval creates the same beat as the same interval elsewhere on the piano.

    I think the answer to why keys sound different is mainly about the psychology of composing in those keys. In turn that can be about a million things that feed into the composer's makeup. For instance I find that certain chord progressions lie really well under the hand in Db, but not in C - so I associate those chord progressions more readily with Db, even when not writing for piano, which means I generally create a different mood than when writing in other keys.

Go Back to forum

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •