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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000284.txt from 2003/06

From: "Resurgere Jones" <resurgereweb@-----.com>
Subj: Re: [kl] Keys and their character
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2003 12:38:42 -0400

If you have to ask, man... :-)

>From: "Bill Semple" <wsemple@-----.com>
>Reply-To: klarinet@-----.org
>To: <klarinet@-----.org>
>Subject: Re: [kl] Keys and their character
>Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2003 12:24:31 -0400
>
>Then, Dan, explain to me the Blues.
>
>William T. Semple
>Office: 202-364-2466
>Home: 540-364-4823
>Cell: 540-903-6645
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Dan Leeson" <leeson0@-----.net>
>To: <klarinet@-----.org>
>Sent: Tuesday, June 10, 2003 12:22 PM
>Subject: Re: [kl] Keys and their character
>
>
> > Well for one thing, "f-minor" describes a mode of the key of A-flat
> > major. And there is not one bloody thing of sadness built into that (or
> > any) minor mode. Some of Bachs most joyous music is in the minor mode,
> > and Mendelssohn's octet has a spritely, happy, joyous scherzo in the
> > minor mode. So your coments about composers writing in f-minor for some
> > emotional value have no substance, representing opinion and not
> > supported by giving any facts.
> >
> > While it was believed for ever so long that each key had a particular
> > emotional characteristic to it, your saying that it is true
> > (particularly with respect to people with a well trained ear) does not
> > make it so. Why is it so? Simply contradicting me does not establish a
> > viable argument.
> >
> > Cite a single technical reason that establishes unequivocally that every
> > (or any) key has a particular emotion inherently contained in it, and
> > I'll give up the argument. But you are going to find it difficult to do
> > that because the only articles on the subject assume that the statement
> > about keys and emotions is true, and without the necessity to prove it.
> >
> > Of course, you are correct when you suggest that there are historical
> > precedents for writing in various keys, but that had nothing to do with
> > the emotions supposed contained in them. It was simply to avoid boredom
> > of hearing the same key over and over again. Even in the classic
> > period, the keys of the various movements were selected to be compatible
> > with one another, with certain keys "not chaining." So one hears a key
> > for the first movement and the a related key (4th or 5th higher) for the
> > next and so on. To have one movement in C and the next in D and the
> > next in E would be unheard of.
> >
> > So before you suggest that I am full of doo-doo, give me some facts
> > about why your assertion is true, not opinions based on romantic ideas
> > that keys carried emotions and which have NEVER been shown to be the
>case.
> >
> > The way argumentation works is this: a statement is said to be true (as
> > you are saying). Someone opposes the idea (as I have done). That person
> > doesn't have to do anything except say, "Prove it." For you to take the
> > position that something is true requires you to make a factual
> > contribution to the argument and, so far, I have not seen it from you.
> > That business about Mozart "tapping into history" when he wrote in
> > f-minor is not history or fact. It is your opinion. He also wrote in a
> > pile of other keys, too, and except for principles of "chaining of
> > keys," there is no way to explain why any key was selected.
> >
> > Dan Leeson
> >
> > Brash, Alexander wrote:
> > > I disagree. While it IS true that we can't say that certain keys have
>a
> > > definite personality, after all for hundreds of years there was no
> > > standardization of pitch (ie Mozart's A vs Bach's A vs our A), and
>even
> > > differences in pitch from region to region, Mr. Leeson ignroes the
>fact
>that
> > > there are historical precendents for writing in certain keys. When
> > > Mendelsohn, for example, chose to write his f-minor string quartet in
> > > f-minor, just following the death of his sister Fanny, he knew full
>well
>the
> > > implications of that key as one of introspection and sadness.
>Mendelsohn
>was
> > > fully aware of when Bach CHOSE to write in f minor, when Mozart, and
> > > especially Beethoven in the string quartets, CHOSE to write in f
>minor.
>He
> > > was tapping into this history when he wrote his string quartet in f
>minor,
> > > consciously or not. The fact that these associations may be contrived
>is
> > > irrelevant, they still exist, and have been built through three
>hundred
> > > years of history. We have imbued certain keys with certain meanings,
>it's
> > > just a fact.
> > > Also, talk to anyone with and an extremely trained ear, or someone
> > > with absolute pitch and/or synthesisia. They'll most likely tell you
>that
> > > the keys have different associations for them.
> > > Also consider the fact that string timbre actually does sound
> > > different across different keys. A and E are "bright" because of the
>open
> > > strings, which, although not used as much in performance today, were
> > > certainly a much larger part of the performance practice from Bach to
> > > Mendelsohn (combine this with the fact that most string sections in
> > > orchestra played WITHOUT vibrato, in some cases up until Brahms'
>time),
>and
> > > keys will indeed sound "brighter" or darker.
> > > So there you go, I hope that's something put forward other than
> > > opinion. And if you disagree, that's just fine, but I'll continue to
>believe
> > > my nonsense happily.
> > >
> > > Alexander Michael Brash
> > > Education Dept, New York Philharmonic
> > > 10 Lincoln Center Plaza, 5th Floor
> > >
> > > phone (212) 875 - 5735
> > > cell (646) 284 - 0439
> > > email brasha@-----.org
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From: Dan Leeson [mailto:leeson0@-----.net]
> > > Sent: Tuesday, June 10, 2003 10:21 AM
> > > To: klarinet@-----.org
> > > Subject: [kl] Keys and their character
> > >
> > > The idea that each key had its own personality (with A and E being
> > > bright) and D-flat, G-flat being serious (or whatever), is another
> > > romantic assertion that doesn't have a leg to stand on. There has
>never
> > > been anything put forward (other than opinion) that would allow any
> > > thinking person to believe such nonsense.
> > >
> > > It is true that, prior to the days of the tempered scale, keys did
>have
> > > specific characteristics because untempered tuning produced some weird
> > > situations, particularly with keyboard instruments, but the idea that
>E
> > > major (for example) is a key that produces brighter music (whatever
>the
> > > hell that means) than C major is something that was believed and
>spoken
> > > of in Victorian ballrooms, and had about as much sense as their sex
> > > practices.
> > >
> > > It is nothing more than another impossibly silly idea on top of the
> > > 10,000 silly ideas we have about music, playing it, composing for it,
> > > and speaking about it, falling into the same category of blow out,
>dark
> > > sounds, how to find the best piece, and which instrument is inherently
> > > superior.
> > >
> > > And for Anne Lenoir waking up in Colorado, I am sorry that my inquiry
> > > about what was so bright about E major caused you morning distress.
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> > ***************************
> > **Dan Leeson **
> > **leeson0@-----.net **
> > ***************************
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > ---------------------------------------------------------------------
> > Klarinet is supported by Woodwind.Org, http://www.woodwind.org/
> >
> >
>
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>Klarinet is supported by Woodwind.Org, http://www.woodwind.org/
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