electro-music.com   Dedicated to experimental electro-acoustic
and electronic music
 
    Front Page  |  Articles  |  Radio
 |  Media  |  Forum  |  Wiki  |  Links  |  Store
Forum with support of Syndicator RSS
 FAQFAQ   CalendarCalendar   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   LinksLinks
 RegisterRegister   ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in  Chat RoomChat Room 
go to the radio page Live at electro-music.com radio 1 Please visit the chat
  host / artist show at your time
today> Cancelled, sorry... Chez Mosc
 Forum index » Discussion » Composition
Do you have a favourite key while composing? Major or minor?
Post new topic   Reply to topic Moderators: elektro80
Page 2 of 4 [82 Posts]
View unread posts
View new posts in the last week
Mark the topic unread :: View previous topic :: View next topic
Goto page: Previous 1, 2, 3, 4 Next
Author Message
Uncle Krunkus
Moderator


Joined: Jul 11, 2005
Posts: 4761
Location: Sydney, Australia
Audio files: 52
G2 patch files: 1

PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 6:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

But aren't most of these "keys" just the same thing transposed up or down?
_________________
What makes a space ours, is what we put there, and what we do there.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
bachus



Joined: Feb 29, 2004
Posts: 2921
Location: Up in that tree over there.
Audio files: 5

PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

seraph wrote:
chuck wrote:
I try not to be 'in' any key. In fact I try not to use specific pitches.
that's what academic avant-gardists have tried for the last 60 years.


I seem to be missing something here, seraph. What do you intend for that reply to convey?

_________________
The question is not whether they can talk or reason, but whether they can suffer. -- Jeremy Bentham
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
seraph
Editor
Editor


Joined: Jun 21, 2003
Posts: 12302
Location: Firenze, Italy
Audio files: 33
G2 patch files: 2

PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 7:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

bachus wrote:
seraph wrote:
chuck wrote:
I try not to be 'in' any key. In fact I try not to use specific pitches.
that's what academic avant-gardists have tried for the last 60 years.


I seem to be missing something here, seraph. What do you intend for that reply to convey?

well..simply that it's something that has been done for a long time. nothing else Very Happy

_________________
homepage - blog - forum - youtube

Quote:
Don't die with your music still in you - Wayne Dyer
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
orczy



Joined: Mar 30, 2005
Posts: 161
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Uncle Krunkus wrote:
But aren't most of these "keys" just the same thing transposed up or down?


Indeed. They have the same step patterns of half and whole steps. Well, the major and minor have different step patterns. This is where the modes come in. each mode has a different pattern, so therefore different intervals between notes, ie in the locrian a minor second, the fifth is flattened (so no perfect fifth) and a flattened seventh (so no leading note) Very tasty, as the tonal direction disappears.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Uncle Krunkus
Moderator


Joined: Jul 11, 2005
Posts: 4761
Location: Sydney, Australia
Audio files: 52
G2 patch files: 1

PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yeah,
as the pattern of notes and half notes changes I can see that changes the whole functionality of the scale, but the key of Am is the key of Dm transposed down by 5 semitones yeah?
Maybe it's just the way my musicality works, but in the world of electronic music especially, the actual frequency is a bit arbitrary. So the important thing to me is the intervals.
I only know 1 major scale, 1 minor scale etc. Whether it is A or D just depends on where you start. (or whether the oscillators are in tune)
Does that make sense, or am I still missing something?
As always, I'm more than happy to learn something new. Smile

_________________
What makes a space ours, is what we put there, and what we do there.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
dewdrop_world



Joined: Aug 28, 2006
Posts: 858
Location: Guangzhou, China
Audio files: 4

PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2006 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Uncle Krunkus wrote:
But aren't most of these "keys" just the same thing transposed up or down?

In equal temperament, yes.

In non-equal temperaments the whole and half step patterns are transposed but the actual interval ratios can be slightly different. And there were conventions in the Baroque and Classical eras associating certain keys with certain moods, like c-minor for Sturm-und-Drang heroic struggle (IIRC, been a long time since my music history classes!).

All this is lost with modern synths (at least out of the box). But I am not convinced that piano tuners actually tune the instruments to precise equal temperament. Just a gut feeling, but I think there are some discrepancies, perhaps the sonic equivalent of al dente.

This reminds me to add tunability to my ModalSpec class in SuperCollider Smile -- good discussion folks.

James

_________________
ddw online: http://www.dewdrop-world.net
sc3 online: http://supercollider.sourceforge.net
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
mosc
Site Admin


Joined: Jan 31, 2003
Posts: 17980
Location: Allentown, PA
Audio files: 156
G2 patch files: 60

PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2006 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

dewdrop_world wrote:
But I am not convinced that piano tuners actually tune the instruments to precise equal temperament. Just a gut feeling, but I think there are some discrepancies, perhaps the sonic equivalent of al dente.


Certainly, in the era before electronic tuners, getting exact equal temperment tuning manually was rather difficult and every piano tuner made their own compromises. Nowadays, I think the tuners are causing things to standardize a bit - at least that's my impression.

_________________
--Howard
my music and other stuff
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address
seraph
Editor
Editor


Joined: Jun 21, 2003
Posts: 12302
Location: Firenze, Italy
Audio files: 33
G2 patch files: 2

PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2006 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

dewdrop_world wrote:
I am not convinced that piano tuners actually tune the instruments to precise equal temperament.


arrow http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stretched_tuning

_________________
homepage - blog - forum - youtube

Quote:
Don't die with your music still in you - Wayne Dyer
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Antimon



Joined: Jan 18, 2005
Posts: 4146
Location: Sweden
Audio files: 371
G2 patch files: 100

PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2006 3:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Uncle Krunkus wrote:
Yeah,
as the pattern of notes and half notes changes I can see that changes the whole functionality of the scale, but the key of Am is the key of Dm transposed down by 5 semitones yeah?
Maybe it's just the way my musicality works, but in the world of electronic music especially, the actual frequency is a bit arbitrary. So the important thing to me is the intervals.
I only know 1 major scale, 1 minor scale etc. Whether it is A or D just depends on where you start. (or whether the oscillators are in tune)
Does that make sense, or am I still missing something?
As always, I'm more than happy to learn something new. Smile


Some people who have the talent and/or training can name a note just by hearing it, or sing it accurately from a score sheet without prior guidance (btw, what is the english term for this? In swedish it's called "absolut gehör"). They might experience music differently as it was transposed up or down... I don't know. Sometimes I imagine that I hear the nature of a chord progression changing when I switch keys (I don't have good "gehör"), but I'm not sure.

/Stefan

_________________
Antimon's Window
@soundcloud @Flattr home - you can't explain music
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
seraph
Editor
Editor


Joined: Jun 21, 2003
Posts: 12302
Location: Firenze, Italy
Audio files: 33
G2 patch files: 2

PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2006 4:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Antimon wrote:
what is the english term for this? In swedish it's called "absolut gehör")

perfect pitch (in Italian: "orecchio assoluto")

_________________
homepage - blog - forum - youtube

Quote:
Don't die with your music still in you - Wayne Dyer
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Uncle Krunkus
Moderator


Joined: Jul 11, 2005
Posts: 4761
Location: Sydney, Australia
Audio files: 52
G2 patch files: 1

PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2006 4:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yeah,
In English it's called perfect pitch. I don't have "perfect" pitch, but I can whistle a C above middle A and it's usually within 10-20 cents. (when middle A is at 440Hz)
I think what I'm really getting at is that it's all relative. If you wrote a whole album in the key of C, and just one song on there was in Fm, that song would stand out from the rest. It would sound more sad or exotic or dreamy or however else you want to describe it.
If you then took the whole album (including that song) and transposed it up by 3 semitones, or down by 80cents, that song would still stand out in exactly the same way.
Or would it? Shocked
I'm starting to double guess my own opinion now! Surprised
That's one of the things I love about this forum. Very Happy

_________________
What makes a space ours, is what we put there, and what we do there.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
bachus



Joined: Feb 29, 2004
Posts: 2921
Location: Up in that tree over there.
Audio files: 5

PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2006 5:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Uncle Krunkus wrote:
Yeah,
In English it's called perfect pitch.


In the US it's most often called absolute pitch. Perfect pitch usually refers to the ability to recognize and reproduce pitches once an initial reference pitch is given. But these distinctions do not seem absolute.

_________________
The question is not whether they can talk or reason, but whether they can suffer. -- Jeremy Bentham
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Uncle Krunkus
Moderator


Joined: Jul 11, 2005
Posts: 4761
Location: Sydney, Australia
Audio files: 52
G2 patch files: 1

PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2006 6:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well, I stand corrected, again. Smile
_________________
What makes a space ours, is what we put there, and what we do there.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Keysandslots



Joined: Aug 18, 2006
Posts: 266
Location: Mississauga, Ontario

PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2006 6:54 am    Post subject: Do you have a favourite key while composing? Major or minor? Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Perfect pitch, at least as I've heard the term used over the past 40 years, refers to the ability to sing or recognize the actual pitch of a note. I think absolute pitch means the same thing. We also used to refer to relative pitch, which is the ability to recognize a note or interval given a known starting pitch.

I had a keyboard teacher at Humber College who did not have perfect pitch but he did have amazing relative pitch. We also had a bass player who had perfect pitch. We would sit in ear training classes and rather than walk over to the piano to hit a reference pitch, the instructor would say "Danny, give me an A" and Danny would sing an A. Amazing.

Acoustic pianos are stretch tuned because equal-tempered intervals are not perfect, they are an approximation. As you go down from middle C, the notes are tuned progressively more flat, and as you go up, progessively more sharp. I even had my Rhodes stretch tuned. The Wikipedia reference is sort of correct, although the inharmonicity applies to any instrument playing in an equal-tempered environment.

Check out Wendy Carlos' "Beauty in the Beast", there are some neat examples of alternate tuning systems on the CD.

Randy
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
v-un-v
Janitor
Janitor


Joined: May 16, 2005
Posts: 8933
Location: Birmingham, England, UK
Audio files: 11
G2 patch files: 1

PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2006 8:08 am    Post subject: Re: Do you have a favourite key while composing? Major or mi
Subject description: Major or Minor Keys
Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

renevanderwouden wrote:
What's yours? Is in mostly in major or minor?

Mine are:



It all depends if I'm up for slitting my wrists at that time or on the happy pills Shocked

Major 12th's -or is that 7ths?- I haven't a clue what I'm talking about here.... you know, those sooper-happie Pat Metheny/ Tom Jenkinson nicey-nice chords always drive me to slashing my wrists!!

Been listening to Richard Strauss' "Four last songs" quite a lot recently- don't know what key it's in, but it's very beautiful Wink

I can't tell you what chords I like because on the whole it doesn't matter, as long as it sounds right at the time

_________________
ACHTUNG!
ALLES TURISTEN UND NONTEKNISCHEN LOOKENPEEPERS!
DAS KOMPUTERMASCHINE IST NICHT FÜR DER GEFINGERPOKEN UND MITTENGRABEN! ODERWISE IST EASY TO SCHNAPPEN DER SPRINGENWERK, BLOWENFUSEN UND POPPENCORKEN MIT SPITZENSPARKSEN.
IST NICHT FÜR GEWERKEN BEI DUMMKOPFEN. DER RUBBERNECKEN SIGHTSEEREN KEEPEN DAS COTTONPICKEN HÄNDER IN DAS POCKETS MUSS.
ZO RELAXEN UND WATSCHEN DER BLINKENLICHTEN.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
bachus



Joined: Feb 29, 2004
Posts: 2921
Location: Up in that tree over there.
Audio files: 5

PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2006 3:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Do you have a favourite key while composing? Major or mi Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Keysandslots wrote:
Perfect pitch, at least as I've heard the term used over the past 40 years, refers to the ability to sing or recognize the actual pitch of a note.


Quite so.


ARP Pitch.jpg
 Description:
 Filesize:  26.17 KB
 Viewed:  6982 Time(s)

ARP Pitch.jpg



_________________
The question is not whether they can talk or reason, but whether they can suffer. -- Jeremy Bentham

Last edited by bachus on Mon Sep 11, 2006 3:41 am; edited 2 times in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
dewdrop_world



Joined: Aug 28, 2006
Posts: 858
Location: Guangzhou, China
Audio files: 4

PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2006 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Uncle Krunkus's mention of Fm reminds me also that older instruments such as the one-keyed Baroque flute have quite distinct timbres for each note. On the Baroque flute, notes within the D major scale and closely related scales like G major have a fairly uniform sound but chromatic notes, especially G#/Ab and A#/Bb, can have a darker, more "covered" sound due to the split fingering.

So when Bach writes a cantata movement in F minor with a prominent flute solo, it's meant to be deep in the shadows. The affect would be totally lost if it were transposed to E minor, just one semitone away, because the notes would have a clearer sound.

(That, from the very composer of the Well-Tempered Clavier [IIRC, well-tempered is not exactly the same as equal-tempered].)

The Industrial Age ripped the character out of so many instruments with the urge to rationalize and "clean up" the sound... probably why I prefer listening to early music on period instruments rather than the 19th-century warhorses any day.

James

_________________
ddw online: http://www.dewdrop-world.net
sc3 online: http://supercollider.sourceforge.net
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
Uncle Krunkus
Moderator


Joined: Jul 11, 2005
Posts: 4761
Location: Sydney, Australia
Audio files: 52
G2 patch files: 1

PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2006 4:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

So I stand vindicated on the Perfect Pitch thing, but Dewdrops point about the inherent timbre of certain scales is a very good one.
You learn something new everyday! Unless you belong to the electro-music forum, like me, in which case you might learn a couple of new things in a day!! Very Happy

_________________
What makes a space ours, is what we put there, and what we do there.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
opg



Joined: Mar 29, 2004
Posts: 954
Location: Berkeley, CA, US
Audio files: 3

PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2006 7:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

dewdrop_world wrote:
Uncle Krunkus's mention of Fm reminds me also that older instruments such as the one-keyed Baroque flute have quite distinct timbres for each note. On the Baroque flute, notes within the D major scale and closely related scales like G major have a fairly uniform sound but chromatic notes, especially G#/Ab and A#/Bb, can have a darker, more "covered" sound due to the split fingering.

James


Hmm. Never thought about that. Very interesting. Timbres are very important. Think of a muted Rhodes piano. Soft, simple major chords can be the most wonderfully depressing....

_________________
One Player Game | OPG on SoundCloud
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
kkissinger



Joined: Mar 28, 2006
Posts: 1286
Location: Kansas City, Mo USA
Audio files: 33

PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

One of my struggles when composing or transcribing work is to select the key for the work.

When using equal-tempered tuning, it would seem that the choice of key is arbitrary. However, with the passage of time the choice of key has become extremely important to me.

To digress from electronic music -- when working with choirs often a work that is lacking in the written key takes on almost magical qualities when transposed. After all, when dealing with voices, the tonality changes with key. One striking example is the Byrd "Ave Verum" that is published in the key of a-minor. However, when transposed down a half-step the resulting vocal blend is unbelievably sweet. Of course, voices when pushed to the extremes of their registers take on a different "force" than notes that fit comfortably within the range.

If you are working with patches that utilize a fixed-filter bank, then you would experience the same effect -- that a change of key changes the timbre of the entire work. Or, say your filters are set to not track exactly with the pitch -- then the timbre changes with key.

Another issue is overtones. On higher pitches more of the overtones are pushed out of the range of hearing. A lower key suggests, then, that more of the overtones will be audible.

Another theory that has been suggested is that various human body cavities resonate at certain frequencies. If this is so, then a change of key would change the impact of the music on the listener. Perhaps someone knows more about this.

I tend to like music that modulates, and the choice of key (i.e. -- the tessitura) is as much a part of the magic as are the melodies, rhythms, harmonies, timbres, etc.

Oh... a favorite key? Twenty years ago I would have said "definitely g-minor". Today: any key that has notes in it!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
ThreeFingersOfLove



Joined: Oct 21, 2004
Posts: 162
Location: Greece
Audio files: 3
G2 patch files: 1

PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2006 1:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
Uncle Krunkus wrote:
But aren't most of these "keys" just the same thing transposed up or down?


Indeed. They have the same step patterns of half and whole steps. Well, the major and minor have different step patterns. This is where the modes come in. each mode has a different pattern, so therefore different intervals between notes, ie in the locrian a minor second, the fifth is flattened (so no perfect fifth) and a flattened seventh (so no leading note) Very tasty, as the tonal direction disappears.


Absolutely not. Scales seem to be the same when transposed up or down, but the ear perceives pitches in a logarithmic manner. You might argue that a major fifth is still a major fifth but it is the actual frequencies that comprise a chord that matters most. (At least for me)

A good piano-tuner never tunes octaves in the same manner. This is very important and it becomes even more important as hearing perception matures.[/quote]
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
seraph
Editor
Editor


Joined: Jun 21, 2003
Posts: 12302
Location: Firenze, Italy
Audio files: 33
G2 patch files: 2

PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2006 3:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

ThreeFingersOfLove wrote:
major fifth

never heard of a major 5th. it is either perfect, augmented (enharmonically equivalent to a minor 6th) or diminished.

_________________
homepage - blog - forum - youtube

Quote:
Don't die with your music still in you - Wayne Dyer
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
ThreeFingersOfLove



Joined: Oct 21, 2004
Posts: 162
Location: Greece
Audio files: 3
G2 patch files: 1

PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2006 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

A perfect fifth is another name for a major fifth.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
seraph
Editor
Editor


Joined: Jun 21, 2003
Posts: 12302
Location: Firenze, Italy
Audio files: 33
G2 patch files: 2

PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2006 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

ThreeFingersOfLove wrote:
A perfect fifth is another name for a major fifth.

it sounds Greek to me Twisted Evil

_________________
homepage - blog - forum - youtube

Quote:
Don't die with your music still in you - Wayne Dyer
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
No'am



Joined: Sep 14, 2006
Posts: 3
Location: Israel

PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 1:44 am    Post subject: Keys Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

A few observations:
Playing acoustic guitar, when playing chords in the first position, the different voicings of the chords make a big difference - ie G does not sound like D transposed five semitones. Of course, these limitations don't exist on a keyboard.

Most of the music which I create will eventually be sung ... by me, and as I don't have an astounding range, I have to transpose the music to fit my voice. I've noticed that over the years my singing voice is deepening, so keys are changing.

When sequencing a disk, the songs' keys become important. Whilst it's definitely possible to have one song starting on the same chord on which the previous song finishes, I wouldn't do this all time. Similarly, I wouldn't finish one song in C and start the next in F#.

Musicologist Andrew Keeling made a great fuss about the different keys used in "The court of the crimson king", and how they are all related. I think that he overdid it in this respect.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic Moderators: elektro80
Page 2 of 4 [82 Posts]
View unread posts
View new posts in the last week
Goto page: Previous 1, 2, 3, 4 Next
Mark the topic unread :: View previous topic :: View next topic
 Forum index » Discussion » Composition
Jump to:  

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum
e-m mkii

Please support our site. If you click through and buy from
our affiliate partners, we earn a small commission.


Forum with support of Syndicator RSS
Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group
Copyright © 2003 through 2009 by electro-music.com - Conditions Of Use