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Thread: Key differences... help!

  1. #1

    Default Key differences... help!

    Does anyone know of a resource which studies the differences in sound perception between musical keys (book/website/magazine article?)

    As a practical example of what I mean: I want to inject more energy into a song that my band is playing. We've wound up the pace a bit. We've given the bass and drums a more repetitive doubling up of their rhythms, and inverted the chords... but I got to thinking, "What if we changed it to A major, or B major, or F#major?"

    Is there any formula to how the difference in key would sound? Is it dependent on the instruments and how much of their strings/tubing is resonating?

    Help!!!

  2. #2
    The most prolific Distinguished SOTW poster, Forum Contributor 2014 gary's Avatar
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    Robaldo, there has been a great deal written, discussed, etc on this, especially in the late 1800's but IMO it's a waste of time. What I believe is more effective in achieving the difference you are looking for is in orchestration. Certain keys might put the chord roots in lower or higher registers and that can have an effect on your voicings. But that all depends on what kind of instruments you are using.

    You could get yourself wrapped up in a lot of research and speculation on this subject, but in the long run it's more fun to do and think about than it is practical. Again, IMO, orchestration, voicings, rhythmic spacing or density, and chord choices have much more to do with brightness, darkness, etc than the key in and of itself and you would spend your time more productively looking into these aspects.
    ____________________________________________________
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    TK Melody UL soprano
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  3. #3

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    I found a damn fine (IMO) book on the Psychology of the Perception of Music.

    Hell, I don't reckon it can do my playing/arranging/composing any harm to read it!

    (Perhaps there is an academic in me somewhere!!!?!?!??)

  4. #4

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    The way I see it, the key will have an effect in two ways.

    1. It will sound more powerful and agressive if the necessary notes of the key can be achieved in the lower registers of the instrument, just what gary said.


    Number 2 is the answer that I got from a music professor when I asked him a while back. He said that it is only applicable in classical terms and has little application in modern music.

    2. It's effect will only count in terms of relation with the previous piece. For example, if you're playing a piece in concert B, and the next piece is in concert C, your audience will get a feeling of dissonance for a little while, even though there is none, just because their ears have gotten used to that other key. It ends up feeling sort of like a dissonant chord change. The most undesired changes are the minor 2nd (B to C, C to C#, et cetera...) and the flat 5th (C to F#, D to G#, and so on...).

    I hope this helped.
    SS

    This appears to be pretty popular here, so here's a link to it:
    http://www.4shared.com/dir/1185936/bb078418/Sheet_Music_PDFs.html

  5. #5
    The most prolific Distinguished SOTW poster, Forum Contributor 2014 gary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ssleb
    It's effect will only count in terms of relation with the previous piece.
    Good point. Keep in mind, that if the previous key has been strongly established, you could use this principle within a song, itself.
    ____________________________________________________
    You can't blow it if you haven't lived it.

    TK Melody UL soprano
    Selmer S80 Serie II alto
    Julius Keilwerth SX90R tenor


  6. #6

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    It's being used in pop music repeatedly, they always change to a 4th in the middle of a song to give a sense of hope. It now sounds really cheesy though since it's been overused.
    SS

    This appears to be pretty popular here, so here's a link to it:
    http://www.4shared.com/dir/1185936/bb078418/Sheet_Music_PDFs.html

  7. #7
    The most prolific Distinguished SOTW poster, Forum Contributor 2014 gary's Avatar
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    Actually, now that we're macro analysing this, I should probably qualify my statements above, Robaldo. I was referring to the larger context of tonal areas representing certain psychological responses generated by certain tonal centers, as well as generating certain colours in the imagination. See Skriabin's writings on this (colour, esoteric relationships in musical chords, etc.) if you're interested.
    ____________________________________________________
    You can't blow it if you haven't lived it.

    TK Melody UL soprano
    Selmer S80 Serie II alto
    Julius Keilwerth SX90R tenor


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