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Old 2006-10-12, 20:06
davie_gravy's Avatar
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Affective Key Characteristics

Thought this was half ass interesting...


from Christian Schubart's Ideen zu einer Aesthetik der Tonkunst (1806)

C Major
Completely Pure. Its character is: innocence, simplicity, naÔvety, children's talk.

C Minor
Declaration of love and at the same time the lament of unhappy love. All languishing, longing, sighing of the love-sick soul lies in this key.

Db Major
A leering key, degenerating into grief and rapture. It cannot laugh, but it can smile; it cannot howl, but it can at least grimace its crying.--Consequently only unusual characters and feelings can be brought out in this key.

C# Minor
Penitential lamentation, intimate conversation with God, the friend and help-meet of life; sighs of disappointed friendship and love lie in its radius.

D Major
The key of triumph, of Hallejuahs, of war-cries, of victory-rejoicing. Thus, the inviting symphonies, the marches, holiday songs and heaven-rejoicing choruses are set in this key.

D Minor
Melancholy womanliness, the spleen and humours brood.

Eb Major
The key of love, of devotion, of intimate conversation with God.

D# Minor
Feelings of the anxiety of the soul's deepest distress, of brooding despair, of blackest depresssion, of the most gloomy condition of the soul. Every fear, every hesitation of the shuddering heart, breathes out of horrible D# minor. If ghosts could speak, their speech would approximate this key.

E Major
Noisy shouts of joy, laughing pleasure and not yet complete, full delight lies in E Major.

E minor
NaÔve, womanly innocent declaration of love, lament without grumbling; sighs accompanied by few tears; this key speaks of the imminent hope of resolving in the pure happiness of C major.
F Major
Complaisance & Calm.

F Minor
Deep depression, funereal lament, groans of misery and longing for the grave.

F# Major
Triumph over difficulty, free sigh of relief utered when hurdles are surmounted; echo of a soul which has fiercely struggled and finally conquered lies in all uses of this key.

F# Minor
A gloomy key: it tugs at passion as a dog biting a dress. Resentment and discontent are its language.

G Major
Everything rustic, idyllic and lyrical, every calm and satisfied passion, every tender gratitude for true friendship and faithful love,--in a word every gentle and peaceful emotion of the heart is correctly expressed by this key.

G Minor
Discontent, uneasiness, worry about a failed scheme; bad-tempered gnashing of teeth; in a word: resentment and dislike.

Ab Major
Key of the grave. Death, grave, putrefaction, judgment, eternity lie in its radius.

Ab Minor
Grumbler, heart squeezed until it suffocates; wailing lament, difficult struggle; in a word, the color of this key is everything struggling with difficulty.

A Major
This key includes declarations of innocent love, satisfaction with one's state of affairs; hope of seeing one's beloved again when parting; youthful cheerfulness and trust in God.
A minor
Pious womanliness and tenderness of character.

Bb Major
Cheerful love, clear conscience, hope aspiration for a better world.

Bb minor
A quaint creature, often dressed in the garment of night. It is somewhat surly and very seldom takes on a pleasant countenance. Mocking God and the world; discontented with itself and with everything; preparation for suicide sounds in this key.

B Major
Strongly coloured, announcing wild passions, composed from the most glaring coulors. Anger, rage, jealousy, fury, despair and every burden of the heart lies in its sphere.
B Minor
This is as it were the key of patience, of calm awaiting ones's fate and of submission to divine dispensation.

Translated by Rita Steblin in A History of Key Characteristics in the 18th and Early 19th Centuries. UMI Research Press (1983).
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Old 2006-10-13, 05:00
amerok's Avatar
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thats pretty interesting. he must have had perfect pitch or something to come up with moods for actual pitches.
Old 2006-10-13, 07:54
johnmansley's Avatar
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Nah, just too much time on his hands!
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Old 2006-10-13, 10:48
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 67
"D minor is the saddest key" - Nigel Tufnel.

That stuff is mostly bullshit - although quite funny in places. (Sorry, Christian!)

The idea that C major is "Completely Pure. Its character is: innocence, simplicity, naÔvety" derives from a pianist's view, because it's all the white keys. Therefore it's the most basic, beginner key.
It's nothing to do with the SOUND of the music (except by psychological association).

E.g., as guitarists, all we have to do to transpose from C major to Db major is put a capo on 1st fret. Are we really to believe that suddenly turns the mood of our song into "a leering key, degenerating into grief and rapture. It cannot laugh, but it can smile; it cannot howl, but it can at least grimace its crying"?? yeah, right.
(It's OK, one more fret up will give us "the key of triumph, of Hallejuahs, of war-cries, of victory-rejoicing" - whoop-de-doo!)

These ideas did have meaning in the days before equal temperament. (Just intonation, mean-tone temperament, etc.) In those days, half-steps weren't exactly half a whole step, and there might be two sizes of half step; and keys really did sound different from one another. The remote keys (more sharps and flats) became more out of tune, with more complex frequency relationships, and hence "darker" sounds.
By 1806 (AFAIK) equal temperament was well established, and Herr Schubart should have known better (IMO).
Old 2006-10-14, 05:20
deli_creep's Avatar
New Blood
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 14
Dave, this is a kickass thread.

I've actually been exploring this kind of thought for a while. I've been trying to convey a specific feeling in my playing. Buckethead does a lot of this. If you listen to his songs, you'll find that some of them convey a very strong feeling and elicit a strong emotional response, like he can speak through the guitar. Sometimes as an exercise, I look at an object in my room and improvise a tune about it. Or sometimes I will try to convey a very specific feeling through my playing. It is definitely way harder than one would think, but very rewarding when you get it right.

I like to think of the guitar as a method of communication, like a second mouth or something. It's definitely one of the best ways to convey a raw emotion, but doing so is difficult. Even more so when you're writing something on the fly.

Of course, it's still fun to show off and try to use my guitar skills to pick up chicks. I'm still working on a song that makes irrestistibly attracted to me. Progress, however, has been slow.
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Old 2006-11-17, 18:15
TangledMortalCoil's Avatar
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Join Date: Feb 2005
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Posts: 300
^ takes way more than guitar skills (..easy to forget on a guitar board)

davie: this is a great thread, thanks
Old 2006-11-17, 18:43
k13m's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: vlissingen, the Netherlands
Posts: 2,680
i could come up with shit like that , well, if i knew more hard english words :roleyes:

still col though:P

< no wonder hes mad!!

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