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 Post subject: Do you have a favorite key?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2007 11:53 am 
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Just taking a break from practicing and got to thinking about this. My first answer to this question was going to be the key of E-flat major. The piece I was just playing ends in a low E-flat major chord, and I just love the way that sounds. Goes right into my soul. Then I did a brief flip through books sitting on my piano and discovered that many of my favorite pieces are in D-flat major. So now I am changing my mind. I like D-flat best. But then almost as many pieces I like are in A-flat major, which to me is an easy key to remember – you know, just spell the word, b-e-a-d /flats. I guess the question is not as easy to answer as I thought it would be. I will stick to E-flat and D-flat major because of the way they sound in lower register harmonies. Anybody else have a favorite key?

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2007 12:44 pm 
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My favorite key would definitely have to be E Major. I think that it sounds so beautiful, especially when you have some E Major chords then an F#-A-C natural-E chord. Basically E Major sounds really good with A Minor. Pianolady, it would sound really nice if you tried Eb Major then G# Minor, or Db Major with F# Minor. My system for finding keys that sound really good together is take the fourth note of the major key scale, and use the minor key of that note. Everyone probably already knew this though :oops: .

Anyway, to answer your question again, my favorite key is E Major. It's just so beautiful! Pieces like Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, the second movement of Grieg's third violin sonata, and the second movement of Rachmaninoff's second piano concerto are all in E Major, and they all touch me so much! E Major all the way!! Just kidding...


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2007 4:10 pm 
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My favourite key is the lowest one on my grand. It sounds sooo good. Don't get to hit it very often, but when it happens (like in the closing of Debussy's l'Isle Joyeuse) I make the most of it. Having said that, the B flat next to is is very nice too :lol:

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2007 4:16 pm 
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Location: Obamanation, unfortunately...
B flat major.....best piece written in this key? I would have to say Brahm's second piano concerto 8)

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 Post subject: fav. key
PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2007 5:16 pm 
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For some reason I usually like minor keys, especially C# minor and D minor. I have no idea why.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2007 6:07 pm 
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I think out of the minor keys, my favorite would have to be C Minor.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2007 8:53 pm 
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So do you think your favorite key (signature) depicts your personality? Happy people like major keys and grumpy people like minor keys? Can it be that simple?

I am usually an upbeat person, so choosing a major key as my favorite seems to fit my personality. Right? Again, that was my first response to the question. However, admitting that I also am a very passionate person, and seeing some others here say they favor minor keys, I re-thought my answer. (I know, too much thinking today) One of my favorite pieces is Chopin’s 1st Ballade – g-minor, and my second favorite nocturne which I’m practicing now is in c# minor, so yes, I do love to play plenty of sad, dark, minor pieces that rip out your heart. In reality, it is the drama I like best - and you can’t have drama without some darkness. So to answer my own question: Or course it is not that simple. Still, that nocturne ends in a c# major chord, which sounds so nice - it hurts, so I will stay with major keys being my favorite; especially d-flat major, which sounds the same as c# major, right? What a coincidence. :)

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Last edited by pianolady on Fri Jul 27, 2007 1:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2007 10:22 pm 
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D-flat major has been my favorite ever since I started listening to music. I haven't come up with a logical/harmonic reason to explain why except that to my ears, all the overtones match up perfectly in that key. In a minor key, I say D#.

My least liked are D and A major, and in minor, C. Those never sound quite right to my ears.

Why? I dunno.

Pete


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 3:09 pm 
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My favourite key is the lowest one on my grand. It sounds sooo good. Don't get to hit it very often, but when it happens (like in the closing of Debussy's l'Isle Joyeuse) I make the most of it.

First movement of the Grieg Concerto!

I don't think I have a favorite key, but I did notice that a lot of my favorites are in D-flat Major and F Minor. I don't think there are any keys that I don't like.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 5:32 pm 
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Location: Obamanation, unfortunately...
My favorite key sounds surreal...err I think?

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 10:25 pm 
F# minor and the rare Eb minor. But also F minor and C# minor
Between major keys.....mumble....Ab major and Eb major.

All best,
Sandro
waiting for his new "Rieger-Kloss" piano model "Janacek" (now I had to study some pieces of Janacek, of sure).


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 12:38 am 
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Sandro, getting a new piano is so exciting! I bet you can't wait. Maybe you can take pictures when it arrives. And then you will re-record all of your music on the new piano, right? :lol:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 9:45 am 
> Sandro, getting a new piano is so exciting! I bet you can't wait.

It remains for 20-25 days (holidays, they cannot carry it) at the dealer's room, with other 30-40 pianos. But today I'll visit it.
I hope that when it will be here he does't feel alone....


> Maybe you can take pictures when it arrives. And then you will re-record all of your music on the new piano, right?

This is my idea. It will be more difficult (actually, with my digital is so simple: line out to
the computer, no problem for external noises...), but I hope in a better sound.
Let's go to study: today LvB op. 57 first movement (let's try to make sweeter all that
arpeggios and virtuosistic passagges, to render them less Czerny or Hanon), Chopin op.44,
and a transcription from a Bill Evans piano solo (Town hall concert. The piece is
"Turn out the stars". One can not realize how beautiful this piece is).

All best,
Sandro


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 3:48 am 
I don't have perfect pitch. So they all sound the same to me.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 5:45 am 
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krstone wrote:
I don't have perfect pitch. So they all sound the same to me.

Can't be easy to enjoy music if all keys sound the same :P

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 11:31 am 
But isn't it all relative? You can transpose a song into other keys, and I would not be able to tell the difference.

To me I could play in any key and be happy. I often transition through several different keys when I practice/improvise. I just honestly cannot hear the difference. I'll play through many melodies and think to myself, would this really sound different in C or C# or B? And then I play it in another key and realize, no it is not; it is the same song.


Perhaps long trained musicians hear it differently than I do. I did not grow up knowing or learning music. I only learned once I became an adult.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 12:36 pm 
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krstone, I understand what you are saying, but to me, there is great deal of differences in the sound of different keys. And I don't know how to explain it, except that some sound richer, deeper, lighter or happier than others. I read somewhere that composers don't always think about which key to compose in - they just write what is in their head at the time the piece comes to them. Maybe try playing something simple like Mary Had a Little Lamb. Play it in C-major (don't change it to a minor key). Then play it in something like F# major. The black keys sound different, somehow. Maybe it's the way the sound waves come off the vibrations on those strings? (I don't totally get what I just said there. I get what I'm thinking but I can't express it well.) Any of that make sense to you?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 1:19 pm 
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D-Flat Major RULES!!!


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 1:43 pm 
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PJF wrote:
D-Flat Major RULES!!!

But don't rule out B-flat major :wink:

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 9:59 am 
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Quote:
krstone, I understand what you are saying, but to me, there is great deal of differences in the sound of different keys. And I don't know how to explain it, except that some sound richer, deeper, lighter or happier than others. I read somewhere that composers don't always think about which key to compose in - they just write what is in their head at the time the piece comes to them. Maybe try playing something simple like Mary Had a Little Lamb. Play it in C-major (don't change it to a minor key). Then play it in something like F# major. The black keys sound different, somehow. Maybe it's the way the sound waves come off the vibrations on those strings? (I don't totally get what I just said there. I get what I'm thinking but I can't express it well.) Any of that make sense to you?

Perhaps it has something to do with the tempered tuning?

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 10:11 am 
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What is tempered tuning? :oops:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 10:32 am 
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pianolady wrote:
What is tempered tuning? :oops:


Our common tuning is the equal temperated tuning. That means that the difference between every note is the same, the distance is mathematically seen the 12th root of 2. That means, after 12 halftones the frequency is doubled, as it is the next octave.
With this tuning system there are no very bad sounding intervalls at all on piano (but one could say also, no very good sounding intervalls). For instance if you play a quinte, you will hear a slight wobbling, maybe every second or so. If you play the quint a half tone higher, and proceed every half tone, you will realize that this wobbling gets contiously more and more, an octave higher the wobbling is doubled. At least that is the case in a perfect tuned piano.

Beside that there are historical temerated tunings with not equal intervals. Some sound worse, some better. Because some intervals have no wobblings, normally received as very strong and powerful chords. Others have so much wobblings that one needs to avoid those keys better.

To me it is problematic to give in the equal temperated tuning different keys a certain character. Because from the temperament all keys are similar (in opposit to the nonequal temperated tunings).
That's why it is problematic (to me) to e.g. associate d major with a festive character (only to mention an example). Already the fact, that some played 300 years ago d major a half tone lower or higher, so that means d flat major or e flat major were the keys in those days which must be associated with the character some refer with d major today.
The different character of different keys come in my opinion more from how often a key is used in general or for certain moods some personal "reference" pieces have in that key, but not from inherent character of a key. Because with equal temperated tuning, there is no certain character anymore of a certain key. By the way, I very much like historical tunings, there are some organs in Germany at which those tunings are used with success for certain baroque music.

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Last edited by MindenBlues on Mon Aug 06, 2007 10:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 10:32 am 
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Never mind, Terez. I just looked it up. That kind of thing is way over my head.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 10:32 am 
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Here's the long explanation of tempered tuning, or Equal Temperament (link), or perhaps Well Temperament as opposed to Pythagorean Tuning, or perhaps Meantone Temperament. A great deal of Baroque music is written with Pythagorean tuning or meantone temperament in mind, and the differences are fairly slight for the most part, but enough that a certain harpsichord would only be good for certain keys. In , the leading tone of any key should be at a pitch sharper than a 100-cent half step (not sure exactly how many cents would be between the leading tone and the root (i.e., B to C in the key of C) but it's less than the 100-cent distance of every half step in equal temperament tuning.

I don't know a great deal about the differences in tuning, which is why my comment above was a question. lol...it actually seems counter-intuitive to think that tempered tuning would have anything to do with why certain keys sound better on a keyboard with equal temperament (and we all play on equal temperament keyboards). Ah, well....that's why Bach's Well Tempered Clavier was such a revolutionary work, I think - it was meant for a keyboard on which you could play any key! And I think it was the first major work that was intended for such an instrument, though I could of course be wrong.

EDIT: wow, I must be slow - two people posted while I was working on this! :oops:

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 10:34 am 
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oops - looks like we posted at the exact same time. Thanks for answering but I still don't get it. :)

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 10:35 am 
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Wow! Three people posting at exactly the same time. Now I'll go read Olaf's response.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 10:35 am 
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pianolady wrote:
oops - looks like we posted at the exact same time. Thanks for answering but I still don't get it. :)


Also not from what I wrote? If that's the case, what exactly you don't get (indeed 3 posts with same time stamp)?

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 10:36 am 
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It's okay, Monica - I don't really get it either! ;)

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 10:38 am 
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You guys are too smart for me. :) Thank you for the explanations, though.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 10:48 am 
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Olaf, off the top of your head, do you know of any piano recordings on the internet that use 'historical tuning' ? (don't waste any more time if you don't know - it's okay)

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 10:58 am 
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No, I don't know (have only some CDs for organ music with historical temperaments).

Some digital pianos (like my Kawai MP9500) can change their temperament, so I played for fun some WTC items with historical temperaments, the difference is not that stronge (to my taste), but audible.

People argue for almost 300 years what Bach meant with "Well" temperated clavier. What is well? Must not be necessarily "equal", that's the problem. There would be no discussion about that if he choosed a more exact term :cry:

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 11:03 am 
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People argue for almost 300 years what Bach meant with "Well" temperated clavier. What is well? Must not be necessarily "equal", that's the problem. There would be no discussion about that if he choosed a more exact term. :cry:

The Wikipedia article on the Well Tempered Clavier goes into that debate a good bit. It seems obvious that he did not intend strict Pythagorean tuning or meantone temperament, though.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 11:06 am 
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People argue for almost 300 years what Bach meant with "Well" temperated clavier.

I have wondered about that, myself. But I must have the word 'temperated' wrong, because i thought it was 'tempered', so in that case, and in my simple mind, I just thought of it as meaning the klavier is 'nice'. :lol:

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 11:22 am 
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Quote:
I have wondered about that, myself. But I must have the word 'temperated' wrong, because i thought it was 'tempered', so in that case, and in my simple mind, I just thought of it as meaning the klavier is 'nice'. :lol:

In English, it is "tempered" (I think Olaf made that word up!) but it doesn't mean that the clavier is "nice". :lol: I have seen spoofs called "The Bad Tempered Clavier" and such. :lol:

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 4:19 pm 
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Hmm, the origin is German, Bach called it "Das Wohltemperierte Klavier". "Temperierung" is now in Germany more or less only in use as something related to the temperature, how warm or how cold it is. You are right, it is translated to "tempered" and not "temperated" in that context.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2007 10:25 am 
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I think this is neat – here is a link to a website where you can hear different tunings.
http://www.wmich.edu/mus-theo/groven/compare.html

The different sounds are fascinating. And at the bottom of that page there is a link to a whole big explanation on tunings. (some of it is even starting to sink in, now :) - but only a little :? )

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2007 10:49 am 
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Yep, doesn't sound a pure major chord so much stronger than an equal tempered major chord, especially because the thirds are so ugly tempered instead beeing pure (the quint is almost pure, but not 100% pure)?

The old baroque masters knew exactly which intervalls sounded very good and which very bad and avoided the latter on their church organ. So quit a few organs in Germany are put back to original tuning in order to bring the beauty e.g. Buxtehude organ works show in certain keys!

I am also a bit wondering why violinists tune their fiddle to pure quints normally. So they pile 4 pure quints one upon the other. That means the difference between the equal tempered quints on piano is multiplied by 4 at the end. But since quints are very sligthly tempered, even that is of only small importance (maybe also because the empty strings are more seldom used on the fiddle?).
I know as I tuned my guitar in the beginning without electronic tuner I was always wondering why it did not work although I tuned all quarts to pure intervals... Until I realized there must be slightly wobbling between the quarts, because a guitar must also be tuned equal tempered.
Ok, that is very much OT, unfortunately.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 3:13 pm 
I believe it was in the book called 'What to listen for in Mozart' by Robert Harris that I read that perhaps the average listener from the day before equal temperament would more easily 'get' the harmonic changes in say a Mozart sonata. The different keys would have more distinct sounds than they do now, so if the theme re-enters in the 'wrong' key then this would be more intuitively obvious. The listener doesn't necessarily need training to identify this they would just hear that something is different and unsettled. Of course, the good composers of the day would know all about this and perhaps write to make best use of these differences.

I've read the claim that the WTC is best heard in one of the historical 'well' but not 'equal' temperaments. Having never heard anything but either equal (or out of tune equal ;) temperament I have no idea how valid this claim is.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 8:42 pm 
techneut wrote:
My favourite key is the lowest one on my grand. It sounds sooo good. Don't get to hit it very often, but when it happens (like in the closing of Debussy's l'Isle Joyeuse) I make the most of it. Having said that, the B flat next to is is very nice too :lol:


:) :) :)

But for some people, the lowest note is an F, or even a C...

:) :) :)


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 1:01 am 
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Well... I must say that I really don't like major keys. For some reason, they just don't appeal to me.

However, I LOOOOVE minor keys!

My favorite keys are C#, D#, and G# minor. I don't know why, but I just like them.

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 Post subject: Re: Do you have a favorite key?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 5:01 pm 
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Doesn't anyone like b major? At least for the fun of practicing scales?

pianolady wrote:
Just taking a break from practicing and got to thinking about this. My first answer to this question was going to be the key of E-flat major. The piece I was just playing ends in a low E-flat major chord, and I just love the way that sounds. Goes right into my soul. Then I did a brief flip through books sitting on my piano and discovered that many of my favorite pieces are in D-flat major. So now I am changing my mind. I like D-flat best. But then almost as many pieces I like are in A-flat major, which to me is an easy key to remember – you know, just spell the word, b-e-a-d /flats. I guess the question is not as easy to answer as I thought it would be. I will stick to E-flat and D-flat major because of the way they sound in lower register harmonies. Anybody else have a favorite key?


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 7:54 pm 
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B major is my hands' favorite. My ear has a different opinion! :lol:


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 9:10 pm 
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demonic_advent wrote:
Well... I must say that I really don't like major keys. For some reason, they just don't appeal to me.

However, I LOOOOVE minor keys!

My favorite keys are C#, D#, and G# minor. I don't know why, but I just like them.

I love minor keys, too. When I'm listening to Chopin preludes, I have a tendency to skip the odd numbered tracks. :D I like major key stuff too...just not nearly as much...

But...D# minor? Um...

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