Author Topic: Your "Natural" Scale/Key/Mode  (Read 3316 times)

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Offline Cato

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Your "Natural" Scale/Key/Mode
« on: June 27, 2017, 03:48:52 AM »
New member Mark McD recently offered a composition called Discussions in D minor which some people interpreted as a discussion about D minor!

Oddly, before his topic came up, I had been thinking about whether anyone noticed a "natural" affinity for certain keys or scales.  For me, my voice finds D major/minor the easiest to sing, followed by keys based on the D triad:  F major/minor and F# minor and A major/minor.

And my compositions have tended to be in those same areas, if not quite using "keys," e.g. my Exaudi me (q.v.) uses a 9-tone scale on D.

Anybody else have a "natural" tendency toward singing in one key better than another?  Or a liking for one?
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Offline bwv 1080

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Re: Your "Natural" Scale/Key/Mode
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2017, 04:36:38 AM »
Definitely the all-triad hexachord 6-Z17 <012478>
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Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Your "Natural" Scale/Key/Mode
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2017, 05:55:19 AM »
New member Mark McD recently offered a composition called Discussions in D minor which some people interpreted as a discussion about D minor!

Oddly, before his topic came up, I had been thinking about whether anyone noticed a "natural" affinity for certain keys or scales.  For me, my voice finds D major/minor the easiest to sing, followed by keys based on the D triad:  F major/minor and F# minor and A major/minor.

And my compositions have tended to be in those same areas, if not quite using "keys," e.g. my Exaudi me (q.v.) uses a 9-tone scale on D.

Anybody else have a "natural" tendency toward singing in one key better than another?  Or a liking for one?

You wouldn't know it today, but in my wild youth I used to sing folk and country music in public venues (alright, bars!) and no doubt the key that fit my voice best was G major. Since it also worked very well on the guitar and tenor banjo, I developed a strong affection for it. :)

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Offline Mahlerian

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Re: Your "Natural" Scale/Key/Mode
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2017, 07:27:13 AM »
I have preferences that I can't explain for B minor (as I said before) and for the flattened submediant degree, either as a minor iv chord or a ii half diminished.  The fact that the latter device is used in a lot of pop music to impart instant emotion doesn't seem to stop me from responding to it strongly (though of course I feel more strongly about it when used in the context of more complex tonal patterns).
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ComposerOfAvantGarde

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Re: Your "Natural" Scale/Key/Mode
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2017, 04:47:52 PM »
'Phrygian dominant' and scales/modes like it have always been ones I've found particularly delightful.

Offline amw

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Re: Your "Natural" Scale/Key/Mode
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2017, 06:07:51 PM »
C-sharp major (dark gold), as mentioned in the other thread, is a key I gravitate towards for some odd reason. I don't sing and didn't really think about it in those terms, but my voice seems to naturally like A major (incandescent bright red, like fire) which is also a key I gravitate towards—and seems to end up being the tonality of a lot of my compositions. A, E and D are for me the primary colours of light (red, green and blue) and seem to end up as tonal centres by default of compositions I write that I don't intend to have tonal centres.

I also really like the raised fourth scale degree in general, and modal mixture. Or variants of modal mixture where a key is related to a different one that is colouristically similar: D-flat major (sky blue, round the edges of the sky) and B-flat minor (pale blue) or F major (cornflower blue); E-flat major (dark fuchsia) and G-flat major (light fuchsia or pale violet); G major (orange) and B major (brown, burnt sienna).

It should go without saying that all this is completely arbitrary.

Offline aleazk

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Re: Your "Natural" Scale/Key/Mode
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2017, 09:28:45 PM »
I like the lydian and phrygrian modes.

Offline Maestro267

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Re: Your "Natural" Scale/Key/Mode
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2017, 11:00:52 PM »
How I view certain keys:

E minor is dark blue, nocturnal.

E flat major is very outdoorsy, but more standing-on-a-windswept-sea-facing-cliff outdoorsy.

B flat major is spring.

F major is summer.

E flat minor and G sharp minor are very dark and eerie places.

B minor is heroic, like an epic tragic tale is going to be told.

Offline Uhor

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Re: Your "Natural" Scale/Key/Mode
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2017, 01:06:16 AM »
What comes out of the natural horn.

Offline Cato

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Re: Your "Natural" Scale/Key/Mode
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2017, 02:18:08 AM »
How I view certain keys:

E minor is dark blue, nocturnal.

E flat minor and G sharp minor are very dark and eerie places.



For The Twilight Zone Bernard Herrmann's opening title music used precisely Eb minor and E minor chords to portray the "dark," "nocturnal," and "eerie" atmosphere of the stories.

Listen:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/e0w9Nt0z1w8&amp;list=RDe0w9Nt0z1w8#t=34" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/e0w9Nt0z1w8&amp;list=RDe0w9Nt0z1w8#t=34</a>
 
COWBOY (sitting down to a poker game for the first time): "Is this a game of chance?!"

- W. C. FIELDS  (as Cuthbert Twillie): "Uhh, not the way I play it, no." in  My Little Chickadee.

ComposerOfAvantGarde

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Re: Your "Natural" Scale/Key/Mode
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2017, 03:06:26 AM »
For me it's either/both the octatonic scale or this kind of thing:




Both just feel right and satisfying and can be twisted into so many things, it's my natural inclination  ;D

Perhaps, if there is anything in particular about this chord, you could enlighten us. :)

Offline aukhawk

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Re: Your "Natural" Scale/Key/Mode
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2017, 06:07:14 AM »
The Dorian mode is one of My Favourite Things

Offline XB-70 Valkyrie

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Re: Your "Natural" Scale/Key/Mode
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2017, 08:48:14 PM »
E-flat major:

I realized a few years ago that a disproportionate number of the piano works I play/have played are in this key: Bach French Suite No. 4; Bach 3-part Invention No. 5; Beethoven Bagatelle Op 126, No. 3; etc. Currently I am playing Bach Prelude No. 7 from the WTC Book I (also in E-flat), the aforementioned Invention, and--quite uncharacteristically for me--a C# / F# minor piece--the glorious Debussy Arabesque No. 1 (No. 2? blech!)

Of all keys, E-flat seems to fit my hand the best; it seems the most natural to play.

Even Bach loved the key, and he (or someone) commented that it is one of the noblest and most serene sounding of keys. He used it to symbolize the trinity in his Prelude and Fugue BWV 552.

C minor:

The relative minor or E-flat of course. I also played the 3-part Invention No. 2 in this key. It seems a bit melancholic and very serious--big thoughts and fantasies are engendered by this key.

ALSO: The greatest single piece of keyboard music ever composed--the Bach BWV 552--and the greatest symphony ever written, the Bruckner 8, have the same three flats!

« Last Edit: June 29, 2017, 08:50:51 PM by XB-70 Valkyrie »
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Offline Mahlerian

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Re: Your "Natural" Scale/Key/Mode
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2017, 03:04:08 AM »
quite uncharacteristically for me--a C# / F# minor piece--the glorious Debussy Arabesque No. 1 (No. 2? blech!)


Don't you mean E major?
"l do not consider my music as atonal, but rather as non-tonal. I feel the unity of all keys. Atonal music by modern composers admits of no key at all, no feeling of any definite center." - Arnold Schoenberg

Offline Cato

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Re: Your "Natural" Scale/Key/Mode
« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2017, 03:25:05 AM »
IMO Everything Bernard Herrmann touches is gold  ;)

Amen!


C minor:

The relative minor or E-flat of course. I also played the 3-part Invention No. 2 in this key. It seems a bit melancholic and very serious--big thoughts and fantasies are engendered by this key.

ALSO: The greatest single piece of keyboard music ever composed--the Bach BWV 552--and the greatest symphony ever written, the Bruckner 8, have the same three flats!


Beethoven is the one I first thought of in reference to this key: Symphonies III and V, several Piano Sonatas (especially Opus 111 ), several quartets, etc.
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- W. C. FIELDS  (as Cuthbert Twillie): "Uhh, not the way I play it, no." in  My Little Chickadee.

millionrainbows

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Re: Your "Natural" Scale/Key/Mode
« Reply #15 on: July 07, 2017, 12:56:16 PM »
I kept a "tone diary" in order to find my natural resonant frequency. I would wake up, and sing the most comfortable, natural note I could, which after a week or so turned out to be C.

I then discovered that the most resonant note for my voice is C, because with that note I can start a "throat tone" like those Tuvan singers, which I was never able to do before.

Sometimes this varies; some days the resonance is lower, on B or Bb. Bio-rhythms, I surmise.

Contemporaryclassical

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Re: Your "Natural" Scale/Key/Mode
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2017, 02:07:06 AM »
This is a riveting thread, mine are the following:

Major 6th interval

Augmented 6th chord

Lydian mode

Offline Cato

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Re: Your "Natural" Scale/Key/Mode
« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2017, 02:46:39 AM »
Well it's from a work that I love from Ernst Krenek (I loved it enough to use as an avatar at one point). But it's just an example of how I love lush, dissonant tutti chords  :D (Messiaen and Xenakis also happen to have some prime examples in their work but even in the opening of Beethoven's third symphony. They aren't all approached the same way either!)

in my choral work, Exaudi me, the chord which is used as a mountain-top from which the singers lament is D-Ab-Bb-F-C-Gb-Ab-C.

Again, note a D minor/major aspect to it.

See Reply #13 for the links to the score and Karl Henning's work with the MIDI version:

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,26569.0.html
COWBOY (sitting down to a poker game for the first time): "Is this a game of chance?!"

- W. C. FIELDS  (as Cuthbert Twillie): "Uhh, not the way I play it, no." in  My Little Chickadee.

Offline Cato

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Re: Your "Natural" Scale/Key/Mode
« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2017, 02:59:25 AM »
This is a riveting thread, mine are the following:

Major 6th interval

Augmented 6th chord

Lydian mode

Interesting: in my earlier years, I devised several compositions emphasizing major and minor 6ths.  I even had a 6-note, multi-octave scale using 6ths   ???    :D

e.g.  Starting in the bass: D-Bb-G-Eb-C-Ab-F-D. 

Rearranged for one octave it would of course have a sort of "double" D minor sound:  D-Eb-F-G-Ab-C-D
COWBOY (sitting down to a poker game for the first time): "Is this a game of chance?!"

- W. C. FIELDS  (as Cuthbert Twillie): "Uhh, not the way I play it, no." in  My Little Chickadee.

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Re: Your "Natural" Scale/Key/Mode
« Reply #19 on: July 24, 2017, 07:52:36 AM »
I seem to find B major comfortable for both singing and playing.

Not THE most popular key, B major...
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