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The mood issue is problematic. I always think of F major as the happiest of the happy keys. Trevor Horn said that D minor was the best key for pop because D on the bass provided the best foundation. D sharp minor - all the black notes - is slightly spooky.

But all of this would have to depend on A=440 being a standard, and given that A used to wander all over the place, and A=450 or 460 isn't totally unheard of even today - it sounds sharper and more exciting - it's hard to imagine there's any genuine consistency.

According to the perfect pitch courses I've seen, each key has a different subjective experience. From my limited experiments, there seems to be some truth to this. The F sharp in B always honks a little, and you don't seem to get that honk in other keys.

Who knows why?

Meanwhile - the weird chord in the Bach piece is a diminished 7th, which was about as dissonant as things got in those days, and includes the infamous flattened fifth.

It's a nice general purpose chord which can go in any direction, and it adds a bit of drama, so Bach used it quite a bit.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat May 3rd, 2008 at 09:48:23 AM EST
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