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Thread: Do keys matter?

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    Default Do keys matter?

    (Beginner here)I made a simple melody in the piano roll of FL studio and started shifting it up one semitone at a time (keeping the intervals the same). I notice that there was no real difference in how the melody felt as I shifted it up or down. It made me think about why keys or octaves were important. I’ve heard some things about how historically, there were implications involving the way different instruments were made and what not, but in today's day and age does it really matter if we’re making music digitally?? I feel like what’s most important are relationships between notes (intervals). Thoughts???

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    A melody may retain its character played at different pitch levels, but once you start adding harmony you'll notice that transposition can have a major effect on the music's sonority and mood. Depending on the nature of the piece, there are apt to be be good reasons for choosing one key over another.

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    Not only does harmony make a big difference, adding orchestration markedly changes the mood and feeling. A symphony in G is very bright sounding, whereas one in B flat is much more somber. A lot of it has to do with the ways instruments are built and how the overtone series works. This is especially apparent in the strings. A string that isn't being used will still have a resonance however small that adds to the sound. Digitally, it may not make a huge difference, but to a trained, skilled musician the difference between E flat major and C major is like night and day.

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    Senior Member mikeh375's Avatar
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    Digital music doesn't care about all the good stuff mbhaub and Woodduck have mentioned, (with the obvious proviso that absurdly large transposition and register change would clearly have a telling effect). If you want realism via digital samples then yes, it's important to pay attention to the practicalities of scoring and echo decisions whilst composing/programming that one would make for a real orchestra. One would write to exploit the expressive potential of the idiomatic and registral quirks instruments possess (on the assumption one knows how to). The samples would also have to be capable of any technique beyond the basic articulations asked of them for a semi-convincing playback to be achieved.

    The effect is illusory though, for example, a sample is not aware of its programmed musical environment within a DAW and will not react in a genuinely acoustic way. This is particularly noticeable when programming strings. The beautiful 'bloom' of sound that comes from a live string section, a melange of tuning, hall and sympathetic resonance, is not possible in digitally sampled music at present, not even with those samples that come with so called 'baked-in' ambience.

    On the downside, the ubiquity and relative ease of digital sampling has spawned a generation who think they can write for orchestra, the reality is very different so far as realism is concerned.
    Last edited by mikeh375; Mar-17-2020 at 14:40.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeh375 View Post
    On the downside, the ubiquity and relative ease of digital sampling has spawned a generation who think they can write for orchestra, the reality is very different so far as realism is concerned.
    They're called "sound designers."

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    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by youngcapone View Post
    (Beginner here)I made a simple melody in the piano roll of FL studio and started shifting it up one semitone at a time (keeping the intervals the same). I notice that there was no real difference in how the melody felt as I shifted it up or down. It made me think about why keys or octaves were important. I’ve heard some things about how historically, there were implications involving the way different instruments were made and what not, but in today's day and age does it really matter if we’re making music digitally?? I feel like what’s most important are relationships between notes (intervals). Thoughts???
    No, it doesn't really matter, as long as it sounds good. You're working digitally from a keyboard, so instrument ranges aren't going to be an issue unless you are using an orchestral emulation sampling software. Even there, the orchestral program, if it's a realistic one, won't allow you to notate things out of the range of instruments. Even my simple E-Mu Proteus Orchestral Module has limits built in. If you get a good orchestral software, this will all be taken care of; you won't be able to notate "out of bounds," so the axiom will still be 'if it sounds good, do it.'

    Ignore some of the other answers here, as you seem to be satisfied working digitally, and recognize it for what it is, a very useful tool. The others here seem intent on using digital technology in trying to imitate real orchestras, as if it were your ultimate goal to notate for real orchestras. Listen to some Wendy Carlos Bach, and appreciate that she lets "sound be itself" and appreciates electronic sound for what it is.

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    Senior Member mikeh375's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    Ignore some of the other answers here, as you seem to be satisfied working digitally, and recognize it for what it is, a very useful tool. The others here seem intent on using digital technology in trying to imitate real orchestras, as if it were your ultimate goal to notate for real orchestras. Listen to some Wendy Carlos Bach, and appreciate that she lets "sound be itself" and appreciates electronic sound for what it is.
    No, I for one did not say that at all, so please be careful. I said IF you want realism and the rest of my post was in that vein.
    I've used electronics, daw's, samples, synths all of my pro life. I know a lot about them and do recognise the creative and aesthetic value of them. The fact that you've just p**sed me off should tell you something, try and remember that next time you do an all purpose lumping together of folk around here..
    Last edited by mikeh375; Mar-30-2020 at 13:54.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeh375 View Post
    No, I for one, did not say that at all, so please be careful. I said IF you want realism.
    I've used electronics, daw's, samples, synths all of my pro life and do recognise the creative and aesthetic value of them. The fact that you've just p**sed me off should tell you something, try and remember that next time you do an all purpose lumping together of folk here..
    How do you know I wasn't responding to mbhaub's post about realistic strings?

    I didn't mention anyone by name, nor was my reply to you. It was to youngcapone.I didn't invalidate or question anything you said. Please be careful yourself.

    This was general advice to youngcapone. If you are p**sed off, that's your problem, and not my fault. Try and remember that next time you zero-in on a particular member.
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Mar-30-2020 at 13:58.

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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    I didn't mention anyone by name, nor was my reply to you. I didn't invalidate or question anything you said. Please be careful yourself.

    This was general advice to YoungCapone. If you are p**sed off, that's your problem, and not my fault. Try and remember that next time you zero-in on a particular member.
    You said..and I quote..."the others".

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeh375 View Post
    You said..and I quote..."the others".
    No, that's incorrect. I said "Ignore some of the other answers here..." not "other people."

    Besides that, As Woodduck has often said, ideas are just ideas, and do not represent us as people. If that's true, then you have no reason to be upset, do you? We could ask Woodduck about this.
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Mar-30-2020 at 21:31.

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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    No, that's incorrect. I said "Ignore some of the other answers here..." not "other people."

    Besides that, As Woodduck has often said, ideas are just ideas, and do not represent us a people. If that's true, then you have no reason to be upset, do you? We could ask Woodduck about this.
    ok MR, read my post 7 and see what I highlighted in your post 6. A bigger person would at least acknowledge that.
    Last edited by mikeh375; Mar-30-2020 at 14:07.

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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    No, that's incorrect. I said "Ignore some of the other answers here..." not "other people."

    Besides that, As Woodduck has often said, ideas are just ideas, and do not represent us a people. If that's true, then you have no reason to be upset, do you? We could ask Woodduck about this.
    Since you bring up Woodduck, he would ask you why Youngcapone should "ignore some of the other answers here." Since only mikeh375 and Woodduck had given answers, "some" must refer to both of those answers.

    I don't think it's right to tell Youngcapone to ignore what mikeh375 and I said. Do you?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Since you bring up Woodduck, he would ask you why Youngcapone should "ignore some of the other answers here." Since only mikeh375 and Woodduck had given answers, "some" must refer to both of those answers.

    I don't think it's right to tell Youngcapone to ignore what mikeh375 and I said. Do you?
    I think it's good advice if youngcapone is working with digital tools, not a chamber group, and wants to be free creatively.

    Why should he follow the advice of any teacher who is so totally immersed in the CP diatonic system that they are unaware of its nature, just like a goldfish in a bowl?

    If he can't learn that "key signatures are part of the CP diatonic system and are used to refer to diatonic scales, and are in this descriptive sense diatonic in nature," then how will he ever put this into perspective from behind a computer, unless he wants to play hymns in a Sunday school class?

    It didn't do me much good, but I learned it. Actually, I learned more from Dan Hearle, a jazz pianist, and by listening.
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Mar-30-2020 at 21:43.

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    I think it's good advice if youngcapone is working with digital tools, not a chamber group, and wants to be free creatively.

    Why should he follow the advice of any teacher who is so totally immersed in the CP diatonic system that they are unaware of its nature, just like a goldfish in a bowl?

    If he can't learn that "key signatures are part of the CP diatonic system and are used to refer to diatonic scales, and are in this descriptive sense diatonic in nature," then how will he ever put this into perspective from behind a computer, unless he wants to play hymns in a Sunday school class?

    It didn't do me much good, but I learned it. Actually, I learned more from Dan Hearle, a jazz pianist, and by listening.
    I suggest that at this point you look at my last reply to your huffing and puffing here: Difference between scale an key?

    You see, bubbula, I know very well the things you think I don't know. The difference between us is that I know how to state them so that other people don't have to waste a lot of time cracking a code. (I'm sure this applies to mikeh375 too.)
    Last edited by Woodduck; Mar-31-2020 at 00:50.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    You see, bubbula, I know very well the things you think I don't know. The difference between us is that I know how to state them so that other people don't have to waste a lot of time cracking a code. (I'm sure this applies to mikeh375 too.)
    So, you finally admit that you know very well what I've been getting at all along.So who is wasting who's time?

    You're not cracking a code (I get the reference, you did a google search on the Martino quote), you're just obfuscating.

    At least on the "Cracking The Code" forum, you'll be exposed to the progress that the electric plectrum guitar has made, even though Troy Grady is a little too "metal" for my taste.
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Mar-31-2020 at 15:39.

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