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A question for the musicians...


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14 hours ago, Roger_Mellie said:

Why is it that tunes in a major scale sound happy and positive and ones in a minor scale sound sort of sinister? 

Is there a known reason for it? 

It's all about how the different frequencies of sound produced mesh together. When all the frequencies "fit" you're happy about it. Throw in a frequency that don't "fit" and it makes you feel uneasy.

Our sense of fit seems to come out of the harmonic series.

The closer together two notes in a chord are in the harmonic series of the root note of the chord the better they fit. In music terminology the notes that fit "better" are more consonant, the notes that don't fit together are less consonant or more dissonant. 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consonance_and_dissonance

 

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16 hours ago, Roger_Mellie said:

Why is it that tunes in a major scale sound happy and positive and ones in a minor scale sound sort of sinister? 

Is there a known reason for it? 

Harmonic, Melodic or modal minor?

Just kidding - being an unnecessary  pedant.

It's all maths dear sir, and the relationships of vibration frequency. In C minor the Eb (minor 3rd) is closer to the root and therefore slightly more dissonant (tense) than the purer major third (E natural) in C major.

It's not a rule of thumb though - you can have ballads in major keys and happy songs in minor keys, but this normally depends on the extensions you use with them - flat 9, #11 etc.

In jazz you can play a minor 3rd over a major chord but the other way round doesn't work (unless you're trying to sound out there. 

Take a listen to this changed to a major key. Weird:

 

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