Minor Keys Made Fun!

For our recent Trick or Treat ‘n Tunes Recital we made minor keys fun by preparing “seasonal” pieces. What’s in a seasonal piece for October and Halloween?  Minor keys and minor and diminished intervals, of course!

Time Out for Definitions –

Key (a musical key) – A key refers to the group of pitches or scale that forms the basis of the piece.  For example, if a piece is in the key of C, we list all the pitches/notes in order from C to C and making sure we follow the correct pattern of whole steps and half steps.  We can start on any given note and follow the pattern and still get the “sound” of a major or minor scale (i.e. like the Do Re Mi song from the Sound of Music).

Interval – the distance between notes (could be a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and so on)

In lay terms – major keys sound “happy” an minor keys sound “sad.”  To make a major scale into a minor we lower the 3rd scale degree.  And a diminished interval has been lowered twice – super creepy sounding (there are other interval rules, but we won’t get into that here).

So, our Western ears are accustomed to associating minor keys and diminished intervals with scary, sad, or melancholy images.

For this recital students were introduced to some new minor keys and their relationship to major keys (yes, they are related!).  Students learned about unusual intervals and some beginning students learned about sharps (#) and flats (b) and how to play them to create the “creepy” intervals.

It was fun to learn some new things!  Everyone really pushed themselves to memorize their piece, played great, and looked awesome in their costumes!

Now, bring on the major keys as we prepare for our Christmas recital and the songs that celebrate the reason for the season!

Interested in knowing more about the construct and language of music?  Want to learn more about major and minor keys and why they matter or about any items mentioned here?  Study music theory!  There is more to musical study than just playing it.  Check out the Fundamentals of Piano Theory course to learn more (great for pianists and vocalists) or the Full Voice Series (for singers!).

Check out a video of the recital on our Facebook Page (and like us while you’re there)! Bella Musica Dayton