Wednesday, July 9, 2014

D Major/Minor

Moving up a whole step, I'm doing D major and minor today. If I can finish this post before I'm due for work anyway.

Notice I'm following the C major scale here; no flats or sharps. I'll be doing those after I do all the white keys. Technically, and this just makes this confusing for no reason, I could be doing nothing but flats or sharps - D is E double-flat, C is B sharp, and so on - but there's no point in assigning those names (which really are used in music for various reasons, and not often).

If you read what I have below about major/minor differences on the previous post, go ahead and skip this - it's just for newcomers reading this.

A note on major/minor:

There is an obvious difference between a major and a minor. Wikipedia naturally describes a minor chord has differing "from a major chord in having a minor third above the root instead of a major third." In other words, the third key from the first on a keyboard (not in the chord or scale) would simply be moved a key to the left. In C major, the notes are C-E-G. E is three keys from C; move one key to the left and you're now on E flat or D sharp. Hence C minor. The "minor third" just means the third note in a minor scale.

Ear-wise, the difference is also obvious because minor chords sound darker and moody and tentative while major chords are bright and happy and powerful in contrast. If you've heard any sad songs, they're likely built around a minor scale progression and use minor chords. 'Not Home Today' uses mostly minor chords (E minor and B minor) and is a song about an unfortunate circumstance, with a doom-filled ending. 'Around the Bend' uses largely major chords and is a happy song about friendship and good times. Of course, not all songs operate this way - both 'Steal my Sunshine' and 'Is She Going Out With Him?' use upbeat, bright chords mixed with sad lyrics, both about forlorn romance.

The thing about inversions - where the root note is not the lowest or first note played in the chord - is that it's all the same for every chord major or minor: It's either darker or brighter, in terms of colour as well as personality (though slightly, and it's perhaps more on the main personalities' view or opinion or feeling on something).

Colour: Solid Pink
Light: Lit full on with mid-morning sun, or lit from behind and above by whiter afternoon sun when heard on its own.
Texture: The slightest hint of squares you see in a screen.
Spatial Direction: East, southeast.
Gender: Feminine

D Major is almost unanimously viewed as a bright chord of 'glory.' Violin music endorses it fully because the instrument is naturally tuned well to it, which on Wikipedia describes the resultant sound as "especially brilliant." The Signature Series portrays D major as a business-like woman who charms everyone around her with her winning attitude and smile, and goes to a gym.

D major for me fits in with most of what other composers over history think of it. It definitely is bright. It's happy. She is a woman who looks at everything on the bright side and views the best in people. She isn't overly, hugely bombastic about her positivity, nor is she the most popular girl at work or school, but she's well-liked by her peers. She attracts people with her gentle kindness and natural consideration for them. She has dark hair, a round face, and can apply to my own type. The real-life person I think of in describing this chord is actually the original "In the City" person. The two sudden notes on the organ brought her to my mind because I saw sudden positivity, a smile, her personality. I don't know her anymore unfortunately. D major is just a simply kind and positive chord, who is happy on the outside and probably at peace with herself on the inside. The chord features heavily in most pop songs. Ones I can think of off the top of my head include 'No Rain' by Blind Melon (which has lyrics of yearning and exclusion) and perhaps 'Something or Nothing' by Uriah Heep, which begins in D major.

Colour: White with hints of aqua
Light: Dim white light from a cloudy day
Texture: Slight vertical line pattern
Spatial direction: South
Gender: Feminine

Before this goes where you might think it does, not every minor is necessarily sad. Others are angry or anxious, or dull. D minor is not sad to me - but rather just slightly mundane, dull, and kind of cold. She looks at things with much less enthusiasm, as she doesn't see as much point to them as major would. It's a cloudy winter day and she has to do some shopping. Meh. The Signature Series describes it as a femme fatale, and assigns similar cold characteristics. I can't really think of anyone who fits that proper characteristic except for perhaps my old manager at work, who was always disinterested in things and short. If you said anything to her, she would never fully hear you and you'd get a loud "what!?" Not very approachable, but not necessarily unhappy. Just mundane and probably unsatisfied.

I won't bother writing out the root note because all the root notes I find tend to just emulate to a lesser extent the same characteristics of the major chord. I also have five minutes to get from my Mac in the basement to the punch clock at work with socks and steel-toed boots on. So I'll leave it there.

Red Cloud

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