Thursday, July 10, 2014

E Major/Minor

Even though it's after 2 in the morning, I'm going to start my write-up on E major and minor. This is quite a high-up chord.

If you read what I have below about major/minor differences on the previous posts, 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 'Enid' and 'No Rain' use upbeat, bright chords mixed with sad or yearning lyrics, one about a failed first relationship, and the other about social exclusion, lack of common ground.

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: Bright Red tinged with pink
Light: From behind, gentle but bright, cool colour temperature (e.g. florescent)
Spatial direction: On its own, East
Texture: kind of grainy, like sand, but fine
Gender: Masculine

The Signature Series portrays E major as a basic prince charming character. Bright and happy and gentlemanly. The bird at the top of the tree, singing his heart out.

E major from my point of view is probably the popular kid in school who is part of most of the athletic teams. Excessively positive and engaging. My perspective is similar to the CBC program here, though I think most would agree that it's a bright chord. The personality is extremely outgoing. Whereas D major is kind and friendly and has a social group and consideration reserved for everyone, E major takes it to the next level. He would be the bombastic counterpart, the leader of the pack. Very extroverted and very positive. The positivity really shines through - I could relate E major to the Chris Traeger character on Parks & Recreation, who is bombastically positive, over-the-top about everything, and very conscious of his health, as well as a former co-worker of mine named Marcin who always approached things in an engaging, positive light. 'Rio' by Duran Duran starts in E, and while no particular chords are used in the chorus, it's obvious it would be E major because of the bright sound altogether. 'Roam' by the B-52's starts on and uses E major on the guitar for the majority of the song. Although I already used 'No Rain' as an example for the D major article, the song actually begins on E major for the guitar - then goes to D major. Two bright, sunny majors played one after the other.


Colour: Burgundy with brown and pink mixed in
Light: Afternoon sunlight from behind
Spatial direction: Northeast
Texture: A mix, with slight parallel lines.
Gender: Masculine

E minor was the kind of guy who told amazing stories and wanted to be the centre of attention but otherwise had nothing else to offer, according to the narrator on the Signature Series. That was an interesting characterization.

Mine, however, is a little more unsatisfied. He's ready to see defeat in things. I often see him surprised, with disappointment. Yet another failure or miss. He's not despairing, though, because he's always surprised at his failures, as if he had confidence and hope, so he's not down and out. He's just unlucky. Unlucky and at some sort of disadvantage or another, with some yearning. And he's not the kind of person who really wears his feelings on his sleeve, either. On the Signature Series, B flat minor was described as "the wounded man" and I'd like to take that characterization and apply it here. If you listen to the narration on that episode, it very closely fit what I'm saying here. Not fully of course, but close. I see it as wanting more, needing more. Impatient at times. Not satisfied. As I mentioned in my post about the R.E.M. song 'World Leader Pretend' - which heavily uses E minor on the main parts of the song - I somehow saw my father in it. I don't think my Dad applies to the wounded man characterization, but I must somehow allude it to how he sees me or something because I see him sharp and clear. Maybe I do somehow see something hidden in his persona or his true feelings no one would notice or realize or see but himself. Though this is a masculine chord to me, it can apply to women as well (these are, after all, just personalities I'm writing up) and I think I can apply my paternal grandmother - my father's mother - to it. In terms of how she almost always lectures about something or other that needs improvement, in my case anyway. Never good enough most of the time, eh? But I'm not going far with that.

My eyes are killing me so I need to get to bed, so that will be it for this chord.

Red Cloud

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