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Thread: I don't understand the whole happy/sad/major/minor deal

  1. #1
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    I don't understand the whole happy/sad/major/minor deal

    I apologize for this incredibly silly topic, but...

    I was fooling around one time on the guitar, and had this idea of a very short piece, and now I put it in powertab.

    I have little to no knowledge in musical theory, but isn't the attatched power tab in G Major?

    I think it sounds somewhat "sad"(And it sucks, I know, not asking you to rate it or anything ), do keys really matter? Or is it just how a song is written that gives it feel?

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    mmm I would say its in E minor that why it sounds sad. Its starts with the Eminor arp and ends on the E note

  4. #4
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    Major = happy
    Minor = sad
    Diminished = unstable, a dominant 5th substitute, or for that "yngwie" sound
    Seventh = the 7th creates tension and wants to resolve back to the tonic: for instance a G7 would resolve to a C, E7 would resolve to an A
    Minor seventh = sad, but with the 7th, it adds a different flavor
    Major seventh = happy, and the major7th gives it tension and flavor
    Sus2, Sus4 = they all want to resolve back to the normal chord: Asus2 wants to resolve back to A major
    Fifth = powerchord, generic chord, no feelings of happy or sad
    Sixth = used the same as major7th, but the 6th has a lot less tension
    Ninth = used the same as 7th, but the 9th adds more flavor
    Add9 = one of my favorite major chords, the 9th creates an airy feeling

  5. #5
    Groovemastah DanF's Avatar
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    Hrm...the 4 major tonalities are major, minor, diminished and augmented.

    7ths and 6ths etc are just different varieties of chords, not really different tonalities.

    I've attached an mp3 with a Major, Minor, Diminished and Augmented triad (played in that order). You can decide for yourself what feelings they remind you of.

    -Dan

    PS Pardon the recording quality, still going straight to iMac
    Attached Files Attached Files
    "In improvised music you easily can tell who is a guitar player and who is a musician." - Maarten (fellow IBMer)

  6. #6
    Firebard RandyEllefson's Avatar
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    I have to say that Major does necessarily mean the music is happy, nor does Minor mean it is sad. That's the default, but not a certainty.

  7. #7
    Registered User sweetious's Avatar
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    I would like to add that Major Minor Diminished an Augmented can all have a feeling of any emotion depending how you use them. Also each individual note has its own flavor as well, and even if you don't have perfect pitch you can hear that F# is bright, maybe even happy whereas Eb is very mellow perhaps even melancholy. This is not just because F# is higher it is because every note has its own character or color. So an F#major chord may be REALLY happy almost overtly so, while Eb major is mellow and kind of an aloof type of happy... explore this and you will find that different keys matter as well as whether or not it is major minor diminished or augmented....

  8. #8
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wicked_Dreams
    do keys really matter?
    As if I know a damn thing...

    G major has as its relative minor E minor. The key signature is identical, the sound is not. It's why there's so much talk about modes--when any mode of any given key uses exactly the same notes and the key signatures are identical. So, in this sense, yes, keys DO matter. I can't explain the 'tonal center' thing, I just don't have the knowledge. But when folks can listen to a piece that I think is in G major (because of the key sig) and they know it's in a minor key (because of the feel), then that tells me we have a way that gets us back to a resolved feeling that's fundamentally different in E minor than in G major--even though the same basic set of notes is being used.

    So, from a total idiot, there you have it!

  9. #9
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    Major and Minor - the Strebetendenz-Theory
    If you want to answer the question, why major sounds happy and minor sounds sad, there is the problem, that some minor chords don't sound sad. The solution of this problem is the Strebetendenz-Theory. It says, that music is not able to transmit emotions directly. Music can just convey processes of will, but the music listener fills this processes of will with emotions. Similary, when you watch a dramatic film in television, the film cannot transmit emotions directly, but processes of will. The spectator perceives the processes of will dyed with emotions - identifying with the protagonist. When you listen music you identify too, but with an anonymous will now.
    If you perceive a major chord, you normally identify with the will "Yes, I want to...". If you perceive a minor chord, you identify normally with the will "I don't want anymore...". If you play the minor chord softly, you connect the will "I don't want anymore..." with a feeling of sadness. If you play the minor chord loudly, you connect the same will with a feeling of rage. You distinguish in the same way as you would distinguish, if someone would say the words "I don't want anymore..." the first time softly and the second time loudly.
    This operations of will in the music were unknown until the Strebetendenz-Theory discovered them. And therefore many previous researches in psycholgy of music failed. If you want more information about music and emotions and get the answer, why music touches us emotionally, you can download the essay "Vibrating Molecules and the Secret of their Feelings" for free. You can get it on the link:
    http://www.willimekmusic.homepage.t-...g/Striving.doc
    Enjoy reading
    Bernd Willimek

  10. #10
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    Major and Minor

    Quote Originally Posted by Willimek View Post
    Major and Minor - the Strebetendenz-Theory
    If you want to answer the question, why major sounds happy and minor sounds sad, there is the problem, that some minor chords don't sound sad. The solution of this problem is the Strebetendenz-Theory. It says, that music is not able to transmit emotions directly. Music can just convey processes of will, but the music listener fills this processes of will with emotions. Similary, when you watch a dramatic film in television, the film cannot transmit emotions directly, but processes of will. The spectator perceives the processes of will dyed with emotions - identifying with the protagonist. When you listen music you identify too, but with an anonymous will now.
    If you perceive a major chord, you normally identify with the will "Yes, I want to...". If you perceive a minor chord, you identify normally with the will "I don't want anymore...". If you play the minor chord softly, you connect the will "I don't want anymore..." with a feeling of sadness. If you play the minor chord loudly, you connect the same will with a feeling of rage. You distinguish in the same way as you would distinguish, if someone would say the words "I don't want anymore..." the first time softly and the second time loudly.
    This operations of will in the music were unknown until the Strebetendenz-Theory discovered them. And therefore many previous researches in psycholgy of music failed. If you want more information about music and emotions and get the answer, why music touches us emotionally, you can download the essay "Vibrating Molecules and the Secret of their Feelings" for free. You can get it on the link:
    http://www.willimekmusic.homepage.t-...g/Striving.doc
    Enjoy reading
    Bernd Willimek

    In addition to mylast post, I am announcing that the English translation of our work "Musikund Emotionen - Studien zur Strebetendenz-Theorie" is now published:
    Music and Emotions -Research on the Theory of Musical Equilibration
    You can get it freeat the link:
    http://www.willimekmusic.de/music-and-emotions.pdf
    Bernd Willimek

  11. #11
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    My piano teacher always said "there is very happy minor songs, and very sad major songs" . And he's right. It's just a matter of "feel", people tend to play minor = slow, sad stuff major = fast, uplifting stuff.

    But what about all these shredders ? they all use a lot of minor scales. Yet, they don't sound "sad" . They sound "awesome" . Which is completely different. Take another example : the music from "pirates of the carribean" (written by Hans Zimmer) (yes, quoting an author's name says "this guy is no bull****" automatically lol) is quite minor actually.

    But the rhythm, the orchestration (pizzicatis, etc) and all this stuff makes it sound adventurous, awesome, and even funny.

    And that's it for my view on the topic. Lots of things to think about, i guess, but no real answer.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Willimek View Post
    This operations of will in the music were unknown until the Strebetendenz-Theory discovered them. And therefore many previous researches in psycholgy of music failed.
    Splendid stuff. Were these operations discovered in the wild or as a result of laboratory experiments?
    Last edited by nuffink; 07-26-2014 at 02:56 PM.

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