Tuesday, September 7, 2010

V.S. Key Signature

The next step is choosing a key signature (pitch set) to work with. Since the harp likes flats, since I'm contemplating an alto flute part (which adds a flat in transposition), and since strings might be involved (I think of them as having a slight preference for sharps), that narrows it down to one or two flats, three at the most (on the alto, four is my practical limit).

One flat would yield F major, which from the F above middle C to the one above that nicely covers the ambit of flute pitches in that mid range I want to really dig into having Susan's tone freshly in mind. The two octaves of D minor above middle C would probably incorporate the full gamut of pitches to use to avoid overpowering the harp.

Adding the other flat would yield G minor, which is a nice one step up from F major, and having just played around a little with it on the keyboard*, those two keys are where I'm going to start, as I think moving from one to the other can make for a pleasing and fresh sounding shift.

There are, of course, possible modal uses of those key signatures as well, and "modal" is a comment I sometimes hear about my music, so I must be doing something along those lines some of the time.

* Should say I simply can't imagine composing music without access to a keyboard. I took piano lessons as a child but never "got" what classical music was about until I heard Susan and a flute friend playing the Bach Two Part Inventions at a garden party out in the Virginia countryside early on during our time at Shenandoah. What did happen during all those years of lessons, though, was that the physical arrangement of the keyboard became the way I thought and still think about music and music theory. I do not have "theory mind", but with a keyboard and plenty of time, I can fake it.

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