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minor chords attract teenagers - what else ?

Member for

21 years
Some great topics happening here.

I've been told that teenagers seem to like songs with minor chords. When I think back, I think I was like that too. Maybe these are the years we start thinking about life more. Minor chords have a mystery to them... yes?

Are there other interesting sounds or progressions that are either age or gender related ?

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Member for

21 years

Member Fri, 02/23/2007 - 10:32
After 40 some years of playing with people...........
I've clearly noticed that people who have some sense of theory are easier to communicate ideas with, especially in rehersal. This is a good thing !
I've also noticed the musicians who put to much creedence into theory tend to be un-stylistic. (I'm not speaking for classical or jazz players) Because they tend to approach their music with a sense of theory not style.
For example, generaling speaking now, I know there are exceptions, theory/scale type players don't make good blues players, they tend to play blues scales, their playing seems to lack a repitore of standard blues licks or how to build around them. It's like they memorized the dictionary but they don't know how to put the words together to saying anything meanfull, for the novice blues listener they can be very impressed by these scale type players, with their fingers flying up and down the board, but for seasoned blues players/listeners.....they want to hear you play the blues not run your fingers over blues scales.
Is it good to know all the theory ? You bet...........but I've seen to many people get to steeped and side tracked with it, to the detrement of their own playing. Once again were taking, blues,country,folk, rock type music, I'm not speaking to classical, jazz, I can't it's not my background, well actually I did study classical music, and actually I do remember my teacher say........."at some point you have to forget all that stuff and just play"............and he was of a carrnige hall, world class player.

Member for

16 years 6 months

TuBlairy Fri, 02/23/2007 - 15:00
Cucco wrote:
Let's not forget Shostakovich 5, 7 and 9...

Caution: Before listening, put AWAY the vodka and hide your sharp cutlery!

IIRs wrote:
You say "all aspects of music" and then go on to name a rather limited selection in my opinion. Where is the folk music in that list, or the country or the blues? What about reggae? Minimalist techno? You don't have to LIKE the music... ;)

Ya, I keep thinking how ‘Bitches Brew’ and 4’33” are so similar! It's cool how you demean someone's broad illustration of musical styles by offering an extremely small selection of music which is all derived from the same roots: folk and liturgical. Is this a new reductionist approach?

IIRs wrote:
My maths lessons equiped me to understand microtonal tunings better than my music lessons did, as an example. Thats another thing that classical musicians have all but done away with, in the west at least!

Scriabin, I mean, pardon? Ever heard of this thing called the 'string quartet' where a G-sharp is not the same thing as an A-flat? (Don't even mention double flats or sharps). The use of "microtonal tuning" is so standardized it's not even mentioned as such. Its simply referred to as 'tuning', playing 'in tune' or, more often than not, 'out of tune.' Almost every instrument needs to tune based on key and alter tunings during a performance. It takes years of practice train one’s ear to hear the tunings and the psycho-motor reflex involved in pulling it off as a successful execution in performance.

JoeJoeMan wrote:
I do remember my teacher say........."at some point you have to forget all that stuff and just play"

Amen, but, as he or she mentioned, “at some point.” My opinion is that the process is cyclical: learn, practice, play. I think the ‘play’ part should be in public – even if it’s for friends and family. Having said this, I find that many guys I’ve ‘jammed’ with refuse to do steps one or two and as a result can offer very little. If you can’t play, please, get the hell off the stage.

In fairness to the original question, “Do teenagers like minor chords?” I think it is intentionally open-ended can only lead to a meandering argument such as this one. I think that people ‘like’ minor tonality at a fundamental level. Not sure whether this is purely either learned or innate. I wrote a shitload of kids songs a while back. Tried to make the songs as diverse as possible, used classical, jazz, blues, latin, rap, etc., styles. The kids’ favorite of the 73 songs is “Jungle Animals” which has a similar groove and harmony to “Dirty Deeds.” Pure 8ves and 5ths in the natural minor. Come to think of it, is there anything as sweet as a big Am power chord feeding back through the stack of your choice with your favorite guitar?

Member for

15 years 10 months

IIRs Sat, 02/24/2007 - 03:56
TuBlairy wrote:
Ya, I keep thinking how ‘Bitches Brew’ and 4’33” are so similar! It's cool how you demean someone's broad illustration of musical styles by offering an extremely small selection of music which is all derived from the same roots: folk and liturgical. Is this a new reductionist approach?

You missed my point completely!

Had I gone on to list "all aspects of music" the thread would be 1000 pages long and I still wouldn't have finished!

"if one could adequately render in conceptual language what music expresses directly, one would have an instant and complete explanation of the universe" - Schopenhauer

Member for

17 years 6 months

Cucco Sat, 02/24/2007 - 06:04
IIRs wrote: [quote=TuBlairy]
Ya, I keep thinking how ‘Bitches Brew’ and 4’33” are so similar! It's cool how you demean someone's broad illustration of musical styles by offering an extremely small selection of music which is all derived from the same roots: folk and liturgical. Is this a new reductionist approach?

You missed my point completely!

Had I gone on to list "all aspects of music" the thread would be 1000 pages long and I still wouldn't have finished!

"if one could adequately render in conceptual language what music expresses directly, one would have an instant and complete explanation of the universe" - Schopenhauer
So let me get this right....

I list only a few genres as examples and you suggest I'm being close minded.

You list a few genres as examples and someone suggests you're being closed minded...

Then you defend yourself with the statement that if you listed all genres, you would take up the whole page.......

Hmmm....now, why was it that I only listed a few MAJOR genres again????

I think the point here is....before you jump all over someone for something that trivial, bear in mind that they might have actually been right in the first place.

Member for

21 years

Member Sat, 02/24/2007 - 06:51
Ok, so all this talk of "theory" but you are all speaking in the "classical" sense. what about the theory behind indian music.
now i may be wrong but i believe they have like 2-3 more notes in their scales,

how can you tell me your 'classical' training is superior? WTFMATE?

I say this to bring up the point of these other "thoerys" out there that are sometimes ignored.
i suspect most people dont know the theory behind a lot of the more worldly musical styles. i certainly dont. anyone care to clarify this Indian style 'theory'?

Member for

15 years

Scoobie Sat, 02/24/2007 - 07:26
JoeJoeMan wrote:
For example, generaling speaking now, I know there are exceptions, theory/scale type players don't make good blues players, they tend to play blues scales, their playing seems to lack a repitore of standard blues licks or how to build around them. It's like they memorized the dictionary but they don't know how to put the words together to saying anything meanfull, for the novice blues listener they can be very impressed by these scale type players, with their fingers flying up and down the board,

I call people like this........Musical Masturbator's, they like to play with theirself!

With that said, I do know people that if you put sheet music in front of them. They can play the crap out of their instrument. But put that person with other people and their timing goes to hell.

Peace................Scoobie

Member for

15 years 10 months

IIRs Sat, 02/24/2007 - 08:00
Cucco wrote:
Hmmm....now, why was it that I only listed a few MAJOR genres again????

Inadvertant snobbery perhaps? ;)

I picked you up on the fact that you called your list "all aspects of music"... my list was merely meant to point out a tiny fraction of what you missed!

Member for

21 years

Member Sat, 02/24/2007 - 11:37
scoobie wrote.
I call people like this........Musical Masturbator's, they like to play with theirself!
That's funny, I had a friend call it that too, while we were watching these two bluegrass pickers do their show-off routine.

BUT Getting back to the topic at hand,

I've been told that teenagers seem to like songs with minor chords. When I think back, I think I was like that too. Maybe these are the years we start thinking about life more. Minor chords have a mystery to them... yes?

With all due respect, I'd say you whole thesis is, shall we say misplaced. It's true that they do like minor chords, afterall they do listen to such songs.....but they are certainly more attracted to major chords, as is evident by how many more songs they listen to in major keys, probably by a factor of 10 to 1, ...... so what is it that attracts them largely to major chords I think would be a more pertinent question to ask.
As a side question, we have a tendency and an easy time of it, associating minor keys with sadness, mystery, etc. And we like to think that music expresses an emotion or feeling. Then to put that assumption to a test, I ask........... what mood or emotion would you associate with a major key ?
If there is something in a teenages life that attracts them to minor chords there is something even more deep and profound that attracts them to major chords. Once again, as evident by the overwhelming number of songs written and listened to in major keys.

Member for

19 years 9 months

Davedog Sat, 02/24/2007 - 14:59
In breaking down the structure of a musical thought, one MUST regard the emotional impact of it no matter whether its written or its played on the fly.

There has only been an inkling of discussion here about the emotional impact of key signatures and the relative minor or majorness (a new word??) of these structures.


ALL of the great classical composers approached music from this emotional aspect regardless of their tutoring or accomplishment on their particular instrument.

Great ear trained artists do the same, be it blues, jazz, rock,etc....the genre matters least....

If we are to consider the affect of the modality of the music in an emotional sense, then its purely up to the individual experienceing the music to what effect it may or may not have on them personally.

Its a bit of a stretch to assume that a minor key means the same to all people everywhere. As it is to think that a major triad is all happiness and promise to all people.

Music is a language of the soul and a conduit for expression of the self within.

You can write that down, but at some point you have to go past the written word to express the true emotional content of that self.

Member for

21 years

Member Sat, 02/24/2007 - 20:13
DaveDog wrote:
If we are to consider the affect of the modality of the music in an emotional sense, then its purely up to the individual experienceing the music to what effect it may or may not have on them personally.

You can write that down, but at some point you have to go past the written word to express the true emotional content of that self.

If I'm interpretting you correctly, the listener may experience one emotion while the composer intented another.....if this is true music makes for a poor conduit for emotional expression, as my mother, as probably your's, was much better at expressing her emotion, as I always knew exactly what and when.......she was happy, sad, excited, or downright pissed and I was rip for a whooping, there was no guessing we both knew what emotion/feeling we were dealing with.
More to the point, I think the 'feeling' in music is not to be confused with an emotional 'feeling' like happiness, sadness, surprise, feelings and emotions that are provokated everyday by such simple things as the smell of fresh cut grass, or the smile of a friend, such common everyday events express much more vividly the exact intended emotion. Whereas music is much more vague in that reguards. Also, as such it would be impossible for music not to express some emotion content, seeing how almost everything in life does in one way or another everyday. So I find the ability for music to express such emotions as inconsequencial, just a given so to say.
No, I think what elevates music above feelings of everday emotions, (love, lose, hope, happiness,etc) is a separate emotion or feeling, feelings not so easily express in everyday life by everyday people. Take for example the feeling of rhythm, a phenomena or feeling that music can express much better than everyday life. Not there isn't rhythm to be found in life outside of music. Music also express a sense of pleasure disrelated from the type found in normal everyday pleasures. Of course this could all just be inside me head.
But I would think that the importance of an artist is that they have the ability to go beyond the everyday emotions that anyone can express. Arttist give us a chance to experience feelings and sounds that we don't get to experience in normal life.

Member for

17 years 2 months

JoeH Sat, 02/24/2007 - 20:55
well, maybe we've come full circle on this.....minor chords, teenagers, etc. etc. (Did anyone yet mention "Emo" music yet?)

I remember some of my more intense memories and moments where while growing up; some of it major key, some of it minor key. I had no clue early on what keys any of the classical music my parents were listening to was, but of course, the early Beatles stuff on Ed Sullivan was all major-key. Then I heard the blues and rock, and a ton of great, moody stuff all through the 70s. (Love Reign o'r Me by the Who was pretty heavy at the time, and that was pretty much all minor key throughout, just to name one of thousands.)

Greg Lake once said in an interview that he never had any idea at all what specific emotions or feelings his songs would invoke with the listener. He went as far as to say it was completely out of his control, and pretty much none of his business WHAT people felt, as long as they felt SoMETHING.

I think that's the beauty of all music, no matter what genre; it inspires something different in everyone who hears it. Maybe the sad stuff/minor chords just resonates more with the teen crowd during that "precious" time of their lives. Or not.

Member for

15 years 10 months

hueseph Sat, 02/24/2007 - 21:07
Well, definitely, kids are looking for a way to express themselves better than they are able to in words. That's why often the writers of these songs are much older than their listeners. Experience just has a way of making sense whereas inexperience often leaves you at a loss for words.

Emo I think is targeted at teen boys who don't want to be thought of as sissies but who have a hard time expressing their emotions. I personally hate the genre. It's no different than the power ballads of the eighties.

Member for

21 years

Member Sat, 03/10/2007 - 12:06
IMHO, i believe it to be more of a social conditioning rather than preference based on age/maturity level. In our society it may be that songs with minor chords are more favorable to a larger audience in youth, because of the very evolution of the music scene. IE influential band with a new style/message type becomes popular, than all the other "me too" bands emerge, which is quickly picked up, and develops upon that.

Social conditioning would explain why some types of music are prevalent in certain areas (like the post regarding snares in US dance, but not so much in Euro). Also why 95% of the bars here in South-Eastern Missouri play a mix of Country and HipHop, or Country Hip Hop and 70s rock. (a blend of which is something I'll never understand).

Conditioning also caused by Corporations (that sounded hippie-esque) as the town i grew up in, was blasted by advertisements of a paticular pop-metal (as i call it) station, and that's what most of the kids listened too. Since I grew up outside of town, I (thankfully) didn't have the opportunity to be 'cool' by listening to what my friends listened to, and I was probably the only 12 year old listening to Counting Crows.

Just my thoughts

Oh yeah.. hi! first post!
john

Member for

13 years 8 months

BrianaW Fri, 02/29/2008 - 16:19
dementedchord wrote: liquid dude... perhaps it's time to move outta mom's basement ... get a job... and save the world while you still know everything....

Man... why does everyone have to get so nasty about people who still live with thier parents? :oops: :D

Punk (real punk?) seems to be mostly major. I know, I listen to a lot of it. Are all of the kids still listening to GG Allin? :wink: Goth (a style I also love) is way minor. I enjoy the minor keys more because I love that darker sound and I'm 32. Not dark like evil, but dark like he first stated... mysterious and eeire. Moonlight Sonata is one of the most minor things I've ever heard... right? But obviously, that composer thing doesn't need any further debate. Did it even need it in the first place? :shock:

Emo does have a horrible stigma attached to it because by the time it hit the big market, there were already a ton of sellout bands doing it. Jets to Brazil, and Sunny Day Real Estate are both considered Emo and are actually pretty good. It's just the same thing as calling Sum 41 punk rock, or Marilyn Manson Gothic. The new bands are cartoon imitations of the originators as always. I'm not an "Emo", but I do really feel that title was created by a bunch of bands trying to sound like the bands I mentioned above (who at the time were original). Which is sad because that was the beauty of it in the beginning... you knew you were getting something completely honest.

Back on topic... I think the real trick is jumping back and forth between the 2 (major and minor) in the same song. In my opinion, this is one of the many things that made The Beatles so amazing. I would guess that the reason major is used in most punk music is because the first thing people usually learn is the major scale (as far as theory is concerned)... either that or it's the minor pentatonic. Am I just writing in circles without making a point here? Yeah, I guess so... But then again.... No, wait... yeah, I am.

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