The meaning of Musical Keys

Keys are a clue to what the music is all about. Musical Ambassador Carlos Andrés Botero discusses in the above video, as well as in the text below. You can also listen to these pieces as a playlist on Spotify.

One of the most influential descriptions of characteristics shared in German-speaking cultures in the late 18th and early 19th centuries was from Christian Schubart’s 1806 missive Ideen zu einer Aesthetik der Tonkunst Ideas toward an Aesthetic of Music. Beethoven himself had a copy of the book with copious annotations on the margins. These characteristics are drawn from Schubart’s writings.

C Major
Completely pure. Its character is innocence, simplicity. The key of all-important statements.

C Minor
Declaration of love, and at the same time, the lament of unhappy love. All languishing, longing, sighing of the love-sick soul lies in this key.

D Major
The key of triumph, of hallelujahs, of war cries, of rejoicing victory. Thus, the inviting symphonies—the marches, holiday songs, and heaven-rejoicing choruses—are set in this key.

D Minor
Melancholy, brooding, lost hope.

E Major
Noisy shouts of joy, laughing pleasure, and not yet fulfilled delight lies in E Major.

F Major
Complaisance and calm.

G Major
Everything rustic, idyllic, and lyrical; every calm and satisfied passion; every tender gratitude for true friendship and faithful love—every gentle and peaceful emotion of the heart is correctly expressed by this key.

A♭ Major
Key of the grave: death, grave, putrefaction, judgment, and eternity lie in its radius.

B Minor
This is the key of patience, of calmly awaiting one’s fate, and of submission to divine dispensation.

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