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The variety and scope of C major.


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C major.. It's all the white notes, of course, on piano, however people seem to think the most straightforward key tone is easy, and often consider it pretty blank in value, or in what it has to offer in choice of tone.

However they forget there's a couple of semi-tones hidden away there and, it's amazing what expressive value there can be found within that apparently ordinary looking key.

Sometimes after practicing maybe more complex pieces, perhaps with lots of flats, and sharps, it can be quite nice to play a tune in that simpler C major key, which on most instruments is so readily accessible; maybe it is the "friendly" key therefore. After all it is, mostly, the very first one in which all music books in music theory begin with at the onset.

That's C major; the genial fellow that takes your hand and oft introduces one to the world of music.

Let us 'toast' to C major!

Anyone else have there favourite key? What do you think?

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On the Jeffries duet the friendliest keys for me are F, Bb, C, A minor and D minor but most other keys are not that difficult.  Surprisingly,  playing in sharp keys is also "friendly", Playing across the top two rows (mostly) instead of the middle two...😊

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My favourite key depends very much on which instrument I'm playing at the time. I think the suggestion that C is readily accessible on most instruments is open to question.  Yes, on the piano it's simply all the white notes, but other instruments aren't so linear. 

 

In particular, with diatonic instruments C may be difficult or even impossible.  On anglo concertina it is of course readily available on a C/G, but less so on G/D or Bb/F. C is not readily accessible on a D/G melodeon, as the standard layout lacks both the low C and low F.  On my Bb/Eb melodeon playing in the scale of C would be challenging, but on the other hand, Eb is straightforward.

 

 

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Chopin preferred to start pupils on B major because that fitted the hand to the piano better - long fingers on sharp notes up high, short fingers on white notes down low. That way pupils developed better technique. Maybe we need to look at what is an "easy" scale on the concertina in the same way.

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My jazz teacher, who played saxophone, clarinet, and flute in Los Angeles years ago, told a story once. A fellow musician did an experiment and taught a student the C# major scale first, working both ways around the circle of fifths until C was the last major scale taught. Sure enough, the student thought C# easiest and C the hardest!

 

Only one case, but who knows?  😎

 

Ken

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I didn't mention C# in my above list of favorites but it is very friendly.  So much so that tuning an old high pitch Philharmonic instrument slightly up to C# instead of down rather more to C could have several advantages, not the least of which being easier fingerings for G,A and D.  (True for Jeff duet, I don't know about other systems).

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Thinking of C scales; my late fathers accordion [which I still have and use once a month or so] has that odd C sharp scale above.. and it is really nice to play in that scale, occasionally, it as it seems to elevate the sound in a different direction, especially when combined with the separate bass buttons. Oh, well maybe its another friendly key after all [a sort of relative friend of good old C natural scale!] ..an' uncle or aunt' relative so as to speak!!

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My favorite key on the Anglo concertina is that of the center row of whatever Anglo I am playing - G on my G/D's. My favorite key for singing is whatever key does not take the bass part of the particular piece below the bottom G of the bass clef.

Edited by Doug Anderson
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