Minor key music, and emotional complexity in art

Posted Sep 5, 2012


I listened to this story on NPR yesterday about the interesting change in our musical tastes.


"...unambiguously happy-sounding music has become, over time, to sound more like a cliche.


...there's a sense in which unambiguously happy-sounding songs [that is, music written in a major key] sound childish to contemporary ears. I think there's a sense in which something that sounds purely happy, in particular, has a connotation of naivete."

If you use a minor key, though, you can make even something with a positive message and fast tempo sound emotionally complicated."

I wonder if that relates to our art. Is that why much of the typical Christian / LDS art just doesn't appeal to me? It's so perfect and idealized.. there's no depiction of sadness, or loss, or trouble.. - naive?  I wonder if there's a corollary here.  It's fascinating that people resonate more to music in a minor key. 

I kind think that's why I'm drawn to art that is a little more loose and rough..  less perfectly rendered (although I tend to over-render, I know I over-render..  more loose is where I want to go... I think).

For me, this style of loose realism has a lot of appeal - perhaps it could be likened to minor key music?  Anyway, I like it!  Also, a friend also pointed me to this interesting discussion - which is very in line with my feelings about LDS and other Christian art:  http://www.motleyvision.org/2007/sunset-in-arcadia.


A great example of loose realism - by Harry Anderson
Ladies' Home Journal, "A Way With Boys" (1948)  

source: http://www.americanartarchives.com/anderson,harry.htm