Key Triggers rather than melody triggers

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Key Triggers rather than melody triggers

Post by cjhealey » Thu Jun 13, 2013 10:28 am

Just wondering if you think it would be possible to create triggers for an entire key rather than for a specific pitch?

If you have the key, you can use relative pitch and there isn't the same problems with context as with melody triggers.

How would/could one go about that, however?

Anyone have any bright ideas?

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Post by lorelei » Sat Jun 15, 2013 12:52 pm

Interesting idea, certainly. It may be possible since a sense of key can be established and likewise obliviated within a couple of seconds. What kind of trigger should be used though, that is the next question. For me, anyway, melodies do have a key but it's really the tonal context and harmony around the melody that determines it in the end.
Here are a couple of possibilities I could think of:
One could use excerpts of pieces, while using the harmony as part of the trigger. Whatever it is, it has to be distinct from all the other "triggers," so it would need something, possibly a distinct melody or timbre or something. The pros of this method would be that the sense of key would be strong and unambiguous, at least if pieces are chosen to have a clear tonal center at that point. I can imagine though, that using a passage complete with chords and harmony may not be as effective and easy to remember as a simpler trigger.
Another possibility I could think of is a sort of melody trigger, where the melody is very clearly outlining a key, like in Streisand's Woman in Love- it goes Bb-Bb-Bb-Ab-Gb-F-Eb (5-5-5-4-3-2-1 in e flat minor) over an e flat minor harmony, or in Brahms' 3rd symphony, movt. 3, poco allegretto, where the melody goes C-D-Eb-G-F-D (1-2-3-5-4-2 in c minor), over a i-iv(with added 9)-i progression. The good thing about this technique would be that these carefully picked melody triggers are a lot easier to remember than the melodies and harmonies combined of a piece, at least to many. However, the sense of key is not as solid- if the melody is harmonized with a different chord progression under it, the sense of tonality is definitely altered. I imagine that would be quite confusing.
I guess all in all, your idea could be possible though, as from what I understand, a sense of tonality within a key isn't that hard to establish (just takes a cadential passage to establish), you might not know where in the cosmos of all tonality you lie, which is what you're working on changing. Good luck, and hope my thoughts here are helpful :)

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