The Moods and Emotions of Different Musical Keys

HandPan tuned to different musical keys can vary in flavour considerably.  But how do you put the differing moods and emotions conjured up by the various musical keys into words(?). The following descriptions penned by Christian Schubart, in his work, 'Ideen zu einer Aesthetik der Tonkunst' ('Ideas for a Aesthetics of Music'), back in 1806 - are just one of many attempts to do just that...

C majorCompletely pure. Its character is: innocence, simplicity, naïvety, children's talk.
[Video of a Spacedrum in C major: HERE]

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.
[Video of a Live-Metart HandPan in C minor: HERE]

Db major - A leering key, degenerating into grief and rapture. It cannot laugh, but it can smile; it cannot howl, but it can at least grimace its crying.--Consequently only unusual characters and feelings can be brought out in this key.

D major The key of triumph, of Hallejuahs, of war-cries, of victory-rejoicing. Thus, the inviting symphonies, the marches, holiday songs and heaven-rejoicing choruses are set in this key.
[Video of a Saraz HandPan in D major: HERE]

D minor Melancholy womanliness, the spleen and humours brood.
[Video of an Innersound HandPan in D minor: HERE]

D# minor - Feelings of the anxiety of the soul's deepest distress, of brooding despair, of blackest depresssion, of the most gloomy condition of the soul. Every fear, every hesitation of the shuddering heart, breathes out of horrible D# minor. If ghosts could speak, their speech would approximate this key.

Eb major - The key of love, of devotion, of intimate conversation with God.
[Video of a Gaia HandPan in Eb major: HERE]

E major Noisy shouts of joy, laughing pleasure and not yet complete, full delight lies in E Major.
[Video of a Saraz HandPan in E major: HERE]

F major Complaisance & calm.
[Video of a Bali Steel Pan in F major: HERE]

F minor Deep depression, funereal lament, groans of misery and longing for the grave.
[Video of a Live-Metalart in F minor: HERE]

F# major - Triumph over difficulty, free sigh of relief utered when hurdles are surmounted; echo of a soul which has fiercely struggled and finally conquered lies in all uses of this key.

F# minor - A gloomy key: it tugs at passion as a dog biting a dress. Resentment and discontent are its language.
[Video of a Saraz HandPan in F# major: HERE]

G major Everything rustic, idyllic and lyrical, every calm and satisfied passion, every tender gratitude for true friendship and faithful love,--in a word every gentle and peaceful emotion of the heart is correctly expressed by this key.
[Video of a Sonobe HandPan in G major: HERE]

G minor - Discontent, uneasiness, worry about a failed scheme; bad-tempered gnashing of teeth; in a word: resentment and dislike.
[Video of a Saraz HandPan in G minor: HERE]

Ab major - Key of the grave. Death, grave, putrefaction, judgment, eternity lie in its radius.

Ab minor - Grumbler, heart squeezed until it suffocates; wailing lament, difficult struggle; in a word, the color of this key is everything struggling with difficulty.

A major This key includes declarations of innocent love, satisfaction with one's state of affairs; hope of seeing one's beloved again when parting; youthful cheerfulness and trust in God.
[Video of a Saraz HandPan in A major: HERE]

A minor - Pious womanliness and tenderness of character.
[Video of a Spacedrum in A minor: HERE]

Bb major - Cheerful love, clear conscience, hope aspiration for a better world.

Bb minor - A quaint creature, often dressed in the garment of night. It is somewhat surly and very seldom takes on a pleasant countenance. Mocking God and the world; discontented with itself and with everything; preparation for suicide sounds in this key.

B major Strongly coloured, announcing wild passions, composed from the most glaring coulors. Anger, rage, jealousy, fury, despair and every burden of the heart lies in its sphere.

B minor This is as it were the key of patience, of calm awaiting ones's fate and of submission to divine dispensation.

(!) You can find more information on the characteristics of musical keys: HERE

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