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#1905210 - 05/29/12 06:45 PM wr and other Alkanists, Op. 13 No. 2 Key signature question  
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Why is Alkan's Op. 13 No. 2 in C sharp major instead of D flat major? Well, maybe that's not a question any of us could answer, but maybe it would be easier to read if it were in D flat major? Isn't there a Bach prelude and fugue that is printed in both D flat and C sharp (or D sharp and E flat, forget exactly)...

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#1905215 - 05/29/12 06:59 PM Re: wr and other Alkanists, Op. 13 No. 2 Key signature question [Re: Orange Soda King]  
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One advantage is that you don't have to think about which notes are sharp, just remember that all 7 of them are wink


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#1905216 - 05/29/12 07:00 PM Re: wr and other Alkanists, Op. 13 No. 2 Key signature question [Re: Orange Soda King]  
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Hahaha! I personally find D flat major easier to read than C sharp major, though. I am constantly thinking enharmonically while reading through and practicing (I'm currently learning this piece right now).

#1905218 - 05/29/12 07:07 PM Re: wr and other Alkanists, Op. 13 No. 2 Key signature question [Re: Orange Soda King]  
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WTC Book 1; Prelude is in E flat Minor, fugue is in D sharp minor.

And Liszt rhapsody no 6 changes from D flat major to C sharp major!

I don't really understand why they do it. In the Liszt, I think it may be because he can use some double sharps where it would otherwise be natural, and it makes more sense that way or something.... in that case, it probably is easier to read in C sharp.


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#1905222 - 05/29/12 07:11 PM Re: wr and other Alkanists, Op. 13 No. 2 Key signature question [Re: Orange Soda King]  
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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
Why is Alkan's Op. 13 No. 2 in C sharp major instead of D flat major? Well, maybe that's not a question any of us could answer, but maybe it would be easier to read if it were in D flat major? Isn't there a Bach prelude and fugue that is printed in both D flat and C sharp (or D sharp and E flat, forget exactly)...

We've talked about this kind of thing before with Bach... and I've never known the answer.

In the WTC Bach uses C# major instead of Db major for both preludes and fugues. (Maybe Alkan was referencing the Bach?)

Also, in WTC II he uses D# minor for the prelude and fugue, but in WTC I he uses D# minor for the fugue and Eb minor for the prelude.

At least in that case, the two key signatures are equally complex (D# minor has 6 sharps; Eb minor has 6 flats). But in the C# major / Db major, I wonder what his reasoning was. Probably something theoretical or traditional.

By the way, one of the reasons 7 sharps is so hard is because of the increased frequency of double-sharps.

-J


Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann
#1905232 - 05/29/12 07:35 PM Re: wr and other Alkanists, Op. 13 No. 2 Key signature question [Re: Orange Soda King]  
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It's because if it were written in D-flat, and he wanted modulate down by a major third for a long section that included a key signature change, it would have to be written in the even more absurd key of B double-flat major.


#1905272 - 05/29/12 09:21 PM Re: wr and other Alkanists, Op. 13 No. 2 Key signature question [Re: Orange Soda King]  
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Without knowing the piece, what I can tell you is that C# major and Db major are felt by many (if not most) to have different 'flavors.' I certainly feel that they do.

And without even referring to the piece, I'll tell you my associations to the keys, and you tell me if it matches the piece:

C# major is friskier, more pungent.
Db major is more elegant, more peaceful.

Or, perhaps to put it more simple-mindedly but no less aptly:
Sharp is sharper.
Flat is flatter. smile

And BTW, if we forget for the moment about keyboard instruments and "well-tempered," and just talk about how the notes would be played by a string player or sung by a singer, C# would often if not usually truly be sharper, and Db flatter -- i.e. the pitch of C# would be a tiny bit higher -- although maybe not so much when the notes are the tonic (as here).

#1905287 - 05/29/12 10:04 PM Re: wr and other Alkanists, Op. 13 No. 2 Key signature question [Re: Orange Soda King]  
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Well, listen to the piece and tell me if it's frisky and pugnent or if it's elegant and peaceful.

I agree with your assessment about keys having flavors, though. Sort of like Alkan's "Aime-Moi" being A flat minor instead of G# Minor or the Grand Duo Concertant being F# major instead of G# major. I believe flavor plays a huge role in those examples. But like I said, listen to this piece, because I don't think that's the case here.

And with your second point, Alkan used to play this piece sometimes along with a small group of muted strings, so they would probably be playing with a well-tempered tuning also.

wr's point makes sense, especially since Alkan was rather particular about that stuff, but I don't think the music theory police would shoot you if you modulated a diminished 4th instead of a major 3rd (Db to A instead of C# to A).

#1905289 - 05/29/12 10:10 PM Re: wr and other Alkanists, Op. 13 No. 2 Key signature question [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C

And BTW, if we forget for the moment about keyboard instruments and "well-tempered," and just talk about how the notes would be played by a string player or sung by a singer, C# would often if not usually truly be sharper, and Db flatter -- i.e. the pitch of C# would be a tiny bit higher -- although maybe not so much when the notes are the tonic (as here).


I think you are off your meds here. Enharmonic notes of different keys would change necessarily, but why for the same key?

#1905290 - 05/29/12 10:11 PM Re: wr and other Alkanists, Op. 13 No. 2 Key signature question [Re: Orange Soda King]  
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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
Well, listen to the piece and tell me if it's frisky and pungent or if it's elegant and peaceful.....

Edit: You're right. At first I thought otherwise because the recording I heard wasn't representative. It was this:



Last edited by Mark_C; 05/29/12 10:59 PM.
#1905291 - 05/29/12 10:12 PM Re: wr and other Alkanists, Op. 13 No. 2 Key signature question [Re: Damon]  
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Originally Posted by Damon
....Enharmonic notes of different keys would change necessarily, but why for the same key?

Huh?
I really don't know what you mean. They're not the "same key," they're C# and Db -- but I gather you mean something other than what I can imagine.

Anyway, here's the thing: C#, when it resolves somewhere, usually resolves upward, and so a string player or singer would 'lean' it in that direction.
Db, when it resolves somewhere, usually resolves downward, and so the reverse applies.

You can take that to the bank, my dear Damon. grin

#1905292 - 05/29/12 10:21 PM Re: wr and other Alkanists, Op. 13 No. 2 Key signature question [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C

You can take that to the bank, my dear Damon. grin


Actually, I think what you said is beyond lunatic. Since I know you won't let go of it, I'll stop discussing it...but I'm not going to the bank.

#1905293 - 05/29/12 10:22 PM Re: wr and other Alkanists, Op. 13 No. 2 Key signature question [Re: Damon]  
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Well, think about it.

Cliff's Notes: It's not lunatic. smile

(As they say in one of the Seinfeld episodes, "I don't know sometimes....") ha

#1905297 - 05/29/12 10:37 PM Re: wr and other Alkanists, Op. 13 No. 2 Key signature question [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
Well, listen to the piece and tell me if it's frisky and pungent or if it's elegant and peaceful.....

ha ha ha

I did listen -- just to the beginning, which was all I needed.

From the tone of your reply, I thought you meant that what I said hardly fits. But it does fit -- big time. You really disagree??? You gotta be kidding....if you do disagree, we need to take a poll. smile


I meant that this piece isn't frisky and pungent, but instead it's elegant and peaceful.

#1905299 - 05/29/12 10:39 PM Re: wr and other Alkanists, Op. 13 No. 2 Key signature question [Re: Damon]  
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Originally Posted by Damon
Originally Posted by Mark_C

You can take that to the bank, my dear Damon. grin


Actually, I think what you said is beyond lunatic. Since I know you won't let go of it, I'll stop discussing it...but I'm not going to the bank.


Well, leading tones such as C# (like, if we're in D major) are slightly higher, because we do that all the time in choir, whereas if we're in C major and we're singing a Neapolitan chord or something, the D flat won't be very close to a D natural.

#1905303 - 05/29/12 10:50 PM Re: wr and other Alkanists, Op. 13 No. 2 Key signature question [Re: Orange Soda King]  
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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
I meant that this piece isn't frisky and pungent, but instead it's elegant and peaceful.

You're right.
Here's the thing: Before, the recording I clicked on was some stupid midi-type thing, which I didn't realize until just now when I re-checked it by listening to another recording.

Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
Originally Posted by Damon
Originally Posted by Mark_C

You can take that to the bank, my dear Damon. grin
Actually, I think what you said is beyond lunatic. Since I know you won't let go of it, I'll stop discussing it...but I'm not going to the bank.
Well, leading tones such as C# (like, if we're in D major) are slightly higher, because we do that all the time in choir, whereas if we're in C major and we're singing a Neapolitan chord or something, the D flat won't be very close to a D natural.

Exactly, and thank you. thumb

Damon, please take note.
Good rule of thumb: Don't be quick to think something is nuts just because you never thought of it before. grin

Last edited by Mark_C; 05/29/12 10:56 PM. Reason: Correcting my first part
#1905308 - 05/29/12 10:59 PM Re: wr and other Alkanists, Op. 13 No. 2 Key signature question [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
I meant that this piece isn't frisky and pungent, but instead it's elegant and peaceful.

That's what I thought, and as I said, you gotta be kidding. smile

Anyone else wants to chime in with a 'vote'?

Is it more:
-- frisky and pungent, or
-- elegant and peaceful?



wait I thought "pungent" was for a smell, like "that's some pungent cheese"

haha but anyway, I vote for 'elegant and peaceful '

#1905312 - 05/29/12 11:02 PM Re: wr and other Alkanists, Op. 13 No. 2 Key signature question [Re: emmov]  
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Originally Posted by emmov
....haha but anyway, I vote for 'elegant and peaceful '

As you can see, I changed my mind and did also. grin

So, back to OSK's question, why is it in C-sharp?

Answer: I can't imagine, unless he's telling us that it shouldn't be quite so elegant and peaceful....

Let's take a look at the score and see if there are any clues, like expressive indications....(goes to look)

#1905314 - 05/29/12 11:06 PM Re: wr and other Alkanists, Op. 13 No. 2 Key signature question [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
I meant that this piece isn't frisky and pungent, but instead it's elegant and peaceful.

You're right.
Here's the thing: Before, the recording I clicked on was some stupid midi-type thing, which I didn't realize until just now when I re-checked it by listening to another recording.

Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
Originally Posted by Damon
Originally Posted by Mark_C

You can take that to the bank, my dear Damon. grin
Actually, I think what you said is beyond lunatic. Since I know you won't let go of it, I'll stop discussing it...but I'm not going to the bank.
Well, leading tones such as C# (like, if we're in D major) are slightly higher, because we do that all the time in choir, whereas if we're in C major and we're singing a Neapolitan chord or something, the D flat won't be very close to a D natural.

Exactly, and thank you. thumb

Damon, please take note.
Good rule of thumb: Don't be quick to think something is nuts just because you never thought of it before. grin


Mark, take note.

What OSK said has nothing to do with what you said.
Good rule of thumb: Don't be quick to think you've thought of something valid.

#1905316 - 05/29/12 11:10 PM Re: wr and other Alkanists, Op. 13 No. 2 Key signature question [Re: Damon]  
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Originally Posted by Damon
What OSK said has nothing to do with what you said....

Damon: You are misunderstanding something here. What OSK said was exactly about what I had said.

#1905317 - 05/29/12 11:13 PM Re: wr and other Alkanists, Op. 13 No. 2 Key signature question [Re: Orange Soda King]  
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OSK: Regarding whether any expressive indications give a hint as to why it's in C#:

I couldn't find the score. I don't have it, and it seems not to be readily available online.

But maybe you can tell us: Are there any expressive indications that suggest it shouldn't be played that "elegantly and peacefully"? (It seems the opening/main tempo indication is "Andante con moto," which doesn't indicate anything in that direction.)

If there are, I'd say that's why it's in C#.
If there aren't, I would agree with your wonderment.

#1905318 - 05/29/12 11:14 PM Re: wr and other Alkanists, Op. 13 No. 2 Key signature question [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Damon
What OSK said has nothing to do with what you said....

Damon: You are misunderstanding something here. What OSK said was exactly about what I had said.


Mark: You're wrong.

Last edited by Damon; 05/29/12 11:14 PM.
#1905319 - 05/29/12 11:16 PM Re: wr and other Alkanists, Op. 13 No. 2 Key signature question [Re: Damon]  
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Good grief.....he thinks he knows better than I do what my post said. smile

#1905331 - 05/30/12 12:16 AM Re: wr and other Alkanists, Op. 13 No. 2 Key signature question [Re: Orange Soda King]  
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Scroll down to No. 2.

http://javanese.imslp.info/files/im...kan_-_Op.13_-_3_Andantes_Romantiques.pdf

It's called Trois Andantes Romantiques and the tempo is Andante con moto.

I think in this case it's not what you said about key signatures. Check wr's response again; that seems more plausible, especially since Alkan was so crazy about being strict to theory rules and such. That's why he employs triple sharps in the Grande Sonate 2nd movement and Concerto for Solo Piano 3rd movement.

And guys... Let's not argue. We're grown men, right?

#1905351 - 05/30/12 01:36 AM Re: wr and other Alkanists, Op. 13 No. 2 Key signature question [Re: Orange Soda King]  
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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
Scroll down to No. 2.....the tempo is Andante con moto.

Looks like you might not have seen my next posts -- I said that too! smile

Quote
I think in this case it's not what you said about key signatures.

Right -- I said that unless there are some additional expressive indications supporting my first thought, that wouldn't be it.

Quote
Check wr's response again; that seems more plausible....

Yes

#1905980 - 05/31/12 11:47 AM Re: wr and other Alkanists, Op. 13 No. 2 Key signature question [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Without knowing the piece, what I can tell you is that C# major and Db major are felt by many (if not most) to have different 'flavors.' I certainly feel that they do.

And without even referring to the piece, I'll tell you my associations to the keys, and you tell me if it matches the piece:

C# major is friskier, more pungent.
Db major is more elegant, more peaceful.


I have thought this for a while, but I wasn't sure how to say it without sounding crazy. xD

We musicians are surely the strangest of creatures, are we not? They're the same notes! haha!

I think about when I've composed in D flat major; I was definitely thinking in D flat, and not C sharp. I envision D flat as like "contemplation," but C sharp is more like a dance. I wonder if you were to re-write a D flat piece in C sharp (or Sibelius can :D) if it will change the character of the piece?


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#1906062 - 05/31/12 02:15 PM Re: wr and other Alkanists, Op. 13 No. 2 Key signature question [Re: Orange Soda King]  
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On a piano it doesn't matter whether the piece is written in C# major or D flat major in terms of how the piece sounds.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 05/31/12 02:17 PM.
#1906077 - 05/31/12 02:41 PM Re: wr and other Alkanists, Op. 13 No. 2 Key signature question [Re: Orange Soda King]  
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And 99% of listeners won't have any idea what key you're playing in, anyway, unless you tell them in the program notes. If it has a specific color to you, that may influence the way you impress it on an audience, but I don't think there's anything intrinsically different about C# major or Db major. Whatever key the music is in, our only job is to play it beautifully.

#1906095 - 05/31/12 03:18 PM Re: wr and other Alkanists, Op. 13 No. 2 Key signature question [Re: pianoloverus]  
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double

Last edited by pianoloverus; 05/31/12 08:04 PM.
#1906222 - 05/31/12 07:53 PM Re: wr and other Alkanists, Op. 13 No. 2 Key signature question [Re: pianoloverus]  
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^^ Nobody has suggested otherwise ^^ smile

What I was talking about was the composer's choice as to which key to notate it in -- which often depends on the feeling of the piece, and can color how we might interpret it.

And to that extent, it can have something to do with the sound. smile

But not the pitches. ha

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