>Karl, followed by Deryk:
>>> Yet why do we see a minor key as being potentially sad
>>> versus a major key being happy.
>>This is exceedingly culture-specific and I think this is where any
>>attempt to 'standardise' a 'language of music' falls to the ground.
>Case in point: Hearing to 'Taps' today reminded me that I find it to be
>about the saddest bit of music I can think of. And it is entirely a C
>Nevertheless, I do think there is something that transcends culture when
>it comes to emotions in music, even if some influences are cultural. I
>don't believe, for example, that this major/minor effect is coincidental.
No, it's not coincidental. It is, as you say, cultural -- something
that's developed over the course of the centuries mainly in Western
>As a thought experiment, does anyone believe that we could, by force
>of culture, reverse this? If a person were raised in an environment
>in which (our) sad tunes were played for happy occasions and vice versa,
>would that work without drugs, beatings, etc? ...
You've already answered the question with your example of "Taps." I
would say that "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" (never mind its origins)
is an example of a happy, indeed manic, minor.