Friday, December 17, 2010

Sometimes I Feel Like a Sad Song

I'm just familiar enough with music to know that if it's sad song I want to write, I'd best begin by strumming a minor chord on my guitar.  That's what everybody says anyway.

But what everybody says may not be true at all.  If you're interested in such things, check out Daniel Wattenberg's interesting piece in The Atlantic in which he reports evidence that the convention of minor keys evoking sadness may indeed be wrong, or at least too simplistic to rightly be a convention.

But then I should have already known that.  While it's true that you can complicate it by adding minors here and there, Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" is written in a major key and none other than Elvis himself called it the saddest song he'd ever heard.

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