As I’ve related in earlier posts, C-sharp/D-flat is my favorite key to hear music played in. Since I am a sound-color synesthete with perfect pitch, I experience C-sharp as sparkling crystals on deep violet backgrounds, and the feeling of velvet. It feels like HOME. Strange word to describe a musical key, I know, but it just feels stable, strong, resonant…beautiful. F-sharp is a nice place to visit, a vacation home, perhaps, but C-sharp is truly home.
C-Sharp: Expressive and Flexible
I also find C-sharp to be a wonderful key for exploring and expressing all different types of moods, more so than any other key. I’m a composer (have been since sixth grade), and I’ve loved using C-sharp major and minor for many of my songs, because it just seemed to fit them. For me, the keys of F and B-flat seem stuck in celebratory modes, while G and E are for country songs, and C is so ubiquitous as to be too simple. (Of course, there are exceptions to every rule and every perception, but I’m speaking rather generally.) C-sharp, by contrast, seems to be endlessly flexible in every emotional direction, which delights me.
(This preference of one key over another may seem to many like a preference of spaghetti over linguine–isn’t it all still music, just as spaghetti and linguine are both still pasta? Well, like the kids who insist that the two types of pasta just TASTE different, I insist that a song played in a different key lends the song a whole new “vibe,” an entirely different feeling. When radio stations play songs a half-step higher to speed up the song slightly, it changes the song, however subtly.)
Examples of Musical Moods in C-Sharp
When I was considering all my favorite aspects of C-sharp for this blog post, I listened through my iTunes playlist of “C-sharp Major and Minor” songs (yep, I’ve set aside an entire playlist for it). As I listened, it occurred to me–it seems I’m not alone in perceiving C-sharp as a flexible and beautiful key, at least among composers and musical artists! Take the following list, compiled of several of my favorite songs in C-sharp major of minor, that describe vastly differing moods and sounds:
Anger: “Harder to Breathe” – Maroon 5
Joy: “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)” – Stevie Wonder
Drama: “Hindi Sad Diamonds” from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack
Love: “All I Ask of You” from Phantom of the Opera – Sarah Brightman & Steve Barton
Pleading: “Goin’ Crazy” – Natalie
Tranquility: “Rainsong (Fortune’s Lullaby)” – George Winston
Fear/Anxiety: “Somebody’s Watching Me” – Rockwell
Passion/Drive: “Fantaisie Impromptu” – Frederic Chopin
Desire: “Whine Up (feat. Elephant Man)” – Kat DeLuna
There’s a fairly wide range of genres and subject matters in that list, and that’s just taken from my personal song collection. Who knows how many other composers have found C-sharp to be as lovely a key as I do?