Fra slutningen af 1600-tallet og frem til omkring midten af 1800-tallet var studiet af tonearternes klang og karakteristika en del af mange musikeres og komponisters musikalske dannelse. Datidens stemningssystemer betød, at der var klanglige forskelle på tonearterne, og derfor mente mange, at tonearterne havde forskellige anvendelsespotentialer. Her præsenteres en række beskrivelser af tonearternes klangforskelle. Det vides ikke, hvilket af datidens veltempererede stemningssystemer beskrivelserne tager udgangspunkt i. Læs også teksten om toneartsæstetik.


1. Ernst Pauer (1865)
Ernst Pauer (1826-1905) var en østrigsk pianist, komponist og pædagog. I sin bog The Elements of the Beautiful in Music (1865) om musikkens æstetik beskriver han tonearterne således:

c-dur
C major expresses feeling in a pure, certain, and decisive manner. It is furthermore expressive of innocence, of a powerful resolve, of manly earnestness, and deep religious feeling.

Examples: Mozart's aria "Dove sono" is redolent of pure feeling; his aria "Vedrai carino" is full of innocence; so is the "Chorus of the Maidens" in Weber's "Der Freischütz". Beethoven's Quintett (Op. 29) is full of manly earnestness, and Mendelssohn's air "Oh rest in the Lord" is expressive of the deepest religious feeling. Powerful resolve and manly earnestness shine forth in every note of the finale of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, in Haydn's "The heavens are telling", and in Mendelssohn's " Lauda Sion".


c-mol
C minor is expressive of softness, longing, and sadness; also of earnestness and a passionate intensity. At the same time C minor lends itself most effectively to the portraiture of the super natural; as Weber has shown in the famous Incantation scene in "Der Freischütz".

Examples: Schubert's "The Maiden's Lament" expresses a soft longing; the first movement of Beethoven's Symphony in C minor, and his Overture to "Coriolamis", convey through the key the impression of intensity and passion; the Funeral March of the Eroica Symphony impresses the listener by the solemnity and the dignified earnestness of the sombre key.


cis-dur/des-dur
C sharp major is scarcely ever used; as D flat major it is remarkable for its fulness of tone, and its sonorousness and euphony. It is the favourite key for Notturnos.

des-mol
D flat minor, only used as C sharp minor, is undoubtedly the most intensely melancholy key.

d-dur
D major expresses majesty, grandeur, and pomp, and adapts itself well to triumphal processions, festival marches, and pieces in which stateliness is the prevailing feature.

d-mol
D minor expresses a subdued feeling of melancholy, grief, anxiety, and solemnity.

es-dur
E flat major is the key which boasts the greatest variety of expression. At once serious and solemn, it is the exponent of courage and determination, and gives to the piece a brilliant, firm, and dignified character. It may be designated as eminently a masculine key.

es-mol
E flat minor is the darkest, most sombre key of all. It is but rarely used.

e-dur
E major, the brightest and most powerful key, expresses joy, magnificence, splendour, and the highest brilliancy.

e-mol
E minor represents grief, mournfulness, and restlessness of spirit.

f-dur
F major is at once full of peace and joy, but also expresses effectively a light, passing regret a mournful, but not a deeply sorrowful feeling. It is, moreover, available for the expression of religious sentiment.

f-mol
F minor, a harrowing key, is especially full of melancholy, at times rising into passion.

fis-dur/ges-dur
F sharp major sounds brilliant and exceedingly clear; as G flat major it expresses softness coupled with richness.

fis-mol
F sharp minor, that dark, mysterious, and spectral key, is at the same time full of passion.

g-dur
G major, that favourite key of youth, expresses sincerity of faith, quiet love, calm meditation, simple grace, pastoral life, and a certain humour and brightness.

Examples: the well-known air "But the Lord", from Mendelssohn's "St. Paul", breathes true sincerity of faith; Don Ottavio's second air in "Don Giovanni" is expressive of quiet and devoted love; Mozart's Andante in six-eight time, from his Symphony in D major, is entirely characteristic of a calm and peaceful meditation; the same master's Finale from his celebrated String Quintett in G minor is a model of unadorned, genuine gracefulness; Rossini's "Ranz des Vaches", in his Overture to "Guillaume Tell", and Haydn's first chorus in the "Spring" of his "Seasons" give us splendid instances of faithful portraiture of pastoral life; the Finale of Beethoven's Fourth Concerto for the Piano affords an illustration of quaint humour; and as an unrivalled example of brightness we have Handel's chorus "See the conquering hero comes".


g-mol
G minor expresses sometimes sadness, sometimes, on the other hand, quiet and sedate joy a gentle grace with a slight touch of dreamy melancholy and occasionally it rises to a romantic elevation. It effectively portrays the sentimental; and when used for expressing passionate feelings the sweetness of its character will deprive the passion of all harshness and fierceness.

Examples: Mozart's Symphony in G minor, Mendelssohn's sweet barcarole in the first book of his "Songs without Words", and Spohr's beautiful air "Onori militari", in his opera "Jessonda". This process of enumeration would result in a somewhat lengthy and confusing catalogue; therefore I will merely state the qualities of the remaining keys, without supplementing them by examples.


as-dur
A flat major is full of feeling, and replete with a dreamy expression.

as-mol
A flat minor adapts itself well to funeral marches, and is full of a sad and almost heartrending expression; in it we seem to hear the wailing of an oppressed and sorrowing heart.

a-dur
A major, full of confidence and hope, radiant with love, and redolent of simple genuine cheerfulness, excels all the other keys in portraying sincerity of feeling. Almost every composer of note has breathed his sincerest and sweetest thoughts in that favourite key.

a-mol
A minor is expressive of tender, womanly feeling; it is at the same time most effective for exhibiting the quiet melancholy sentiment of Northern nations, and, curiously enough, lends itself very readily to the description of Oriental character, as shown in Boleros and Mauresque serenades. But A minor also expresses sentiments of devotion mingled with pious resignation.

b-dur
B flat major, the favourite key of our classical composers, has an open, frank, clear, and bright character, which also admits the expression of quiet contemplation.

b-mol
B flat minor, a key full of gloomy and sombre feeling, like E flat minor, is but seldom used.

h-dur
B major, a key but seldom used, expresses in fortissimo boldness and pride; in pianissimo purity and the most perfect clearness.

h-mol
B minor, that very melancholy key, tells of a quiet expectation and patient hope. It has often been observed that nervous persons will sooner be affected by that key than by any other.

Kommentarer
Pauer skriver desuden følgende kommentarer til tonearternes klangforskelle:

The key is in music what colour is in painting. The key furnishes the tone to the piece; and if we desire to be impartial and conscientious judges, we ought always, particularly in the case of songs, which for the convenience of singers are so often transposed, to inquire what was the original key in which the composer wrote his work. To give only one short example, Mendelssohn's celebrated song "Auf Flügen des Gesanges" ("On Song's bright pinions"), originally written in the key of A flat for a mezzo-soprano, loses its characteristic expression by being sung in F major, as adapted for a contralto.

The different character of the various keys was already recognised by Plato and Aristotle, who both speak of keys which act in an enervating way, and of others which exert an awakening and invigorating Influence on the human mind. We may take it for granted that every key has, to a certain extent, its particular domain, in which it reigns with a decided supremacy, and in which it satisfactorily expresses its individual character.

The proper choice of the key is of the utmost importance for the success of a musical work; and we find that our great composers acted in this matter with consummate prudence and with careful circumspection. It would not be hypercritical, were we to recognise in the greater frequence of the use of a certain key a predilection or idiosyncrasy of the composer.

Thus we find that Beethoven was undoubtedly partial to the key of C; for when we look in the catalogue of his works and count his sonatas, duet-sonatas, quartetts, quintetts, overtures, symphonies, we find that he wrote twenty-five works in the key of C, fifteen in that of E flat, thirteen in that of F, thirteen in that of G, eleven in the key of D and A flat, nine in A, eight in B flat, five in E, three in C sharp, and only a solitary one in F sharp. In examining the thematic catalogue of Mozart's works, we find that most of his compositions are written in the keys of C, G, F, D, and B flat. Again, an examination of the keys used for slow movements will show us that Beethoven, more particularly in his first compositions, had a predilection for the key of A flat, and Mozart for that of F major.

When the composer has chosen his key, he will be careful to handle it in such a manner that it does not attain too great a prominence, which would result in monotony, and cause fatigue and lack of interest in the listener; but he will manage to suffuse his work with the special characteristics of the key, which is thus made to glimmer or shine through the piece without asserting itself with undue strength.

The task of marshalling different keys in a certain order according to their characteristic qualities, is not only a matter of great difficulty but "almost of impossibility, inasmuch as it cannot be denied that one composer detects in a certain key qualities which have remained entirely hidden from another. Mozart's Symphony in E flat is in no other way related to Beethoven's Eroica Symphony than that both are set in the key of E flat. And yet it cannot be denied that each key possesses distinctive characteristic qualities.

If we maintain, for instance, that the "sharp" keys have a brighter, a more lively and a fresher expression than those in flats, we lay down a rule which admits of many exceptions. All that we can safely do is to name the characteristic qualities of the keys as we deduce their characteristic expression from universally admired and accepted masterpieces: and thus we need not fear to misstate or to misapprehend the bearings of the subject.


2. Christian Schubart (1806)
Christian Schubart (1739-1791) var en tysk poet, organist, komponist og journalist. I sin bog Ideen zu einer Äesthetik der Tonkunst (1806) om musikkens teori og historie beskriver han tonearternes klangforskelle således (oversat af Rita Steblin og Ted DuBois, 1983):

c-dur
Quite pure. Its character is: innocence, simplicity, naïvety, children's talk.

c-mol
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.

des-dur
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.

cis-mol
Penitential lamentation, intimate conversation with God, the friend and help-meet of life; sighs of disappointed friendship and love lie in its radius.

d-dur
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.

d-mol
Melancholy womanliness, the spleen and humours brood.

es-dur
The key of love, of devotion, of intimate conversation with God.

es-mol
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.

e-dur
Loud shouts of joy, laughing pleasure and not yet complete, full delight lies in E Major; expressing, through its three flats, the holy Trinity.

e-mol
Naïve, womanly innocent declaration of love, lament without grumbling; sighs accompanied by few tears; this key speaks of the imminent hope of resolving in the pure happiness of C major. Since by nature it has only one color, one could compare it with a girl, dressed in white, with a rose-red bow on her bosom. One withdraws from this tone with inexpressible grace again to the fundamental C major, where heart and ear find the most perfect satisfaction.

f-dur
Complaisance and repose.

f-mol
Deep depression, funereal lament, groans of misery and longing for the grave.

ges-dur
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.

fis-mol
A gloomy key: it tugs at passion as a dog biting a dress. Resentment and discontent are its language. Ordi­narily, it does not seem to be well in its position; therefore, it always languishes for the repose of A major or for the conquering bliss of D major.

g-dur
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. Too bad that it is today so very much neglected on account of its seeming agility. One does not consider that there is no difficult and facile key in the real sense, but these apparent difficulties and agi l ities depend on the composer.

g-mol
Displeasure, uneasiness, worry about a failed scheme; bad-tempered gnashing of teeth; in a word: resentment and dislike.

as-dur
Key of the grave. Death, grave, putrefaction, judgment, eternity lie in its radius.

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

a-dur
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.

a-mol
Pious womanhood and tenderness of character.

b-dur
Cheerful love, clear conscience, a longing for a better world.

b-mol
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.

h-dur
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.

h-mol
This is, as it were, the key of patience, of calm awaiting ones's fate and of submission to divine dispensation. Therefore, its complaint is so gentle, without ever breaking out in offending murmurs or whimpers. The application of this key is rather difficult for all instruments; for that reason, one finds so few pieces which are composed expressely in this key.

Kommentarer
Schubart skriver desuden følgende kommentarer til tonearternes klangforskelle:

If one wanted to object to this characterization of keys as in the literary criticism that no key could have a determined character because of the various ornaments, one must consider that it is the duty of every composer to study closely the character of its keys and only take up the sympathetical ones in its halo.

A good companion never invites bizarre characters which disturb the circle of his con­ fidants; on the contrary, he chooses homogeneous men who elevate the pleasure of society. A freethinker who brands himself through sloven­ liness does not belong to a silent, Christian gathering on Good Friday even if he would stay put in his rightful place. Even so it is also the case with the composer. As soon as he has once selected a suitable key of prevailing feeling, he may never slip into keys which contradict this feeling.

It would be unbearable, for example, if an aria whose fundamental key is C major concluded the first part in B major, or if one wanted to change over suddenly from F minor to F-sharp major. In short, the musical expression through all keys is so strictly deter­mined that, although I wonder if philosophical critics have not made it valid enough, it far surpasses the poetical and pictoral expression in precision.


3. Jean-Philippe Rameau (1722)
Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764) var en fransk komponist og musikteoretiker. I sin lærebog om harmonilære Traité de l'Harmonie (1722) beskriver han tonearternes klangforskelle med få stikord. Bemærk, at han beskriver flere af tonearterne ens, og at han ikke beskriver alle tonearterne (oversat af Philip Gossett, 1971):

c-dur
Suitable for songs of mirth and rejoicing.

c-mol
Suitable for tenderness and plaints.

d-dur
Suitable for songs of mirth and rejoicing. Grand and magnificent.

d-mol
Suitable for sweetness and tenderness.

e-dur
Suitable for both tender and gay songs. Grand and magnificent.

e-mol
Suitable for sweetness and tenderness.

f-dur
Suitable for tempests, furies and other similar subjects.

f-mol
Suitable for tenderness and plaints.

g-dur
Suitable for both tender and gay songs.

g-mol
Suitable for sweetness and tenderness.

a-dur
Suitable for songs of mirth and rejoicing. Grand and magnificent.

b-dur
Suitable for tempests, furies and other similar subjects.

b-mol
Suitable for mournful songs.

h-mol
Suitable for sweetness and tenderness.

4. Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1691)
Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643-1704) var en fransk komponist. I sin lærebog om komposition Règles de Composition (1691) beskriver han tonearternes klangforskelle (som han kalder l'énergies des modes) med få stikord. Bemærk, at han ikke beskriver alle tonearterne:

c-dur
Gay and martial.

c-mol
Obscure and sad.

d-dur
Joyous and very martial.

d-mol
Grave and devout.

es-dur
Cruel and harsh.

es-mol
Horrible and frightful.

e-dur
Quarrelsome and grating.

e-mol
Effeminate, amorous and plaintive.

f-dur
Furious and hot-headed.

f-mol
Obscure and plaintive.

g-dur
Sweetly joyous.

g-mol
Serious and magnificent.

a-dur
Joyous and rustic.

a-mol
Tender and plaintive.

b-dur
Magnificent and joyous.

b-mol
Obscure and terrible.

h-dur
Harsh and plaintive.

h-mol
Solitary and melancholic.

5. Andre beskrivelser
Ovenstående fire eksempler er nogle af de mest udbredte beskrivelser af tonearternes klangforskelle, men en lang række andre komponister og musikteoretikere har gennem tiden formuleret lignende mere eller mindre uddybende beskrivelser.

Blandt andre kan nævnes:
  • Abraham Bartolus: Musica mathematica (1614)
  • Jean Rousseau: Méthode claire, certaine et facile... (1691)
  • Charles Masson: Nouveau traité des regles pour la composition de la musique (1697, s. 35)
  • Johann Mattheson: Das neu-eröffnete Orchestre (1713)
  • Johann David Heinichen: Der General=Baß in der Composition (1728)
  • Lorenz Christoph Mizler: Neu eroeffnete Musikalische Bibliothek (1736-1738, s. 34)
  • Johann Christoph & Johann David Stössel: Kurzgefasstes Musicalisches Lexikon (1737)
  • Johann Mattheson: Der Vollkommene Kapellmeister (1739)
  • Johann Joachim Quantz: Versuch einer Anweisung die Flöte traversiere zu spielen (1752)
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Dictionnaire de musique (1768, opslag "Ton")
  • Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg: Versuch ueber die musikalisches Temperatur (1776)
  • Carl Ludwig Junker: Tonkunst (1777)
  • Georg Joseph Vogler: Ausdruck (musikalischer) i Deutsche Encyclopaedie (1779)
  • Jean-Benjamin de La Borde: Essai sur la musique ancienne et moderne (1780)
  • Johann George Sulzer: Allgemeine Theorie der Schönen Künste (1792)
  • Justin Knecht: Gemeinnützliches Elementarwerk Der Harmonie... (1792)
  • Johann Jakob Wilhelm Heinse: Hildegard von Hohenthal (1795, s. 55)
  • Francesco Galeazzi: Elementi teorico-pratici de musica (1791-1796)
  • André Ernest Modeste Grétry: Memoires, ou Essais sur la Musique (1797)
  • Georg Joseph Vogler: Système de Simplification pour les Orgues (1798)
  • Heinrich Christoph Koch: Kurzgefaßtes Handwörterbuch der Musik (1802)
  • Justin Heinrich Knecht: Allgemeiner musikalischer Katechismus (1803)
  • Carlo Gervasoni: Nuova Teoria di Musica (1812)
  • E.T.A. Hoffmann: Kreisleriana (1815)
  • Johann Friedrich Rochlitz: Für Freunde der Tonkunst (1824)
  • Robert Schumann: Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (1835, s. 43)
  • Ferdinand Gotthelf Hand: Aesthetik der Tonkunst (1837)
  • Louis Hector Berlioz: Grand Traté d'Instrumentation... (1856)

Tænk og diskutér Tænk og diskutér 4
Sammenlign beskrivelserne af udvalgte tonearter fra de fire forfattere præsenteret herover. Er forfatterne enige? Hvorfor/hvorfor ikke?
Tænk og diskutér Tænk og diskutér 5
Hvilken betydning har det, at der med nutidens ligesvævende stemning ikke længere er den samme klanglige forskel på tonearterne?
Supplerende materiale Supplerende materiale 4
Originalkilderne til de ovenstående beskrivelser af tonearterne kan læses her. Teksterne (pdf) fylder en del, og det kan derfor tage lidt tid at hente dem.

Ernst Pauer: The Elements of the Beautiful in Music (1865):

Christian Schubart: Ideen zu einer Äesthetik der Tonkunst (1806):

Jean-Philippe Rameau: Traité de l'Harmonie (1722):
  • Fransk - side 157
  • Bogen er oversat til engelsk af Philip Gossett i 1971.

En mere detaljeret indføring i emnet findes i Rita Steblins bog A History of Key Characteristics in the 18th and Early 19th Centuries (1983).
Fra slutningen af 1600-tallet og frem til omkring midten af 1800-tallet var studiet af tonearternes klang og karakteristika en del af mange musikeres og komponisters musikalske dannelse. Datidens stemningssystemer betød, at der var klanglige forskelle på tonearterne, og derfor mente mange, at tonearterne havde forskellige anvendelsespotentialer. Her præsenteres en række beskrivelser af tonearternes klangforskelle. Læs også teksten om toneartsæstetik.


1. Ernst Pauer (1865)
Ernst Pauer (1826-1905) var en østrigsk pianist, komponist og pædagog. I sin bog The Elements of the Beautiful in Music (1865) om musikkens æstetik beskriver han tonearterne således:

c-dur
C major expresses feeling in a pure, certain, and decisive manner. It is furthermore expressive of innocence, of a powerful resolve, of manly earnestness, and deep religious feeling.

c-mol
C minor is expressive of softness, longing, and sadness; also of earnestness and a passionate intensity. At the same time C minor lends itself most effectively to the portraiture of the super natural.

ces-dur/des-dur
C sharp major is scarcely ever used; as D flat major it is remarkable for its fulness of tone, and its sonorousness and euphony. It is the favourite key for Notturnos.

des-mol
D flat minor, only used as C sharp minor, is undoubtedly the most intensely melancholy key.

d-dur
D major expresses majesty, grandeur, and pomp, and adapts itself well to triumphal processions, festival marches, and pieces in which stateliness is the prevailing feature.

d-mol
D minor expresses a subdued feeling of melancholy, grief, anxiety, and solemnity.

es-dur
E flat major is the key which boasts the greatest variety of expression. At once serious and solemn, it is the exponent of courage and determination, and gives to the piece a brilliant, firm, and dignified character. It may be designated as eminently a masculine key.

es-mol
E flat minor is the darkest, most sombre key of all.

e-dur
E major, the brightest and most powerful key, expresses joy, magnificence, splendour, and the highest brilliancy.

e-mol
E minor represents grief, mournfulness, and restlessness of spirit.

f-dur
F major is at once full of peace and joy, but also expresses effectively a light, passing regret a mournful, but not a deeply sorrowful feeling. It is, moreover, available for the expression of religious sentiment.

f-mol
F minor, a harrowing key, is especially full of melancholy, at times rising into passion.

fis-dur/ges-dur
F sharp major sounds brilliant and exceedingly clear; as G flat major it expresses softness coupled with richness.

fis-mol
F sharp minor, that dark, mysterious, and spectral key, is at the same time full of passion.

g-dur
G major, that favourite key of youth, expresses sincerity of faith, quiet love, calm meditation, simple grace, pastoral life, and a certain humour and brightness.

g-mol
G minor expresses sometimes sadness, sometimes, on the other hand, quiet and sedate joy a gentle grace with a slight touch of dreamy melancholy and occasionally it rises to a romantic elevation. It effectively portrays the sentimental; and when used for expressing passionate feelings the sweetness of its character will deprive the passion of all harshness and fierceness.

as-dur
A flat major is full of feeling, and replete with a dreamy expression.

as-mol
A flat minor adapts itself well to funeral marches, and is full of a sad and almost heartrending expression; in it we seem to hear the wailing of an oppressed and sorrowing heart.

a-dur
A major, full of confidence and hope, radiant with love, and redolent of simple genuine cheerfulness, excels all the other keys in portraying sincerity of feeling. Almost every composer of note has breathed his sincerest and sweetest thoughts in that favourite key.

a-mol
A minor is expressive of tender, womanly feeling; it is at the same time most effective for exhibiting the quiet melancholy sentiment of Northern nations, and, curiously enough, lends itself very readily to the description of Oriental character. But A minor also expresses sentiments of devotion mingled with pious resignation.

b-dur
B flat major, the favourite key of our classical composers, has an open, frank, clear, and bright character, which also admits the expression of quiet contemplation.

b-mol
B flat minor, a key full of gloomy and sombre feeling.

h-dur
B major expresses in fortissimo boldness and pride; in pianissimo purity and the most perfect clearness.

h-mol
B minor, that very melancholy key, tells of a quiet expectation and patient hope. It has often been observed that nervous persons will sooner be affected by that key than by any other.

2. Christian Schubart (1806)
Christian Schubart (1739-1791) var en tysk poet, organist, komponist og journalist. I sin bog Ideen zu einer Äesthetik der Tonkunst (1806) om musikkens teori og historie beskriver han tonearternes klangforskelle således (oversat af Rita Steblin og Ted DuBois, 1983):

c-dur
Quite pure. Its character is: innocence, simplicity, naïvety, children's talk.

c-mol
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.

des-dur
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.

cis-mol
Penitential lamentation, intimate conversation with God, the friend and help-meet of life; sighs of disappointed friendship and love lie in its radius.

d-dur
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.

d-mol
Melancholy womanliness, the spleen and humours brood.

es-dur
The key of love, of devotion, of intimate conversation with God.

es-mol
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.

e-dur
Loud shouts of joy, laughing pleasure and not yet complete, full delight lies in E Major; expressing, through its three flats, the holy Trinity.

e-mol
Naïve, womanly innocent declaration of love, lament without grumbling; sighs accompanied by few tears; this key speaks of the imminent hope of resolving in the pure happiness of C major.

f-dur
Complaisance and repose.

f-mol
Deep depression, funereal lament, groans of misery and longing for the grave.

ges-dur
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.

fis-mol
A gloomy key: it tugs at passion as a dog biting a dress. Resentment and discontent are its language.

g-dur
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.

g-mol
Displeasure, uneasiness, worry about a failed scheme; bad-tempered gnashing of teeth; in a word: resentment and dislike.

as-dur
Key of the grave. Death, grave, putrefaction, judgment, eternity lie in its radius.

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

a-dur
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.

a-mol
Pious womanhood and tenderness of character.

b-dur
Cheerful love, clear conscience, a longing for a better world.

b-mol
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.

h-dur
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.

h-mol
This is, as it were, the key of patience, of calm awaiting ones's fate and of submission to divine dispensation. Therefore, its complaint is so gentle, without ever breaking out in offending murmurs or whimpers.

3. Jean-Philippe Rameau (1722)
Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764) var en fransk komponist og musikteoretiker. I sin lærebog om harmonilære Traité de l'Harmonie (1722) beskriver han tonearternes klangforskelle med få stikord. Bemærk, at han beskriver flere af tonearterne ens, og at han ikke beskriver alle tonearterne (oversat af Philip Gossett, 1971):

c-dur
Suitable for songs of mirth and rejoicing.

c-mol
Suitable for tenderness and plaints.

d-dur
Suitable for songs of mirth and rejoicing. Grand and magnificent.

d-mol
Suitable for sweetness and tenderness.

e-dur
Suitable for both tender and gay songs. Grand and magnificent.

e-mol
Suitable for sweetness and tenderness.

f-dur
Suitable for tempests, furies and other similar subjects.

f-mol
Suitable for tenderness and plaints.

g-dur
Suitable for both tender and gay songs.

g-mol
Suitable for sweetness and tenderness.

a-dur
Suitable for songs of mirth and rejoicing. Grand and magnificent.

b-dur
Suitable for tempests, furies and other similar subjects.

b-mol
Suitable for mournful songs.

h-mol
Suitable for sweetness and tenderness.

4. Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1691)
Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643-1704) var en fransk komponist. I sin lærebog om komposition Règles de Composition (1691) beskriver han tonearternes klangforskelle med få stikord. Bemærk, at han ikke beskriver alle tonearterne:

c-dur
Gay and martial.

c-mol
Obscure and sad.

d-dur
Joyous and very martial.

d-mol
Grave and devout.

es-dur
Cruel and harsh.

es-mol
Horrible and frightful.

e-dur
Quarrelsome and grating.

e-mol
Effeminate, amorous and plaintive.

f-dur
Furious and hot-headed.

f-mol
Obscure and plaintive.

g-dur
Sweetly joyous.

g-mol
Serious and magnificent.

a-dur
Joyous and rustic.

a-mol
Tender and plaintive.

b-dur
Magnificent and joyous.

b-mol
Obscure and terrible.

h-dur
Harsh and plaintive.

h-mol
Solitary and melancholic.
Tænk og diskutér Tænk og diskutér 4
Sammenlign beskrivelserne af udvalgte tonearter fra de fire forfattere præsenteret herover. Er forfatterne enige? Hvorfor/hvorfor ikke?
Tænk og diskutér Tænk og diskutér 5
Hvilken betydning har det, at der med nutidens ligesvævende stemning ikke længere er den samme klanglige forskel på tonearterne?
Supplerende materiale Supplerende materiale 4
Originalkilderne til de ovenstående beskrivelser af tonearterne kan læses her. Teksterne (pdf) fylder en del, og det kan derfor tage lidt tid at hente dem.

Ernst Pauer: The Elements of the Beautiful in Music (1865):

Christian Schubart: Ideen zu einer Äesthetik der Tonkunst (1806):

Jean-Philippe Rameau: Traité de l'Harmonie (1722):
  • Fransk - side 157
  • Bogen er oversat til engelsk af Philip Gossett i 1971.

En mere detaljeret indføring i emnet findes i Rita Steblins bog A History of Key Characteristics in the 18th and Early 19th Centuries (1983).