[Dixielandjazz] Re: Irving Berlin's piano>>Troublesome Gb

DWSI at aol.com DWSI at aol.com
Sat Dec 6 12:00:41 PST 2003


At the risk of beating this already boring subject to death, let me add one 
thought on this comment:

 a self-taught pianist who did everything is 
Gb.  That is the key that uses ALL the black keys.

In fact, all the keys (you play in) can and eventually use all the keys (you 
play on). To make it clear (I hope), there are twelve different notes (as 
played--not as named) on the keyboard: Five white and Seven white. On any one of 
those twelve keys you can create the major scale (it's one thing defined by the 
intervals between the notes). The underlying major scale defines the key (or 
tonal center) you're playing in, in the sense that the basic chords and melody 
notes most often used in music fall on those (major scale) notes. Their 
repetition and always resolving back to the starting note (name of key note) help 
to create the sense of playing in that key. For some reason, people have the 
idea you use ONLY black keys playing in F#. That's as wrong as saying you use 
ONLY white keys playing in the key of C. Although they use the exact same notes 
in playing, the key of F# calls for 5 sharps (as written); the key of Gb calls 
for 6 flats (as written). In both cases, there are higher sharp or flat keys 
that continue to use the same sharps or flats and add even more--up to a grand 
total of either 7 sharps (Key of B major) or 7 flats (Key of C# major). In 
the final analysis, the key is really a way of organizing chords and melody 
notes, a way of thinking and seeing the keyboard notes in groups. My only other 
comment is: Does anybody really care?

All the best,

Dan (piano fingers) Spink 

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