From: "Steve Bennett"
Subject: Re: [WikiEN-l] The boundaries of OR (contd)
To: "English Wikipedia" <wikien-l(a)wikipedia.org>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
On 12/22/06, Daniel P. B. Smith <wikipedia2006(a)dpbsmith.com> wrote:
Nit-picks/genuine questions (my musical literacy
is almost nil):
is "the" key of a piece of music which
modulates into many
keys and has different key signatures marked
within the score? Is
a general rule or custom or convention that the
first key signature
which appears in the score is "the" key signature?
I think convention is that the first key signature is "the" one. But
for certain styles, it's certainly possible to have an introduction
a different key...it would be very simplistic to imply that any lay
person could successfully determine the key of any piece by following
rules listed in Wikipedia.
Nit-pick number two: how do you tell by looking
at the music
it is in C Major or A Minor? That is, can you
tell the key of a piece of music by glancing at it, or is judgement
To a musical expert, it's usually pretty clear, but there are
exceptions. And don't forget atonal music which is usually written
without a specific key signature (ie, superficially like C major and
minor). And some music actually does have a "key" but was originally
published with no key, using accidentals instead. You would be wrong
to describe such a piece as being in C major...
So, this was a bad example, but that's probably all.
No, these observations mean that it was a GOOD example. There are
always issues like this that arise in practical situations. In this
if the key is obvious (that is, anyone who understands music notation
would agree on what the key is), then we can write "the key is E-flat".
If the key is not clear for some reason, then deciding the key becomes
original research and we need to go looking for a published source
that says what the key is. The boundary between the two cases is
not precise, but that's life. Anyway it is "safe" in the sense that if
one editor writes "the key is E-flat" when it isn't completely obvious,
someone else will come along and slap a "citation needed" on it
(preferrably with a note on the talk page).
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