In our Kindermusik Village classes, we’ve been exploring major and minor keys. Music written in a major key is sometimes described as happy or upbeat while music written in a minor key can be sad or scary. The notes used to create a song determine whether the key is major or minor. We don’t explore these patterns in music to create a class full of tiny composers, but as children listen, their brains take in each one in a new way, helping their minds make more vital, neural connections, which is good for becoming a curious and logical learner.
But Kindermusik isn’t the only place where there is discussion of major and minor. In a recent NPR story, reporter Rob Kapilow spoke with NPR’s Melissa Block and asked, “Can music make you happy or sad (and vice versa)?” What happens when a song written in a minor (sad) key is transposed to a major (happy) key? The result is often a song that songs nothing like the original. Check out the full article here.
Oleg Berg, the musician featured in the story, has taken many popular songs and swapped their major or minor keys. Visit his YouTube page, MajorVsMinor to see the full selection (don’t miss Hey Jude by The Beatles, Beat It by Michael Jackson, Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana, and We Will Rock You by Queen).
Give them a listen with your child. Try finding a song he/she might be familiar with and listen to Berg’s version. Does your child notice a difference? Which does he/she prefer?
Here’s one to get you started. Remember Final Countdown by Europe? What if it had sounded like this: