Minor and Major Keys on Halloween

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Happy Tuesday blog readers!  It’s time for another Top 10 Tuesday music activity.  Today we will be developing our listening skills and focusing on  music appreciation.  Specifically,   we will be discussing the difference between minor and major keys.

Halloween is almost here and much of the scary music is written in minor keys, so I thought learning about this musical topic would be a perfect exercise for this time of the year.  From a music theory point of view, I found a really good technical explanation in an online booklet called “The Music Tree” discussing the difference between minor and major keys.  Click HERE to view it.

From a non-music theory point of view, a great way to explain this to children is that major keys often sound happy and minor keys often sound sad.

The best way to really share this with your children is to let them listen to songs in major in minor keys.

The Major Key

Here are a few examples of songs written in major keys:

–John Phillips Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever” — Click HERE to go to the Youtube link.  Marches are always written in major keys and, in my opinion, is some of the happiest music out there.

–Disney’s “Heigh Ho” from “Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs”:  Click HERE to go to the Youtube link, because you can’t get happier than Disney.

–Shirley Temple “On the Good Ship Lollipop”:  Click HERE to go to the Youtube link.   This has got to be the sweetest song…perfect for sharing a major key!

The Minor Key

Here are a few songs written in minor keys:

–“Eleanor Rigby” by the Beatles:  Click HERE to go to the Youtube link.  You can hear the loliness they sing of in the song.

–“Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin:  Click HERE to go to the Youtube link.  These are infamous chords that are so recognizable and poetically dismal.

–“Somebody That You Used to Know” by Gotye:  Click HERE to go to the Youtube link for some modern-day popular music that your child will recognize.

Halloween Songs in a Minor Key

And finally…some spooky Halloween songs for your play list that are written in a minor key:

–“This is Halloween” from “The Nightmare Before Christmas”:  Click HERE to go to the Youtube link for a perfectly written Danny Elfman song and a good example of the spooky minor key.

–“Double Double Toil and Trouble” from Harry Potter:  Click HERE to go to the Youtube link to listen to The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra singing the song from “The Prisoner of Azkaban.”

–“We are Here to Scare You” medley:  Click HERE to go to this Youtube link to watch an adorable group of Pre-K children singing this Halloween classic.  This song is a great example of major and minor keys.  The chorus, “We Are Here to Scare You” is written in a minor key, and each verse is written in a major key…all perfect for children.

By the time you are done listening to all of these musical selections, your child should be able to recognize the difference between minor and major keys just by sound.  It is a perfect start to this musical concept.

Thank you, once again, for visiting The Tucson Songstress and helping to promote music education in your home.  Don’t forget to stop back every Tuesday for some more musical fun.  For a complete list of the Top 10 Tuesday musical instruments under $40 that will help to promote music education in the home, click HERE.  For an archive of all previous Top 10 Tuesday music activities, click HERE.   Until next week, play on!

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