Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Clarification On The Rabbi's Musical Ignorance

The Wolf writes:
Thank you for your most recent post. Can you clarify, for the non-musically inclined, what the musical errors by Rav Wolfson are?

The white key/black key distinction is fairly recent, as keyboard instruments and that color scheme are not that old. Most instruments don't have this distinction at all. A violin, or clarinet, for example, don’t have black keys. Yuval predates the concept of white/black keys by five thousand years or so. (That's a low-ball estimate assuming he takes the chronology of Maaseh Breisihis literally.)

The key of A minor and some other minor modes use white keys only.

In the keys of D, E, and A, the black keys make the key major by raising the minor third you’d have using only white keys by one half-step.

One can play slow depressing songs using only white keys and cheerful melodies using only black ones.

It's quite clear that Rav Wolfson does not understand what "minor" and "major" mean, what the black/white keys mean, or how happy/sad melodies are constructed.