Mood/Style descriptions - source?

The mood/style description per scale and mode:
Where are those arrived from?

Aren’t those arrived from back in the days (read before 19th century) before Equal Temperament?
In that case, they don’t make sense anymore, right?

Sources: Characteristics of Musical Keys

Welcome @snowseals These descriptions are based on some composers sitting in a room and going through each scale and referencing previous descriptions to come up with something subjective but based on prior reasoning. In truth when it comes to music nothing makes sense - that’s why we have theory to try and make sense of it all! Do you have another suggestion of how they should be labelled?


Thanks @davide !

These descriptions are based on when they didn’t use Equal Temperament, which makes any note in a scale a different frequency, than what we are hearing today.

Hence we can’t dictate those moods to a certain scale any more like they used to, in my opinion.

My suggestion would be they should be labeled as what they are : scales.
No strings attached. No mood whatsoever.

I do tend to agree though, that Major sounds more cheerful and uplifting, let’s call it Happy =)
And the opposite for a minor scale.

Another interesting read on this topic:

However, there are many sad love songs in C major

Lol yeah, most EDM/House music is in minor, made to dance on - should tell something - isn’t particular ‘emo’ genre.

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I like the choices in Scaler and that the material is presented as it is. It also opens intriguing possible research projects – perhaps some are already underway.

I think there tends to be some ‘mood’ association with many scales, but entirely subjective, and no two people will agree.

The distinctive characteristics often come from a specific note / interval in the scale. For me
The flat second in Phrygian … sort of Spanish
The raised 4th in Lydian … can evoke a more ‘dreamy’ sound e.g. Vai /some ambient
The natural third in the Phrygian Major … arabic sounding

Also, as renowned guitarist Guthrie Govan points out, blues sounds arose from slightly different tuning, and many pro guitarists would do a microtonal bend to the flat 5 to give a non- 12 TET flavour.

From my personal perspective I think it’s more than just the flat third in minor tonality.