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AndrewH
Sacramento, California
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October 24, 2020 - 7:22 am
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Whereas I think the easiest keys to play in, on both violin and viola, are the ones with three flats (E-flat major, C minor)...

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Mouse
October 24, 2020 - 8:03 am
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This is a funny thread. First, I have an issue the minute I see a key with a flat. I think it is ingrained when we learn music.

Think about it, a B flat is just an A#. If it is written as a B flat it is more intimidating than if written as an A#, for me. There is a song I was working on on my viola and it has a G#. Not a problem, but if it was written as an A flat, I would have had issues. 

I think the reason is that the first keys we are generally introduced to are C, D and G. Sharps. Not flats. We get familiar with sharps and are comfortable. All of a sudden that funny looking flat is showing up. I suspect if we were introduced to flats first, we would have issues with sharps. 

Take a song with sharps, one you do not know, best if never even played. A song in G, that way you won’t have as many edits. Rewrite it so all the sharps are changed to their flats, and the key signature is C so there are no flats and sharps, I don’t know if there is a key with just a G flat, so just make it C. Write all the F# notes to a G flat. Any sharp in the entire song is changed to its flat note. If there is a D#, make it E flat, etc. Now play the song with all flats.  

Now, play it as written with the sharps, in the key of G. Which was easier, or more comfortable? If the song, when changed to flats and played, was too easy and was memorized when trying it with flats, take a different new never played song in G and play that as written with the sharps. Which was easier to play the first couple go rounds? The one with the G flats or F sharps? I hope I said everything there correctly.

I think familiarity from learning sharps first plays a mental trick on us with learning and playing keys in flats and songs with flats, until we have done it as often as the songs and keys with sharps. Just my thought.

Cello and Viola Time! 

(Former Username - cid)

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SharonC
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October 24, 2020 - 11:30 am
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Beginning string pieces start with the keys with sharps, so it makes sense that the sharps are easier to deal with because they are the ones that are most familiar.  The more pieces I play in keys with flats, the more comfortable I am with them.  When I’m working on a piece in a particular key, I do warm-ups, scales, etc., in that key.  It helps prepare my left hand shape (and my brain) for playing that piece. 

I do think becoming more familiar with key structure in general (whole & half steps) makes it easier to learn pieces in different keys.  That is, you are not just focusing on the individual notes.  I think it is comparable to learning how to type.  As you become more proficient at typing, your focus is on typing words, not individual letters.  That said, I keep a Circle of 5ths posted on the wall for reference.

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AndrewH
Sacramento, California
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October 24, 2020 - 2:36 pm
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When first learning, I found sharps easier because they were more familiar. We start learning with keys that start on open strings, which happen to all be keys with sharps. (For the same reason, wind players often prefer keys with flats.) And for the first ten years or so, sharps were easier to read. But at some point my preferences changed because reading in all keys became much more automatic: I started to prefer keys that fit my left hand shape, especially in third position, rather than keys that are easy to read.

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ELCB
Michigan, USA
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October 24, 2020 - 3:35 pm
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@SharonC -

I certainly agree with you. 

Actually, I probably place the most value on intervals and I'm sure I'm oversimplifying by just thinking "How far is that next note, up or down?", but that's really all I'm concerned with. 

 

@Mouse -

I know we discussed all this probably in the "Music Theory" section, but I can't help having a little fun, here.😏 

"Why G# and Ab are (not) the same: a summary"

https://pages.mtu.edu/~suits/WhyG.html   

I know it's been hard to get rid of your negative image of flats , but there's always a different way to view everything

Maybe you can have more fun playing, Mouse, if you can get yourself to just think sharp = ↑ and flat = ↓ 😊 

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/d8/5f/e1/d85fe146b2c4ae87264f7dd3813582ee.jpg

 

- Emily

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MrYikes
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November 14, 2020 - 7:04 pm
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Nope, I still vote to kick B off the island. Anything B can do, C can do better. an, an, an, I don't like dem coda things neither. I was marking'em wif a red ink pen and some lady came screaming at me ta use a pencil. I do crossword puzzles in ink cause I don't know how to refill a pencil. But never you mind, you guys take all the B's you want cause I hain't gonna use none of'em.

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ELCB
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November 14, 2020 - 7:44 pm
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@MrYikes -

What about B flat?

PLEASE don't say you aren't going to participate in the "Let It Snow" GP because of B flats!? 🤨
You should be relieved there's no coda symbol in "Let It Snow", everything's just written out. 😊

- Emily

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