When I was in my undergrad, I write a huge report on the “Doctrine of the Affections” which analyzed the tuning systems of the first few hundred years of pianos, the “feelings” that were associated with each key, and why composers liked specific keys for specific purposes. So, I was delighted to find this recently:
Classical Composers’ Favorite Keys
I thought this infographic might be interesting to my classical music friends. Beethoven seemed to love Eb Major and Mozart loved C Major (no surprise there)…but check out the graphic for other interesting details! Though we usually use some form of equal temperment these days, I still feel like certain keys have different moods. This is probably because of the history of piano pieces we have in specific keys (lots of D Major pieces that are triumphant since that particular key was really good for that mood in the and 17th and 18th centuries, so we often associated D Major with a royal and triumphant sound). Nonetheless, there might be something to the doctrine still in our day. What do you think? Do you have a favorite key? Please comment below!
The bottom half of the key represents Major keys and the top half of a key represents minor keys. The N value represents the number of compositions that were analyzed and the percentage recorded indicates the most often used key by that composer.