Class Notes: Major and Minor -- What's the Difference?

Class Notes: Major and MinorClassical MPR

April 13, 2015

In music, "major" and "minor" refer to keys, scales, intervals, and chords. They also sometimes appear in the title of an overall work, or of a movement or section within a work.

Just as a painter favors and combines colors to create various effects, a composer casts music into major or minor to give it a particular mood, atmosphere, or intensity.

But what exactly are major and minor? Most musicians and listeners have a grasp of their effects without always understanding how they work. The video Major and Minor: What's the Difference? introduces the concept with the help of two unlikely friends, a bluebird named Oliver and a lumberjack called Jack.

For younger kids who are completely unfamiliar with the concept, the video can be played and replayed simply to show some of the different feelings major and minor evoke. For older kids and adults who have a little more background, it begins to flesh out some of the technical differences between the two, linking their different structural makeups with their emotional effects.

To view more Class Notes™ videos, go here.