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In IMSLP, "Der Leiermann" is in A minor.

But this performance is transposed to G minor.

Are my key identifications correct, and if so, why would Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Alfred Brendel (the pianist) lower the key?

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'Song identification,' i.e. 'What key is this in?' questions are off-topic here. There is a valid component to your question, however, so I've edited it to match. (Your key identifications are correct, but notice also that two of the editions on IMSLP are -not- in A minor.) – NReilingh Mar 26 '12 at 3:29
You are right about the off-topicness, I didn't notice that when I was posting to question. I started a vote to close. – iddober Mar 26 '12 at 8:06
Shouldn't the question be opened again now, what with it being a different question to the one which was closed? – Alex Apr 8 '12 at 18:22
up vote 4 down vote accepted

In songs for voice, the singer's range has to be taken into account. In the recording of Fischer-Dieskau, the key was lowered in order to accommodate for the range of his voice.

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Thanks, but is the performance really is in G minor? – iddober Mar 25 '12 at 18:22

The song was published in a key for a tenor, and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau is a baritone. So he asked the pianist to change it to a key that worked better with his voice.

Most art songs were in fact published in two editions, in different keys: one for soprano or tenor, and the same music in a lower key for alto or bass.

But any time any singer selects a song to perform or record, the singer can and should change the key to whatever works best for his or her voice. It has always been that way, in virtually all styles of music, everywhere in history.

It is only in the last 100 years, in the age of recorded music, that audiences have become accustomed to hearing a song in a certain key, usually based on what they hear in a hit recording.

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