Why a composer would decide to write certain work in let's say D flat rather than D? If some of the elements have certain limits in their pitch, especially singers, it may justify even a semitone of precision but when the limits are wide enough, what would lead a composer to choose certain tonality?


1 Answer 1


There are numerous reasons why a composer would write a work in a certain key. If the composer is writing a song for a vocalist, the key may be chosen to work well with the singer's vocal range. For songs with bowed string instruments, those usually favor keys such as C,G,D, or A. The reason being, those are the open strings on the cello and thus make it feel more natural to play. So bowed string instruments are typically more comfortable when playing in keys that have sharps. Horn instruments are typically more comfortable playing in keys that have flats.

The composer could also just like the way that playing their tune in a certain key feels. Sometimes I begin composing in a key like Eb on guitar, that I would not consider to be a very guitar friendly key, but it's because I like the sound and where it takes my melody. So sometimes, a composer might just feel a certain key.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.