What Is a Key? Why Does a Composer Pick a Specific Key?

Guest Bruce Adolphe   [Website]
Episode #29
Original Air Date November 25, 2006
Bruce is someone I've known for much of my life. When I attended Juilliard's Pre-College Division, after a certain number of years they put us in the "Advanced" Theory class, where we stayed until we graduated from High School. Some students were there for one year, others for five or six, depending on their age and training when they entered the school. This meant that the class was made up of many hotshots, but all with varying levels of experience and knowledge. Some kids knew so much, I bet I would still find them intimidating! Who to handle such a motley crew? Bruce Adolphe, of course. He managed to challenge even the masters while engaging all of us and teaching us endless amounts about music and its theory. His class was one I looked forward to even in the fourth or fifth year (who remembers?) that I took it. Mr. Adolphe (as I am still wont to call him) was intelligent, clever, insightful, thought-provoking, and, probably most importantly, very, very funny! Over the years, I've gotten to know Bruce as a composer as well, and as a radio personality from NPR's Piano Puzzlers. Since his talent has so many facets, I knew he'd be a natural for our listener question about keys. The teacher, the composer, the theorist, and the radio voice all came together for one of my favorite Dial-a-Musicians.
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