Radio broadcasts have always facilitated imagination; among producers and hosts to be sure, but also, significantly, the listeners. From baseball games to symphony concerts and dramatic plays to breaking news, radio has an illustrious history as a catalyst for creativity.
In 2012-2013, the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) radio host Paolo Pietropaolo launched The Signature Series, featuring a different, short, provocative story each week. Pietropaolo told the story of a musical key signature by imaging what the music represented in a personality: Who is G minor? What does D major like to do in her spare time? Which is the friendliest key?
The connection between musical keys and human emotions is an emerging research area. But composers have always made choices about the key in which their ideas are “placed,” thereby influencing our perception of the music’s meaning(s). Pietropaolo took this process one step further to explore and experiment, coming up with a cohort of characters based on musical keys.
The CBC series is extremely well done, and has won a number of prestigious radio awards since its launch. The content is disarming and fanciful, but it also makes you wonder, and maybe inspires you to listen differently.
For the final weeks of ordinary time, Sound Theology will point you to The Signature Series, as well as offering you the full version of some of the series’ highlighted selections.
Tell us what you think! Does the presented personality resonate with you? What would you say about the weekly key? How does it make you feel?
Share your thoughts in the comments, and happy listening!
The link below takes you to the CBC site where you can explore the resources provided for each key. There is a Sound Cloud recording of the original radio broadcast for the key, along with other material. Click on the Sound Cloud link if you want to listen in your browser, or subscribe to Sound Cloud and follow the CBC Signature Series.
Link to full versions of a selection of the G minor pieces: