In the last two days of 2016 certain things regarding key shifts became clear.

E major no longer exists in the original. All pieces that I know are in E major I now hear in F major from the start. Two examples seemed to clinch this fact. Ursula played Beethoven’s early Piano Sonata in E and it sounded in F from the first note. On the radio a performance of Chopin’s Scherzo in E wasn’t for me – it was in F.

During our New Year celebrations, we had allowed YouTube to choose the order of background musical events starting with Alfred Brendel playing Schubert’s Impromptues. The one in E flat major with its running right hand I know under my fingers so well that I can, for a party piece,  dislocate the right hand from the left allowing the right to end up well ahead of its partner. Well, it was in E major in sound, demonstrating as 2017 starts that E flat major is going the way of E major (both imitating what has happened to that key as well becoming that key). The contrasting B minor sections of the same Impromptu were however solidly in B minor.

Later, thanks to YouTube’s algorithm for choices for the Westwoods’ Google identity, Mr Brendel was required to play Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto. According to my altered key sense he was required to play it in E major. But, of course, he wasn’t.

One more bit of evidence for how far the cahnges have gone since I first noticed them relates to Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony, mentioned more than once in these reflections: I turned on my car radio when leaving the hospital to find myself in the middle of the first movement of the symphony. I wondered which key I would hear it in. Once it had worked out where we were among the modulations in the movement, it was clear that Felix’ A major that he had battled with (see the A major Keynotes programme) was in B flat. Maybe he should have done it all in that key to start with! It sounded perfectly good. But there was further evidence of the complexity of this change process as we moved from movement 1 to movement 2. The B flat note at the top of the solid B flat final chord of movement 1 became a clear A note as the strings started the movement 2. Same note, different sound yet the same pitch. Was it because I was anticipating the D minor of this movement, D minor being a key that has not begun its migration in my sensory apparatus to the same extent as most other common keys? or was it because I know the sound of an A in this context very well and this foundation is reinforced by A being the tuning note for orchestras?