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May 27, 2021 6:35 am  #21

Re: Eurovision 2021 Rotterdam

I've just listened to the BBC More or Less podcast which covered the UK's loss at Eurovision amongst other things:

They mentioned a couple of things:
- the UK tend to vote for Lithuania, as do Ireland and Norway. 
- the top coutnries for Lithuanians to emigrate to are the UK, Ireland and Norway so there may be diaspora voting.   - - - there are now 39 contestants, up from 20 forty years ago, so harder to win
- contestants used to have to sing in their native language, which gave UK and Ireland a big advantage who could sing in English, one of the international languages of pop
- songs in minor keys tend to win Eurovision recently, and all of this years top ten were in a minor key, and three of the bottom four were major (UK's entry was in a major key).

I thought the last point was very interesting!  So I had another look and came across this twitter thread;  
and yet another More or Less podcast

I did not know this!  The twitter thread is really interesting and I had a look at the author's guide to Eurovision 2021 here which gives all the tempo, key, etc. information, and has a guide to the characteristics of the winners and losers from previous years.  Wish I had seen it before and will check him out in 2022 if I remember!

Last edited by Liberty (May 27, 2021 6:51 am)


May 27, 2021 3:56 pm  #22

Re: Eurovision 2021 Rotterdam

You keep finding more interesting stuff! 
I had noticed that some songs had key changes, but I hadn't paid attention to how many or which songs had major or minor keys. I wonder if it's related to a wider trend in pop music or not. I don't think I know enough about current music to give a fair assessment of that, but I feel like a lot of the songs sound of their time, so maybe? 
The comment about the lack of success for key changes is interesting because (if you don't mind me going there yet again) when Daði Freyr was writing Think About Things he wanted to include in the song and the performance various elements of previous Eurovision songs, (it's kind of a Eurovision pastiche as well as a song in his own style). The song went viral and while it follows the success of songs in minor keys recently (according to a brief Google search I did just now, even though from listening to it I suspected it was in minor) it also has a key change. A lot of people thought it would have won if there was a real competition in 2020 (although who knows what could have happened if it really went ahead). I just think it's interesting that there's this trend, but it's possible to break from it somewhat.
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May 27, 2021 5:12 pm  #23

Re: Eurovision 2021 Rotterdam

I think the key change is a bit of a standing joke!  Apparently there's a drinking game where you have a drink whenever there's a key change, but it seems as though there aren't as many now... apparently many more in 2000.  It used to be a bit of a cliche with boy bands, if I remember too, years ago.  Kind of funny to put one in as a pastiche element, though, I like that!  Yes, I wonder if Iceland would have won in 2020.  The song definitely got a lot of buzz.  I see he is touring near me in November!  Hopefully the tour will sell well and bring more acclaim.

I'd love to know more about why people are choosing minor keys.  The articles seemed to be saying that it's because things are gloomier now, but you would think people might want something in a major key to cheer them up?  But the UK entry was cheerful and major and obviously did not appeal at all.  I found it a bit bland.  Whereas the San Marino entry was in a minor key but had more of a bouncy, party feel for me. 


May 27, 2021 7:10 pm  #24

Re: Eurovision 2021 Rotterdam

Yes, it's funny how that works, depending on what someone does with the notes in the scale! Even though we think minor = sad, you can still make a fun or happy song with it. A much older example would be the jazz standard Blue Skies.
Maybe it's because the notes in a minor scale give the songs a bit of an edge that major doesn't have? Jazz improvisation plays those "colourful" notes, too, playing with semitones sometimes or use Blues scales and others  that aren't your plain major scale. Maybe it sounds more interesting?

That's funny about the key changes. I never listened to much boy band music, but now that you mention it, I do remember the songs I've heard using a key change. I can imagine it could feel formulaic if you heard many songs in a row with a key change. I guess it depends on the song.
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