The Minor Key


Here’s where I launch off into an area in which I have not expertise. That never stopped me before.

I’ve been following the campaign of the presumptive President Hillary Clinton since she first announced. This is not about Clinton’s job history, and it’s not about her policy positions. Let’s talk about tone.

On the subject of tone, look at the notes pictured above. Those are the first four notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. The same note repeated three times in rapid succession, followed by a lower note, stretched out. Observe it’s in a minor key. It’s the voice of doom.

Now, let’s listen to candidate Clinton’s speaking tone. Here she is on the PRC’s forced abortion policy, a very serious issue. It’s a video clip. You’re going to need to have the sound turned on. Just listen to a couple of sentences from her, and then you can shut down the video and continue reading.

“I consider any governmental imposition that imposes government policy on women to be absolutely unacceptable.” That’s a laudable statement The problem is it’s in the wrong key. If this were a piece of music, this would be a major key, much like Beethoven’s much brighter and joyful Sixth Symphony. Madam Secretary, if you don’t want to sound serious, if you don’t want to sound sincere, this is the way to do it.

I am the last person you want as an authority public speaking. However, I have made a study of great speakers of the 20th century, and I have my ideas about what made them effective. Here is another 20th century speaker recognized for his ability. Don’t get carried away. Listen to a few sentences, and then get back to reading.

Let me know if you agree, but this is a minor key. It’s the voice of doom. Here’s another famous speaker of the era:

Here is a previous United States president.

Adolf Hitler’s speeches delivered a modern western nation to the gates of Hell. Winston Churchill promised his people blood, sweat and tears. President Roosevelt did not have to remind Americans that thousands of their countrymen were about to die. All these speakers were convincing in their tone.

Secretary Clinton, if you want to be convincing, if you want your words to be appreciated, then you need to quit talking like a little girl trying to please her mother. You need to end your sentences on a down note. Your tone needs to remind people, “If I am not right, then we are all going to die.” And you need to deliver it in a minor key.

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