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Mohammad Ali1

Senior Member
. The man continued talking, as if he didn’t hear the music. Avidly, the woman listened to the sombre, distinctive notes in a minor—“misty”—key. She didn’t register the man’s words, but his voice was suffused with the melancholy beauty of the music, and she felt that she loved him or might love him. He will be the one. It’s time.
Mastiff By Joyce Carol Oates
Q: what the word "misty" means here?. Of cource there is song named Misty.
  • Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    English - the Queen's
    Hi MA1, Western music written in a major key usually tends to be mainly bright, bold, clear - you know where it's going, there aren't usually many surprises if it stays in the same key (and doesn't modulate to another key).
    Music written in a minor key has the ability to convey more subtle shades of feeling or mood which are less clear, maybe they are obscure - in your context the sound is described as "sombre" and having "melancholic beauty".
    So it's a comparison between "bright and clear" (major key) and "misty and obscure" (minor key).
    Last edited:

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Your guess is as good as that of most readers, I think. "Misty" means "like mist", by which it almost certainly means the weather phenomenon, typically present in the early morning as the moisture in the air condenses. Apart from obscuring distant objects, it also softens outlines and colours. How this relates to a minor key, I could not say.
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