The Key of Novels


For The Believer Logger, Prashanth Ramakrishna, Theodore Gioia, and Claire Boyle ask the question: if novels were music, in which key would they be written? The post characterizes a couple of musical keys and gives examples of corresponding works of fiction. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, for example, would be in C minor:

“[A] declaration of love and at the same time the lament of unhappy love. All languishing, longing, sighing of the love-sick soul lies in this key.”

Stephanie Bento is a writer, classical cellist, and photographer living in Washington, DC. In her writing, she is interested in exploring the musicality of sound and form, and our connection to time and place. Find out more about her creative work at, or say hello/bonjour on Twitter @saudadebelle. More from this author →