How does the listener (subconsciously) know what scale a melody is being played in?

I made a simple melody in FL studio that was in C Major. The melody consisted of two phrases both of which started on D. The only difference between the two is the second phrase ended on C (the tonic of C major). The only problem is, it didn’t feel resolved ending on the tonic like I thought it would. When I changed the last note of the tonic to a D it sounded resolved even though D is not the tonic of C Major. After looking further into it, I realized that all the notes I used were also in D Dorian as well as C Major. So, my question is what defines a melody as being in a certain key to the listener? What makes the listener want to hear notes in a certain scale within a melody or resolve on the tonic of a certain scale?
 
The only people thinking about what the scale is are other producers/musicians. Probably 90% of people never thought about a scale or even know what a key is. Subconsciously they interpret the mood of the notes and associate it with their own imagery and feelings, so its your job as a producer give them enough to work with, but the advanced theory doesn't even matter as long as it sounds good. I mean Cmajor and Aminor is the same shit, ya know? All that matters is that it sounds good. Sry that doesnt really answer your question, just my thoughts...
 
The only people thinking about what the scale is are other producers/musicians. Probably 90% of people never thought about a scale or even know what a key is. Subconsciously they interpret the mood of the notes and associate it with their own imagery and feelings, so its your job as a producer give them enough to work with, but the advanced theory doesn't even matter as long as it sounds good. I mean Cmajor and Aminor is the same shit, ya know? All that matters is that it sounds good. Sry that doesnt really answer your question, just my thoughts...
Thanks! Appreciate the input
 

Comp

Compassionate beats
Battle Points: 1
I agree with all the above, just go by what sounds good. If it sounds good, it is good.
Also more technical, you started all the phrases on D, so that sets the root for the listener to D. Hence you felt the resolving with the D at the end. If you really want C, try to play around the C and kind off pull the listener towards it.

But again, if it sounds good, it is good :)
 

2GooD Productions

Its a fucking conspiracy!
*** ill o.g. ***
Battle Points: 372
Im going to disagree with you on that one @2GooD Productions, as music creators it is our job to be able to explain the why. We know for example that major chords sound happier than minor chords, diminished chords even more so. We need to understand it so we can create those unexplainable experiences for others.
But you are talking about how things affect us consciously, the subconscious by its very definition is beyond our recognition until it manifests in dreams and such.
Unexplainable and subconscious are two different things.
Music can affect us emotionally without it being subconscious, we perceive music consciously so it affects us emotionally.
Im just being pedantic about the use of the word subconscious, where hypnotic triggers are often placed as to be imperceptible to the conscious mind so go unnoticed.
 
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