I am interested in the etymology of the term "low key" (in the sense of "being restrained"). I found two theories online – one is that it comes from a photography technique often used in noir movies where the "key light" is placed in a low position which causes hushed tones and shadows. This seems to be the more substantiated version (see here and here for example). The other theory is that it arises from the world of music where lower keys sound more restrained (see here). Which of these is the correct etymology? Any references would be much appreciated.
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