Questions about the music produced or rooted in the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music during a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times.

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19
votes
3answers
6k views

How do classical composers write music?

I am starting to learn about music theory and today it hit me how do classical composers such as Mozart and Beethoven are able to write music for instruments they don't play, such as (for example ...
18
votes
10answers
1k views

Where do musicians draw their melodies from?

It has been in my head for so long. I am a visual artist, animator, I do motion graphics, 3D artwork and most of my work is done visually. I am puzzled by this question. Visual artists, they draw ...
17
votes
5answers
3k views

What is Voice Leading?

In both classical music and jazz, we often encounter the concept of voice leading. What is it?
17
votes
7answers
3k views

Why is the key included in classical music titles?

I was always curious why classical composers use names like this Étude in E-flat minor (Frédéric_Chopin) or Missa in G major (Johann Sebastian Bach). Is this from scales of this songs? Weren't they ...
12
votes
1answer
199 views

E flat or E natural in score of Beethoven String Quartet Op 131?

I have heard recordings of Beethoven's C sharp minor string quartet Op. 131 where, in bar 53 the third crotchet of the first violin part is played as E flat, and at least one recording where it is ...
11
votes
5answers
176 views

Why is the choice of key considered so fundamental in Classical music that it often effectively becomes part of the name of the composition? [duplicate]

I often hear references to, e.g., "Bach's Fugue in G Minor," sometimes with a number (something like "Bach's Fugue in G Minor #13"). Why is the key of the piece so important that it becomes part of ...
11
votes
1answer
724 views

Can someone explain the rhythm of a Mazurka?

While perusing some Chopin and Liszt sheets, I tried to play a Mazurka or two. But, I simply don't understand how the rhythm works. It feels awkward and unbalanced when I try and I just don't get it, ...
11
votes
2answers
753 views

Classical examples of a 'fifth voice' or 'ghost soprano'

There is an interesting phenomenon in choral (and perhaps also instrumental?) singing in which typically four voices are arranges in such a way that a 'fifth voice' or 'ghost voice' can be heard. It ...
10
votes
1answer
943 views

Vivaldi's “The Four Seasons”, Who Chose the Title?

Did Vivaldi himself choose the title "The Four Seasons" and the titles for each of the four concerto, or they're chosen by publishers?
9
votes
1answer
166 views

Earliest-*known* use of a double leading tone cadence?

Background For those who do not know, the double leading tone cadence was perhaps the single defining characteristic of Ars Nova. Earlier music styles used much simpler cadences (movement by 3rds, ...
9
votes
2answers
228 views

Do classical and rock musicians train with different goals?

I expect most musicians aim to master the instrument they play. But articles & interviews I've read suggest that: Classical musicians: Place importance on precision and theoretical knowledge ...
9
votes
1answer
128 views

Is it considered poor skills if a (Western) classical singer has to cough during performance?

I was watching some videos of classical Indian (Carnatic) vocal concerts recently, and I noticed that from time to time the singers cough or clear their throats in the middle of a piece, even between ...
8
votes
5answers
2k views

How can I get a violin sound from my electric guitar?

I have composed a modern classical piece of music which has sections for violins, cellos, some horns and percussion. The problem is that I did all of that using an electric guitar, so I actually don't ...
8
votes
3answers
5k views

Classical music theory notation for chord inversions (figured bass)

In classical music harmony analysis, we see the chord inversions notated like I6/4, I6, V4/3. Examples: What are those numbers? How do they define the inversion? What's the theory behind using ...
8
votes
1answer
356 views

My guitar pupil is a pregnant woman. Should she keep playing classical guitar?

What are the consequences for the baby ? Are there any studies that would have noticed positive / negative consequences on the baby of the vibrations a classical guitar induces on the belly and the ...
8
votes
1answer
178 views

Did Rostropovich ever play his Humoresque himself?

"Humoresque" op.5 for cello and piano is the only piece composed by Mstislav Rostropovich himself. Did he ever play Humoresque himself? From some sources I know that he didn't, whereas other sources ...
7
votes
4answers
255 views

How to recognize the end of a piece of music

I'm a philistine, myself, but on the few occasions I've attended a classical-music performance, the audience seemed to know to applaud immediately after a piece ended, but to not applaud between ...
7
votes
6answers
1k views

Why do string players tend to breathe heavily in performance?

Recently, I've started to develop an interest in classical music, specifically chamber music and, more specifically, piano trios. Having listened to a few performances now, I can't help but notice ...
7
votes
1answer
341 views

What is the process by which singers identify their voice type/fach?

I am trying to gain insight about the process by which vocalists identify their voice type or fach. I am not looking for any discussion about the basic distinctions between, say, soprano and alto. ...
7
votes
3answers
338 views

Difference between variation and development

The question concerns western classical music. I have tried reading about and understanding the difference between variations and development, and what I understand is that development is more ...
7
votes
2answers
116 views

Beethoven repeated sforzando

In some Beethoven works (e.g. 8th symphony - first movement) there are some parts with repeated sforzando. Are these intended as simple sforzando or sforzando within crescendo? Is there any historical ...
7
votes
1answer
128 views

How to determine the pitch of the auxiliary note in an ornament

I thought that the auxiliary note of a lower mordent (or other ornaments) was simply the note before in the scale unless the mordent had an accidental on top of it. However, I ran into this ...
7
votes
2answers
254 views

Physiological basis for note durations?

For some reason (probably read something like this a long time ago), I have it in my head that there was some sort of physiological basis for some note durations. This may have been something like, a ...
6
votes
6answers
398 views

Do you have to enjoy a lot of music to make the investment of learning the piano worth it?

I'm currently learning how to play the piano and realizing there are actually not so many pieces that I would like to play. Over the years my taste in music has narrowed a lot. Even though I've tried ...
6
votes
1answer
3k views

What is “Sonata-Allegro form” and what other similar forms should I be aware of?

There are lots of classical pieces called "Sonata", and they usually have 3 movements. But there are guitar Sonatas by Paganini that only have 2 movements! And I heard there's a crazy Tchaikovsky -- ...
6
votes
2answers
641 views

Cello: Is it possible to play a double stop of a major 9th on the I and II strings?

The cello is using scordatura, the tuning is Cb Ab Eb Ab (from the fourth to the first string). I want to know if the following passage is possible, tempo is around 220~240 quarter notes per minute: ...
5
votes
7answers
9k views

Digital Pianos vs Old Upright Pianos for classical music

What should I take in consideration to make my final decision on selecting a $500-600 price range digital piano or old upright piano for classical music (practicing at home). Some part of me tells me ...
5
votes
2answers
226 views

Retrograde and Inverted songs

As there is very few people that know about this, here is the only place I can ask. I am looking for retrograde and inverted remakes of classical songs. Even better if they are being played ...
5
votes
2answers
237 views

Placement of F# on Alto Clef

For the past four or so years now, I have been playing the Viola. Y'all know what that means: Alto clef. Up until just a few weeks ago, I have always seen an F# displayed in a key signature like this: ...
5
votes
2answers
212 views

What made Mozart unique as an improviser?

Robert Levin states that Mozart improvised and has devised his own form of Mozart-like improvisation. What is known of Mozart's improvisation technique?
5
votes
2answers
234 views

How did JS Bach improvise?

Before his compositions were rediscovered JS Bach was not known as a composer--that Bach was CPE Bach--but as one of the foremost improvisers and performers of his time. What is known about JS Bach's ...
5
votes
2answers
133 views

Does improvisation in the classical idiom differ significantly from jazz and folk improvisation?

How do musicians who actually improvise in classical music, such as Robert Levine, JS Bach, Edgar Meyer, church organists and classical ballet pianists, compose in the moment? Are there any ...
4
votes
3answers
296 views

How to compose a simple “introduction” to a short musical piece?

I would like to add some music to a video clip I made (it lasts about 2 minutes). The video is basically some panoramic view of nature sights, nothing fancy. I am going to play a simple Sor's etude in ...
4
votes
2answers
103 views

What are the parts of a classical composition?

I'd like to learn the names of the different parts of classical musical compositions as compared to the literary work structure that has a beginning, the part where the plot thickens and the ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

How do I play these broken chords on a piano?

I have attached the starting of a waltz (A Flat Major Op. 39 No. 15) by Brahms. As you can see, the left hand plays broken chords while the right hand plays the chords normally. There are two ...
4
votes
3answers
676 views

What are some examples influences from external cultures on the development of Western classical music?

So, I think it's largely safe to presume that the core of Western musical theory developed almost entirely within Europe -- Greece in its very early history, mainly Italy and also the Franco-Flemish ...
4
votes
1answer
518 views

Is there such a thing as “pop music theory”?

There is large body of work describing the theory of Western classical music; I'm unaware of the state of analysis of popular music forms. Are the differences between, say post-50's American ...
4
votes
2answers
396 views

Classical music example for seamless transition from one section to other with changing keys

As a search for specific questions for this broad question (Changing key in a song convincingly), I am asking for "mainstream" classical music examples (pre-modern era and movie scores can be ...
4
votes
1answer
116 views

Are repeated octaves permissable in a fourt part SATB?

I am writing a four part SATB (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) and wanted to know if repeated (that is, successive) octaves are permissible? I know that parallel fifths/octaves are not allowed, but what ...
3
votes
6answers
482 views

How does a advanced classical pianist start to play pop music?

I consider myself an advanced classical pianist, being able to play many Etudes, Ballades and Sonatas by Beethoven, Liszt and Chopin, for example. However, I have been struggling to play pop music for ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

Can you help me expand this trill in Mozart's Sonata 16 (k545)?

I wonder if I am reading it wrong, or if i need much more practice on this segment. It simply doesn't sound right when I play it. Can you help me expand this trill into actual notes on the sheet ...
3
votes
3answers
51 views

Can anyone recommend a good resource of baroque cello etudes or exercises?

I'm trying to improve my upper position cello technique. Does anyone know of some good cello resources that are baroque in nature?
3
votes
1answer
768 views

What is texture, according to classical music theory?

Texture in a sound-design, acoustic, and sound engineering context refers to the harmonic content of a sound, its timbre. Now that I'm starting to dive into classical music theory, it seems that ...
3
votes
1answer
153 views

Stravinsky's opera “Mavra” and its influence upon the popular song “Katyusha” by Blanter

In Wikipedia (Spanish Edition), and all over the Internet, you can see this paragraph (or similar) about the song popular Russian song "Katyusha". Some critics believe that Katyusha was not a ...
3
votes
2answers
344 views

Absolute Beginner wants to play Jazz Piano

Alright people, I have successfully tamed the beasts calling themselves my "parents". Now I am a free mind with money of his own to play music again. I have a CTK-451 which basically is a 61 keyboard ...
2
votes
2answers
389 views

Hannon or Czerny

What are the best exercises for someone who had played the piano for 3 years but has had a 4 year break and wants to get back into playing, Hannon or Czerny?
2
votes
2answers
654 views

Interpreting ornamentation in Haydn Piano Sonata in G Major Hob. XVI: 8

This is the first movement of sonata in G Major Hob. XVI: 8 by Haydn: In bars 6, 8 and 12 there are trills (presumably in 8), but each one is represented a little bit differently. In bar 6 there ...
2
votes
4answers
1k views

How difficult is it to play Beethoven's (Emperor) Piano Concerto No. 5?

At what ABRSM grade would it be sensible to attempt the piano component of this sublime piece of music?
2
votes
2answers
81 views

Classical music vs March music relationship

What is the relationship between March music and Classical music? To the non-musician they seem to be interchangeable or at least largely overlapping. But I find March songs much more enjoyable and ...
2
votes
1answer
141 views

Counterpoint midi collection

I want to extract characteristics from counterpoint music for research purposes. Therefore I need a collection of midi (or musicxml or krn) files. I am aware of the kernscore database, this website, ...