The way individual pitches interact when grouped to bring structure to music.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

8
votes
3answers
2k views

Is there some trick for counterpoint beyond 2 voices?

I really suck at chord harmony, so whenever I compose, I tend to use counterpoint a lot. Counterpoint is somewhat easy when you just have two voices. Because I just compose for fun, I generally do ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

In Jazz, what is an avoid note?

Why are some scale degrees avoided? What is the reasoning behind the avoid notes? Are there avoid notes in all modes? If so, which are the avoid notes of the different modes? Is this pattern widely ...
8
votes
3answers
303 views

How to establish a mode?

I would like to learn about the art of establishing a mode. For example, how to make A minor sound like A minor instead of C major.
8
votes
3answers
5k views

F# major vs Gb major?

I was looking at Dvorak's Humoresque (op 101 n 7) : it's mostly in Gb major, in the middle it changes to F# minor. This would have looked more natural for me if F# major instead of Gb major were ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Harmony analysis program

Is there any computer program that automatically analyzes harmony given the score? I refer specifically to roman numeral analysis and functional harmony.
8
votes
2answers
2k views

In jazz, what is an upper structure triad?

What is upper structure? Which are the upper structure triads? How are they used?
8
votes
2answers
3k views

Using modes and static harmony

Edit: i know what modes are and how they are related to major scale..etc. question is about modal harmony and chord progression in modal harmony. not what is a mode and name of other modes..etc What ...
8
votes
2answers
5k views

Ic-V-I perfect cadence progression SATB part writing rules

I am studying Music at AS-level - we have to harmonise a soprano line (in any style we wish I believe) with the alto, tenor and bass parts. One possible perfect cadence I have been taught is the ...
8
votes
1answer
322 views

What is the four tonic system?

What is the four tonic system? What's the theory behind it? How is it used in improvisation, harmonization, reharmonization?
7
votes
5answers
858 views

How do enharmonic notes affect harmony and chord progressions?

Quoting the Wikipedia article: The notes C♯ and D♭ are enharmonic (or enharmonically equivalent) notes. Namely, they are the same key on a keyboard, and thus they are identical in pitch, although ...
7
votes
2answers
4k views

Parallel octaves vs doubled octaves

I've read this Wikipedia article on parallel fifths, which also touched on parallel octaves. However, I'm having difficulty understanding the difference between doubled and parallel octaves. I think I ...
7
votes
3answers
101 views

Harmonic implications of an instrument's timbre

Is there a study of harmonic implications of an instrument's timbre in western music theory? For example: If i use an instrument with a "rich" timbre, with lots of overtones, then isn't the sound ...
7
votes
4answers
806 views

What Happens To The Melody When Played In A Different Key

What happens to notation (e.g. a melody line) when a tune is played in a different key than the one it was written in? Do the notes alter in any way or do they always stay the same as originally ...
7
votes
3answers
281 views

Dealing with synthesized sounds where only a subset of tones sound good

I created a heavily modulated and filtered bass sound on F-1 but cannot play anything other than the F-1 itself and its # as the rest have too many conflicting frequencies. How can these two keys be ...
7
votes
3answers
202 views

Modern Harmonic Movements

I know quite a bit about the progression of harmony during the common practice period and up to basic jazz theory, but anything beyond the early 20th century just drops off for me. I know a little ...
7
votes
2answers
484 views

How far do the supporting chords contribute to the tonality of Vi Hart's “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, and if they do, how?

Vi Hart, a mathemusician (cool eh!) at the Khan Academy posted an excellent video explaining 12 Tone music. She first explains the rules thus: You have to use all twelve chromatic pitches in some ...
7
votes
3answers
540 views

How do you compose tuplets against straight notes?

I would like to know how to compose tuplets of odd numbers against even numbers on the piano (ie. 3 against 2). How would you go around composing something like this? I have been composing for some ...
7
votes
2answers
444 views

Accidentals in First Species Counterpoint

On page 39 of Alfred Mann's The Study of Counterpoint there is a passage concerning justification of using accidentals in first species counterpoint. Here is the passage: Aloys: [...]but why did ...
7
votes
2answers
394 views

How to make C lydian not sound like G ionian?

What are some concrete melodic and harmonic tools to establish the correct tonic center in a lydian melody? The reason for asking about lydian specifically is that there is no minor seventh for the ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

Is there any other blues chord progression?

I've seen many blues songs, with progression: I / / / | I / / / | I / / / | I / / / | IV / / / | IV / / / | IV / / / | IV / / / | V / / / | V / / / | I / / / | I / / / | or I / / / | I ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Why does the IV - V♯ - I chord progression work so well?

The song Long Away by Queen does this, but it's a pattern you'll probably find in many songs. Basically, I've noticed that when moving from IV to I, a V♯ or V♯maj7 chord is sometimes used as a ...
6
votes
4answers
224 views

What are some harmonic options for layering guitar lines while recording?

I would like to layer multiple guitar lines for a section of a song that I'm working on. What are some harmonic variations that I would be able to use?
6
votes
3answers
2k views

What is a parallel mode?

What is a parallel mode? How are the parallel modes used in composition and/or improvisation?
6
votes
4answers
161 views

Proper understanding of dissonance

I have recently had a big eye opener with one of my guitar pieces in how it uses dissonance in a musical way to make interesting music. I have always thought that for music to be dissonant is for it ...
6
votes
1answer
501 views

Rules of how the bass should (and should not) move in chord progressions

I've seen questions and answers regarding certain rules how the bass should move and resolve from one chord to another (especially when a chord is in an inversion and the bass note is not the root ...
6
votes
1answer
138 views

Songs that resolve late

I was recently listening to Slide Away by Oasis and could not help but notice how the song hits the I chord a whole minute in the song (the "now that you're mine"). I really loved this move and was ...
6
votes
2answers
258 views

Roman Analysis of “Ab B G” chord

I am currently analyzing a bit of music for homework which consists of four voices (string quartet). It is in the key of G Major, but the chord that it ends on, is a Ab on the cello, B on the Viola, ...
6
votes
1answer
274 views

Harmonic analysis of the B section of “Have You Met Miss Jones”

I've been studying the standard Have You Met Miss Jones and I came across a very interesting chord progression in the B section of the piece. The A section is pretty typical and the key it's in is F ...
6
votes
3answers
608 views

What does the indication 9 7 mean?

I' m studying classical harmony, and on the chapter with the V9, I came upon this numbered bass: What does 9 7 mean? I know that it includes the 9th, but why is there the 7th there? Does it tell me ...
6
votes
1answer
511 views

Is the bass note of a chord the only indicative of its [the chord's] inversion?

If a C major chord is voiced as (from low to high) E-G-C, it is said to be in first inversion , if it is voiced as G-C-E, it is the second inversion. But the resources I have read do not specify if a ...
6
votes
2answers
188 views

Notation used for harmonic context

Could someone please explain what it means to say, "the harmonic context of V/V-V-I". How should one read this? It would be nice if you could also give two or three examples if you think it would ...
6
votes
2answers
404 views

Voice-leading with three chords in first inversion?

Hey guys just keeping my part writing skills sharp (not flat) for the long summer. I got this out of Assignment 9.4 of Robert W. Ottman's "Elementary Harmony." It's in G♭ major. I was already given ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

Modal chord progressions for Rock music

I need some solid understanding on modal chord progressions. I would be glad if you can explain and give examples this especially from a rock or blues music perspective
6
votes
3answers
191 views

“Tritone” intervals in n-tone equal temperament

In 12-tone equal temperament, the tritone interval is made of three whole tones (six semitones) and is considered, if I am not mistaken totally, as the most dissonant interval. I have two questions: ...
6
votes
2answers
639 views

Minor scale chord substitution

Considering the C major scale we can build the following table of chord function families: To a certain extent, inside each family chords can be interchanged to give a different flavour to a music ...
6
votes
2answers
587 views

Which notes are bass line, versus melody line, in a rock song?

I'm actually learning piano, and in piano i can play the bass with my left hand and the melody with my right hand. But it doesn't seem to be the case with guitars and i assume that one guitar should ...
6
votes
3answers
658 views

How do I learn to detect chord voicing by ear?

When I hear music what I can consciously detect is the top melody note and the chord as a whole, for eg "that is a C sung over an A min". However, I am unable to detect how the chord is voiced, as in ...
6
votes
1answer
311 views

What are the Coltrane Changes?

Also known as Coltrane Matrix, Coltrane Cycle, chromatic third relations, and multi-tonic changes. What are the Coltrane Changes? What's the theory behind them? How are they used in improvisation, ...
5
votes
2answers
781 views

Name for a group of notes made up of a root, major third, and perfect 4th?

I'm looking at the song One thing leads to another by the Fixx. Throughout the song, the guitarist plays the highest three strings at the 5th fret (giving C E A). Correct me if I am wrong, but the C ...
5
votes
3answers
749 views

Is two singing voices occasionaly being unison “allowed”?

I was writing a lower harmony to an existing (rock) lead voice with a given chord progression and there is a point in time, where it seems like the two voices need to sing the very same note. The only ...
5
votes
3answers
304 views

Using flatted third in 12 bar blues

I've found that when playing the last four bars of the 12 bar blues (V IV I I) with triads (in a typical 70s rock fashion) that inserting a major triad on the flatted third sounds really good as a ...
5
votes
2answers
954 views

Differentiating between II and II7 (secondary dominant V of V)

I'm studying harmony and start to make roman numeral analysis on Bach pieces. I often mistake a II (second degree) for a secondary dominant on the 2nd degree(V7 of V). I guess there are some notes ...
5
votes
2answers
400 views

7th chord notation confusion

I simply cannot understand the notation used in this question: I need to express this chord in 4-part, open or closed position; I just can't seem to understand how the notation works. I know that ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

What is melodic inversion and how to do it?

I understood how to invert the chords (moving the bass note an octave above). When it comes to melodies I have seen many examples on the net but cant seem to understand the idea behind it. This ...
5
votes
2answers
524 views

A triad is 3 notes, but on guitar, we strum more than 3 strings?

In music theory, I see that a triad is a chord built with three notes. Take Emaj in example; it is built with E,G#,B. But why when we strum all the six strings of the guitar does the harmony still ...
5
votes
1answer
438 views

Harmonizing Bourrée in E minor

Out of interest and just to give myself practice in part-writing, I've been trying to harmonize the popular Bach Bourrée in E minor from his lute suite. It only has two voices, so there is a lot of ...
5
votes
3answers
575 views

Finding advanced chords for melody

I can find basic chords for most of the "normal" melodies by ear, but I can't find right "Jazz" chords like 7th chords..(advanced chords). Well,I'm not bad in chord theory. what do I need to study in ...
5
votes
1answer
228 views

Relation of the diminished chord to the circle of fifths?

Within each key there are seven chords. If I understand it correctly the "first" six correspond to the minor and major variants of the current key and its immediate neighbors in the circle of fifths, ...
5
votes
3answers
796 views

How do you write successive, non-functional chord progressions?

Elements of non-functional harmony is ubiquitous among contemporary music creations. In most cases, it materializes in the way of non-functional chord progressions, which are characterized by its ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Composing chord progressions for samba

I know that there are questions on samba chords, samba rhythm, samba shapes and samba melody but, as far as I am aware, this site does not have a question about the tonality and harmony of samba ...