Use this tag for questions about musical terms. Questions about symbols should use the "notation" tag.

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5
votes
4answers
240 views

Difference between keys and scales?

I am a Tabla (a North Indian percussion instrument) player and I am trying to learn the western music theory. My study was going well until I stumbled upon keys and scales. Now though I know what ...
3
votes
4answers
279 views

name of the strumming technique

I was watching the following video: Can you please tell me the name of the strumming technique the guitarist used in the beginning of the video? I have been looking ...
2
votes
1answer
38 views

Definition of Sonority for Flutists

I have not been able to find a specific explanation of what "Sonorous" or "Sonority" means for a Flutist. I have a vague understanding that it refers to sound quality. Can anyone please help me to ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

The importance of cut time [duplicate]

I have wondered for a while what the purpose of Cut Time (2/2) actual is. While studying music theory I've always been told the reason is to reduce the use of eighth notes and sixteenth notes in a ...
16
votes
7answers
12k views

What is the definition of 'playing in the pocket'?

The phrase 'playing in the pocket' is used sometimes, in jazz, hip hop, funk etc. It sometimes refers to the way a drummer plays, sometimes to how an ensemble works together. I've Googled the term, ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there a specific name for music that sounds like it has no rests?

Example: Prelude no. 2 from Bach’s “Well-Tempered Clavier”. That piece sounds like it has no rests. It’s a constant flow of music the entire time. I love pieces like that. I want to know if there’s a ...
5
votes
2answers
111 views

Is there a name for the sound of a performer physically interacting with their instrument?

Is there a name for the sound produced by the mechanical action of a musical instrument? I'm referring specifically to sounds not usually associated with the instrument's voice—the movement of a ...
1
vote
2answers
134 views
11
votes
4answers
2k views

What are some interesting ways notes and chords are spelled in cultures outside of the U.S.?

I've heard that German musicians spell the seventh note of the C major scale with an "H" where an American musician would use a "B". And, for the fourth note of the F major scale, where an American ...
8
votes
4answers
241 views

Is there a more specific name for this instrument than “PVC instrument”?

After hearing a number of covers performed on instruments like the one below, I was wondering if someone has come up with a better name for this instrument than "PVC instrument".
13
votes
4answers
660 views

What is this type of shift called?

In a lot of (usually electronic) music, I notice a section of music that seems to shift up a number of notes and continue with a similar melody in a way that greatly emphasizes the melody. Does this ...
0
votes
1answer
44 views

Fast note progression - Terminology

I have no idea how to call these. basically, it is when you have fast long strings of note progressions, spanning multiple octaves. These would be my examples, as I don't know how to describe it: The ...
15
votes
1answer
4k views

What does it mean to play in an 'arpeggiated' style on the guitar?

I sometimes hear a guitar player described as having an 'arpeggiated' style, such as Peter Buck of R.E.M. I know that an arpeggio is the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 8th of a scale, but exactly what does it ...
24
votes
5answers
41k views

What is the difference between a riff and a lick?

That's it. I was wondering what is the difference between a riff and a lick. The Wikipedia page for lick is somewhat confusing-- what do you think?
4
votes
3answers
178 views

Why is a major second not called a perfect second? [duplicate]

Apart from a second, intervals can be described as either {Diminished, Perfect, Augmented} or {Dim, Minor, Major, Aug} depending on whether or not the major and minor scale share that interval. For ...
13
votes
2answers
9k views

What is an “open tuning”?

I know that Keith Richards has been known to use open tunings on some songs, but what is an open tuning exactly and when/why would you use it?
0
votes
1answer
44 views

Terminology queries

I'm new to music and just getting to know the terms, so I read a bit on sites like wikipedia and watched some videos, but I still find hard to answer the following things about Copland's 1938 Billy ...
4
votes
2answers
90 views

What do the ratios of the partials in inharmonic spectra deviate from?

There is a paragraph where author talks about harmonic and inharmonic spectra, and he points out that the harmonic spectra have partials that deviate from the precise ratios (for example the term "...
2
votes
1answer
262 views

What is a “stunt guitarist”?

Snarky Puppy's about page (with profiles of the artists) says this about guitarist Mark Lettieri: Mark Lettieri is a guitarist, composer and sometimes producer residing in Fort Worth, TX. Lettieri ...
4
votes
1answer
171 views

What do the terms “pitch relationships” and “vertical dimension” signify in relation to harmony?

I am trying to learn more about the neurological basis of harmony perception. However, I am having a bit of trouble understanding the musical technical terminology being used by the authors in a ...
1
vote
1answer
40 views

What is the term for singing around a stable tone?

What is the term for when a stable tone is being preceded by a previous tone and a following tone? E.g., in C major, Si-Re-Do, Re-Fa-Mi, and Fa-La-Sol.
14
votes
5answers
5k views

Is there any difference between a soprano trombone and a slide trumpet?

Occasionally, I will see people arguing about whether an instrument should be called a "soprano trombone" or a "slide trumpet" yet I have never seen any instrument designated as one as being any ...
8
votes
5answers
4k views

What is “groove”?

How's possible to trigger it? Is there a technical reason for the groove to happen? Is it just when you stuble across any kind of rhythm / melodic progression interaction that "moves"? Please do not ...
4
votes
2answers
228 views

What's the difference between the tritone and the blue note?

For a while I thought they were one and the same, now I'm confused. This Wiki Article on the subject asserts that the blue note isn't even a real note, i.e. a note that's not part of the standard ...
17
votes
3answers
84k views

What exactly does “feat.” mean?

Does anyone know what does the "feat." mean exactly? Some song titles have the word "feat" in it, for example "I wanna love you clean Akon feat. Snoop dog". What does "feat." mean?
5
votes
4answers
501 views

What's the term for the intervals between notes within a scale that produces a chord

I probably described that poorly in the title, and I'm not even sure there is a word for what I'm thinking. Lets say you're playing on just the white keys on a keyboard. C E G is C major, and D F A ...
5
votes
2answers
564 views

What does 'Poco Meno' mean?

I am currently studying Simandl's 30 Studies for String Bass, and on the 6th one I came upon this term: Since I'm not acquainted with Italian Musical Terms, I used this site to find out what Poco ...
1
vote
3answers
95 views

Is there a name for this trope in music writing

It's something I now hear everywhere, once I heard it a few times. Take a song like Papa Roach - Between Angels And Insects. As the chord progresses in the first few riffs, there is a repeated melody ...
8
votes
6answers
447 views

Difference between mixing and mastering

I am a musician, and I have amateurish-ly recorded my own musical inspiration. I am curious to learn, though, and one of the most confusing things is - as so often - in terminology. I am looking for ...
28
votes
4answers
39k views

What's the difference between “modal music” and “tonal music”?

As the title says, what's the difference between "modal music" and "tonal music"? Is there also any other classification besides "modal music" and "tonal music"?
14
votes
3answers
10k views

What tempo is Agitato?

I'm looking at Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C# minor and notice that the tempo changes from Lento to Agitato. I'm familiar with the former tempo marking, but not the latter. At what tempo should Agitato ...
13
votes
6answers
11k views

What's the difference between genre and style?

Is there anybody in the world who knows what's the difference between genre and style in music? In wikipedia there are articles: list of music genres and list of music styles, but when we will go to ...
6
votes
5answers
141 views

What is the study of song structure called?

I'm describing native Hawaiian songs as part of a research project. The songs are sung by a single performer without instruments. We transcribed the song into stanzas and now see a number of patterns ...
0
votes
2answers
89 views

What is this (“frequent vibrato”) vocal technique called?

What is this vocal technique called and any hints/links on how to master it? Here is one example: It sounds like a frequent type of vibrato. But searching web for "...
30
votes
11answers
8k views

What is the difference between a “riff” and a “melody”?

How do I tell when a riff becomes a melody, or is it even important to know? Can you construct a song around a riff - what are some suggestions on how to construct a song in that manner?
5
votes
3answers
2k views

What is it called when near the end of the song there's a section with a deliberately slow tempo?

No, not a final gradual ritardando. It's hard for me to describe. It may only be a thing in musical theater. Here are some examples: 2011 Tony Awards Opening Number (starts around 4:45) "Gee, ...
7
votes
2answers
510 views

Why are 1/2 (or 3/4, etc) violins called that way if they are not 1/2 size?

On the question Do 1/2 size violins sound at normal pitch? I found out that 1/2 violins are actually ~86% of a full size violin. What do the fractions 7/8, 3/4, 1/2 etc for violin sizes represent, if ...
4
votes
3answers
373 views

Musical construction in rock - what does this mean?

Andrew Chester writes (emphasis mine): Western classical music is the apodigm of the extensional form of musical construction. Theme and variations, counterpoint, tonality (as used in classical ...
14
votes
1answer
707 views

What is a Neapolitan 6th?

In studying music theory I have heard the term Neapolitan 6th quite a few times, but I'm not quite sure what it is. What is a Neapolitan 6th and how is it used in a composition?
2
votes
3answers
44 views

Little 'aside' in a vocal

What is the proper term for an 'aside' in music (mostly in vocals, but sometimes the score)? Many times these 'asides' MAY not be actually noted in the lyrics. Two examples: In Taylor Swifts 'Shake ...
5
votes
1answer
462 views

What does Opt. S.D. mean?

I was looking at the sheet music for the Star Spangled Banner arranged for the U.S. Marine Band, and I saw that each instrument has an Opt. S.D. in the beginning. What does it mean?
11
votes
1answer
131 views

What is the Linear Harmonic Transform?

What is the Linear Harmonic Transform actually?
1
vote
2answers
89 views

What is the name for the scale that is Aeolian with a lowered root?

This track at the beginning has some kind of an augmented scale. The first sounds I hear are C, D#, G#, E, A, F#. While analyzing it to give it as least as possible ...
7
votes
2answers
150 views

Learn to write music

I enjoy music very much and often find myself writing a part of a song, or playing a tune in my head. The problem is, even if I do manage to write what I am creating mentally onto paper, there is ...
2
votes
5answers
287 views

How to learn musical theory?

I am taking 1/2 hour lessons in classical guitar and progressing well. I guess I am at the high end of beginner level, just finishing Aaron Shearer's first book. But I don't know how to gain an ...
1
vote
0answers
107 views

Difference between the words Note, Key, and Tone [closed]

Musicians operate with a collection of twelve things, ordered in an ascending manner, but I've never found a general name for these things. One might think they are called "notes", "keys", or "tones", ...
2
votes
5answers
803 views

Can I say all black keys are enharmonic equivalents?

I just started reading a piano book (Pinao Lessons by Mantius Cazaubon). In chapter 1 explaining about keys and notes in the sections of The Black Keys and The White Keys. It is very clear from first ...
1
vote
2answers
149 views

What is an Em chord plus the G on the high E string called?

I was thinking Emadd10 ... is this right? Wasn't sure since the third/tenth is minor in the Em chord. This would be implied since I have already specified we are talking about Em, right?
2
votes
2answers
487 views

Naming Scale Degrees

As I understand the minor pentatonic degrees are 1 b3 4 5 7b It says b3 & 7b, does it matter which side the b is on and do they both mean flat? Scale degrees are almost always based off the ...
2
votes
1answer
59 views

What is the melodic minor scale with a flattened 5 called?

I can't find the answer anywhere on the internet. Except for that it can be seen as a whole-half scale with the sixth note left out. However this explanation doesn't satisfy my desire for an official ...