The study of how music works, seeking to identify structures and patterns in music.

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Why are key signatures like E# and B# necessary?

Why do we need key signatures such as E#, B#, Cb, and Fb? Take a look at the scales for E# and B#: E# has 4 sharps and 4 double sharps. The key of F is exactly the same, and it only has one note ...
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1answer
39 views

Compound meter( 6/8) beat subdivisions?

I know in the 6/8 compound meter, the first beat gets strong downbeat and the second beat gets the weak upbeat. But I am trying to analyze syncopation in a piece, so I want to know how each of the ...
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7answers
705 views

What is a chord with a diminished third called?

The third of the chord is one of the criteria to determine the name of the chord. If the third is major (and the fifth is perfect), the chord is called major chord ; if the third is minor and the ...
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1answer
108 views

How to judge a mix, on e.g. muddiness and balance?

I have been producing music for 7 years: And I have yet to understand how artists are able to tell what a proper mix sounds like. They often tell me that my mix sounds weird and "muddy", but I myself ...
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5answers
511 views

Sharps vs Flats - Formula to determine correct sharp and flat notes in a scale

I am trying to figure out how to know if a note in a scale is a sharp or a flat. So my starting point/input are the intervals of any scale. E.g. here are the Minor pentatonic intervals Interval: 1, ...
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1answer
48 views

harmonic and melodic minor chord function

if the natural minor and major chord functions are Tonic Function: I, i, and vi - The home chord sounds at rest. It usually provides the beginning and ending for most progressions. Sometimes the ...
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1answer
65 views

How does instrumentation change the personality of a piece?

I don't understand how a change in instrumentation can make the same sequence of notes feel different if nothing else is changed about the piece. I mean for example if I listen to Symphony no 5 by ...
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2answers
80 views

On a guitar, what keys correspond to different capo postions?

I've long had this question. I know some music theory, but I can only get a vague idea as to the progression of keys when moving the capo down a guitar's neck. I'm fairly certain that the guitar is in ...
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3answers
110 views

Voiceleading and piano

I have for a long time been very confused about how the principles of voice leading taught in 4 part Harmony writing relate to music in general. The dogma seems to be that virtually all tonal music is ...
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3answers
91 views

Are the formulae for Minor scale and Major scales related?

I'm looking at the formulae used to create the Major and Minor scales, with 'W' meaning whole step and 'H' meaning half step. Major scale: W-W-H-W-W-W-H Minor scale: W-H-W-W-H-W-W Is there ...
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5answers
2k views

If A minor doesn't have any accidentals, is it still minor?

As part of a music course, we have to compose a 3 minute long piece based on a river's journey. Having finished the composition, we now have to write a set of sleeve notes - basically an analysis and ...
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5answers
239 views

Does a phrase ending in V7/V - V end in an authentic cadence or a half cadence?

Does a phrase ending in V7/V - V end in an authentic cadence or a half cadence?
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0answers
32 views

Where do the musical note names come from in the chromatic scale? [duplicate]

I'm trying to study some musical theory in my free time and it's starting to make sense but a few things are still bugging me. I've scanned the internet for hours but I can't find a satisfying answer. ...
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6answers
176 views

The teaching of scales, chords and keys

A question for the music educators out there. What are we doing wrong that is causing so many young musicians to ask so many questions based on the misapprehension that only certain notes and certain ...
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5answers
150 views

What's the theory behind using a B major chord in Bb major?

If you're in Bb major, how can you use a Bb major chord and a B major chord? Bohemian rhapsody is a good example. |B Bb A Bb|B Bb A Bb| ...
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4answers
262 views

Can a chord be both major and minor?

So I was messing up with chords the other day and I came with a case where the chord could be both minor and major. I'm wondering if it can be true or if a chord is either, but cannot be both at the ...
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1answer
580 views

Simple chord progression question

I am learning the piano online. I am trying to learn chord progressions. In this simple example the chord progression is supposed to be C F G C (I, IV, V, I). However, in the third part (G) the ...
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3answers
83 views

Is there a name for this type ascending inversions of a repeated chord?

I was messing around on one of my guitars one day and stumbled upon this interesting ascending progression. I ended up writing a song using the progression even though I wasn't even sure what the ...
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1answer
58 views

Im6 chord in a minor II-V-I

In a minor II-V-I progression, we usually have a IIm7(b5) chord followed by a V7(b9,b13) chord, resolving into Im7. I always thought the diminished 5th in the II chord (also the minor 9th in the V7 ...
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4answers
287 views

Is this progression considered to be in A mixolydian?

I have a chord progression that goes: A Bm D A G Other areas of the song also have an A, G, D, A progression. Would this song considered to be in A mixolydian vs A major or D major since the root ...
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9answers
613 views

Is it acceptable to change tempo in the middle of a song or is this a bad idea?

I wrote a song that could be classified as Pop or Country that starts out at a medium slow tempo in the first two verses and bridge. Then there is a section after the bridge that can best be ...
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2answers
136 views

What are the characteristic intervals or scales of 13-limit harmony and beyond?

I've been studying and really getting into the Extended Just Intonation music of composers like Ben Johnston and Kyle Gann. I've started trying to explore the sort of intervals and scales that are ...
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3answers
80 views

Ways to use quartal chords

By stacking 4ths in C major, the following quadads result: C, F, B, E D, G, C, F E, A, D, G F, B, E, A G, C, F, B A, D, G, C B, E, A, D (I used C major for simplicity, but this can obviously be ...
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1answer
59 views

Diminished progression

How can you use a progression (like the one below) and have it fit in C major well and support the melody? Please help me with some tips. Do these diminished chords fit in a diatonic scale well, ...
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1answer
48 views

Augmented chords and chord substitution?

Say we are in C major; how do we use chords like the Augmented chords, other diminished chords out side the scale (minor to major substitution, dominant 7th substitution, altered chords, chord ...
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1answer
584 views

Is this a dissonance? What causes it?

My question is about the use of dissonance in music. In the song Heart Of Amsterdam (for German users, click here instead[*]), from the Lucassen-van Giesbergen "The Gentle Storm" project, at the 3:00 ...
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8answers
240 views

Confusion about major and minor second intervals

Why is a major second interval different from a minor second interval, considering that in the natural scales formulae, they are both one whole step ?
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1answer
59 views

Country music elements

My question is in general but for right now I'm just specific about country music. Every genre of music has its own elements, and some genres have some features and some other don't. For example ...
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2answers
263 views

Different modes of pentatonic scale

Just as there are seven modes of the diatonic scale, I would expect five modes of the pentatonic scale. Have these been classified? Here they are, in the form of {semitone interval gaps} (Notes for ...
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3answers
98 views

Understanding music with multiple key changes within chord progressions

So this has been bothering me for some time now; I've been making beats for maybe 7-8 years now but my earlier work is heavily-sampled. I just started actually picking up piano, but on my own, ...
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1answer
108 views

What does a major-7 chord resolve/lead to?

I reckon the major-7 chord is my favourite guitar chord. I was strumming Amaj7 chord and got a lovely first line to a song, but I am not musical enough to figure out what chords fit the melody I was ...
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2answers
157 views

How can you find the key of a song by ear?

If you don't have the music notation available, how can you determine what key a song is in by just listening? Must one have perfect pitch to do this or is there an easy way or a trick that can help ...
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10answers
572 views

What key could the progression Cm - G - Dm - Am be in?

I'm working on a song (my first ever actually) and I love the chord sequence: Cm - G - Dm - Am I started off working in C-Major, but borrowed Cm from the parallel minor key C-Minor. But really, in ...
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7answers
322 views

Why do some arrangements of notes make a good melody and some don't?

A note by itself is not always particularly pleasant to hear. Why do some specific combinations of notes make a good, pleasant melody? Why are some people good at coming up with such pleasing ...
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4answers
109 views

Why do quartal progressions typically not utilize common tones?

Typically chord are built in thirds, but in quartal harmony chords are built in fourths instead. One pattern in quartal harmony I noticed was chords tend to move completely in parallel even if common ...
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2answers
382 views

Is there a term for a chord progression that chromatically ascends or descends an octave?

I've noticed a pattern in music that is very interesting where a progression will start with one chord and chromatically ascend or descend until the starting chord is reached again. For example: a ...
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2answers
88 views

Sharps at the start of a score

I'm having difficulty identifying and playing the sharps which are C# , D# , F# and G# . Do the sharps apply to all the bars ?
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6answers
169 views

How to practice piano more efficiently and effectively?

I'm a beginner pianist trying to figure out how to play more efficiently and effectively . I hired a piano teacher to teach me how to play better but all she does is just gives me simple randoms ...
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2answers
99 views

What is the Hanson system used for?

Recently I've been learning about alternate analysis techniques used for modern compositions and one that I've recently learned about the Hanson system partiality described below: Now as shown in ...
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6answers
793 views

Progression path from an apprentice to a guru in music theory?

I am a computer science major and have been practicing music (as a hobby) for the past 4 years now. I started digging into the basics of Music Theory a year ago and now wish to advance my knowledge so ...
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4answers
1k views

How do I become better at “playing outside”?

One can spend an enormous amount of time playing melodies "in" the tonic. For example if your are in A major, you might favor A major or A lydian. However, there is a term called "playing outside" in ...
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1answer
66 views

What is the best way to develop a theoretical approach to practical harmony for guitar?

I am playing guitar approximately ten years but I know only basic harmony and rhythm guitar. I want to develop theoretical and practical harmony. What can I do for this?
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3answers
73 views

Is there any easy technique or guide to remember chord conversion?

I am able to play chord progression in any key, but if I want to play by changing the KEY then it is difficult for me to play in the new key. So is there any easy technique to remember the chord ...
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3answers
232 views

modulating by a tritone

I have heard that modulating by diminished fifth/tritone is the hardest of all modulations. Interestingly my non-musician husband has just composed a tune with a smooth tritone modulation (ie. from C ...
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3answers
136 views

Why is the diminished scale 'artificial'?

Upon reading Mark Levine's Jazz Theory Book, on the chapter of the diminished scale, there a footnote that says: The diminished scale is artificial in the sense that it is not derived from the ...
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7answers
339 views

Essential things to memorize in music theory

What are some of the essential music theory concepts to memorize? I just started looking at music theory earlier this week, and I have to admit that it's pretty overwhelming especially since my only ...
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4answers
197 views

How does Gdim7 fit in C# minor?

I'm pretty new to music theory. This song is actually the reason why I even started reading about theory, but I still can't comprehend this chord progression. ...
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2answers
76 views

Octaves in counterpoint

I am writing a chorale in C flat major and I currently have a 3 chord going to a I6 chord. Stacked, the chords are EGEB to EGEC. Is this considered parallel octaves? HELP.
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6answers
156 views

How to differentiate between 12/8 vs 6/8 timing (or hemiola)

How would a composer differentiate between a 12/8 and a 6/8 time signature? On 3/4 timing you'd have 3 quarter notes as your rhythm, on 6/8 you'd have 2 dotted quarter notes correct? I wrote a song ...
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0answers
71 views

How did the notes of the Western musical scale get their letter names? [duplicate]

The first thing a brand-new piano student learns is the name, and location on the keyboard, of "middle C". I've always wondered, why is that note called "middle C" rather than, say, "middle A"? To ...