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

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Beginnging Music Theory - What are scales and why should I learn them? [duplicate]

Background I'm looking for help with respect to where I could start learning music in general as a guitarist. I can play some simple songs and melodies I taught myself, understand what notes map to ...
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1answer
59 views

“crescendo” vs hair pin

symphony no.1 movement 1 page 16 by the string sections Working on Peter I. Tchaikovsky first symphony manuscript Conductor score. I came to a interesting observation. On the same page all ...
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3answers
2k views

In traditional (tonal) harmony, how is the word “sonority” used?

In traditional harmony, I have heard the word "sonority" used sometimes freely in a way to describe harmonic structures or harmonic systems. However, in my experience the word was used somewhat ...
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3answers
52 views

Diminished and augmented key signature

Now I know that augmented chords and diminished chords are dissonant normally. Arpeggiate it and it is much more consonant. 3rd octave and it is much more consonant. But can you actually have ...
2
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7answers
357 views

Grand Staff using the Bass Clef and Treble Alto-Tenor Clef

Does anybody have any additional information regarding the origins and usage of the Treble Alto-Tenor Clef symbol? I found it in the late Gardner Read's book on Music Notation, and beyond that - ...
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4answers
260 views

Is this a C chord or an Em chord?

A nice little progression on acoustic guitar is to play a regular C chord (omit/mute the bottom E string), then slide your 3rd finger (A string) from the 3rd fret (C) to the 2nd (B), then play Am7 ...
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3answers
68 views

Gregorian modes in Renaissance music (with Cabezón's 'Tiento del Cuarto Tono' as an example)

I'd like to ask a question on how Gregorian modes were transformed during Renaissance using a piece of Antonio de Cabezón as an example. His 'Tiento del Cuarto Tono' is written in mode 4, which is, as ...
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1answer
51 views

Tonality of a song given some chords

I have this notes I extracted from a song using Adobe Audition’s frequency analysis. D F# A C# (Dmaj7) E G B D (Em7) F# A C# E (F#m7) G B D F# (Gmaj7) A C# E G (A7) B D F# A (Bm7) C# E G B ...
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7answers
819 views

Can a symphony be in many keys?

First of all, please excuse me for my bad musical vocabulary usages. I'm working on an information-system for music, and I'm trying to understand some basic concepts in order to move on in my ...
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10answers
4k views

Is it possible to write a song without a key?

"This song is in F Major", "That song is in A Minor", "This song is in D Minor, but modulates to F Major in the middle", etc. Can we say "This song has no key"? Are there songs that have/follow no ...
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1answer
50 views

Mark Levine the jazz theory versus the jazz piano book

I currently own the jazz theory book by mark levine. It's very informative and I'm sure it's gonna take me a few years to get the best out of it, but I wonder is it still worth getting the jazz piano ...
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7answers
3k views

The major scale - why and how?

background: I am an amateur guitarist. I was trained in Indian classical music as a kid. Most of what I know in music theory is from books or Google. So please feel free to correct me or tell me if ...
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2answers
80 views

guitar beginner level - chord voicings

I have been playing guitar for a few years and lately I have been studying some music theory. So what is the difference between playing the bmaj chord with the root note in the fifth string (A string) ...
91
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11answers
13k views

Why is the guitar tuned like it is?

Why is there that funny tuning kink between the G and B string on a guitar in standard tuning? I.E. the gap (interval) between the rest of the adjoining strings is 5 frets (or a perfect fourth), but ...
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0answers
12 views

Books to start playing Piano? [duplicate]

I'm a guitar player and I would like to know a good starting book for piano. I have some music knowledge acquired with years of guitar theory. I did my research and I did find some interesting books ...
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2answers
120 views

Playing barre chords without E strings - does it have a name?

Many rock bands play barre chords without the E strings. Is there a name for that? For example, the F chord at 1:27. A normal F chord normally contains more notes. The last string is muted. I heard ...
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4answers
1k 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 ...
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2answers
125 views

“ii and ii6 rarely used to harmonize 6 in the soprano” - for what reason?

In my old theory book, I read that while ii and ii6 harmonize scale degrees 2 and 4, they rarely harmonize scale degree 6 in the soprano. (I'm assuming they mean for common practice music, SATB). ...
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7answers
34k views

How to identify the root note of a chord

I struggle with chords on the staff because I'm not sure which note is the root note. Is it the top note with the rest of the notes falling below it? E.g., if the top note is C, and bundled below it ...
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2answers
48 views

Teaching Theory for Violinist in Suziki book 2?

I have been teaching a young violin student for quite a while now with the Suzuki method, and she is now about to take 'Bourree' in book two. But recently I started reading the stuff on the pages ...
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5answers
754 views

Why is a note sometimes a 4th and sometimes an 11th?

If I play the chord: GBDA, then this is considered a Gadd9. But if I play the 3rd above the 5th (GDB), it is not called a 10th. Why don't we refer to all notes by 1-7, and is there a system to ...
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0answers
20 views

Why evil themes are prevailing in heavy metal? [migrated]

When I was young I liked metal music a lot. I listened Iron Maiden, Metallica and dozen other bands. As I grew older my interest in that music declined until completely faded out. Recently I listened ...
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2answers
136 views

In what octave am I supposed to play a chord progression?

If someone asks me to play I VI II IV in C minor, am I supposed to play them in the same octave? Like, if I start with C minor in the third octave, do I then move 6 steps up to play G# major or can I ...
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4answers
555 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 ...
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2answers
89 views

Does a chord imply a change in the key signature?

I was looking at Cold Duck Time : Where the key signature is F major. On the second bar, the bass line says that the A is to be played natural. The key signature doesn't have Ab, but the chord ...
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2answers
104 views

How to name the key of a song that modulates?

I'm in the process of learning about keys. I'm looking at the song Cherub Rock by the Smashing Pumpkins. The tabs I see online say that the song is in the key of E major. The main riff of the verse ...
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4answers
2k views

Did baroque composers think of ritardando on their compositions?

I've been always told that whenever I play any baroque piece on the piano, I should take special care when attending to, for example, the amount of right pedal I should use. It sounded perfectly ...
6
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0answers
52 views

What is the difference between grouping overlaps and elisions?

I am reading "A Generative Theory of Tonal Music" by F. Lerdahl and R. Jackendoff and I don't understand the difference between grouping overlaps and elisions (this is explained in section 3.4). The ...
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4answers
1k views

How come songs in a certain key play notes not in that key

I just started trying to learn about music theory as I'm learning to play the guitar. So as beginner's do I looked up a list of easy songs to play and I start learning away. Since I'm also trying to ...
2
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1answer
126 views

DS or DC al coda how to tell go to 3 and 4 verses

I have a song in this format: Verse 1 Verse 2 Chorus has a 1st and 2nd ending Verse 3 Verse 4 Chorus I use repeat for V1 and V2 and then I go to Chorus easy enough. Now I want to go to Verse 3 and ...
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2answers
2k views

How do I determine the chord progression Roman numerals?

Let's say I'm playing the chords D, G, A and Bm. I know that D is my key, which would be Roman numeral I. How do I associate the other chords with their proper roman numerals? How would I determine ...
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2answers
222 views

Do capable harmony singers sing in just intonation or tempered tuning?

I understand that the mathematical frequency ratios between certain intervals will correlate with the overtones that are present when a note sounds in a fundamental frequency. Certain predictable ...
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3answers
115 views

Confusion about using scales and modes together in a solo?

Ok so my music theory knowledge is limited. I have been playing guitar for a couple of years now, mostly by ear and I often struggle in applying theory. While writing a solo I wondered whether I ...
3
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3answers
239 views

Does a key signature remain the same after a clef change?

Does a key signature stay the same after a clef change? I have provided an example; it is in the second staff of the lower system as indicated by the blue arrow.
3
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3answers
102 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 ...
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9answers
6k views

What makes an interval “Perfect”?

I've been trying to find an answer, but to no avail. Is what we call a perfect interval somewhat arbitrary? It seems as if the modern definition is "perfect under inversion". I know the other thing ...
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1answer
201 views

How was the ordering of Allen Forte's list of prime forms determined?

I'm familiar with how "prime forms" are determined from a pitch class set using the Forte (or Rahn) systems. A good list is at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forte_number However I am puzzled by how ...
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10answers
404 views

How can I learn to play the chords by listening to the song (like I do with notes)?

I have started learning to play piano (I am from a poor family and can't afford a teacher). So,I've learned some popular songs and the notes from the internet. From there I started listening to songs ...
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2answers
385 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 ...
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6answers
1k views

Is F Lydian mode in the “key” of C Major?

I would assume that many would agree that if we have a piece of music and there are no sharps or flats in the key signature that in most cases (if not all) the piece would be considered in the key of ...
3
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1answer
152 views

History of “jazz minor/melodic minor” harmony

I'm curious about the development of modern (post-bop-ish) jazz harmony. In Mark Levine's Jazz Theory Book, he shows how modes of the melodic minor scale can be used to form and improvise over chords ...
2
votes
1answer
48 views

Traits of calypso music?

I'd like to compose my own calypso music, but I've not been exposed to enough calypso in my lifetime to be able to do so intuitively. Of course, calypso is instantly recognisable as such, but why? ...
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4answers
3k views

What are the most common ways to “decorate” a melody?

Yes, I know, there are way too many possibilities and it depends on the style of the music... I would be happy with an incomplete list for beginners (like me). Here is what I have so far: ...
26
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6answers
7k views

What is the relationship between the melody line and the rhythm chords?

Let's say I've written a song with the chord progression I-IV-V in the key of A (just as an example). So, the chords I'm playing are A-D-E. When playing a lead over this rhythm, what notes do I need ...
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2answers
70 views

Calculating the 'Tonal Center of a Musical Key [closed]

A Lesson, by Justin Guitar, Online, teaches how to calculate the 'Tonal Center of any Key. Which I was able to comprehend, and accomplish, due to his Teaching... However, I can find no logical or ...
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2answers
44 views

Soloing / leads over chord progression with vi chord a major 7th?

I've written a song that's based largely around G major, with some C major parts. However, the G major progression utilizes a B7 chord, so it sits outside a normal G major scale. I've heard lots of ...
6
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4answers
3k views

How does fusion guitar playing work?

So I have seen a lot of guitar players playing fusion rock but never understood what is actually going on in the theory. When watching them play, it sounds like they're not in key and just ...
13
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4answers
4k views

Can a scale contain both a sharp and a flat note?

So, the question should say it all, but for example: The G minor scale (G - A - Bb - C - D - Eb - F - G) To change this into the G harmonic minor scale, I would need to raise the seventh note a ...
4
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2answers
1k views

Why D sharp not E flat in Turkish March

I'm analyzing Mozart's Turkish March piece for the piano. As I see in measure 18 the harmony is F7 (fourth) with minor seven. Assuming it is a minor seven because the harmony is F7 why they thought ...
3
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1answer
82 views

Transformative vs Generative in Algorithmic Composition

What's the difference between generative and transformative algorithms in relation to algorithmic composition of music? As I understand the basic idea of the algorithms themselves, generative uses ...