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

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Music Harmonic analysis: Chord identification

I'm struggling with identifying the chords in these measures because the notes on the base clef staff are not part of the chord in the top staff. This piece is in F# minor, so the top chords by ...
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3answers
244 views

Is it necessary to learn a new scale to improvise over it?

I'm a beginning guitar theory learner and I'm confused about certain things when improvising/soloing/figuring songs out. I've just started learning, and certain things seem hard to imagine. Let's say ...
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5answers
6k views

Melody improvisation over chords

My question deals with what scale to play over a given chord progression. For example, consider a progression containing I,II,IV,V in C. I.e., the rhythm guitar is playing C, Dmin, F, and G... My ...
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3answers
155 views

What does it mean to play a note for half a second?

This is my first serious look at the science side of music, as I am getting started with audio programming, and I am greeted by an awkward bouncer first up. I know that a note is simply a certain ...
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5answers
179 views

V chord becoming 7th? minor key

Im listening / looking at a song that is in the key of e minor And the chords for the song are just Em B7 Am Now..im no expert but from my theory i learnt a while back for a minor key thr chords ...
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5answers
194 views

Is there a constant relation between a song notes and its chords progression?

Please forgive me in advance if I am using the wrong terms to describe something, I am not a professional musician. Sometimes I can play a song notes on the guitar (same notes the singer sings) and ...
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5answers
311 views

The Tritone - is it a #4 or a b5?

Generally, in Blues and jazz, the oft-used tritone (C to F#/Gb) is referred to as a b5. Why is this a better term than #4? In the Blues scale, there will always be two notes of the same name, but why ...
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2answers
81 views

Tritone as a passing note

Can a tritone be used as a passing note? (say in key of C, going from note C to G).
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1answer
76 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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4answers
123 views

Book recommendations to understand theory and harmony of music. Classical, Jazz, R&B everything :)

Short story: I have started playing piano about 1.5 years ago. I miss only a few days without practise apart from being ill, on holiday, visiting family etc. I practice like crazy. My wife who ...
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1answer
74 views

Is there a collection of pop or jazz standards that include harmonic analysis? [on hold]

I'm learning to do harmonic analysis and I'm quite happy with the sources for the theoretic aspects online and in books. But to practice, it would be great to have excercises with solutions ...
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2answers
8k views

What is the difference between sharp note & flat note?

In guitar or generally in any musical instruments, what is the difference between sharp notes & flat notes? For example : Are A♯ & B♭ the same? And are C♯ & D♭ the same? Does that make ...
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2answers
168 views

Triangle Tonnetz vs. Hexagon Tonnetz

I have just started to learn about Tonnetz and I've run across two very representations of the same information in different types of Tonnetz. In the first one shown below the triangles represent a ...
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2answers
105 views

What interval do all the modes have in common?

I was watching a video exercise to play all of the modes you can over a power chord A5 in this case. Is there an interval that all modes share over a particular tonic (A in this example)?
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8answers
371 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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3answers
99 views

Understanding Inversions

I am not completely understanding how I find the major and minor chords. I understand half of what is going on, but not fully. Can someone please help.
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8answers
33k views

How to know what notes/chords go together while improvising?

This is 3 questions in one, so it might take a slightly involved answer, or some good links. I'm a very good classical pianist, but I skipped theory entirely in my early days and learned to play well ...
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6answers
11k views

When playing in a minor key, will the chords be minor as well?

I've been jumping into music theory myself and I've been stumbling on creating certain melodies and such. I've played guitar all my teenage life and not once have I ever sat down and said I'm going to ...
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2answers
93 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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1answer
161 views

What is a “7-9” chord? (G7-9, etc..)

There's a chord in the Lennie Niehaus arrangement of the Stan Kenton Orchestra version of Laura, written by Johnny Mercer and David Raksin. This chord is written as G7-9. In googling, I get G7(#9) a ...
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1answer
67 views

Is there a modulation to the relative minor in the bridge to the Vanessa Carlton song “A Thousand Miles?”

I have been told different things by different people and I don't really understand how to make heads or tails of it. I understand that it is somewhat a matter of opinion but it also seems from other ...
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9answers
9k views

Purpose of double-sharps and double-flats?

In a few pieces of music I have read through, I have come across double-sharps and flats. To my understanding, they are two semitones above/below the note indicated. What is, then, the point of ...
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11answers
8k views

Why are the white and black keys on the piano placed the way they are?

I am pretty convinced it is not just for historical reasons. I have found a mathematically-sound explanation of the twelve-tone musical scale, thanks to this question. Does anyone know a similar, ...
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3answers
1k views

How does one start learning music theory?

I know some basic stuff like scales and how to construct chords, but I don't know much about the roles notes play in melody, what kinds of melodies there are, how to do chord progressions, and so on. ...
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16answers
5k views

X or Y guitarist doesn't know music theory - how true is this statement?

We've all heard a statement similar to the following: X didn't / doesn't know any music theory and is one of the all time greats replacing X with a famous guitarist. Being a novice, I am ...
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5answers
1k views

I-IV-V blues progression

I'm currently learning a 12 bar blues rhythm and am getting confused by it. The solo is played over the A minor pentatonic scale. And the underlying chord progression is A - D - E. But isn't this ...
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4answers
4k views

How to use diminished scale over I IV V changes in blues

I want to spice up my solos over a Blues progression. I already can play a variety of scales but the Diminished scale is something I would like to add because of the particular sounds it creates. In ...
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2answers
242 views

“The Simpsons” main theme

http://www.hooktheory.com/theorytab/view/danny-elfman/the-simpsons-main-title-theme how did the theme go from C lydian to B lydian to E lydian to C lydian to Db lyian? how did they (modulate) ...
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1answer
48 views

Compare the similarity of flow and rhythm of 2 songs

First off, I apologize if I'm not able to articulate my question correctly due to my lack of knowledge on music terms. My friends and I were having an argument about whether two foreign songs we ...
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4answers
276 views

Difference between equal temperament and just intonation

I am learning Indian classical music and learned about just intonation and equal temperament. I want to know the difference between them. I know that Indian classical music uses just intonation and ...
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9answers
1k views

Is it possible to learn theory without sight reading?

I'm learning music theory by myself with online books and video lessons. I don't have much trouble understanding the basics of theory, such as intervals, basic scales and modes, but I have a huge ...
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7answers
223 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
154 views

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
144 views

Is it normal to struggle through “The Jazz Piano Book” by Mark Levine?

I'm a hobbyist pianist who has been playing primarily rock and blues music for about 2 years, and classical before that for a few years. I have a beginner grasp of music theory (I know my major, 3 ...
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11answers
11k views

How is counterpoint different from harmony?

Harmony is a kind of second sound you hear. Counterpoint is also the second sound you hear. Aside from technical differentiation, how can you by ear differentiate these two concepts. Is it possible ...
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3answers
194 views

Is there a name for this phenomenon in the circle of fifths?

I've recently come across some interesting properties of the circle of fifths in relation to diatonic modes. I'm wondering whether this has been noted elsewhere and if so, in what capacity? A name to ...
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2answers
69 views

V6-I6 and V-vi6 chord successions

Why are V6-I6 and V-vi6 inappropriate chordal successions (when harmonizing for the Common Practice Period)?
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2answers
144 views

Is there a proper way to train the ears?

To become a better play, I want to figure out how I can train my ears to be able to pick something up by listening/watching to it and then being able to play it. Or to be able to listen to something ...
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2answers
247 views

Learning for entry level exam for music school

On Sunday I am going to take a entry level exam in music theory. They didn't give me any sample exam or references to where can I learn this stuff. All I have is a list of what will be in the exam ...
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1answer
71 views

Melody in Diminished Scale

I came up with a cool melody and just find out it is a diminished scale. The melody has the following notes: D D# F G# A. Most scales containing these notes are diminished (I believe all of them are ...
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3answers
277 views

Do triads sound strongest in second inversion?

On Mark Levine's Jazz Theory book, on Chapter Five, Slash Chords, it says: Although triads can sound good in any inversion, all things being equal triads sounds strongest in second inversion. ...
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3answers
133 views

How to write music theory symbols in evernote?

I want type my music theory class notes in evernote but i can't seem to figure out how to do this correctly. I have managed to put following symbols in evernote just by copy and pasting but some as ...
11
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5answers
621 views

Is a high A in the key of D flat still flat?

I'm learning a song in the key of D flat. I know that any middle A within the song is flat. However, is a high A (above the staff) still flat?
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5answers
287 views

Which other chords are considered equivalent or function like a V7?

A dominant seventh chord as the fifth degree of a key (notated V7) is often used to build a cadence back to the tonic. With that function in mind, I've seen people refer to other chords as "it ...
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4answers
789 views

Roman numeral notation for a suspended chord?

On the Wikipedia entry for Roman numeral analysis, it says that major chords use the upper case numerals (e.g. IV for the F major chord in the C major scale) and lowercase letters for minor chords ...
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4answers
46k views

What is the relationship between “do re mi” and note letter names?

When the people sing the song, we use do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, si, ect, but some time I hear that the music people say A, B, C, C flat, ect. Is their relationship or are they two different ...
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6answers
4k views

Uses for augmented chords in composition

I've been studying for music theory for many years and I enjoy just writing little chord progressions and melodies to see what certain progressions sound like and how interesting I can make them. The ...
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1answer
57 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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5answers
723 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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4answers
7k views

What are the practical reasons for still having transposing instruments?

I understand that historically there was a need for transposing instruments. e.g. Brass instruments would use lead pipes to change their key and players in brass bands would like to stick to the same ...