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

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2k views

Where do musicians draw their melodies from?

It has been in my head for so long. I am a visual artist, animator, I do motion graphics, 3D artwork and most of my work is done visually. I am puzzled by this question. Visual artists, they draw ...
1
vote
2answers
235 views

Voice-crossing in First Species Counterpoint

In two-part counterpoint, is it okay for the counterpoint and cantus firmus voices to cross? Transferred from: Few Questions on Counterpoint in the Tradition of Johan Fux
4
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2answers
193 views

Diatonic Function of Accidentals in Counterpoint

Why is it in counterpoint that the fourth degree of natural mode "F" lowered to "Bb" instead of remaining as "B"? Why isn't the fourth degree lowered for other modes? Shouldn't the "B" ...
2
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1answer
522 views

Meaning of “Battuta” in Counterpoint

What is Battuta and does it only apply to voice leading by contrary motion? For example, in treble clef, if going from "E-G" (major-tenth - that is, the "E" is in the bass and the "G" is ...
9
votes
3answers
413 views

Raised leading tones in Phrygian mode counterpoint

In most cases the penultimate note of the counterpoint will be the leading tone, which must be raised in minor to establish a sense of tonality. But why is the leading tone in the Phrygian mode ...
6
votes
3answers
772 views

Same note in two staves [duplicate]

I have only just started to learn (on my own) to read music and play the piano at the grand old age of 64! Please can someone tell me how to play the same note on two staves? I keep being asked to ...
1
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1answer
155 views

Can sequences in music be modified rhythmically?

Can a sequence still be considered a sequence if the rhythm is changed? For example: Beethoven's Piano Sonata Op.13, II, in the left hand: The phrase beginning on the upbeat of 1 in the 3rd ...
2
votes
1answer
432 views

Chordal Analysis of Christian Petzold's Minuet in G (formerly attributed to J.S. Bach)

The piece I am asking about is the well-known minuet that was originally attributed to J.S. Bach but has since been re-attributed to lesser-known composer, Christian Petzold. My question concerns ...
3
votes
1answer
345 views

Beginning counterpoint above or below a cantus firmus

I have more questions on the Study of Counterpoint: Must the cantus firmus always start on the tonic? If the cantus firmus is in the bass then can the counterpoint start with something other than a ...
6
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2answers
335 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
5answers
474 views

Comfortable notes in a key

I've been playing guitar for some time, and often when i do improvisation exercises, I hit notes which sound too tense to finish a run/lick/riff on. Kind of like having a sentence which no full stop. ...
3
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1answer
2k views

Figuring out the difference between major and relative minor scales?

I always seem have difficulty determining whether a song is in a major scale, or the relative minor. (the 3rd note back into it, but minor) Lets use the Pokemon theme song for example. As I ...
10
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5answers
8k views

Polymeter vs Polyrhythm

What is the difference between a polymeter and a polyrhythm? Do these words mean anything different for different instruments? PS: I'm a drummer.
2
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2answers
438 views

how does the bluegrass major chord built off of the flat 7 “work”?

It's in almost every bluegrass song, but I've never seen an exposition of the theory behind the major chord (minor may also be used, but I don't think I've seen it) built off of the flat 7th of the ...
1
vote
2answers
151 views

What is imitation between two voices on an eighth note upbeat figure?

On the Wikipedia page on BWV 578, a technique devised by Corelli is mentioned. The fugue's four-and-a-half measure subject is one of Bach's most recognizable tunes. The fugue is in four voices. ...
6
votes
3answers
282 views

What do I need to know about drums as an electric metal guitar player

My questions are as follows ... As A guitarist (Mostly electric with heavy distortion) what minimum knowledge of drums do I need to be able to create or chose drums beats that suits the song I am ...
6
votes
1answer
143 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

What do you call plucking the violin strings with the finger, rather than using the bow?

I was attempting to learn a bit about violin sheet music, and then I wondered if the act of producing sound with the finger or the fingernail had a written notation. I had a hard time finding a video ...
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2answers
217 views

Harmonizing melody exercise question with specific parameters

I'm reading the book Harmony for the computer musician and there's an exercise where you need to harmonize 3 notes of a melody in D major, parameters are: you must use the same note length as the ...
9
votes
2answers
495 views

Finding the “Starting point” when creating a composition or score

This is a fairly simple one, and hopefully not too wide-open to be permitted here: what approaches are available when sitting at a fresh screen or sheet of paper, or at your instrument, to create the ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

On a piano scale what is considered “middle C”?

I'm learning to play the piano and I'm slightly confused after reading this: http://pianoscale.org/scales/root/c/major/ Is the 1st note in the treble clef the same as the 8th notes in the bass ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the difference between a collection of sounds and music?

From my reading I've gathered that the difference between music and noise is that music is an organized collection of sounds. In that definition, noise would then be an unorganized collection of ...
0
votes
1answer
743 views

Difference between dissonance and clashing notes

Wikipedia describes dissonance as the quality of sounds that seems "unstable" and has an aural "need" to "resolve" to a "stable" consonance Which basically means it hurts your ears and you want it to ...
14
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4answers
15k views

The differences between natural, harmonic and melodic minors

I'm studying scales and came across the natural, harmonic, and melodic minors. I understand the patterns for each scale but what other important differences exist between the three?
2
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3answers
364 views

Looking for advice on my self-taught music education

Until a year ago, I had absolutely no music education, and I decided to change that around this period, well more exactly I picked up on (acoustic) guitar as a hobby and from there gained interest in ...
4
votes
3answers
130 views

Can the “music of the spheres” be applied (or projected) to instrumental music?

I've read lots of books on Pythagoras and the philosophy of the Music of the Spheres, but it all seems to stop at labeling planets with scale degrees. And then what? If they're all there, filling up ...
12
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4answers
7k views

Playing Guitar Tabs on Piano?

I was wondering if anyone could possibly explain how I could somehow translate a guitar tab into notes on piano. Is there some sort of algorithm I can apply? ex: ...
12
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3answers
392 views

What are some good/interesting ways to exit a circle of fifths section?

Circle of 5ths is in tons of chord progressions, sounds nice and 'easy', etc. But if you keep going on it the song can sound unreasonably predictable. What are some good ways to use a little bit of ...
7
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
269 views

Dominant functioning as a Subdominant!

The D9 chord voices appropriate seems to be able to function as a subdominant chord. This is very intriguing and I've always thought and read that dominant chords function as dominant chords(except in ...
3
votes
2answers
265 views

What should I be trying my hand at to practice composing?

I don't really know how to play any instrument, but I do have some USB keys that I have plinked with in Garageband. I'm not interested so much in learning to perform my works. I enjoy and am inspired ...
7
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4answers
2k views

Does the bass note in a “slash” chord really have an associated interval?

I have a question about "slash" chords. Look at the chord E/G: E G♯ B G 1 3 5 ? G is the minor 3rd interval (♭3) in the key of E. However, I would have thought by definition chords cannot ...
6
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2answers
2k views

What is a key signature?

I'm trying to learn the flute and I bought a book that is supposed to help me learn. In one of the first chapters it describes something about key signatures and the circle of fifths and I'm ...
3
votes
4answers
3k views

How Can I Replicate The Sound Of An Instrument?

I have experience of basic music theory, guitar and piano. My current project involves creating a computer program that can replicate the sounds of any given instrument (starting with piano). I can ...
4
votes
2answers
218 views

Name for music that imitates speech

I have searched and asked others for the answer to this but have come up dry: what is the name or technique in music where musical notes approximate/imitate speech? Note that I am not talking about ...
22
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
895 views

“Andalusian cadences”: How are they commonly heard?

The "Andalusian cadence" I-bVII-bVI-V is commonly heard as a repeated figure in Flamenco music as well as many pop songs, e.g. "Hit the Road, Jack": ...
8
votes
3answers
734 views

What is A flat to C minor?

I know that Cm is the relative minor of Eb. I noticed the Eb chord is made up of two of the same notes of Cm (beginning on the third degree). Ab is also made up of two of the same notes, but on the ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

What does it mean when progression is resolved?

I saw this text inside a very basic piano workbook in which I'm not sure what the author means by using "resolve". Progression #1: C-F-G-F-C NOTE: This 4 bar progression resolves back to C ...
17
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3answers
2k views

Why are thirds used to construct chords?

I am (slowly) learning music theory on the guitar. I've begun learning about scales and chords, and it seems that all chords are built using some combination of thirds. For example, a minor triad is ...
25
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8answers
7k views

Why Is Just Intonation Impractical?

I've read about the debate of "just intonation" vs 12-tone equal temperament. And nowhere it was clearly stated why just intonation is impractical. Here are my assumptions. Please let me know if I am ...
4
votes
2answers
244 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 ...
11
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5answers
10k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
304 views

Arpeggio vs. Acciaccatura

(When writing notation for piano) Scenario: I would like the player to play the chord G (G3, B3, D4, G4), in a "spreaded" way. That is, not hit all keys at once, but start with the bottom G and end ...
4
votes
2answers
215 views

How to compose an acoustic guitar chorus?

I've been playing guitar off and on for years, and every once in a while I come up with some lyrics and chords that seem to be really great for a few verses. The problem is that I can never seem to ...
16
votes
9answers
817 views

Musical Aids to Memorize Intervals

As the tutor for my school's music department, I spend a lot of time helping students drill intervals. However, I only have a handful of songs to recommend recognition. P8 — Somewhere Over the ...
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4answers
2k views

Does playing in scale mean only using notes from that scale?

Many melodies contain notes that are not from scale they are composed in. For example, "Stairway Heaven" solo contains an A minor pentatonic scale plus an additional F note. I've read that this is not ...
6
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2answers
1k views

Converting to harmonic and melodic minor

Is this correct? In converting from major to harmonic minor of the same root (not the relative minor (with the same key signature)), flatten the 3rd and 6th. In converting from major to ...
20
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5answers
2k views

Algorithms for music composition

I'm a beginner in music but I also like to fool around with simple computer programs . So I found a little python library to generate MIDI files . So what I do now is that I have a few rhythm ...
5
votes
2answers
212 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, ...