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

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4answers
19k views

How to know which scale a song uses?

I have a song in my mind, and I want to play it on the guitar. I know how scales are made (full and half steps), and I can recognize whether the next note is higher or lower in a song (not ...
5
votes
3answers
9k views

Piano music with two treble clefs, and notes between staves

I do not understand why there are two treble cleff staves and why there are music notes in the middle of the two staves. Which hand should I play those notes with and why are there two treble cleff ...
2
votes
3answers
444 views

Philosophy about relatives and parallel keys in modal context

How would we interpret relative/parallel major/minor keys in the context of a modal piece? a) not applicable, implies tonality b) major is Ionian, minor is Eolian always: so C-lydian's relative ...
0
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3answers
204 views

Song structures and tonality

It has to be prety basic but I never understood how it is conventionally explained. Usually a pop song has a fixed key like in: Cmajor: Verse: C-Am-F-G Bridge: Am-G, Am-G Chorus: F-G-Am How is ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

What's the theory behind the “80s” sound of a song?

Today I was listening to Separate Ways, a great song by Journey in the 80s. The style of this song is so typical of the period. In fact, my first interaction with this song was through a ...
11
votes
5answers
7k 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 ...
13
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5answers
14k views

What is the purpose of the mixolydian scale? [duplicate]

For example: the G-Mixolydian is G-A-B-C-D-E-F (rather than G-A-B-C-D-E-F#). Why not just call it C? thanks
6
votes
2answers
657 views

Feasibility of practising music for a person who are almost tone deaf?

I've always had trouble with relative pitch and hearing music in general. When I was younger I couldn't tell you if it was a major or a minor chord I was hearing (when other people seemed to be fully ...
3
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2answers
147 views

Resources for learning music theory whilst doing other things?

I spend about 2 hours a day driving in my car, along with a few hours sat at a desk working. I was wondering if anyone can recommend some good audio to listen to (e.g. Podcasts, ear training ...
5
votes
4answers
5k views

What are the patterns of the minor scales

I understand that there are 3 types of minor scales Melodic Natural Harmonic But I always mix these up, and I don't know the patterns of them. I would like to know The basic pattern Some ...
7
votes
3answers
894 views

Does a chord need to include its root?

While I understand that it is very important to include the root note in a chord, is it required? Let's say I'm in C Major, and I want to play a I chord. Do I need to include C in order for it to be ...
5
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5answers
2k views

What purpose do accidentals serve in music?

I'm having trouble writing music containing accidentals. If the diatonic scale contains 7 related notes, what purpose do accidentals serve? If the accidental notes are not related to the overall ...
4
votes
2answers
6k views

How can I find the more comfortable key to sing?

Given that I have the melody of a song, how can I find the more comfortable key to sing? I want to transpose the melody to be comfortable for the greatest number of people - with all voices (soprano, ...
3
votes
2answers
279 views

Avid Scorch and Other Apps to Understand Lead Sheets?

I just got done with a class where, as a vocalist, I was require to provide and understand lead sheets... Honestly, normally I just print out chords and remember the song (more or less) -- but I saw ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

What are the rules for using diminished chords in part writing?

If I use diminished chords such as ii diminished chord from the minor scale then do I according to the rules for proper part writing use the first inversion of ii diminished. What is the reasoning ...
4
votes
2answers
437 views

Why do so many pieces written in a minor key sharp the 7th?

I've been going through several pieces (mostly of Bach, but also others) and I noticed that very commonly, the 7th is sharped when played coming down from the tonic. Examples: Little Fugue, Toccata ...
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10answers
2k views

Why is there a key signature if I never play those notes?

I'm just getting back to playing on keyboard. I'm trying to play "Ode to Joy" from the piano sheet but I have a basic question. At the beginning of some staffs, on the right of the treble clef I can ...
3
votes
5answers
447 views

“I-vi” in Major or “III-i” in Minor?

There are some progressions that seem to move back and forth between a major key and its relative minor, like the "I-vi" progression (C, Am for example, two measures each.) Most people would consider ...
10
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5answers
4k views

How to recreate a sound on a synth

Is is possible to recreate any sound you hear in a synth? Think of it like ear training, but with a synth. Being able to deconstruct a sound with your ear, know what type of waveform is being used, ...
18
votes
10answers
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
262 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
votes
2answers
204 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
votes
1answer
631 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
455 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
955 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
vote
1answer
168 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Knowing what chord to play next?

This is a question I've had for a long time but I've never really found the answer other than following some suggestions on chord sequences like 1,3,2,5 and 1,4,5, but I'm sure there must be another ...
2
votes
1answer
471 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
368 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 ...
7
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2answers
361 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 ...
8
votes
5answers
494 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
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
11
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5answers
10k 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
votes
2answers
499 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
176 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
316 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
159 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
4k 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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vote
2answers
231 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
580 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
3k 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
932 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
votes
4answers
18k 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
votes
3answers
396 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
131 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
8k 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
408 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
284 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 ...