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

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1answer
236 views

Sixth and Minor Seventh inversions conflicts

For example consider C6 [C-E-G-A] and Am7 [A-C-E-G] which share the same notes in different order. When we play [E-G-A-C] how is it called?(is this a inversion of C6 or Am7) Generally, how are these ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Franz Liszt Liebestraum No. 3 Bar 17 Roman Numeral Analysis

I'm going through Liszt's Liebestraum No. 3 in Ab M.... in bar 17, I don't know how to mark the A natural chord. It's either a #1 or the song has modulated to the natural minor, in which case it would ...
7
votes
4answers
997 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
340 views

Why is the note name “a” not on any important scale position? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why is C the base note of standard notation and keys? The note names are derived from the alphabet, which starts with "a". But why is our note "a" not on any important ...
14
votes
3answers
534 views

How can I move beyond learning songs?

I can competently learn and play chord progressions and simple runs on the guitar but I do not feel like I understand the instrument. My playing progresses by memorizing songs. However, I know that ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

Finding chords that sound like a single note

I cannot seem to find an algorithm to do this. Say I play an E (not a chord)... it sounds a certain way. If I make it into a chord an play an E Major chord it sounds completely different. What would ...
21
votes
5answers
25k views

What is the difference between a riff and a lick?

That's it. I was wondering what is the difference between a riff and a lick. The Wikipedia page for lick is somewhat confusing-- what do you think?
26
votes
7answers
48k views

What does it mean to write a song in a certain key?

I have been searching for a while to try to correctly understand this. What exactly does it mean if for example a song is written in C Major? Does it mean the song's notes cannot contain any sharps ...
3
votes
1answer
423 views

Can modal counterpoint be studied without studying harmony? Where to start?

I have a background 1 year of harmony study and I'm now taking a non-western modal approach to music (trough Indian Classical Music, which is mainly monophonic and have no concept of harmony). I have ...
16
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4answers
1k views

Why do these progressions sound good?

I have always wondered why these progressions sound so exiting. I don't really know how the I-IV-things work, so I'll just write the chords. An explanation of what's really going on would be much ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

What's the difference between sixteenth century counterpoint and eighteenth century counterpoint?

What's the difference between sixteenth century counterpoint and eighteenth century counterpoint? Is sixteenth century counterpoint melody or modal based (as this answer suggests) and eighteenth ...
7
votes
4answers
389 views

What's “species counterpoint”? Are there any other types of counterpoint?

I believe the title says it all. On Wikipedia it shows the five species but I have the idea that there is another type of counterpoint not based on those species. Is that vague idea of mine correct? I ...
23
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3answers
25k views

What's the difference between “modal music” and “tonal music”?

As the title says, what's the difference between "modal music" and "tonal music"? Is there also any other classification besides "modal music" and "tonal music"?
7
votes
2answers
2k views

son vs. rumba clave and bass line

The answer to Latin jazz: anticipated chord change on last beat provided by Ulf Åkerstedt raises another question: I have written a son bass line, and I realize I have a rumba clave on the drum set. ...
16
votes
4answers
3k views

Most common jazz theory method book

What is the most common text book for learning jazz music theory? I have a strong background in classical music theory and would like to supplement it. I particularly am looking for something for ...
4
votes
2answers
638 views

Is the time signature switching every measure?

I think that the reason my compositions in DAW's have seemed off is because they've actually been changing time signatures throughout, and I haven't accounted for it. I tested this by making this tab ...
10
votes
7answers
6k views

Why is the highest frequency on a piano 4186 Hertz?

The human hearing range is between 20 Hz and 20,000 Hz. The lowest frequency on a piano is 27.5 Hz, which is almost at the start of the human hearing range. However, the highest frequency on a piano ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Harmony analysis program

Is there any computer program that automatically analyzes harmony given the score? I refer specifically to roman numeral analysis and functional harmony.
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vote
2answers
2k views

How to develop musicianship skills?

There are a lot of books that teach music theory, but are there any books that teach how to develop musicianship? Such as how to acquire it? I'm reading "Revisiting Music Theory", the author said the ...
3
votes
1answer
439 views

What is the frequency interval length of k semi-tones? (k = 1…11)

Go up 12 semi-tones from frequency f on a guitar, and the frequency interval difference in terms of f is f = 2f - f. What is the formula for the intermediate 11 non-trivial intervals? So for k=2, ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

A good source to learn the theory of chords in an accordion

I have been learning to play accordion for a few months and I can play 15-20 songs with their chords now. I know the physics behind the musical notes (such as I can understand what one implies by ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Why do the notes of a blues scale sound good with the I, IV, and V chords?

If you are playing the blues in the key of C, any note in the blues key of C should sound good in the melody with either of the C, F or G (I, IV or V) major chords in the bass. Why is this and how do ...
3
votes
3answers
369 views

Why did Lou Reed make Metal Machine Music?

For background, it's a record that was made "without musical instruments" by rigging up ring-modulators and envelope filters and tone generators to create a sort of living shape of feedback. But ...
9
votes
3answers
571 views

Relative Major/Minor keys question

I've got a question, I thought perhaps one of you fine human beings could help me out. I am under the impression that you can find the relative minor key of a major key by counting down 3 steps, ...
16
votes
5answers
900 views

Is it possible to create the illusion of a sub-harmonic?

The way I understand it, a normal plucked tone consists of a great many overtones in addition to the base tone. A pinched harmonic, however, shifts the base tone higher into the overtone series by ...
10
votes
1answer
674 views

Why is Italian the standard for expressive markings in music?

I was reading through the music for Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy a few days ago and I realized that I am often surprised when I see expressive markings (dynamics, tempo, accents and the like) that ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

International notation system

I would like to know if there is a special order for notes in English and/or an international notation system. In french, our order is Do Ré Mi Fa Sol La Si which is equivalent to C D E F G A B, what ...
27
votes
10answers
39k 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
365 views

Can the the same note be trilled two different ways?

C# and Db are one and the same, as shown in the first measure of the example. If you trill the two, as seen in the second measure, you'd expect the two trills to be the same. However, a trill is ...
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vote
2answers
433 views

Notating Augmented Chords

When writing an Augmented chord, which inversion of the chord should I use? The problem came up while I was composing (piano). I came to an augmented chord and couldn't think of which version to use ...
13
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
733 views

In a song in G major the sound F appears and sounds good. Is there a name for such a phenomenon?

The song "Misty Moisty Morning" by Steeleye Span is in a major key. My knowledge of music theory is fragmentary so I may have gotten it wrong but I believe it's true. I don't remember which key it is ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

How to understand layering of multiple elements in composition (pop/jazz)

I'm trying to understand more about how to compose music and most importantly combine multiple instruments at the same time. I'm quite capable of composing a bass-line, chord progression, or main ...
12
votes
6answers
1k views

“slash” chords, e.g. B/F♯ - are these only for inversions, or can any note be the bass note?

I'm trying to work out whether it is technically correct to have a "slash" chord where the bass note is not one of the notes in the chord. I thought the main reason for slash chords is to show which ...
33
votes
17answers
19k views

What is the difference between a mode and a scale?

I can't seem to find a straight definition for both.
15
votes
4answers
8k views

Is it possible to find the correct chords from melody notes alone?

I'm caught up in this thought. My friend gave me just the melody notes of a song. Here it is, So, Here is the problem: "without having the chords supplied, there is no way of knowing what the chords ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Chord books and theory

I have some basic knowledge on chords but I was wondering what books on chords and theory were the best for expanding my musical knowledge? As in, intermediate to advanced level books ?
24
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4answers
8k views

How do classical composers write music?

I am starting to learn about music theory and today it hit me how do classical composers such as Mozart and Beethoven are able to write music for instruments they don't play, such as (for example ...
4
votes
3answers
319 views

What is the most classically correct way to play this fast run?

I am trying to figure out the best way to play the first run in Francesco Tarrega's Caprice Arabe. This run is meant to be played really really really fast. First way: p i p i ...
15
votes
5answers
3k views

What defines a Tango?

Is there something about a song that can be used to classify it as "a Tango"? There's different Tango styles (Finnish Tango music, for instance, is different from Argentinian) and there seem to be ...
12
votes
5answers
1k views

Collective word for sharps and flats in the key signature

On a mailing list I'm subscribed to, someone recently asked what the collective name was in English for the sharps and flats you find in the key signature. Apparently, the closest translation from ...
15
votes
3answers
8k views

Do all chords in a progression usually fit within a scale

I am wondering if when writing a chord progression, all the notes fit within a single scale. If not, what is the logic behind chord progressions?
11
votes
2answers
4k views

Can an accidental carry over to the next measure?

I have been practicing this piece (The Stars and Stripes Forever) for a while. On the first note of the second measure of the second line, there is a natural sign. I have always understood accidentals ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

tanpura - 7 notes?

I overheard that indian music disputes the notion that 7 notes are equally divided. Hence, people should use tanpura (instead of harmonium or piano) to practice with. I googled about it, and I read ...
35
votes
4answers
55k 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
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: ...
2
votes
2answers
271 views

is there a modulation in boogie-woogie?

Consider the standard boogie-woogie bass such as this one. The C, F and G phrases are each in its own mixolydian. Is that a modulation from C to F and G? If no, why?
29
votes
11answers
9k 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, ...
29
votes
7answers
4k views

Is there a way to measure the consonance or dissonance of a chord?

I know that if I played C and B together they would be very dissonant compared to if I played a G or C one octave up. Is there a quantitative way to describe that sort dissonance? Edit: I understand ...
30
votes
11answers
52k views

Why learn scales? What are they for?

I tried Googling but it seems there is no answer for this one. So the internet assumes everyone knows what scales are for? Why should I learn them? Are they important to be a good guitarist?