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

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Beating 'Blank Page Syndrome' and Projecting Intent

I posted a question earlier, which a number of people pointed out was coming off too broad to make for a good post, and it was suggested I boil it down to a smaller bite, so here goes. I have been a ...
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4answers
635 views

Where on earth do I begin? [closed]

This question has been answered sufficiently, and I have posted a new, more specific question as was suggested. So, this probably isn't the usual post you might expect going by the title - this isn't ...
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2answers
379 views

F# Minor and F# harmonic Minor are same?

I'm a musician who can try to learn everything byself. Thats why internet is my only way for searching . I checked F# Minor and F# harmonic Minor and their scales are same . Is it true? I just ...
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1answer
263 views

leaps: small vs. large (learning counterpoint)

I'm reading Harmony in Context by Roig-Francoli as a first theory text to teach myself composition. In his Introduction to Species Counterpoint chapter, he mentions that the melody should consist of ...
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3answers
1k views

Melody within a chord progression

How do I add vocal melody in a guitar chord progression? Are there any rules I must follow such as only using certain notes in the melody for each chord throughout the chord progression?If so how do I ...
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3answers
759 views

Why does B work as a bass note against F7 in Bb?

I wrote a song in Band-in-a-Box. It includes this turnaround: Dm Dbm Cm F7/B BbMaj7 The chord F7/B doesn't sound good on guitar (I play it as F7 or F9 instead), but the low B note works really well ...
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1answer
227 views

Do we find music arranged according to Western Music Theory pleasing because of “biological instinct” or because of what we learn?

I know that if I play an out of tune guitar, that it sounds unpleasant. I know that if I play an arrangement on the piano (even one I am making up as I go) and accidentally play a note that does not ...
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4answers
238 views

Do notes from non-natural minor scales fit well in the associated major key?

Any major scale contains the same notes as the natural associated minor scale - C major being the easy option contains all the same notes as A minor natural. But of course we also have other common ...
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4answers
143 views

Are the accidentals counted as a single note or double notes?

I am a newbie to music . I have a doubt about accidentals . My doubt is whether a basic note and an accidental of that note is counted as a single note or double. That is , if a tune X contains ...
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2answers
2k views

Modulating between minor keys

I wanted to change keys from A minor to B minor. Tried ii-V-i progression (through F# major chord on the way up) but the transition did not sound smooth. Tried Em-F#m- Bm which sounds slightly better ...
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1answer
138 views

Which one to teach first: solfege or absolute notation?

Which musical notation should be taught to kids first- the solfege (movable do, in this case) or absolute notation? Thanks :)
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4answers
504 views

Alternative Analysis for Non-Functioning Secondary Dominants

I've been reading though my Pocket Music Theory book and in the chapter on secondary dominants there is a concept that confuses me. The book says there can be non-functioning secondary dominants that ...
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3answers
558 views

What might make for “ambient” or “atmospheric” classical music?

I am primarily trying to identify the types of compositions and approaches to composition that would produce such music, with any particular composers or pieces that might make good examples as ...
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3answers
451 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 ...
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5answers
763 views

Writing Arrangements

I play in a youth brass band and I've been writing basic arrangements for it for the past year or so. The thing is, I use MuseScore. I just enter what I think will sound good, play it back and make ...
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2answers
255 views

Happy, oriental minor songs

According to music theory, songs in minor keys are supposed to be sad. However i often find minor pentatonic songs, especially from Chinese folk songs, that are happy and upbeat (Chinese New Year ...
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3answers
166 views

The melody+chords pattern in perspective

Most of us who know the basics of music theory and share the "common" musical culture (western mainstream popular songs, mass media, "classical" music from the common practice period), tend to think ...
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3answers
499 views

Harmonizing a melody for 4 voices… help?

Recently I've started encountering a multitude of questions that ask for me to harmonize a melody. I've never really seen a question like that before, so I've been a bit lost as to where to start. I ...
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2answers
4k 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 ...
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3answers
258 views

How can different compositions use C Major?

Pardon what I know is an embarrassing question - I am at the very basics of learning music theory. If a scale such as C Major is an exact pattern of intervals, how can multiple songs be composed with ...
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6answers
754 views

Why do composers use seemingly/unecessarily complex time signatures?

I see this all the time: In the piece I'm currently analysing (Sei Quartetti Brevi by Sciarrino), the composer uses 7/16 + 4/8 in the first measure, followed by 5/8 + 3/8 in the second, followed by ...
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3answers
1k views

What does it mean when one says that rock and jazz have strong beats on the even numbered beats?

It is usually said that rock and jazz musics have the strong beats on the even numbered beats (2 and 4 on a typical 4/4) instead of the odd ones (1 and 3). However, chord changes and bass (whether ...
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1answer
353 views

What do the numerator and denominator of a chord name in roman numerals mean?

I'm reading a paper on music theory and I keep coming across names of chords expressed as a fraction - I/I, I/V, ii/I, etc. Based on the use of these names in the paper, I'm reading this as: I/I: A ...
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1answer
732 views

Why do the Canadian and American ways of writing chords symbols differ?

I've been studying music harmony (for the RCM program), and my teacher explained to me that the American way of writing chord symbols slightly differs from the Canadian way. For example, the chord ...
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4answers
600 views

Non-diatonic chord?

I've done some looking to no avail, so I'm hoping one of you will know the answer to my question. If I'm in a minor key and I play a i, iv, v progression, but later on I change ONLY the i to a major, ...
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4answers
717 views

Do the 'natural' chords to use in a key change if you use a different mode?

This question gives a great, not-too-technical explanation of modes: What are modes and how are they useful? I wondered if playing in a different mode would mean the standard chords change move also? ...
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1answer
935 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 ...
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2answers
343 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
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3answers
143 views

Trying to understand a nice harmonic end

The more I learn music and harmony theory the more I understand that I don't know anything yet . As for jazz I was listening for a fly me to the moon performance on the piano : the song is in Am and ...
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0answers
29 views

What is it called to take a scale but start on a different degree? [duplicate]

By which I mean keep all the same notes in the same order, but start on a note that isn't the root. Let's work in C major. There's obviously the special case that if you start on the 6th ...
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1answer
467 views

How is the mordent played in the given piece from Petzold

Here is an excerpt of Petzold's Menuett in G major and I stumbled upon a mordent which I don't know how to play. The fun fact is: The excerpt is from a beginner book where there is an explanation of ...
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1answer
652 views

Is there a name for a minor scale with a raised 3rd or a major scale with a lowered 6th and 7th?

I've noticed a pattern in chord progressions and melodies where I like to use the b7 and b6 chords with a major tonic and there are several modern songs that like to use this pattern as seen in a ...
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1answer
422 views

why major chords only have 1-3-5 notes why not other notes? [duplicate]

I have gone through this question The chord formula for the Major Chord is 1- 3 - 5. What do the numbers represent? I haven't understand that and I have also read many document. Please can any ...
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2answers
84 views

Modulation in the violin solo Bach's Laudamus Te

I'm trying to decide the key changes in the Laudamus Te of the Mass in B minor (J.-S. Bach). I think the key in the 8th measure is B minor (the Laudamus Te is in A Major), but I'm not sure what ...
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4answers
480 views

Is there a Relative Pitch Clef?

To start out: I am more-or-less familiar with all the standard musical clef notations, including F, C, and G clefs; as well as the fact that clefs can be movable (tenor clef, french violin clef...) ...
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1answer
1k views

How do you do accidentals (eg. E♭) in solfège (Do Re Mi)? [duplicate]

I only ever learned the basics of the major scale syllables, mostly from the "Doe, a deer" song. In C Major, Do - C Re - D Mi - E Fa - F Sol - G La - A Ti (or Si) - B Do - C So how ...
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2answers
325 views

Which enharmonic to use when writing down a sequence of chords

I've got a sequence of chords, denoted using solmization here: S: re di do ti A: ti TA la sol B: fa mi ri re I'd like to write down these chords in B flat major. I'm concerned with the ...
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2answers
120 views

What's the meaning of the phrase “an eighth note at quarter”

The context is comparing the loudness changes in two sounds. An eighth note at quarter equals 120 is 0.25 seconds long So is it talking about four eighth notes beamed together, or is it ...
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2answers
1k views

key changing in a song?

how do i change in keys? All by my self - was in the key in F major and transition to C# minor in the middle of the solo? i notice that "all by my self" and "never going to fall in love again" by ...
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1answer
139 views

How should I understand time signature?

Now, I am not asking for the general answer given in band class ("The top number tells how many beats are in a measure; the bottom number tells what note gives the beat"). I'm more asking what it is ...
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0answers
52 views

What exactly is the point of the Melodic Minor Scale? [duplicate]

I know how the natural, harmonic and melodic minor scales are formed and the first two I have no problem with. But the very concept of a scale which is different going down and up just seems wrong to ...
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3answers
2k views

How do you properly define diminished 9th, 11th and 13th chords?

I understand that a diminished 7th chord is defined by the intervals 1-b3-b5-bb7 and a half-diminished 7th chord is 1-b3-b5-b7, but how do you determine what intervals diminished (and half-diminished) ...
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4answers
397 views

iii9 - I progression in Bach?

In the last of his 15 Sinfonias (aka Three-Part Inventions), Bach uses quite a daring approach to the tonic chord. Occurring in a sequential progression by downward thirds, it can be described most ...
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4answers
223 views

Is there such a thing as an Add#9 chord?

I understand that the chord formed by the intervals 1-3-5-b7-9 is a 9th chord and that the intervals 1-3-5-9 (omitting the 7) create an add9 chord, but how do you properly define the chord created by ...
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9answers
3k views

Why isn't D the “most central” note?

When laying out the notes in the two-dimensional Wicki-Hayden layout, which is the most symmetrical layout I know of, it is visually clear that D is the "most central" note. Why, then, doesn't D play ...
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3answers
171 views

Chord Roles/Reputations

Does there exist literature examining the particular psychological/emotional role/reputation of each chord in a movement? (For example, I am currently infatuated with IVmaj7, which is to say I find ...
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2answers
590 views

What is the terminology for how we identify numbered notes like C4, E3, D6, etc?

Does this system - where C3 is middle C - have a standard name? For instance, is there a wikipedia page which explains this system and if so how is it titled? (note: As mentioned middle C is C4, my ...
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3answers
299 views

Question about analyzing a Dm C A# chord progression

Say I play the chords Dm C A# How would you describe the chord progression? There seems to be a relationship between Dm and A# but I don't understand how to describe it. They aren't a perfect 5th ...
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4answers
9k views

What makes a song a “rock” song?

Sometimes I'm not completely sure when a song is a "rock song" or when it is from another music genre or even a "something-rock" song. How do you recognize it? Is it some bass rhythm? Some chord ...
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1answer
332 views

Debussy: Reflets dans l'eau: Rhythm Ambiguity

I'm having some trouble understanding my edition, particularly measures 23-30. For reference, use First Edition, Paris: Durand & Fils, 1905 [1]. I'll also refer to Leipzig: Edition Peters, 1970 ...