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

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4
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2answers
540 views

Is there a formula/theory for writing country licks/riffs?

Is there a formula/theory for writing country licks/riffs, and where can I find it?
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2answers
522 views

How can you find the key of a song by ear?

If you don't have the music notation available, how can you determine what key a song is in by just listening? Must one have perfect pitch to do this or is there an easy way or a trick that can help ...
2
votes
3answers
809 views

Ways to use quartal chords

By stacking 4ths in C major, the following quadads result: C, F, B, E D, G, C, F E, A, D, G F, B, E, A G, C, F, B A, D, G, C B, E, A, D (I used C major for simplicity, but this can obviously be ...
4
votes
1answer
620 views

Is this a dissonance? What causes it?

My question is about the use of dissonance in music. In the song Heart Of Amsterdam (for German users, click here instead[*]), from the Lucassen-van Giesbergen "The Gentle Storm" project, at the 3:00 ...
4
votes
2answers
246 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" remain ...
10
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2answers
3k views

Different modes of pentatonic scale

Just as there are seven modes of the diatonic scale, I would expect five modes of the pentatonic scale. Have these been classified? Here they are, in the form of {semitone interval gaps} (Notes for ...
2
votes
1answer
790 views

What does a major-7 chord resolve/lead to?

I reckon the major-7 chord is my favourite guitar chord. I was strumming Amaj7 chord and got a lovely first line to a song, but I am not musical enough to figure out what chords fit the melody I was ...
4
votes
4answers
243 views

How does Gdim7 fit in C# minor?

I'm pretty new to music theory. This song is actually the reason why I even started reading about theory, but I still can't comprehend this chord progression. I ...
10
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1answer
1k views

Is there a term for a chord progression that chromatically ascends or descends an octave?

I've noticed a pattern in music that is very interesting where a progression will start with one chord and chromatically ascend or descend until the starting chord is reached again. For example: a ...
11
votes
6answers
12k views

How to make songs with chords that don't belong in a scale?

I've always wondered how come there can be a chord progression with some chord that doesn't belong in the particular scale... Moreover, how can it be possible that this progression is in any key at ...
24
votes
4answers
2k views

How do I become better at “playing outside”?

One can spend an enormous amount of time playing melodies "in" the tonic. For example if your are in A major, you might favor A major or A lydian. However, there is a term called "playing outside" in ...
2
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7answers
1k views

Why do some arrangements of notes make a good melody and some don't?

A note by itself is not always particularly pleasant to hear. Why do some specific combinations of notes make a good, pleasant melody? Why are some people good at coming up with such pleasing ...
2
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6answers
732 views

How to practice piano more efficiently and effectively?

I'm a beginner pianist trying to figure out how to play more efficiently and effectively . I hired a piano teacher to teach me how to play better but all she does is just gives me simple randoms ...
3
votes
4answers
412 views

Why do quartal progressions typically not utilize common tones?

Typically chord are built in thirds, but in quartal harmony chords are built in fourths instead. One pattern in quartal harmony I noticed was chords tend to move completely in parallel even if common ...
7
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2answers
222 views

What is the Hanson system used for?

Recently I've been learning about alternate analysis techniques used for modern compositions and one that I've recently learned about the Hanson system partiality described below: Now as shown in ...
44
votes
4answers
6k views

(1/√π)/√⅔ as a time signature?

I recently found this article on wikipedia about lists of musical works in unusual time signatures and the first unusual time signature is (1/√π)/√⅔. I looked up the piece that was listed as having ...
6
votes
5answers
5k views

What is a good solo to learn in the major scale?

I am starting to play / improvise in the major scale and would like to learn some guitar solos that are good examples of this scale so that I see how other people use it. What are some famous solos in ...
16
votes
6answers
984 views

Progression path from an apprentice to a guru in music theory?

I am a computer science major and have been practicing music (as a hobby) for the past 4 years now. I started digging into the basics of Music Theory a year ago and now wish to advance my knowledge so ...
11
votes
5answers
999 views

Flat symbol in key signature and bar

If i have a flat for a note in the key signature, and then in a bar the same note with an flat symbol, does that mean the note is "double flatted"? For example in the key of D Minor with hash one ...
8
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3answers
2k views
5
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2answers
531 views

Can chords found in parallel modes of the relative minor of a key (or relative major when in a minor key) be considered borrowed chords?

In the key of C major, take the following progression: C----Em----A----G7----C I------iii------VI----V7-----I In this progression, can the VI chord be analyzed as a borrowed chord from the major ...
6
votes
1answer
452 views

Building complex chords from Complex figured bass

I did a music exam today. one of the questions was build chord from the following shapes (with the root given on the staff): mM2 AugM7 dimdim 6/5 Mm6 what is the algorithm behind this markings. I ...
22
votes
7answers
3k views

When to use a dot or a tie in music notation?

Let's say I have the following piece in 4/4, Should it be notated as: or Are there any specific rules? From my previous experience, I believe the second one is the correct notation since it ...
6
votes
3answers
803 views

modulating by a tritone

I have heard that modulating by diminished fifth/tritone is the hardest of all modulations. Interestingly my non-musician husband has just composed a tune with a smooth tritone modulation (ie. from C ...
9
votes
2answers
365 views

What is meant by a “release”?

In a Tom Cosm video tutorial on making beats in Ableton Live, he states (12:20): See, we have that kind of suck now. That's another kind of tension thing. I find with these kind of tension ...
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vote
3answers
84 views

Is there any easy technique or guide to remember chord conversion?

I am able to play chord progression in any key, but if I want to play by changing the KEY then it is difficult for me to play in the new key. So is there any easy technique to remember the chord ...
3
votes
3answers
262 views

Why is the diminished scale 'artificial'?

Upon reading Mark Levine's Jazz Theory Book, on the chapter of the diminished scale, there a footnote that says: The diminished scale is artificial in the sense that it is not derived from the ...
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4answers
325 views

Major and minor scales

How can I identify my minor scales faster? I'm good with my major scales, but I always have to reference my major scales when identifying my minor scales.
3
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3answers
909 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
141 views

Is there a name for this: text syncopates otherwise unsyncopated vocal music?

There's an interesting musical phenomenon in "O Virgo Splendens" (14th century, in the Llibre Vermell de Montserrat) as it is consistently interpreted across all editions I have ever encountered. The ...
0
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0answers
206 views

How did the notes of the Western musical scale get their letter names? [duplicate]

The first thing a brand-new piano student learns is the name, and location on the keyboard, of "middle C". I've always wondered, why is that note called "middle C" rather than, say, "middle A"? To ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Expand Bass Guitar Playing Beyond Root Notes

I am fairly new to the bass guitar and I'm in a band. So far, I almost always just play the root note of the chord. I sometimes hold it until a new chord and sometimes repeatedly play this same note....
8
votes
4answers
610 views

Why did composers write atonally?

Can anyone tell me the best justifications for writing atonally by the composers who did so? Did anyone, including Schoenberg, explain what "freeing the dissonance" means? Does it imply that he ...
0
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3answers
130 views

Augmented 5th on B double sharp?

So a perfect fifth on B natural is F♯, an augmented 5th on B natural is F♯♯, would that then mean that an augmented 5th on B♯♯ would be F♯♯♯♯?
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vote
5answers
265 views

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 ...
2
votes
4answers
639 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
383 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
270 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 ...
3
votes
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 ...
12
votes
3answers
761 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
232 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
242 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 ...
0
votes
4answers
144 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 ...
1
vote
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 ...
3
votes
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 :)
8
votes
4answers
520 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
588 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 ...
12
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3answers
455 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
781 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
260 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 ...