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

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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, ...
14
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4answers
19k 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?
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1answer
554 views

Which scales to use on complex chord progressions?

According to this article, it is possible to make a chord progression by just keeping one tone that remains constant in all chords of the progression. Also, it gives these examples: Cadd9 F6 D G ...
6
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3answers
186 views

Cb and Eb in C minor

I'm working on Beethoven's Sonata no 5 I passed by this I can't figure out how the C and E are flat, as Cb is a B and E is already Flat according to the C minor scale I'm very new to music ...
2
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1answer
92 views

Question about key modulation in 'Magdalena' by Johannes Brahms

I am analyzing the chords in 'Magdalena' by Johannes Brahms, and am having trouble determining whether the key modulates from g minor. The piece is in strophic form, and repeats measures 1-8 three ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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3answers
577 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, ...
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6answers
971 views

Sharp / Flat: Collectively known as property by what name?

If a chord can be said to have a Quality which relates to whether it is major, minor, augmented or diminished then by what name do we call the property of a single note's flatness or sharpness? Note: ...
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3answers
238 views

Magen Abot Scale - Indigenous Recordings

In a purely theoretical space, I noticed some interesting properties of a scale which I determined to be the Magen Abot Scale. The scale I am interested in is: C Db D# E F# G# A B or 1 b2 #2 3 ...
5
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2answers
296 views

Placement of F# on Alto Clef

For the past four or so years now, I have been playing the Viola. Y'all know what that means: Alto clef. Up until just a few weeks ago, I have always seen an F# displayed in a key signature like this: ...
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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 ...
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2answers
481 views

How do you name chords in 20th Century Music? (Chords stacked in intervals other than 3rds)

This question stems from some thoughts on List of possible trichord/triad names.. When you stack chords in 3rds, you get all the standard chord names of Major, minor, 7 etc, but what about when ...
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7answers
5k views

How to improve/solo over a song/backing track besides staying in key?

I recently bought an electric guitar and am looking to start soloing/playing along songs/backing tracks - I have learnt all positions of the pentatonic scale, know a handful of licks and have a basic ...
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2answers
154 views

How are pitch and tempo related to harmony

Currently I am trying to write a program to create harmony. From an input wav file (human voice) , I used some signal processing to get tempo and pitch. My next step is to create harmony based on the ...
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2answers
6k views

Why is the guitar tuned E A D G B E? [duplicate]

Why is the standard tuning for the guitar E A D G B E, from the lowest string to the highest? The interval between strings is a perfect 4th, except for the interval between the G and B strings, ...
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6answers
906 views

I need help understanding the concept of chord inversions.

This article from wikipedia, states: In the first inversion of a C major triad the bass is E—the 3rd of the triad—with the 5th and the root stacked above it (the root now shifted an octave ...
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3answers
315 views

Is raising the flat 7th scale-degree of a mode to become a leading tone to the final still modal?

So for example, taking mixolydian mode, the third of the vm7 chord (the flat seventh of the mode) is raised to create a V7 chord (as commonly occurs in tonal music in a minor key) which is then ...
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1answer
761 views

How would one create music based on the principles of Cubism?

How would one create music based on the principles of Cubism? (e.g., 20th century painters: Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Juan Gris, Fernand Léger) The basic definition of Cubism calls for the use ...
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8answers
1k views

Is there any way to improve composing?

Beside playing drums I'm toying with software to create music. The problem is when I need to advance further. I may have some good, let's say "riffs" (or pieces, or melodies, or ideas), and I'm pretty ...
11
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2answers
291 views

Alto singing Tenor

I am currently musically directing a community theater production of Sweeney Todd. We have cast a female to play the part of Toby, and in the song "Not While I'm Around", she is not able to achieve ...
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3answers
560 views

Chord progressions ending in “I” at the end of a phrase vs. the beginning of the next

Is there a generally accepted term or a useful published discussion of differences between chord progressions that resolve within a phrase (say in the fourth bar of a four-bar phrase) as opposed to ...
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2answers
2k views

What's the ''rock rhythm'' like?

Every genre of music has its own rhythm, but I never understood the rock one. Theoretically, it's: one, TWO, three, FOUR but it's never this sequence. It's something like: three weak beats on one, a ...
5
votes
1answer
455 views

Natural vs tempered semi-tones

I am reading "Fundamentals of Musical Composition" by Arnold Schoenberg. Chapter XI, page 99, states: Chromaticism is difficult partly because the natural semi-tones differ in size from the ...
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1answer
137 views

Is this a modal song?

I just want to check, is this song, Magic Power by Triumph, an example of D Mixolydian (major, dropped 7th)? ...
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0answers
50 views

How to recognize rock music? [duplicate]

I think rock music is the most complex genre ever for being so wide. I mean, you can listen to Coldplay and then right after, listen to Foo Fighters. They're both rock bands, but they're so different ...
7
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4answers
305 views

Note naming convention while creating scales

I am having some trouble with naming notes in a major scale. The major scale formula is 0 , 1, 1 , 1/2 , 1 , 1 , 1 , 1/2 If I use this formula to calculate notes in G# major scale, I get the notes ...
14
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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: ...
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3answers
211 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 ...
8
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5answers
499 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. ...
11
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5answers
9k views

What is a 13th chord?

For example an F13. How do you find the 13th note?
7
votes
2answers
1k 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": In trying to ...
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3answers
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What time signatures are used in flamenco and related styles?

Recently I've been trying to get some flamenco spirit into my playing. I've already experimented with some 'gypsy' scales and it feels good ... but I've also realized that part of the secret is in ...
2
votes
3answers
459 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
668 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
151 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 ...
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2answers
282 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 ...
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4answers
378 views

Composition of music suitable for concentration

What are the parameters of music to consider so that the resulting composition is suitable as a background music when reading, studying or doing some mental work? I'm interested in parameters like ...
7
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3answers
938 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 ...
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5answers
916 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 ...
9
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2answers
607 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
445 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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4answers
8k views

How to play chords like G/B

I heard that if there is a chord written like x/y then that means an x chord with y in the bass. This can be played by playing x normally, but then playing the y note on the 6th string, correct? Then ...
6
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
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vote
1answer
172 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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
476 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 ...
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1answer
374 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 ...
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2answers
3k views

Is there any real difference between Counterpoint and Polyphony?

From what I understand, they both kind of refer to the same thing. Why the need for 2 terms?
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2answers
233 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 ...