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

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10
votes
4answers
672 views

Theory of improvisation

I am looking for improvisation theory ressources. I mainly focus on free jazz and improvised music but I am also interested in dance, drama and pictural improvisation. I want to know if a ...
4
votes
2answers
857 views

Why don't pianos use multiples of 12 for the number of keys?

In one of the answers of this question, some pianos with 44, 61, 76, and 88 keys are introduced. I just don't get it. Why notes are not following any formula? I mean, a piano with 63 keys means that ...
17
votes
6answers
5k views

With sheet music, how do you determine whether the song is in the major key or the minor key?

For example, if the key signature on the left doesn't have any sharps or flats then it could theoretically be in either the C Major scale or the A Minor scale. How do you determine which one?
2
votes
2answers
1k views

What is a harmonic note and how do you play it?

While I was browsing here I came across an interesting question so I decided to see what the answer was and well, I had some difficulties understanding it. I'll quote a short part of the answer. ...
5
votes
1answer
5k views

What makes a happy song happy? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What gives a piece of music its personality and feeling? What makes a happy song a happy one? What are the elements that give this particular property to a music piece? ...
5
votes
1answer
179 views

Is there an amp power formula?

I'm looking to buy a new amp for my keyboards, and I was wondering if there's a formula I can use to help me calculate some of the objective specs I should look for. Something along the lines of: I ...
23
votes
3answers
15k views

How do harmonics work?

The guitar has harmonic notes at some places. I can play it, but I don't understand the logical reason why/how this is can played. Can you tell me how exactly this works? What other musical ...
4
votes
2answers
453 views

How do you label a sequential interval when the second note is lower in pitch than the first?

Consider the interval D3 G3. This would form a perfect fourth. In a sequential interval, say a quarter note D3 followed by quarter note G3, this still "sounds" like a perfect fourth so using that ...
5
votes
4answers
472 views

What's the term for the intervals between notes within a scale that produces a chord

I probably described that poorly in the title, and I'm not even sure there is a word for what I'm thinking. Lets say you're playing on just the white keys on a keyboard. C E G is C major, and D F A ...
8
votes
5answers
3k views

What is “groove”?

How's possible to trigger it? Is there a technical reason for the groove to happen? Is it just when you stuble across any kind of rhythm / melodic progression interaction that "moves"? Please do not ...
4
votes
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 ...
18
votes
11answers
886 views

Can a chord contain both the C and C♯ notes? (as opposed to containing C and D♭ notes)

Can a chord contain both the C and C♯ notes? Or do you always have to use D♭ rather than C♯ in a chord that already contains the note C? I'm guessing the answer is no, both C and C♯ should not be ...
12
votes
10answers
5k views

What is the full list of possible chord names? Are there chords that don't have a name in chord theory?

My chord book covers 35 different chord types. When I look on the web or in other tools, all the same types of chords come up. But I don't think this is the "full" set of possible chords. I'm not ...
15
votes
5answers
748 views

Why is a note sometimes a 4th and sometimes an 11th?

If I play the chord: GBDA, then this is considered a Gadd9. But if I play the 3rd above the 5th (GDB), it is not called a 10th. Why don't we refer to all notes by 1-7, and is there a system to ...
36
votes
7answers
4k views

What notes are optional in jazz chords?

I have a question on jazz chords, and what notes can be removed from the chord. My understanding is fairly superficial - mostly from what I've read in books. This is what I understand: In some ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Recommended book for learning Jazz Music in the piano [closed]

I have been playing classic music in the piano since I am a teenager and now I want to switch to Jazz music and learn it by myself. Which book would you recommend me? I know there are is this one Jazz ...
27
votes
8answers
4k views

Is it possible to write a song without a key?

"This song is in F Major", "That song is in A Minor", "This song is in D Minor, but modulates to F Major in the middle", etc. Can we say "This song has no key"? Are there songs that have/follow no ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

In what order should I learn all the theoretical concepts for piano?

I can do major scales with every key. I am now start minor scales. In what order should I learn all the concepts and theories? For example chords, chord progressions, lots of other stuff etc.. I ...
28
votes
11answers
16k views

How is counterpoint different from harmony?

Harmony is a kind of second sound you hear. Counterpoint is also the second sound you hear. Aside from technical differentiation, how can you by ear differentiate these two concepts. Is it possible ...
28
votes
5answers
9k views

Does it really make difference to play a song in a different key?

I hear sometimes players and composers say that this song won't sound good in F Major for example, and you should play it or write it in G Major (this was just an example). In other words, it seems ...
7
votes
2answers
379 views

How to become a DJ

I'd like to become a DJ, and to tell the truth, I also have made many tracks using Encore notation software. But, now that I want to bring it to reality, I don't know what instruments to purchase. A ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

recognizing the motif

I encounter the term motif in composition books, and still have no idea what a motif is. Many sources (including some dictionaries) try to define it as "prominent sequence of notes" or "basic theme of ...
5
votes
2answers
181 views

How could I create a musical vocabulary based on a group of similar classical pieces?

Sometimes I'll be working on a group of pieces and realize that I'd like to experiment with abstracting some of the musical ideas (rhythms, harmonies, etc) into a musical vocabulary that I could use ...
5
votes
1answer
415 views

What's so special about III ?

Take a C major scale, and pick each other note, starting from each note C-D-EF-G-A-BC-D-EF I: C E G = C ii: D F A = Dm iii: E G B ...
2
votes
1answer
286 views

The tonal function of a bar in minuet by krieger

This is Minuet by J.Krieger If I look at the 6-7-8 bars, there is the following chord progression: E - E(7) - Am With a trill in the 7th bar. I feel like the 6 bar does a kind of "teasing" in a ...
8
votes
3answers
298 views

Recommend reading why we have 12 pitches and another metrics in microtonal music?

I know there are many books which describe why we have 12 pitches (for example this book: R.H.M Bosanquet - An elementary treatise on musical intervals and temperament, 1876 in the public domain). ...
11
votes
4answers
6k views

Music Theory for a Beginning Drummer

I've been learning Drums for the past few months (lifelong dream, and I should have my very own kit in 36 hours or so! \o/) and my teacher has been teaching me how to sight-read. I'm doing quite well ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

How can I easily translate between a key and a key signature?

Is there a good mnemonic or trick for working out the key signature from a given key? I can always write out the chromatic scale, then count out the appropriate intervals from the tonic, and figure ...
16
votes
2answers
4k 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?
6
votes
3answers
350 views

What makes augmented fourths and the diminished fifths so hard to sing/remember?

I've always wondered what makes these particular intervals so difficult.
8
votes
1answer
741 views

What is this called? Why is it allowed?

"Golden Train" by Justin Nozuka (YouTube link below) is in the key of Ab major. However he uses a Cb major chord throughout the song, which is not in the key of Ab major. It sounds good and works ...
3
votes
1answer
109 views

personal interview for musicology studies

I'm applying for musicology studies at the university, which requires a personal interview in order to check my musical skills and knowledge. However, some theoretical points are unclear to me ...
3
votes
2answers
399 views

What technique is it called in the song “Better Man” by Robbie William?

I just recently recall about this song and started to play it. There is a change of base chord in the song during the bridge. I am playing on C (C, G, Am, F, Em) and during the bridge, it changed to ...
5
votes
1answer
693 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 ...
13
votes
6answers
982 views

What gives a piece of music its personality and feeling?

What makes a piece of music sound angry, dark, sad, happy, or otherwise? "La Chute" by Yann Tiersen sounds so angry to me and "A Dark Knight" from "The Dark Knight" movie sounds so dark and ...
6
votes
3answers
3k views

Most important musical concepts for writing songs on acoustic guitar

I want to be able to write catchy/"cool sounding" guitar parts for songs. I am currently studying music theory extensively. I am just wondering, are there any guitar-specific musical concepts that I ...
7
votes
1answer
270 views

Non-fixed-frequency instruments playing by themselves versus with fixed-frequency instruments

[I don't know a better term than "non-fixed frequency instruments" but I mean things like string instruments, voice, trombone as opposed to things like a piano which has a fixed (typically 12-et) ...
19
votes
3answers
2k views

How do you remember your music and how do I improve in this regard?

Okay, let me start with my own story. I jumped straight into playing classical pieces on the piano without much in the way of formal musical education. By now I know how chords are built (but it takes ...
15
votes
2answers
963 views

Music education audio lessons

I am currently learning to play the guitar, and that has sparked an interest in learning more about music in general. I would like to learn about music theory, ear training, history, musical styles ...
35
votes
4answers
3k views

What's so special about minor and major scales?

background: I'm an amateur and self-learner pianist. What I know, I know from books or google, so I'll start with summarising what I already know - please don't hesitate to correct me if I have ...
20
votes
2answers
507 views

Is this piece of renaissance music really in the locrian mode?

A fifteenth-century dance manual contains this piece of music: which appears to be (uncharacteristically) in the locrian mode. Is it really, or am I mis-reading? Does anybody know of other music ...
7
votes
1answer
371 views

In chord progressions, how can I refer to a chord that's out of the scale?

I'm training a music that is most on the G Major scale.. But then there's a B chord. As B is not on the G Major scale, how can I refer to it when I'm writing the chord progression? EDIT My guess is ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

I need help to understand chord intervals (not single note intervals)

I understand intervals between notes. Each number of steps between two notes has a particular name. Like this: But some times I see people refering to intervals between chords, not single notes. ...
5
votes
1answer
310 views

Alternative Numerical Representation of Pitch

I'm aware of a number of different ways of representing pitch as numbers (including one I developed for use in my own software) but am interested if there are others. The most widespread is probably ...
27
votes
1answer
4k views

Why is C the base note of standard notation and keys?

Why is it that notes "start" with C? In key signatures, for example, C Major is the basis and accidentals are added for all other key signatures. I know that the musical alphabet starts with A and ...
18
votes
1answer
871 views

Are there any machine-readable databases of chord progressions available?

I'm interested in doing some linguistics-inspired computational musicology on chord progressions and am wondering if there are any freely available databases of chord progressions. Obviously, I could ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

Capitalization of key names (C Minor vs. c minor)

I was taught when I was young that minor key names should be written with the note in lowercase, as well as the word "minor". Nowadays on recordings, etc., I usually see both capitalized. What was ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Do music theory books differ per instrument?

I'm an amateur Spanish guitar player, I know Solfège and how to read music sheets (not expert though). I'm looking for a book that teaches me music theory to gain more understanding and maybe try to ...
17
votes
7answers
1k views

Where should I go to learn about non-Western scales (particularly Turkish & Greek)

Apart from Turkey and Greece, I mean. I'm looking for fairly abstract musicological and comparative descriptions, not "how to play"-style information. Particularly interested in departures from the ...
10
votes
4answers
287 views

Music Cognition

I am learning to play the harmonica. As with so many people around the world, the approach I use is to take a song and its notes somewhere from the internet and practice it until I can play it well. ...