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

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11
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2answers
199 views

What makes graduate-level music theory different from undergraduate-level music theory?

It's been years since I graduated with a music minor. My background consists of: Traditional two-semester sequence in music theory (basic notation to borrowed chords), i.e., Kostka/Payne ...
0
votes
0answers
45 views

Why is the key of C the one key with no sharps or flats? [duplicate]

It would seem like that would have been A from a logical stand point. Does anyone know the origin of this as to how music evolved this way with C being the so-called starter key? Just a curiosity on ...
3
votes
3answers
298 views

8 under clef and timing questions

Please look at the below graphic, there are a few things that are confusing me: 1 - Why is there an 8 under the treble clef? 2 - This is in common 4/4 time, yet one of the beginning 8th notes (in ...
11
votes
1answer
112 views

What is the difference between grouping overlaps and elisions?

I am reading "A Generative Theory of Tonal Music" by F. Lerdahl and R. Jackendoff and I don't understand the difference between grouping overlaps and elisions (this is explained in section 3.4). The ...
14
votes
6answers
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 ...
0
votes
1answer
73 views

Why (Occidental) conventional rhythm notation became conventional? [closed]

Human languages evolve and adapt themselves to the needs (phonetics, auditory, contextual) of the users. To what extent has been showed that Occidental music notation followed that path? Is it ...
3
votes
4answers
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 ...
-1
votes
2answers
123 views

How are notated the sequences of durations (13/27, 1/27, 13/27) and (4/81, 259/1296, 1/1296)?

The sequence (13/27, 1/27, 13/27) sum to a whole note, and it derives (presumably) from triplets, while the sequence (4/81, 259/1296, 1/1296) sum to a quarter, and may derive from triplets (the first ...
5
votes
4answers
534 views

Is it possible that a music piece written in a “flat key signature” contains sharp-accidentals (and vice versa)?

E.g. the key signature G Major contains one sharp (which is why I consider it as a "sharp key signature"). Can a music piece written in G Major contain a Db? Or can it only be a C# because the key ...
3
votes
3answers
131 views

Changing songs' chords to Arpeggios

I want to know how I change chords to Arpeggios in a song? For example how do you change (Somebody's me) by Enrique from chords to Arpeggios or single notes? Can you show me this or another example as ...
1
vote
3answers
74 views

Dropping the 5th degree and counting a C♯Dom7

I'm currently writing out (into a chord diagram book) all the different voicing/finger positions for the seventh chords. Some voicings are difficult to play and I so my initial thought was "oh, the ...
6
votes
4answers
183 views

Tonality and Rules

One can find many books on "tonality"during the common practice period. e.g., Piston. Tonality seems to be definable as the way in which composers express the chromatic scale in a organized way ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

Are sharp keys “bright” and flat keys “dark”?

I was reading this book and on the "Circle of Fifths" chapter it claims that keys with sharp key signatures (C, G, D, ...) are "often though by musicians" to be "bright" sounding and those with flat ...
4
votes
3answers
67 views

Diminished second and NCTs

Are notes that are a diminished second from a chord tone considered part of the chord, or are they considered an NCT? For example, if the chord contains an F and there's an adjacent E#.
7
votes
3answers
16k views

Difference between minor and major pentatonic scale boxes?

Is there a difference between minor and major pentatonic scale box shapes? Some say you can do the same pattern as a minor scale but three notes up the fretboard and some that you must change pattern ...
4
votes
1answer
77 views

What does an apostrophe on top of a note mean?

In my music (Trombone/Baritone), I see an apostrophe on top of a few notes. What does this mean?
16
votes
5answers
18k views

What is the difference between sharp note & flat note?

In guitar or generally in any musical instruments, what is the difference between sharp notes & flat notes? For example : Are A♯ & B♭ the same? And are C♯ & D♭ the same? Does that make ...
21
votes
9answers
12k views

What is the “theory” behind “odd time signatures”?

There are a number of bands, Genesis, The Police, Crack the Sky, Gentle Giant, that have all incorporated unusual time signatures as their core sound - some entire "pop"songs, "Ordinary World - Duran ...
5
votes
5answers
372 views

Why are key signatures like E# and B# necessary?

Why do we need key signatures such as E#, B#, Cb, and Fb? Take a look at the scales for E# and B#: E# has 4 sharps and 4 double sharps. The key of F is exactly the same, and it only has one note ...
3
votes
4answers
3k views

Are ties necessary?

From a theoretical point of view (let's leave apart for a moment interpretation and writing), are ties necessary to account for note values that notes and dotted notes cannot provide? Two tied ...
1
vote
1answer
73 views

Schoenberg's Hexachord decoded

I had a question regarding the cryptogram of Schoenberg's famous hexachord. The Schoenberg hexachord has a pitch class set of (012569) and a vector of <3,1,3,4,3,1>. In other words, the notes are ...
0
votes
4answers
118 views

Vocals on guitar

Okay so I asked a question earlier and I wasn't so clear. I'll try and rephrase it. I want to learn how to take a song, and then play something on the guitar that sounds like the vocals. For example: ...
5
votes
3answers
373 views

What do uncommon time signatures consist of?

Take a X/4, it means "the measure will contain X notes, the value of which are 1/4" I understand this concept for X/Y signatures, with Y being a power of 2. But what does that mean for the others ? ...
36
votes
8answers
5k 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 ...
69
votes
7answers
13k views

Why are there twelve notes in an octave?

I know that one scale consists of 12 half-tones. But my question is still: Why? Why not 13 or 11?
10
votes
4answers
869 views

What is a “D-10” Chord?

I found a Paul McCartney Song, "Maybe I'm Amazed" that showed a chord which still has me stumped: The name of the chord is D-10. Now, I understand that most chord names are 'even' (as opposed to ...
0
votes
2answers
41 views

What does the compound time require to be?

I am trying to study music theory which would help me learn various aspects of music, so I started with basics and then time signature. It states that for a music to be in compound time each beat is ...
2
votes
2answers
59 views

How can I improve my interpretation of rhythm and percussion?

I am a non-drummer/non-percussionist well versed, for my personal purposes, in tonal harmony - up to the point where tonal chord structures can be implemented without functional movement and serve to ...
6
votes
3answers
154 views

Continuous Music Theory

Is there a musical theory of harmony or a system of chord-understanding that does not rely on the 12-tone temperament? For example, a fretless instrument has (theoretically) an infinity of tones ...
-1
votes
2answers
112 views

Whats the fastest way for a beginner to learn a song

I would like to know how to play bizarre love triangle on piano. Sheet music can be found here: http://www.musicnotes.com/sheetmusic/mtd.asp?ppn=MN0130187. What would be the fastest way to learn how ...
1
vote
3answers
64 views

Teaching Theory for Violinist in Suziki book 2?

I have been teaching a young violin student for quite a while now with the Suzuki method, and she is now about to take 'Bourree' in book two. But recently I started reading the stuff on the pages ...
1
vote
4answers
109 views

Is there any rules to choosing appropriate drum pattern for a melody?

I'm just a beginner in writing music. and I am learning this just for fun. I had read some books about writing music, but still confused with some questions, this is one of my question. I had tried ...
1
vote
3answers
114 views

Music Theory Augmented 6th chord: Analysis of Haydn String Quartet op.74 no.3, II

So I wasn't able to post a picture. In this piece on measure 34, we modulate from C major to e minor. In measure 36, the notes played are C in the bass, E, F# and G in the alto clef, G, F, E in second ...
6
votes
16answers
10k views

Why can some people play music well who don't “know music”?

I have seen people who can play instruments well, but can't: Read sheet music. Do not know anything about music theory. Do not know the structures or rhythms of sound, acoustics, or the such. I ...
4
votes
4answers
109 views

What does the key of a song mean?

I want to know what it means, in terms of the scales and chords involved, when we say that a song is played in a certain 'key'.
3
votes
3answers
727 views

Open/Close Position Chords: What I am missing?

Working through Hindemith's harmony I encountered the following diagram of all the valid positions for a C-Major chord in strict four-part writing. I am befuddled as to why the third chord in the ...
0
votes
2answers
49 views

Russell Lydian chromatic (again)

One more question about Russell Lydian theory. Russell uses as an example the Lydian C scale: C-D-E-F#-G-A-B-C comparing it with C maj scale, then he starts to explain his theory as if they belong to ...
13
votes
9answers
5k views

Is Emajor the dominant chord in the key of A minor?

I read somewhere that Emajor is the dominant (V) chord in A minor. Is this correct? If so, why is it not Eminor, since the A minor scale has no sharps or flats in it?
-2
votes
2answers
77 views

Changing a song's key vs. changing chord voicings

My question relates to playing a song with chords. Why would I want to shift a key up or down when I can just play a song in its original key with higher or lower sounding chord voicings? I also ...
2
votes
3answers
119 views

bV substitution in ii V I

So I have been playing around with the good'ol ii V I standard and I have found, just by playing around, that instead of going to the V, it sounds odd, but you can substitute it for a bV. Key: D ...
1
vote
1answer
47 views

George Russell Lydian chromatic concept

I am reading the George Russell book about Lydian chromatic concept. If anyone has ever read it, maybe you can help me in understanding his use of the term "Lydian do" as well as "Ionian do". My ...
7
votes
6answers
484 views

Is there a term for chords like F/G and C/D?

Chords like F/G and C/D are really quite common in jazz, blues and soul music yet I have never heard or been able to find a concise name for them. To be clear, I am referring to any major (or indeed ...
0
votes
0answers
11 views

how to add chords for a melody i have composed? [duplicate]

i am intermediate level guitar player and have learned to play melody by ear rather than the conventional way of learning first chords on guitar.I have now learned chords also.I compose many new ...
2
votes
1answer
214 views

Why do these two guitar notes create a warble sound?

On a standard tuned guitar, if you play the 12th fret on the top E string and the 16th fret of the B string at the same time, you get a rather impressive warbling sound. It seems similar to if you ...
19
votes
5answers
6k 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?
0
votes
2answers
54 views

What is the term for a chord change from 0-5-7 to 0-4-7?

From what I understand, the 0-5-7 triad is a sus4 and 0-4-7 a major. So if I have C-F-G and descend a semitone from F to E into a C major chord what would be the technical term for it? I like to use ...
1
vote
3answers
159 views

Modulating from key Gm to key Bbm

I'm trying to modulate from the song 7 Years (Gm) to the song Hometown Glory (Bbm). How do I write a something that joins the two?
7
votes
5answers
2k views

How come songs in a certain key play notes not in that key

I just started trying to learn about music theory as I'm learning to play the guitar. So as beginner's do I looked up a list of easy songs to play and I start learning away. Since I'm also trying to ...
2
votes
3answers
270 views

What is the difference between a chord progression and a riff?

I am just wondering what the difference between a chord progression and a riff is? My assumptions are that riffs are generally 2 measures long, and they are pretty much classed as being played over a ...
9
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...