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

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19
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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 ...
13
votes
6answers
843 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
5k views

What are the patterns of the minor scales

I understand that there are 3 types of minor scales Melodic Natural Harmonic But I always mix these up, and I don't know the patterns of them. I would like to know The basic pattern Some ...
18
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5answers
5k views

What is Voice Leading?

In both classical music and jazz, we often encounter the concept of voice leading. What is it?
15
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3answers
2k views

Name for descending semitones under a repeating musical phrase?

In much contemporary music, especially instrumental guitar music, there is a particular device employed. It involves a musical phrase in which usually one note, often a bass note, descends in one ...
12
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...
21
votes
4answers
2k views

Physics behind why a bugle can play several notes, while a whistle only plays one note

A bugle and a whistle are essentially both tubes open at both ends. A bugle has no keys, yet you can play several notes on it. A whistle also has no keys, but it only plays a single note. Why is this? ...
13
votes
2answers
398 views

What is the theory behind scales?

My question is the following: Scales are The backbone of quite everything in western music. Does anybody know if there is some sort of backbone behind scales? A number, something like that? Or do some ...
3
votes
2answers
275 views

Common patterns in music

When I asked my question on why do C7 chords contain a Bb and not a B, a user gave an example, how tonic chords transforms into a IV chord thru a dominant chord (C - C7 - F). I found this transition ...
17
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3answers
1k views

Why are thirds used to construct chords?

I am (slowly) learning music theory on the guitar. I've begun learning about scales and chords, and it seems that all chords are built using some combination of thirds. For example, a minor triad is ...
12
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10answers
708 views

What key could the progression Cm - G - Dm - Am be in?

I'm working on a song (my first ever actually) and I love the chord sequence: Cm - G - Dm - Am I started off working in C-Major, but borrowed Cm from the parallel minor key C-Minor. But really, in ...
12
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3answers
1k views

How do you know what beat to emphasize based on the time signature?

In learning the guitar I have run across various time signatures. In each time signature it seems as if you are supposed to emphasize different beats. Is this something that you just have to intuit, ...
11
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6answers
838 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Does the bass note in a “slash” chord really have an associated interval?

I have a question about "slash" chords. Look at the chord E/G: E G♯ B G 1 3 5 ? G is the minor 3rd interval (♭3) in the key of E. However, I would have thought by definition chords cannot ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

What is a key signature?

I'm trying to learn the flute and I bought a book that is supposed to help me learn. In one of the first chapters it describes something about key signatures and the circle of fifths and I'm ...
5
votes
3answers
288 views

What is theory of music about?

What kind of questions does theory of music try to answer? I wonder whether there are formal theories of music which define axioms and rules of inference. There must be plenty possible small ...
5
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4answers
1k views

Chord books and theory

I have some basic knowledge on chords but I was wondering what books on chords and theory were the best for expanding my musical knowledge? As in, intermediate to advanced level books ?
4
votes
4answers
2k views

Finding chords that sound like a single note

I cannot seem to find an algorithm to do this. Say I play an E (not a chord)... it sounds a certain way. If I make it into a chord an play an E Major chord it sounds completely different. What would ...
7
votes
4answers
891 views

What are some interesting ways notes and chords are spelled in cultures outside of the U.S.?

I've heard that German musicians spell the seventh note of the C major scale with an "H" where an American musician would use a "B". And, for the fourth note of the F major scale, where an American ...
6
votes
2answers
384 views

The relationship between music theory and physical phenomena

The first unique overtones of a simple vibrating string form a major chord. Are there other simple physical structures that would generate other chord types?
5
votes
2answers
496 views

What is the proper name of the dash symbol over a note and how to play it

Can anyone specify the name of the particular symbol above the crotchet? According to Wikipedia it's called a Tenuto but my teacher said it's called a "dash". Which one is correct? Or are both names ...
5
votes
1answer
417 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
3k views

How do you compose using the chromatic scale?

Writting a piece of music using the chromatic scale would be interesting, but I can't think of a way to start it? What kind of structure would a piece have? Is it all subjective and up to the composer ...
3
votes
1answer
230 views

What kind of chord progressions am I using?

I taught myself music theory mostly by playing with chord progressions and writing music based on what I like. (I've since learned music theory proper.) As a result, I prefer to use some chord ...
2
votes
2answers
271 views

Scale degree naming

As I understand the minor pentatonic degrees are 1 b3 4 5 7b it says b3 & 7b, does it matter which side the b is on? and do they both mean flat? Scale degrees are almost always based off the ...
0
votes
2answers
286 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 ...
23
votes
8answers
35k views

How to know what notes/chords go together while improvising?

This is 3 questions in one, so it might take a slightly involved answer, or some good links. I'm a very good classical pianist, but I skipped theory entirely in my early days and learned to play well ...
20
votes
5answers
2k views

Algorithms for music composition

I'm a beginner in music but I also like to fool around with simple computer programs . So I found a little python library to generate MIDI files . So what I do now is that I have a few rhythm ...
32
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
23
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
22
votes
3answers
23k views

What's the difference between “modal music” and “tonal music”?

As the title says, what's the difference between "modal music" and "tonal music"? Is there also any other classification besides "modal music" and "tonal music"?
13
votes
5answers
839 views

Guide-lines for creating a simple chord-progression?

I am working on a computer program that generates a simple melody, based on a simple chord progression of four chords taken from the 7 triads of the C Major scale. The program is also supposed to ...
28
votes
9answers
1k views

What is the best way of learning the notes on the fretboard.

What is the best way to learn the notes on the fretboard. Are there any good tips on how to do this?
16
votes
7answers
878 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 ...
35
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
397 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 ...
12
votes
10answers
4k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
646 views

Are there in-depth music theory books that can serve as a compendium?

If I'm looking for Music Theory on Google I find articles, tutorials and sites that explain the basics. However, this won't allow me to really master Music Theory and be able to look up advanced ...
18
votes
10answers
1k views

Where do musicians draw their melodies from?

It has been in my head for so long. I am a visual artist, animator, I do motion graphics, 3D artwork and most of my work is done visually. I am puzzled by this question. Visual artists, they draw ...
15
votes
2answers
868 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 ...
12
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5answers
4k views

Music Theory: Frequencies related to playing a note on guitar

I am studying the physics related to playing guitar. I need to understand the relationship between the fundamental frequency of a guitar string and its harmonics. For e.g., the top string has the ...
8
votes
5answers
395 views

Learning music theory and music writing around guitar

I have fun playing guitar, learning songs or licks and solos from songs is fun and all but I really don't know much about these pieces of music and why they sound good. Sometime I want to be able to ...
17
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
482 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. ...
27
votes
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 ...
14
votes
3answers
525 views

How can I move beyond learning songs?

I can competently learn and play chord progressions and simple runs on the guitar but I do not feel like I understand the instrument. My playing progresses by memorizing songs. However, I know that ...
11
votes
10answers
834 views

What is the secret of jazz phrases?

I'm diving into Jazz, both with guitar and trumpet, and I'm looking for that typical jazzy sound when traveling from lows to highs (and opposite). How were Miles and friends achieving it? What ...
9
votes
6answers
3k views

Uses for augmented chords in composition

I've been studying for music theory for many years and I enjoy just writing little chord progressions and melodies to see what certain progressions sound like and how interesting I can make them. The ...
8
votes
3answers
287 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). ...
5
votes
5answers
495 views

Techniques for creating melodies

I've posted this question: Learning to create melodies I've got a few ideas of techniques towards creating melodies but wanted to ask if there are any specific methods to help get better. I've read: ...