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

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2answers
329 views

Name for music that imitates speech

I have searched and asked others for the answer to this but have come up dry: what is the name or technique in music where musical notes approximate/imitate speech? Note that I am not talking about ...
25
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7answers
3k views

The major scale - why and how?

background: I am an amateur guitarist. I was trained in Indian classical music as a kid. Most of what I know in music theory is from books or Google. So please feel free to correct me or tell me if I'...
7
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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 ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

What is A flat to C minor?

I know that Cm is the relative minor of Eb. I noticed the Eb chord is made up of two of the same notes of Cm (beginning on the third degree). Ab is also made up of two of the same notes, but on the ...
6
votes
2answers
5k views

What does it mean when progression is resolved?

I saw this text inside a very basic piano workbook in which I'm not sure what the author means by using "resolve". Progression #1: C-F-G-F-C NOTE: This 4 bar progression resolves back to C ...
18
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3answers
3k 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 ...
36
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14answers
14k views

Why Is Just Intonation Impractical?

I've read about the debate of "just intonation" vs 12-tone equal temperament. And nowhere it was clearly stated why just intonation is impractical. Here are my assumptions. Please let me know if I am ...
4
votes
3answers
380 views

Musical construction in rock - what does this mean?

Andrew Chester writes (emphasis mine): Western classical music is the apodigm of the extensional form of musical construction. Theme and variations, counterpoint, tonality (as used in classical ...
13
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6answers
18k views

When playing in a minor key, will the chords be minor as well?

I've been jumping into music theory myself and I've been stumbling on creating certain melodies and such. I've played guitar all my teenage life and not once have I ever sat down and said I'm going to ...
5
votes
3answers
531 views

Arpeggio vs. Acciaccatura

(When writing notation for piano) Scenario: I would like the player to play the chord G (G3, B3, D4, G4), in a "spreaded" way. That is, not hit all keys at once, but start with the bottom G and end ...
4
votes
2answers
228 views

How to compose an acoustic guitar chorus?

I've been playing guitar off and on for years, and every once in a while I come up with some lyrics and chords that seem to be really great for a few verses. The problem is that I can never seem to ...
15
votes
9answers
1k views

Musical Aids to Memorize Intervals

As the tutor for my school's music department, I spend a lot of time helping students drill intervals. However, I only have a handful of songs to recommend recognition. P8 — Somewhere Over the ...
4
votes
3answers
4k views

Does playing in scale mean only using notes from that scale?

Many melodies contain notes that are not from the scale they are composed in. For example, "Stairway to Heaven" solo contains an A minor pentatonic scale plus an additional F note. I've read that this ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Converting to harmonic and melodic minor

Is this correct? In converting from major to harmonic minor of the same root (not the relative minor (with the same key signature)), flatten the 3rd and 6th. In converting from major to ...
22
votes
5answers
4k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
260 views

Roman Analysis of “Ab B G” chord

I am currently analyzing a bit of music for homework which consists of four voices (string quartet). It is in the key of G Major, but the chord that it ends on, is a Ab on the cello, B on the Viola, ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Why play out of scale notes as part of a chord?

So, I'm learning 'Stray Cat Strut' right now and came across something I'm not sure I understood. I have to say, I've only just begun to learn theory, so maybe that's why. Anyway, as far as I can ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

How does one start learning music theory?

I know some basic stuff like scales and how to construct chords, but I don't know much about the roles notes play in melody, what kinds of melodies there are, how to do chord progressions, and so on. ...
6
votes
2answers
531 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?
26
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7answers
42k views

How to identify the root note of a chord

I struggle with chords on the staff because I'm not sure which note is the root note. Is it the top note with the rest of the notes falling below it? E.g., if the top note is C, and bundled below it ...
4
votes
4answers
471 views

Introduction to jazz theory

I have developed an appreciation of jazz (Coltrane, Ayler, Sanders, etc.). I have no musical education though. I am therefore looking for some sort of lectures or texts for a better (or any at all) ...
19
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6answers
16k views

How many (major and minor) keys are there? Why?

I am wondering about how many major and minor keys there are and why. Here are some suggestions: 24 keys One could argue that there should be one major and one relative minor key for each of the 12 ...
2
votes
3answers
664 views

18-note groupings across 4 beats in this Yngwie Malmsteen inspired lick

I have a few questions regarding the following lick: It runs for about 8 bars and starts at 53 seconds into the video (it is a time marked lick so will start playing ...
22
votes
4answers
16k views

What are the practical reasons for still having transposing instruments?

I understand that historically there was a need for transposing instruments. e.g. Brass instruments would use lead pipes to change their key and players in brass bands would like to stick to the same ...
12
votes
4answers
10k 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 ...
23
votes
4answers
895 views

Are there any great open questions in music theory/psychoacoustics?

In many sciences there a are a number open questions that are well known in the field, and for which a solid answer would gain the answerer much Prestige. For example, maths has many open questions, ...
10
votes
2answers
273 views

Was the pitch A given that letter because the minor key was originally the “basic” mode?

It's something that's puzzled me; The key that has no sharps and no flats, in essence the "basic" key, is C Major. Well, fine, but why C? Why not label that key and note A, if it's the foundation of ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

Voice leading confusion

I perfectly understand the theory of voice leading when explained in most theory books about moving voices between chords in the shortest possible manner to give a smooth connection between chords. ...
10
votes
2answers
528 views

Do different modes have the same cadence structure?

In major and minor keys, the perfect cadence is V to I Will this structure remain the same in a different mode? I.e. E Phrygian Mode in the key of C (E F G A B C D), the tonic chord is the iii of ...
2
votes
2answers
177 views

Which note is consonance and which is dissonance

1) I did some reading saying 2nd, 4th, 6th and 7th note are unstable note. where 7th note tends to move towards the tonic and it is the most unstable note. Is it true? When I play through the scale, i ...
2
votes
1answer
219 views

How to come over nervousness while stage performance? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How can I overcome the fear of performing in front of an audience? I have played guitar several time on stage. But every time I start performing I feel a lot nervous. I may ...
4
votes
3answers
637 views

Musical Harmony: When to use more than three chords

I understand that I, IV, and V chords in both major and minor keys are common chords that make up a good progression. I understand that those 3 chords cover all the notes diatonic to the key that we ...
10
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4answers
2k views

What is bad about Roman Numeral Analysis?

I have studied roman numeral analysis in my theory courses and I think that it's a good way of describing and understanding classical music, especially that of the classical and early romantic periods....
8
votes
2answers
814 views

What are the major differences in a composition of metal and progressive metal?

I am a bit confused about the differences in the composition of metal and progressive metal. Are there major differences in their orientation of sound, or it is just the difference of incorporating ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

Using modes and static harmony

Edit: i know what modes are and how they are related to major scale..etc. question is about modal harmony and chord progression in modal harmony. not what is a mode and name of other modes..etc What ...
23
votes
8answers
2k 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
509 views

Lorem Ipsum in music

I would like to use some Lorem Ipsum like thing for synthesizer sound demonstration. To be specific, I want the following properties Polyphonic (Some sounds like pads really needs a chord) It should ...
12
votes
5answers
6k 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 ...
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vote
2answers
3k views

Determining modes in a minor Key

Speaking of Functional harmony; If a song is in key C, then we call the C major scale from E to E is a Phrygian mode. Good, what if a song is in key Am, which is actually relative of C and also Am ...
13
votes
5answers
13k views

What is a 13th chord?

For example an F13. How do you find the 13th note?
4
votes
2answers
353 views

What note(s) are a diminished 3rd above D-flat?

In What is the interval between Db and D# some of the comments indicate that the interval Db->Eb can be considered as a diminished third. I would think that Fbb (double-flatted F) is a diminished ...
16
votes
2answers
595 views

What is the name of the interval Db - D#?

I know that Db - Eb is a major second/diminished third. What is the interval Db - D# called (and why)? EDIT: oops, Db - Eb is NOT a diminished third.
7
votes
3answers
451 views

Is solfege systems octave-agnostic?

I'm writing a somewhat comprehensive music theory programming library - Both to have the ability to make "intelligent" theory programs, and to refresh all the theory to myself. I've however just met ...
21
votes
7answers
13k views

Why does the Dorian mode on C have two flats?

I'm studying scale modes and I just found on Wikipedia that the Dorian mode on C has two flats... Why is this? Because the Dorian mode is just the major scale (Ionian) starting from the second ...
5
votes
1answer
617 views

What are these aspects of song structure called?

In songs, we often have very similar melodies and rhythm patterns being repeated over and over again. The following is an approximate melody of one stanza of Willy O' Winsbury as performed by ...
4
votes
1answer
621 views

Is there such a thing as “pop music theory”?

There is large body of work describing the theory of Western classical music; I'm unaware of the state of analysis of popular music forms. Are the differences between, say post-50's American pop-...
6
votes
1answer
330 views

Sixth and Minor Seventh inversions conflicts

For example consider C6 [C-E-G-A] and Am7 [A-C-E-G] which share the same notes in different order. When we play [E-G-A-C] how is it called?(is this a inversion of C6 or Am7) Generally, how are these ...
6
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1answer
2k views

Franz Liszt Liebestraum No. 3 Bar 17 Roman Numeral Analysis

I'm going through Liszt's Liebestraum No. 3 in Ab M.... in bar 17, I don't know how to mark the A natural chord. It's either a #1 or the song has modulated to the natural minor, in which case it would ...
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4answers
2k 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
400 views

Why is the note name “a” not on any important scale position? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why is C the base note of standard notation and keys? The note names are derived from the alphabet, which starts with "a". But why is our note "a" not on any important ...