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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

16
votes
8answers
9k views

What chord is formed by the open strings of a guitar in standard (EADGBe) tuning?

Here is something that I have been wondering about for a while: If you strum all six strings of a guitar in standard (EADGBe) tuning what chord would you play? I think it would be some variety of a ...
16
votes
4answers
1k views

Why do frets get closer as the notes get higher?

Why do spaces between guitar frets get smaller as the notes get higher?
11
votes
1answer
311 views

What is harmonic mixing?

I'm currently learning how to become a DJ. One of the concepts that caught my attention was "harmonic mixing". I know some very basic music theory, and I'm having some trouble understanding it. What ...
5
votes
2answers
347 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
582 views

Why is the aeolian mode the minor scale?

I've studied music theory for many years now, and one thing has always confused me about the naming methodology for the minor scale. A major scale is based off the Ionian mode and consist of only ...
6
votes
2answers
124 views

The Harmony of Clashing Tempos

The jazz guitarist John McLaughlin once published a book of scores for a number songs that he composed for his Mahavishnu Orchestra. There are some very unusual theoretical conundrums that come up ...
6
votes
3answers
307 views

Looking for letter-based chord identification algorithms, and related literature

I'm searching for chord recognition algorithms that will assign a chord name(s) to a group of notes, and related literature. I'm not looking for programs that do this. I'm looking for the algorithm, ...
4
votes
6answers
1k views

Want to learn composing and producing music on DAW's. Where To start from?

Well i am basically a computer engineer and passionate music listener. I have been listening to movie score and soundtracks from many years now and it has really inspired me to learn and create ...
13
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
13
votes
9answers
568 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
4answers
189 views

How to analyze music outside of common practice harmony?

I'm familiar enough with common practice harmony, its rules and methods for diatonically harmonizing the scale, tonicizing scale degrees and modulating into new keys. But these tools seem to lose ...
15
votes
2answers
1k views

What scale is this?

This is a very minor question, but I'm trying to learn a piece (a Bach Concerto in D minor) that has the following sequence of notes played in order: A B C# D E F G A My piano teacher said it was a ...
1
vote
3answers
87 views

Progressing from a C Minor 9th

If I am playing a C Minor 9th chord what are the next chords up that work with a C Minor 9th? Am I able to follow the C Minor scale and create a 9th from each note in the scale? A bit confused on ...
16
votes
4answers
374 views

Why do melodies have harmonies?

It seems to me that every melody can be assigned chords. Although different people may assign different chords, in many cases, only certain chords (a small subset of all possible chord choices) seem ...
3
votes
2answers
164 views

I need help understanding a complex (or maybe compound) time signature

I composed this song a few years ago originally using a tracker (an old-school, very freeform compositional workflow), and have been recently trying to transcribe it into a more modern DAW (Ableton ...
5
votes
3answers
230 views

How does “triplet feel” for eighth notes affect non-eighth notes?

I'm a software developer creating a MIDI player that can play with "triplet feel" -- that is, when it sees two eighth notes, it plays them as if they were a triplet of quarter note + eighth note. This ...
6
votes
4answers
125 views

The Musical Effect of a Unison Ensemble

Upon reading sheet music for black spirituals, I discovered something unusual: As you might notice, the bass, tenor, alto, and soprano parts are all singing the exact same notes throughout the ...
7
votes
5answers
162 views

Chords and Intervals - Unison

Just trying to wrap my head around intervals but I'm confused by Unison. If I am playing a chord on a piano, how do you play a Unison chord if you can't press the same key twice at the same time? ...
5
votes
1answer
281 views

What are 5 and 6 note chords called?

I only know how to play 2 different types of chords which is a Triad (3 notes) and a 7th (4 notes). But, I often see chords with 5 or 6 notes being used. What are these types of chords called? An ...
9
votes
4answers
242 views

What is this type of shift called?

In a lot of (usually electronic) music, I notice a section of music that seems to shift up a number of notes and continue with a similar melody in a way that greatly emphasizes the melody. Does this ...
13
votes
10answers
6k views

What is the difference between a mode and a scale?

I can't seem to find a straight definition for both.
2
votes
3answers
414 views

Building Lydian chords

I am learning about chords and their relationships to major scale modes in jazz. As I understand it, each mode allows a different chord to be built by choosing the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th of the scale. I ...
1
vote
2answers
91 views

What are the notes in a 11th chord?

Does a chord like C11 contain (apart from 1st, 3rd, 5th) the 7th and the 9th? Or I can just play the 3rd, 5th and the 11th and the root? I have the same question with chords like C9 and C13.
12
votes
3answers
240 views

Why do harmonics sound good?

Harmonics, as in multiple of a fundamental frequency, sound good to our ears. A few examples: Octaves, i.e. doubling the frequency. We assimilates pitches separated by octaves to a same pitch class. ...
2
votes
2answers
190 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

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, ...
8
votes
5answers
214 views

Writing Arrangements

I play in a youth brass band and I've been writing basic arrangements for it for the past year or so. The thing is, I use MuseScore. I just enter what I think will sound good, play it back and make ...
10
votes
4answers
7k 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?
1
vote
1answer
190 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
137 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
votes
1answer
74 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 ...
10
votes
6answers
648 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
178 views

What is a “D-10” Chord?

I found a Paul McCartney Song..."Maybe I'm Amazed"... that showed a chord that still has me stumped: D-10 is the name of the chord Now, I understand that most chord names are 'even' (as opposed to ...
10
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
736 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
418 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, ...
4
votes
6answers
455 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: ...
1
vote
3answers
133 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
votes
2answers
182 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: ...
3
votes
1answer
996 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 ...
16
votes
5answers
390 views

What are modes and how are they useful?

I'm a self-taught guitarist with zero to little experience in music theory. After marrying a violinist I found that there's a lot to music theory that I know tribally but don't understand the ...
6
votes
2answers
234 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 ...
6
votes
7answers
1k 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
116 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
82 views

seeking a piece or study, melodic minor [closed]

I'm teaching electric guitar to a chap who has developed a love for music theory and playing classical and neo-classical pieces. He has requested some more minor work and further explanation of the ...
44
votes
6answers
4k 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?
7
votes
2answers
636 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, ...
1
vote
2answers
63 views

What scales can I play over Maj7 with lowered ninth?

I know that I can play a b2 Dorian scale over a DomSus chord with a lowered ninth, but what about over a major7 b2?
3
votes
2answers
92 views

Chords triads in any scale

Sorry for the very basic question, but my only experience comes from using DAW software. The rule I use to create a triade chord is playng three notes at {0,4,7} semitones for a major cord and {0,3,7} ...
10
votes
4answers
382 views

How to know if it's a mode or scale?

How do I differentiate between modes? Suppose a person is playing "D Dorian". How do I know that it's "D Dorian" and not "C Major/Ionian" or "E Phrygian" and so on, and in fact "A natural minor" ...