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

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2
votes
1answer
34 views

Multiply-diminished intervals from a major

I know that starting from a perfect interval and shortening the interval by two semitones gives a doubly-diminished interval. But what about starting with a major interval? For instance, starting ...
12
votes
3answers
338 views

Interval of a 4th above the bass

As I was studying music theory (harmonizing a melody in particular) I got confused with the statement: The interval of a 4th above the bass is considered dissonant and must resolve down by ...
6
votes
4answers
508 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
299 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
4k views

Classical music theory notation for chord inversions (figured bass)

In classical music harmony analysis, we see the chord inversions notated like I6/4, I6, V4/3. Examples: What are those numbers? How do they define the inversion? What's the theory behind using ...
4
votes
4answers
131 views

How to write music using standard notation / Finding key

I would like to ask a typical question from amateur musician. Most of amateur musicians understand tabulature notation and often even some music theory, I personally can read notes but not in all keys ...
15
votes
8answers
528 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
201 views

What is this chord called that looks similar to power chords?

While watching to some guitar covers I found this chord that looks similar to a power chord. In the cover the guitarist played it on the second and fourth fret. It looks like this: Images ...
7
votes
2answers
169 views

What is the technical term for what the percussion is doing in this song?

In Massive Attack and Burial's collaboration track Four Walls, the percussion in the middle part of the song does something interesting where it shifts around the beat. It can be heard at 6:22 and ...
4
votes
0answers
30 views

Essential strumming patterns/techniques? and the theory behind it? [duplicate]

I used to play silly led zeppelin and velvet underground covers. i knew all the vu strumming just because i knew the records by heart. i've started to get more into classic folk and country and nick ...
8
votes
3answers
607 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
92 views

Why Seven Principal Tones? [duplicate]

Why are there seven principal tones (A-G)? Just tradition? In the same vein, why are various sounds (of differing pitches) said to represent the same principal tone?
7
votes
4answers
478 views

Why does this harmonic minor scale notation use a natural sign?

On the Wikipedia page for Minor scale is this diagram of the harmonic minor scale starting at A: Why is there a natural sign on the F? I thought the natural sign was only used when the note had ...
39
votes
7answers
7k views

Purpose of double-sharps and double-flats?

In a few pieces of music I have read through, I have come across double-sharps and flats. To my understanding, they are two semitones above/below the note indicated. What is, then, the point of ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

In 12 tone equal temperament, why are the notes named c, c#, d, d#, e, f, f#, g, g#, a, a#, b, instead of something else?

In 12 tone equal temperament, why are the notes named c, c#, d, d#, e, f, f#, g, g#, a, a#, b, instead of, for example, c, c#, c##, c###, c####, d, e, f, g, a, b, b#, OR c, c#, d, d#, e, e#, f, f#, g, ...
4
votes
2answers
91 views

Studies showing the brain chemical reactions when listening to depressive music

I have been listening for some time "classical"(not the proper meaning of the word) music. Many works, such as Schubert's, capture incredibly well the feeling of sadness. Other works seem to create ...
15
votes
10answers
1k views

Why is there a key signature if I never play those notes?

I'm just getting back to playing on keyboard. I'm trying to play "Ode to Joy" from the piano sheet but I have a basic question. At the beginning of some staffs, on the right of the treble clef I can ...
5
votes
5answers
287 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: ...
2
votes
2answers
208 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 ...
14
votes
10answers
781 views

Looking for a high level Music Programming language

I'm looking for a high-level programming language. I did some googling and found a number of examples (some summarized here http://users.soe.ucsc.edu/~sasha/proj/musicpaper.pdf) but haven't found ...
8
votes
3answers
355 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
191 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
31 views

Why do composers choose different keys for their works? [duplicate]

For example, why did Beethoven choose C sharp minor when composing his moonlight sonata while choosing f minor for appassionata? Why did he not choose to compose all of his works in C major or A ...
5
votes
2answers
432 views

Differentiating between II and II7 (secondary dominant V of V)

I'm studying harmony and start to make roman numeral analysis on Bach pieces. I often mistake a II (second degree) for a secondary dominant on the 2nd degree(V7 of V). I guess there are some notes ...
4
votes
1answer
76 views

Are certain subdivisions “uncountable”?

Typically every note gets a beat. The way I learned how to count 32nd notes in 4/4 though only every other beat gets a count so it's like counting 16th notes, but having two notes every count. I.E. ...
3
votes
1answer
78 views

What is the Slonimsky-Schillinger Symmetric System?

What is the Slonimsky-Schillinger Symmetric System? What's the theory behind it? How is it used in composition?
28
votes
11answers
6k views

Why are the white and black keys on the piano placed the way they are?

I am pretty convinced it is not just for historical reasons. I have found a mathematically-sound explanation of the twelve-tone musical scale, thanks to this question. Does anyone know a similar, ...
6
votes
4answers
779 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
131 views

What is the four tonic system?

What is the four tonic system? What's the theory behind it? How is it used in improvisation, harmonization, reharmonization?
4
votes
2answers
95 views

String gauge, scale, and tuning relationship? (Guitar in particular)

Does anyone have general guidance or a good resource on this, specifically considering scale length, string tension, string gauge, and tuning? I've found loads of anecdotal research and a even few ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Difference between “Bar” and “Measure”

I was taught musical theory in the UK where I grew up. I was taught what a bar is. In my experience, the terminology "measure" is not used in a musical sense in the UK. Since living in the US, I ...
6
votes
4answers
223 views

The concept behind relaxing music?

I am interested to start ...
26
votes
6answers
3k 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 ...
6
votes
7answers
537 views

Definition of the note C

That I'm using the note C is arbitrary, I could be using any other. How would you define a C? If you define it as the tone with frequency 261.6 Hz (or 2^n * 261.6) then you run into problems when you ...
3
votes
2answers
112 views

F Dorian and Associated Chords

So I have been playing guitar for a long time, but only recently have begun to seriously dive in to music theory. I have limited knowledge, so little that I am unaware if this is a very simple ...
2
votes
2answers
247 views

How do I find guitar chords to play while I sing “Frozen Heart” from disney's Frozen?

I'm a beginning guitar player, and I like playing disney songs. I've learned most of the songs from the movie Frozen, but I'm struggling with Frozen Heart. Here's the song: ...
3
votes
2answers
683 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 ...
29
votes
4answers
34k views

What is the relationship between “do re mi” and note letter names?

When the people sing the song, we use do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti (or si).... but some time I hear that the music people say A, B, C, or C flat..., what is their relationship? or are they two ...
11
votes
11answers
3k views

Math PI represented musically

I'm creating a program to output the values of pi as sound. I've seen a few videos and some other representations, and want to try to make my own for fun, except i'm unsure how to proceed. There are ...
4
votes
5answers
121 views

How to create an interval from a note which doesn't start a major scale

When constructing an interval, e.g. a major third from A I work like this: Count three notes including the starting one, so A, B, C Now check on the circle of fifths whether A major scale has an ...
10
votes
3answers
517 views

Is a high A in the key of D flat still flat?

I'm learning a song in the key of D flat. I know that any middle A within the song is flat. However, is a high A (above the staff) still flat?
13
votes
5answers
2k views

What defines pop music as a genre? Which patterns and trends can we find in pop music?

Today, not all popular music is labeled as pop. To me it seems that pop has become a genre that can be defined by its musical patterns, techniques, and styles. Similar to rock, jazz, and classical ...
8
votes
2answers
103 views

Is there a name for this: text syncopates otherwise unsyncopated vocal music?

There's an interesting musical phenomenon in "O Virgo Splendens" (14th century, in the Llibre Vermell de Montserrat) as it is consistently interpreted across all editions I have ever encountered. The ...
5
votes
2answers
113 views

Error computing prime form of a pitch class set

I'm working on coming up with prime forms. I've been using this calculator online to check my work. My problem is that the prime form I compute for a certain PCS doesn't agree with the calculator, ...
5
votes
2answers
536 views

(Post)-minimalist compositional techniques

I was wondering if anyone out there knew of any techniques associated with the minimalist tradition. I've been really interested in the philosophical notion of minimalism over the last few months or ...
10
votes
9answers
947 views

Is it possible to learn theory without sight reading?

I'm learning music theory by myself with online books and video lessons. I don't have much trouble understanding the basics of theory, such as intervals, basic scales and modes, but I have a huge ...
0
votes
3answers
154 views

How to resolve chords (and general questions)

I really want to start understanding how harmony works, so I was wondering if anyone could could give me a general explanation as to how chords resolve just to tie me over until I begin studying ...
7
votes
2answers
313 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 ...
17
votes
5answers
14k views

What is the difference between a riff and a lick?

That's it. I was wondering what is the difference between a riff and a lick. The Wikipedia page for lick is somewhat confusing-- what do you think?
6
votes
1answer
270 views

Polyphony vs Homophony in Hymns

I understand that polyphony is multiple melodies, while homophony is a single melody with chordal accompaniment (in my own words). I've read that hymns are generally homophonic, yet I find that hymns ...