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

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6answers
263 views

Music Theory Classification Systems

For musical instruments there are a number of hierarchical classification systems in use worldwide, amongst them the well-known but somewhat limited Hornbostel-Sachs system. I find myself wondering ...
9
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1answer
3k views

What are the rules for using diminished chords in part writing?

If I use diminished chords such as ii diminished chord from the minor scale then do I according to the rules for proper part writing use the first inversion of ii diminished. What is the reasoning ...
35
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3answers
63k views

What are the differences between tone, note, and pitch?

I was wondering what the differences are between "tone", "note", and "pitch"?
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6answers
5k views

What defines a Tango?

Is there something about a song that can be used to classify it as "a Tango"? There's different Tango styles (Finnish Tango music, for instance, is different from Argentinian) and there seem to be ...
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2answers
250 views

When writing a melody, is the scale used determined by the current chord playing (in the chord progression) or by the song's key as a whole?

This is an embarrassingly basic question, but it's been in the back of my mind for a while, and I haven't been able to find an answer. I've been studying very basic music theory lately and trying to ...
9
votes
6answers
823 views

Algorithm for Transposing Chords Between Keys

I'm writing software that transposes sheet music between keys and I'm still new at music theory so I was hoping someone who knows more could let me know if my approach is correct. Here's my process ...
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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 ...
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2answers
2k views

Why is there a natural accidental on this C?

In Simandl's 30 Etudes for String Bass, Etude #10, there is this natural accidental on the note C (fourth bar of the second line): Since there is no alteration of the note either by the key ...
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8answers
1k views

How to figure out what key a piece is in?

I am trying to write a guitar accompaniment to the piece "Fair and Tender Ladies", but I have no clue what I need to do to figure out what key that piece is in. Also, the instrument playing the piece ...
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19answers
30k views
6
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1answer
310 views

What are the Coltrane Changes?

Also known as Coltrane Matrix, Coltrane Cycle, chromatic third relations, and multi-tonic changes. What are the Coltrane Changes? What's the theory behind them? How are they used in improvisation, ...
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0answers
20 views

Why `Do` is called as `C`? [duplicate]

Alphabet is start with A and scale is start with Do(in C Major scale) but we call Do as C and La as A. There is any behind story or rule that I don't know?
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votes
4answers
196 views

Can you have more dots on a note than a triple dotted note?

Recently I've come across some double-dotted notes, and even some triple-dotted ones which seem a bit quirky to me, but who knows? For one dot, you add 1/2 of the note's length, so I suppose for two ...
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1answer
344 views

How can I overcome '8va' for a few notes?

Let's say I have a whole passage marked with 8va, like below: I want to play just the circled notes at their normal octave. Is there a way to denote this, instead of ending the 8va bracket and ...
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7answers
828 views

Will a song written in a key only use chords in that key?

When you figure out a key that a song is written in. Will the entire song use the chords in that key? With maybe an accidental?? I've tried several different methods.
2
votes
1answer
331 views

What is the interval between two enharmonic notes?

The interval between, say, C4 and D4 is a major 2nd. What is the interval between B#3 and C4? Is it still a 2nd? For lack of a better term would it be something like a minor minor 2nd?
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votes
6answers
936 views

How does “Music Theory” all tie together?

I'm a self-taught musician and have been playing for years, but being self-taught really limited my knowledge of music theory (in that I know pretty much nothing about it) and I'm having difficulty ...
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vote
5answers
8k views

What is a simple way to determine the notes in a scale?

What is a simple way to determine the notes in a scale? For example, let's say, that somehow you determined that a song you want to play, is in the key F# major. How can you quickly recall or figure ...
2
votes
2answers
133 views

What is a Schenkerian graph?

I just started reading Audacious Euphony: Chromaticism and the Triads Second Nature pretty early on it mentioned Schenkerian graphs and put them in the same group of analysis as Roman Numeral ...
6
votes
4answers
872 views

How to determine what key changes are appropriate?

In the month or so until my band get back together I've been working on writing some new material, and want to try and expand how complex my songs are. I apologise if there are a lot of questions - ...
13
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7answers
16k views

Polymeter vs Polyrhythm

What is the difference between a polymeter and a polyrhythm? Do these words mean anything different for different instruments? PS: I'm a drummer.
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1answer
88 views

Playing Over Changes and Subsitutions

Im a fairly advanced guitarist/musician and love improvising, as most of us do. However, when a progression goes out of the main key, such as borrowing or subsituting, I tend to get lost in my head. ...
2
votes
2answers
79 views

I need help figuring out some of these note values for my sequencer

Alright so I'm using a sequencer that allows you to input notes and change the values of those notes, but for the note values, there are notation symbols used, the majority are quite easy to figure ...
28
votes
9answers
13k views

How to transcribe music by ear?

Often times we find ourselves enjoying a piece of music that, for whatever reason, we are unable to find appropriate documentation/tablature for. What are good practices for transcribing music by ear ...
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1answer
122 views

What is the difference between the Circle of Fifths and the Camelot Wheel?

I understand the Camelot Wheel is used by DJs to mix songs of different keys together by using adjacent and relative major/minor keys. Can't this same information be deduced from the Circle of Fifths? ...
5
votes
8answers
1k views

Why does a minor sixth chord contain a major 6th interval?

This is something that has always puzzled me. Perhaps I am going about this the wrong way but when I build chords I always build them based on the scale that corresponds to the quality of the chord. ...
4
votes
1answer
188 views

History of “jazz minor/melodic minor” harmony

I'm curious about the development of modern (post-bop-ish) jazz harmony. In Mark Levine's Jazz Theory Book, he shows how modes of the melodic minor scale can be used to form and improvise over chords ...
4
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3answers
500 views

AP Music Theory

I'd like to self-study for the Advanced Placement Music Theory Examination in the United States of America (offered by the College Board, a nonprofit corporation in the USA). This is an examination ...
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4answers
61 views

What basics should I know to accompany on piano?

I need to accompany on piano for some blues songs. I play a little on piano in childhood and know basic theory. What I need to accompany for this songs: Sweet Home Chicago B.B.King - Everyday I ...
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votes
12answers
3k views

Improving as a solo guitarist without learning scales

I am a drummer of 20+ years. I am a guitarist for only the last 5 or so (more of a guitar owner). I can play many chords, and have composed a number of songs. I learned to play drums without a ...
12
votes
4answers
4k views

What time signatures are used in flamenco and related styles?

Recently I've been trying to get some flamenco spirit into my playing. I've already experimented with some 'gypsy' scales and it feels good ... but I've also realized that part of the secret is in ...
6
votes
4answers
224 views

What are some harmonic options for layering guitar lines while recording?

I would like to layer multiple guitar lines for a section of a song that I'm working on. What are some harmonic variations that I would be able to use?
35
votes
10answers
68k views

Why learn scales? What are they for?

I tried Googling but it seems there is no answer for this one. So the internet assumes everyone knows what scales are for? Why should I learn them? Are they important to be a good guitarist?
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votes
4answers
756 views

From Scales and Chords Theory to a chord Progression

I'm a beginner at music theory and started learning it just about a week ago. The whole thing with the piano scales and chords is really difficult to understand, but I have a lot of fun learning it. ...
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4answers
1k views

What is an atonal mode?

I got an album by Ornette Coleman and Pat Methany, "X", and on the linear notes it talks about atonal experiments within the song structures. Are there scales and chord progressions that go along with ...
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1answer
79 views

Alternatives to standard western notation geared towards composers?

While the western standard for music notation is good for both composers and performers alike, there are certain areas where it is lacking, especially when it comes to new developments in music ...
3
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1answer
89 views

Is there a term in Western music theory for the underlying mood of a music genre?

Though this doesn't seem to apply to all music genres, I get the impression that some of them have an "underlying mood". For instance, flamenco (the genre I specialize in) has strong melancholy ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Why does the IV - V♯ - I chord progression work so well?

The song Long Away by Queen does this, but it's a pattern you'll probably find in many songs. Basically, I've noticed that when moving from IV to I, a V♯ or V♯maj7 chord is sometimes used as a ...
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2answers
148 views

Are these “power chords” in a classical composition?

I've been trying to figure out the chord progression from the beginning of this Mussorgsky piece (orchestrated by Shostakovich, link below) and I'm just curious if I'm getting things right. The chords ...
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1answer
105 views

Is a ♭ 3 a minor 3rd, a ♭♭3 a diminished 3rd, and ♭5 a diminished 5th?

I just need some clarification. Am I getting chords notated this way - 1-5-♭7-9-11, 1-3-5-♭7-♯11, 1-3-5-♭7-9-13, 1-4-5-♭7-9-13 - right? 3 == M3 5 == P5 ♭7 ...
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5answers
2k views

If between E and F is a halftone, why can F not be an E♯

A ♯ raises a note by a semitone or halftone. I'm confused. If E and F are a halftone apart, why can't F be E♯?
3
votes
2answers
127 views

“crescendo” vs hair pin

symphony no.1 movement 1 page 16 by the string sections Working on Peter I. Tchaikovsky first symphony manuscript Conductor score. I came to a interesting observation. On the same page all ...
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1answer
73 views

Why do Open Tunings work? [closed]

Anyone have any idea why open tunings with the A and E low strings in unison and changing the rest of the strings based on tonality works for playing (where you are only fretting with one finger or ...
3
votes
10answers
5k views

Is it acceptable to change tempo in the middle of a song or is this a bad idea?

I wrote a song that could be classified as Pop or Country that starts out at a medium slow tempo in the first two verses and bridge. Then there is a section after the bridge that can best be ...
0
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1answer
63 views

What's the term for rapidly blending two pitches a single time in a beat?

Here's some examples of what I mean: A chiptune song's lead synth (@ 0:31) A song from Touhou (@ 0:51) Is there a general term for this? Is the term for the vocals version different to the term for ...
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1answer
507 views

Why isn't the second whole note's accidental natural?

Above is a staff. After the third bar, why isn't the second C either sharp or natural?
3
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2answers
308 views

How to analyze a chord from Beethoven sonata no 8 (Pathetique)

Looking at a chord towards the end of the development in measure 169, beat 2, spelled C♯-E-A♭ over the G pedal. How would you analyze this in the context of the harmonic progression at ...
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0answers
23 views

Beginnging Music Theory - What are scales and why should I learn them? [duplicate]

Background I'm looking for help with respect to where I could start learning music in general as a guitarist. I can play some simple songs and melodies I taught myself, understand what notes map to ...
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3answers
82 views

Diminished and augmented key signature

Now I know that augmented chords and diminished chords are dissonant normally. Arpeggiate it and it is much more consonant. 3rd octave and it is much more consonant. But can you actually have ...
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7answers
413 views

Grand Staff using the Bass Clef and Treble Alto-Tenor Clef

Does anybody have any additional information regarding the origins and usage of the Treble Alto-Tenor Clef symbol? I found it in the late Gardner Read's book on Music Notation, and beyond that - ...