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

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10
votes
3answers
835 views

How can I easily translate between a key and a key signature?

Is there a good mnemonic or trick for working out the key signature from a given key? I can always write out the chromatic scale, then count out the appropriate intervals from the tonic, and figure ...
27
votes
8answers
4k views

Is it possible to write a song without a key?

"This song is in F Major", "That song is in A Minor", "This song is in D Minor, but modulates to F Major in the middle", etc. Can we say "This song has no key"? Are there songs that have/follow no ...
3
votes
1answer
51 views

Beginning of Chopin nocturne no.20: slur and tie confusion

In the opening bars of this c-sharp minor nocturne, we have the famous descending scales that are played twice, first in piano then in pianissimo. Here's a snapshot (source) of the part in question: ...
24
votes
4answers
8k views

How do classical composers write music?

I am starting to learn about music theory and today it hit me how do classical composers such as Mozart and Beethoven are able to write music for instruments they don't play, such as (for example ...
2
votes
3answers
82 views

A question about quarter notes

I have a question about the term quarter note. I thought of putting clarity in the question by doing a little calculation. Let us say BPM = 120 .So Beat time is 0.5 s. So in 4/4 signature the ...
10
votes
4answers
3k views

In jazz, what is a guide tone?

I've heard that guide tones are very useful while improvising, and seems to be an important concept for jazz theory. What is a guide tone? How can it help improvisation?
2
votes
3answers
103 views

Difference between a I7 - V resolution and I7 - IV resolution

I watched a video lesson on the Floyd Cramer style and the teacher said that resolutions of C7-G (I7-V) is no good. We have to use resolutions of C7-F (I7-IV). Why would that be? It was supposed to ...
4
votes
2answers
133 views

How would you go about writing a a chord progression properly using the circle of fifths in the phrygian mode?

My question is: How would you go about writing a a chord progression properly using the circle of fifths in the Phrygian mode? I have seen many discuss the circle of fifths using Majors and minors but ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

In Jazz, what is an avoid note?

Why are some scale degrees avoided? What is the reasoning behind the avoid notes? Are there avoid notes in all modes? If so, which are the avoid notes of the different modes? Is this pattern widely ...
2
votes
2answers
74 views

Can Appoggiaturas be doubled or tripled?

I know the basic definition of the nonharmonic tone an appoggiatura is a nonharmonic tone that is approached by skip/leap and then resolves by step in the opposite direction. I've recently heard the ...
2
votes
3answers
85 views

Coda, segno; How to repeat chorus 3 times?

I have a song like this, for example: bar 1 = a bar 2 = b bar 3 = chorus bar 4 = d bar 5 = e bar 6 = chorus bar 7 = g bar 8 = h bar 9 = chorus Do I need rewrite "chorus" everytime? Or can I use ...
3
votes
1answer
93 views

In Fux's Gradus ad Parnassum, why is the B always flat in the exercises done in the F mode?

In Fux's Gradus ad Parnassum, when in the F mode (lydian), the B is always flat, at least in the first and second species examples. The cantus firmus proposed by master Aloys avoids the note ...
-1
votes
1answer
48 views

Is this piece of music in binary or ternary form? [closed]

Is the uploaded piece of music in binary or ternary form? I think it is ternary because it has 7 bars with an anacrusis and the melody doesn't repeat itself.
5
votes
1answer
145 views

What is the Lydian Chromatic Concept?

I've recently found out about George Russell's book the Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization and I've been curious about exactly what the Lydian Chromatic Concept is and how it can be used ...
0
votes
1answer
21 views

Which key Harmonica to use in conjunction with Distorted Electric Guitar in C#/D half step down

I'm in a melodic metalcore band, and we're looking to include some harmonica riffs/solos in some songs. We're currently writing in C# or D half step down and would like some help in this subject. ...
14
votes
2answers
7k views

What is a “Circle of Fourths” chord progression?

Are there any examples of songs that employ a Circle of Fourths that I might be able to practice along with? How does the progression tie in with different scales?
0
votes
4answers
171 views

B -> C and E -> F, No Sharp?

The keyboard has these notes: A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G# Why do B and C and E and F not have a sharp note between them? If they did, the keyboard would look like this: A A# B ...
7
votes
7answers
318 views

Why aren't unusual leading tone cadences more common?

As far as I understand, the main reason why an authentic cadence (i.e. V–I) works well and is so common, is that the dominant chord contains the leading tone, which resolves very strongly to the ...
5
votes
5answers
193 views

What's the difference between arpeggio and broken chord?

I always thought of them as synonyms, but googling around found that some people see them as different, with the distinctions changing depending on who you ask. Is there a formal distinction between ...
7
votes
5answers
221 views

chords in BWV 846

I have been doing chord analysis on BWV 846 (prelude). It is very interesting and I hope you can help me with some questions: I understand that doing chord analysis is good but what is the reason ...
3
votes
2answers
97 views

Do algorithms exist to calculate chords during performance while playing only baseline and melody?

I would like to play a bassline and melody on a MIDI controller and have the computer dynamically fill in chords as I'm playing. I assume that there are several choices for each chord that the ...
3
votes
1answer
195 views

Which category of music theory would the topic of “which scales to play over which chords” fall into?

For example, in blues it's common to play a minor pentatonic scale over a major chord, and in a lot of rock music it is common to play the corresponding major/minor pentatonic scale over a major/minor ...
3
votes
6answers
599 views

Time signatures

Again I do some calculations to put clarity in my question Say BPM = 120 so beat time is 0.5 seconds Now in 4/4 the quarter note duration is 0.5 seconds If you have 4/2 (for same BPM)the half note ...
27
votes
10answers
41k 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
97 views

C Major Blues Scale Formula

I'm very new to the music theory and I have started to write every single scale to my notebook but I come across this C major pentatonic scale and felt the need to ask how it can be written in the ...
4
votes
6answers
226 views

What is the best way to learn scales on guitar?

I want to be able to just play solos in a certain scale, but what is the best way to learn scales? Is it in the block shapes or just learn the fret board?
3
votes
2answers
97 views

Bartok Mikrokosmos Book 3, no. 70

I have recently been trying to master this piece from Bartok's Mikrokosmos, and at first sight, it appeared daunting due to the fact that the right-hand part is in B major and the left-hand part is in ...
2
votes
5answers
238 views

How to master the guitar fretboard

I've been playing guitar for many years, yet I have made the huge mistake of never really learning scales. I want to catch up, but I'm a bit lost, since there are so many scales in so many different ...
3
votes
2answers
194 views

How Do Time Signatures Affect a Song?

I've never really understood time signatures and why there are different ones. Just trying to get a better understanding of them. If you are just changing how you count it, how does that translate ...
2
votes
0answers
207 views

How to determine whether a song is considered musical plagiarism? [closed]

When I a try to compose my own music, I often come up with melody that is a bit similar with songs that I have heard before, and sometime I just feel that I have heard the melody somewhere, but I ...
5
votes
1answer
133 views

Term for central note in melody

Is there a music theory term to describe when a melody revolves around one key repeated note? For example, in a piece I am playing, the melody is: F C G C Ab C Bb C. Or, in my version of "spatial ...
13
votes
1answer
233 views

Locrian Harmony

I like utilizing modes in my the pieces I write, but there is one mode I've never been able to fully grasp and utilize and that is the Locrian mode. The chords that naturally occur in the Locrian ...
33
votes
17answers
20k views
1
vote
3answers
83 views

Correctly notating sharps and flats [duplicate]

I always had this issue when naming certain notes in the music scale. For example, when I spell out certain notes such as Eb, some people have advised me to use D# instead of Eb stating that it is the ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Understanding minor key harmony

A comment discussion under this question from me, clued me in to the fact that I don't really understand how minor keys work very well. So here is what I think I know The natural minor comes from the ...
1
vote
2answers
59 views

Melody notes over Chord progressions

Is there any way of knowing what note in a scale would fit with a chord, or is it all trial and error, or do you just have to have that not you play in the melody feature in the chord you are playing? ...
1
vote
2answers
75 views

What is the difference between a chord progression and a riff?

I am just wondering what the difference between a chord progression and a riff is? My assumptions are that riffs are generally 2 measures long, and they are pretty much classed as being played over a ...
0
votes
2answers
66 views

How are phrases used in Rock music? [closed]

My assumption is that what constitutes a phrase is a full riff, or full chord progression?
0
votes
0answers
9 views

How do figure out time signatures [duplicate]

Just by listening to a song, phrase or any music how can I find the time signature, will i just keep tapping or is there a more effective method.
1
vote
2answers
61 views

Unusual time signatures?

I was just wondering if you could get time signatures where the bottom number is 3,5,6,7,9,10,11 and so on. I did not know if you could have dotted notes as your base note
0
votes
1answer
104 views

What does this crossed-note notation mean?

What does this notation mean? It is in 5/8 time. Is it some sort of a performance direction?
5
votes
3answers
137 views

“Tritone” intervals in n-tone equal temperament

In 12-tone equal temperament, the tritone interval is made of three whole tones (six semitones) and is considered, if I am not mistaken totally, as the most dissonant interval. I have two questions: ...
7
votes
3answers
385 views

How many types of modulation are there?

I know a few types of modulation off the top of my head like common chord modulation and and chromatic modulation, but I was wondering how many different types of modulation are there and what are ...
0
votes
1answer
66 views

Creating a Harmony that Harmonizes with a Chord

I'm trying to get a harmony that will harmonize with my chord, Am. I want something to harmonize with the A,G,F melody and with Am. Is there any way to do this? This is what I have, I would like to ...
1
vote
1answer
58 views

Why and when to use 12-bar blues?

Why and when do I use 12-bar blues? I know it's used with pentatonic and blues scales, but people like Jimi Hendrix, John Frusciante, and many others use pentatonic and blues scales with other chord ...
2
votes
4answers
255 views

Why is the 3rd omitted from common G Maj 7 shapes in guitar?

I'm reading that Major 7 is : 1-3-5-7. But most G Maj 7 stuff i see does not have the third. Mainly because keeping a third(2nd fret, 5th string, standard tuning) results in a difficult to hold ...
0
votes
1answer
63 views

What exactly is a scale, what are they for, and how does practising them make me a better guitarist? [closed]

I found a similar question on SE already, but it still didn't adequately explain what I'm trying to figure out, so here goes: What exactly is a scale, what are they for, and how does practising them ...
2
votes
2answers
48 views

Phrygian dominant scale with a major seventh

The Phrygian dominant scale with a major seventh instead of a minor seventh is formed by: a root a minor second a major third a fourth a fifth a minor sixth a major seventh. My questions are: ...
9
votes
2answers
107 views

How long is Staccato?

Question for skimmers: how do we know when to play portamento/portato or a dry staccato? Is it based on a date or composer? Or is a half-staccato still common practice? Sometime in college I played ...
2
votes
3answers
57 views

I don't understand dominant 7ths in cadences

I am confused with the following passage: Dominants are associated with a strong urge to resolve to their next chord in the circle of fifths. This particular sequence, E7 A7 Dm (or V7/V-V7-i) ...