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

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2answers
4k views

What is an “open tuning”?

I know that Keith Richards has been known to use open tunings on some songs, but what is an open tuning exactly and when/why would you use it?
9
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2answers
2k views

Why do the notes of a blues scale sound good with the I, IV, and V chords?

If you are playing the blues in the key of C, any note in the blues key of C should sound good in the melody with either of the C, F or G (I, IV or V) major chords in the bass. Why is this and how do ...
8
votes
1answer
636 views

What is this called? Why is it allowed?

"Golden Train" by Justin Nozuka (YouTube link below) is in the key of Ab major. However he uses a Cb major chord throughout the song, which is not in the key of Ab major. It sounds good and works ...
7
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3answers
3k views

How to use diminished scale over I IV V changes in blues

I want to spice up my solos over a Blues progression. I already can play a variety of scales but the Diminished scale is something I would like to add because of the particular sounds it creates. In ...
7
votes
3answers
642 views

Does a chord need to include its root?

While I understand that it is very important to include the root note in a chord, is it required? Let's say I'm in C Major, and I want to play a I chord. Do I need to include C in order for it to be ...
7
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5answers
310 views

Resources for learning the Blues

Can anyone recommend any good resources (books or online) for learning the Blues on the guitar? Scales and theory is what I am looking for.
7
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4answers
543 views

When is it proper (if ever) to extend time signatures (8/4 vs 4/4)?

When listening to most contemporary music, in my experience, time signatures tend to be in "common time", or 4/4. But sometimes it feels like the phrase or measure extends beyond the four quarter ...
6
votes
2answers
166 views

Links and tips for Learning and using scales

Tips and links on learning and using different types of scales will be helpful. If possible List of scales with songs in which they are used and (artists/types of bands) who uses certain scales to a ...
6
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3answers
2k views

What are alternative “voicings” for Major/Minor/Dominant Chords if I can't play “Barre Chords”?

I would like some alternative Chord Voicings if I don't want to play the standard barre chords for major/minor/dominant voicings: Thanks!!
6
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1answer
2k views

An effective method for counting and identifying time signatures.

When I listen to some odd time signature songs I have some serious trouble dissecting the time signatures at times. Songs with 6/8 or 3/4 are easy enough to identify, but some progressive rock/metal ...
3
votes
4answers
3k views

How Can I Replicate The Sound Of An Instrument?

I have experience of basic music theory, guitar and piano. My current project involves creating a computer program that can replicate the sounds of any given instrument (starting with piano). I can ...
3
votes
1answer
368 views

Can modal counterpoint be studied without studying harmony? Where to start?

I have a background 1 year of harmony study and I'm now taking a non-western modal approach to music (trough Indian Classical Music, which is mainly monophonic and have no concept of harmony). I have ...
16
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15answers
5k views

X or Y guitarist doesn't know music theory - how true is this statement?

We've all heard a statement similar to the following: X didn't / doesn't know any music theory and is one of the all time greats replacing X with a famous guitarist. Being a novice, I am ...
16
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5answers
3k views

With sheet music, how do you determine whether the song is in the major key or the minor key?

For example, if the key signature on the left doesn't have any sharps or flats then it could theoretically be in either the C Major scale or the A Minor scale. How do you determine which one?
14
votes
2answers
425 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.
11
votes
4answers
352 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
887 views

Harmony and roman numeral analysis: how to deal with chromaticism?

I recently started playing piano. While learning and performing new pieces, I found that it helps me a lot to have some certainty of what's going on with the notes, the chords, and the harmony. I ...
9
votes
1answer
521 views

Different Simile Marks

In the pictures below, there are many measures with different simile marks. I know there are many different types of simile marks, varying number of lines, with or without dots, on barline or in the ...
9
votes
3answers
516 views

Why is bII 7(b5) considered a dominant?

I am using Ear Master for ear training and at the Chord Progression exercises, there is an exercise called "Various dominant-tonic combinations". These are the chord progressions that are being ...
9
votes
10answers
672 views

What is the secret of jazz phrases?

I'm diving into Jazz, both with guitar and trumpet, and I'm looking for that typical jazzy sound when traveling from lows to highs (and opposite). How were Miles and friends achieving it? What ...
7
votes
4answers
354 views

What's “species counterpoint”? Are there any other types of counterpoint?

I believe the title says it all. On Wikipedia it shows the five species but I have the idea that there is another type of counterpoint not based on those species. Is that vague idea of mine correct? I ...
6
votes
7answers
555 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
420 views

Changing key in a song convincingly

Update 3 I have started to break down this broad question to specific, smaller questions. 1) Classical music example for seamless transition from one section to other with changing keys Say, I ...
6
votes
4answers
192 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?
5
votes
4answers
1k views

I-IV-V blues progression

I'm currently learning a 12 bar blues rhythm and am getting confused by it. The solo is played over the A minor pentatonic scale. And the underlying chord progression is A - D - E. But isn't this ...
5
votes
3answers
7k views

What is the I-vi-ii-V Chord Progressions?

Are there any scales that work well over this progression? My Mistake!! I was thinking of the song Breezin' by George Benson!!
4
votes
2answers
733 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
150 views

Is there an amp power formula?

I'm looking to buy a new amp for my keyboards, and I was wondering if there's a formula I can use to help me calculate some of the objective specs I should look for. Something along the lines of: I ...
3
votes
1answer
71 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
237 views

What gives 'Winter Song' by Nico a medieval sound?

The song below seems to have a definite medieval flavour to it, but what causes this? Is it the guitar or vocal melodies? What scale/mode aspects give this feel? ...
17
votes
10answers
676 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 ...
16
votes
4answers
6k views

How to play chords like G/B

I heard that if there is a chord written like x/y then that means an x chord with y in the bass. This can be played by playing x normally, but then playing the y note on the 6th string, correct? Then ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

What does it mean to play in an 'arpeggiated' style on the guitar?

I sometimes hear a guitar player described as having an 'arpeggiated' style, such as Peter Buck of R.E.M. I know that an arpeggio is the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 8th of a scale, but exactly what does it ...
11
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3answers
949 views

Pentatonic scale with a sharpened 2nd note, any name?

I was messing with the A minor pentatonic scale and discovered that if I sharpen the 2nd note of the scale, it sounds very interesting to my ears, even more than the original scale. Does this already ...
11
votes
2answers
3k views

Can an accidental carry over to the next measure?

I have been practicing this piece (The Stars and Stripes Forever) for a while. On the first note of the second measure of the second line, there is a natural sign. I have always understood accidentals ...
10
votes
3answers
528 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?
8
votes
3answers
425 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the difference between a collection of sounds and music?

From my reading I've gathered that the difference between music and noise is that music is an organized collection of sounds. In that definition, noise would then be an unorganized collection of ...
7
votes
3answers
338 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

What is a chromatic scale?

I notice that the blues scale usues notes that don't fit into the regular pentatonic scale, is there an entire scale that icorporates this method?
6
votes
3answers
731 views

Same note in two staves [duplicate]

I have only just started to learn (on my own) to read music and play the piano at the grand old age of 64! Please can someone tell me how to play the same note on two staves? I keep being asked to ...
6
votes
1answer
135 views

How was the ordering of Allen Forte's list of prime forms determined?

I'm familiar with how "prime forms" are determined from a pitch class set using the Forte (or Rahn) systems. A good list is at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forte_number However I am puzzled by how ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

son vs. rumba clave and bass line

The answer to Latin jazz: anticipated chord change on last beat provided by Ulf Åkerstedt raises another question: I have written a son bass line, and I realize I have a rumba clave on the drum set. ...
5
votes
2answers
306 views

What is the terminology for how we identify numbered notes like C4, E3, D6, etc?

Does this system - where C3 is middle C - have a standard name? For instance, is there a wikipedia page which explains this system and if so how is it titled? (note: As mentioned middle C is C4, my ...
5
votes
4answers
134 views

iii9 - I progression in Bach?

In the last of his 15 Sinfonias (aka Three-Part Inventions), Bach uses quite a daring approach to the tonic chord. Occurring in a sequential progression by downward thirds, it can be described most ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

What's the difference between sixteenth century counterpoint and eighteenth century counterpoint?

What's the difference between sixteenth century counterpoint and eighteenth century counterpoint? Is sixteenth century counterpoint melody or modal based (as this answer suggests) and eighteenth ...
4
votes
2answers
221 views

Which enharmonic to use when writing down a sequence of chords

I've got a sequence of chords, denoted using solmization here: S: re di do ti A: ti TA la sol B: fa mi ri re I'd like to write down these chords in B flat major. I'm concerned with the ...
4
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2answers
119 views

Once I know the chords, how do I recognize the chord progression?

For example, in the intro to Snow by Red Hot Chili Peppers, the chords played are: G#m - E - B - F# in that order. How do I begin to realize the chord progression? Do I need to find the key first?
4
votes
2answers
169 views

Pentatonic Scales Question

I'm learning the notes on the fret board and I just wanted to ask something about the pentatonic scales you see, A minor pentatonic is A C D E G on the 5th fret, but when I play it on the 2nd fret its ...
4
votes
2answers
520 views

Classical music example for seamless transition from one section to other with changing keys

As a search for specific questions for this broad question (Changing key in a song convincingly), I am asking for "mainstream" classical music examples (pre-modern era and movie scores can be ...