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

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6
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3answers
397 views

What is a parallel mode?

What is a parallel mode? How are the parallel modes used in composition and/or improvisation?
13
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3answers
729 views

Circle of fourths in Jazz

I read on Wikipedia that the circle of fourths (as opposed to circle of fifths) is preferred in the analysis of Jazz music. Why is this so? Are the any good examples to explain this?
5
votes
1answer
154 views

In jazz, what is a chord family?

In the jazz context, what is a chord family? How is the concept used in improvisation, chord substitution, and re-harmonization? Which are the families and their members? I've seen chords divided in ...
3
votes
2answers
111 views

Voice classification and voice types: how can voice be classified based on range?

How can voice be classified based on range? What system is typically used? Which voice types are there? What are their ranges? Are there other less-known or alternative systems?
5
votes
2answers
146 views

Notation used for harmonic context

Could someone please explain what it means to say, "the harmonic context of V/V-V-I". How should one read this? It would be nice if you could also give two or three examples if you think it would ...
10
votes
1answer
402 views

In jazz, what is diatonic substitution?

What is diatonic substitution? How is it used in improvisation?
7
votes
5answers
302 views

Learning music theory and music writing around guitar

I have fun playing guitar, learning songs or licks and solos from songs is fun and all but I really don't know much about these pieces of music and why they sound good. Sometime I want to be able to ...
5
votes
1answer
177 views

What do the numerator and denominator of a chord name in roman numerals mean?

I'm reading a paper on music theory and I keep coming across names of chords expressed as a fraction - I/I, I/V, ii/I, etc. Based on the use of these names in the paper, I'm reading this as: I/I: A ...
7
votes
1answer
169 views

Parallel Fifths in Pachelbel's Canon in D?

The other day, I was watching a scrolling score of Pachelbel's (in)famous Canon in D on Youtube, when I noticed something interesting. In the excerpt below, shouldn't the the circled notes in the 1st ...
6
votes
1answer
262 views

In jazz, what is an upper structure triad?

What is upper structure? Which are the upper structure triads? How are they used?
9
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2answers
1k views

What is a “Chord of Nature”?

Could someone explain in simple terms, and preferably with an example or two what "chord of nature" means. I tried reading about this in Wikipedia, but I cannot see how this is different from just a ...
12
votes
1answer
177 views

What are the significant schools of 20th century music theory?

I'm reading the following paper, Lerdahl, F. (1988). Tonal pitch space. Music Perception, 315-349. I'm interested in comparing what is written here with other equivalent theories. Some of these ...
6
votes
1answer
166 views

Tonnetz algorithms

I'm looking for applied algorithms for Riemannian tonnetz. I was thinking first of the "big bang" approach with some of the 3D projections of tonnetz, but those are overshoot.
7
votes
2answers
451 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
235 views

Is there a Relative Pitch Clef?

To start out: I am more-or-less familiar with all the standard musical clef notations, including F, C, and G clefs; as well as the fact that clefs can be movable (tenor clef, french violin clef...) ...
11
votes
1answer
141 views

What are the fundaments of Harmolodics?

Ornette Coleman has developed a framework for his ideas called Harmolodics. It is somewhat hard to understand what this constitutes though. It is stated that melody, harmony and rhythm are equally ...
6
votes
2answers
131 views

Voice-leading with three chords in first inversion?

Hey guys just keeping my part writing skills sharp (not flat) for the long summer. I got this out of Assignment 9.4 of Robert W. Ottman's "Elementary Harmony." It's in G♭ major. I was already given ...
7
votes
1answer
176 views

Groups of eighths

A lot of times, I've seen eighths in groups of 2, and other times in groups of 4. Is there any difference in the way you are supposed to play them?
24
votes
6answers
3k views

Why isn't D the “most central” note?

When laying out the notes in the two-dimensional Wicki-Hayden layout, which is the most symmetrical layout I know of, it is visually clear that D is the "most central" note. Why, then, doesn't D play ...
6
votes
3answers
422 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
152 views

Naming pitch and interval collections

I have a few questions regarding the correct naming of pitch and interval collections. We call an ordered collection of adjacent pitches a scale. For example, (C D E F G A B) is called C major (or ...
16
votes
5answers
2k views

Why is music theory built so tightly around the C Major scale?

Lately, I'm trying to study deeper into music theory, learning Intervals, key Signatures, Chords, Progressions etc. I can see that everything is built around the 'normal' notes that belong to the C ...
4
votes
1answer
168 views

Does a taste in music reflect an understanding of that music?

It has been my experience that often times I will not like a song the first time I hear it, but the more I hear it the more I begin to like it. I think it has something to do with understanding the ...
6
votes
4answers
345 views

What notation would you use to differentiate different types of minor keys (e.g. Em natural, Em harmonic, Em melodic)?

Are they all just 'Em', or is there some standard, concise way of differentiating between them? Thanks!
8
votes
2answers
151 views

Pursuing a career in music [closed]

I've been debating on going full time in the music world. Does anyone have any creative suggestions on how to finance it? I know I could gig all the time or teach, but I don't want to get burned out.
4
votes
2answers
499 views

Name for a group of notes made up of a root, major third, and perfect 4th?

I'm looking at the song "One thing leads to another" by the Fixx. Throughout the song, the guitarist plays the highest three strings at the 5th fret (giving C E A). Correct me if I am wrong, but the ...
3
votes
3answers
189 views

How can I practice harmony?

I know some basic stuff about harmony, but I do not know have to advance any further.I finished my harmony lessons for this year and I'm going to start again in the autumn. Is there any way I can ...
11
votes
3answers
864 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
85 views

Good material source for learning to read music?

Specifically I am interested in learning how to play the Violin. I am good at reading music insofar as the open strings are concerned, but when we are using the E string such that we are hearing a G I ...
6
votes
2answers
181 views

How to calculate the difference in cents between a note and an arbitrary frequency?

Let's say I have the note A 440Hz and the frequency 450Hz. How do I calculate the distance in cents between that note and that frequency?
7
votes
2answers
159 views

What's so off about the intro to Prokofiev's Dance of the Knights?

Now this question is by no means an attack on any conductor or orchestra, nor Prokofiev himself, but why does it seem that it's hard for everyone to get right into time with one another with this ...
13
votes
5answers
858 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
180 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
211 views

Ηοw important is to know classical music theory to study jazz theory?

I was interesting in getting a little more involved with jazz theory. I know classical music theory and harmony up to a point. Should I keep developing my classical music theory/harmony knowledge ...
7
votes
2answers
158 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
319 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
514 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?
1
vote
3answers
176 views

Tips on arranging music on ukulele?

I started off by writing the melody line because I need them on top. Let's just assume the melody note I'm working on is C on the C major scale; I will have like 3 chords to choose from which are ...
4
votes
3answers
205 views

General procedure for determining the name of an interval given a major key / diatonic collection

I'm attempting to program a library that lets one make use of concepts from Peter Westergaard's tonal theory. The current problem I'm trying to solve is to determine the specific name of an interval ...
11
votes
2answers
572 views

How to interpret a switch from Em (Aeolian) to Bm?

I'm self taught, so I know just a few things on scales and modes, some probably wrong. So the other day I was composing a new song. I believe it starts in E minor, as I was playing over the Chords Em ...
12
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
142 views

Which scores are best for those who are new to analysis?

Are there some scores that are better suited to aspiring composers? What specific elements of analysis are more important for a beginner to start with if his goal is to improve as a composer ...
14
votes
4answers
379 views

Finding the Shadaj (tonic) in Hindustani Sangeet (North Indian Classical Music)

This question pertains to non-Western music and hence a bit of explanation before a question is stated. I listen to and play Hindustani Sangeet i.e. North Indian Classical Music which does not use ...
4
votes
2answers
283 views

What is the proper name of the dash symbol over a note and how to play it

Can anyone specify the name of the particular symbol above the crotchet? According to Wikipedia it's called a Tenuto but my teacher said it's called a "dash". Which one is correct? Or are both names ...
6
votes
3answers
457 views

How to identify key changes?

I have learned music theory from the internet but I have this question that how to come to know that where one key starts and other ends? (When I am reading the music sheet) For example, in Minuet In ...
6
votes
3answers
133 views

Predicting the rate at which intensity diminishes as frequency/note increases

I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, so feel free to move this or delete it. I'm working on this application and I've run into a little roadblock. I noticed that as I play higher ...
4
votes
3answers
153 views

How to interpret non-diatonic note?

This might look like is just curiosity to know something about one particular song, but is not, I'm hoping it'll help me understand better when I'm doing song analysis. I keep struggling when ...
3
votes
3answers
183 views

Is it necessary to learn a new scale to improvise over it?

I'm a beginning guitar theory learner and I'm confused about certain things when improvising/soloing/figuring songs out. I've just started learning, and certain things seem hard to imagine. Let's say ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

Why is music for strings more likely to be in keys with sharps?

One thing I've noticed is that music written for strings, such as violin concertos, are a lot more likely to written in a key like D or A major than something like F or Bb major. I recently saw a ...
2
votes
1answer
152 views

How do you construct a musical motive?

I was wondering if I could get a second opinion on methods for constructing a musical motive. I have been creating melodies for quite some time, mainly without taking harmonic progression into ...