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

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52
votes
9answers
19k 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 ...
0
votes
3answers
76 views

book to learn music [closed]

I don't know anything about theoretical music, but i'm in love with classical music and by classical i mean baroque, classic and romantic era. I've been listen to them almost all my life (24 years ...
5
votes
2answers
145 views

How to correctly invert non-compound greater-than-octave intervals?

(A.S.: Assuming that "non-compound" means "contains eight or less degrees.") TL;DR: How to invert doubly augmented seventh? I've ran into inversion problem with greater-than-octave intervals (not ...
4
votes
1answer
38 views

How to make a dal capo/segno include repeats?

I'm currently writing on musescore, and I have a problem getting the desired playback using dal segno: the second time through, repeat signs are ignored. According to this link, inner repeats in a ...
2
votes
1answer
122 views

How to approach learning another guitarists solo?

I'm an intermediate guitar player looking for tips on how to best approach learning another musician's guitar solo. I've got a good grasp of the major/minor scales and modes, but I am missing ...
3
votes
6answers
3k views

Sharps vs Flats - Formula to determine correct sharp and flat notes in a scale

I am trying to figure out how to know if a note in a scale is a sharp or a flat. So my starting point/input are the intervals of any scale. E.g. here are the Minor pentatonic intervals Interval: 1, ...
21
votes
8answers
3k views

What are good resources for learning music theory?

What is a good resource for learning music theory, especially as it relates to the guitar, coming from a completely beginner's perspective? I had a musician friend try to teach me about modes such as ...
6
votes
2answers
386 views

Why Seven Principal Tones?

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?
3
votes
4answers
245 views

Can someone please tell me why there are 5 different patterns to Penatonic scales

I mean if you can move them, why do you need more than one? All are movable up and down the fretboard? Right? So why does each need 5 patterns and how do you know which one to use? This has really ...
7
votes
5answers
297 views

Where does a “cresc. ” begin (end)?

I'm curious about the "cresc." sign . which one is getting louder , no.1 or no.2? and when does this cresc. end ? Does it end until the next sign come out ?
5
votes
3answers
304 views

Why does a melodic half step resolve on the higher note?

What is so special about a melodic half step that makes it "want" to go up (As in the leading tone to the tonic). Why isn't there as much resolution in a melodic half-step downwards?
6
votes
3answers
65 views

What is the difference between Taktteile and Taktglieder?

I am reading a book about Metric Manipulations by Danuta Mirka and the author refers to some German words. In this book, he writes that Takt refers to measure, Taktteile to parts of a measure, ...
2
votes
4answers
137 views

The last note and only the last note!

The phrase "Only the last note matters" or "the first and last" or "the first last and highest", etc... come up repeatedly throughout musical education. What, technically is going on when someone ...
12
votes
7answers
1k views

What gives a piece of music its personality and feeling?

What makes a piece of music sound angry, dark, sad, happy, or otherwise? "La Chute" by Yann Tiersen sounds so angry to me and "A Dark Knight" from "The Dark Knight" movie sounds so dark and ...
1
vote
3answers
150 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?
3
votes
3answers
625 views

How to grok 20th-century pop music as evolution of classical harmony

With sufficient training, a student of harmony may build forwards from Bach through Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, etc... understanding music of a period in terms of what has gone before. But it's going ...
16
votes
4answers
5k views

Can a scale contain both a sharp and a flat note?

So, the question should say it all, but for example: The G minor scale (G - A - Bb - C - D - Eb - F - G) To change this into the G harmonic minor scale, I would need to raise the seventh note a ...
9
votes
3answers
509 views

Why do the notes of Melodic-Minor Scale change when you play it in descending order?

Okay I'll admit, I don't know everything about music theory but I was pretty sure that any given diatonic (7 note) scale contained particular notes that defined the scale and were unique to the scale ...
0
votes
2answers
140 views

Calculating the 'Tonal Center of a Musical Key [closed]

Concerning the 'Tonal Center' and 'Parent Scale', it took quite a while for me to wrap my mind, around this concept. However, through continued effort, I have reached an understanding, and am able to ...
23
votes
9answers
10k views

Fast Chord Identification

How would someone go about identifying chords quickly and efficiently? While sight reading, I would often come up to some strange chord and try to decipher it. It normally takes me (what feels like) ...
9
votes
4answers
4k views

Why have I never found any music written in the key of C Sharp Major?

Music is written in almost every key that corresponds to every note that is on my piano keyboard. There is clearly a C Sharp (black key right of C) on my piano keyboard but I don't recall ever seeing ...
2
votes
3answers
155 views

Chord name does not match the notes it's written above

Sometimes I find the chords above a guitar tab hard to understand. For example, in this piece: There is a C chord written above the first bar even though the note beneath is a single open E-string ...
12
votes
2answers
227 views

What makes graduate-level music theory different from undergraduate-level music theory?

It's been years since I graduated with a music minor. My background consists of: Traditional two-semester sequence in music theory (basic notation to borrowed chords), i.e., Kostka/Payne Twentieth-...
0
votes
0answers
47 views

Why is the key of C the one key with no sharps or flats? [duplicate]

It would seem like that would have been A from a logical stand point. Does anyone know the origin of this as to how music evolved this way with C being the so-called starter key? Just a curiosity on ...
3
votes
3answers
314 views

8 under clef and timing questions

Please look at the below graphic, there are a few things that are confusing me: 1 - Why is there an 8 under the treble clef? 2 - This is in common 4/4 time, yet one of the beginning 8th notes (in ...
11
votes
1answer
122 views

What is the difference between grouping overlaps and elisions?

I am reading "A Generative Theory of Tonal Music" by F. Lerdahl and R. Jackendoff and I don't understand the difference between grouping overlaps and elisions (this is explained in section 3.4). The ...
15
votes
6answers
1k views

Collective word for sharps and flats in the key signature

On a mailing list I'm subscribed to, someone recently asked what the collective name was in English for the sharps and flats you find in the key signature. Apparently, the closest translation from ...
0
votes
1answer
76 views

Why (Occidental) conventional rhythm notation became conventional? [closed]

Human languages evolve and adapt themselves to the needs (phonetics, auditory, contextual) of the users. To what extent has been showed that Occidental music notation followed that path? Is it ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

International notation system

I would like to know if there is a special order for notes in English and/or an international notation system. In french, our order is Do Ré Mi Fa Sol La Si which is equivalent to C D E F G A B, what ...
-1
votes
2answers
131 views

How are notated the sequences of durations (13/27, 1/27, 13/27) and (4/81, 259/1296, 1/1296)?

The sequence (13/27, 1/27, 13/27) sum to a whole note, and it derives (presumably) from triplets, while the sequence (4/81, 259/1296, 1/1296) sum to a quarter, and may derive from triplets (the first ...
5
votes
4answers
545 views

Is it possible that a music piece written in a “flat key signature” contains sharp-accidentals (and vice versa)?

E.g. the key signature G Major contains one sharp (which is why I consider it as a "sharp key signature"). Can a music piece written in G Major contain a Db? Or can it only be a C# because the key ...
3
votes
3answers
151 views

Changing songs' chords to Arpeggios

I want to know how I change chords to Arpeggios in a song? For example how do you change (Somebody's me) by Enrique from chords to Arpeggios or single notes? Can you show me this or another example as ...
1
vote
2answers
84 views

Dropping the 5th degree and counting a C♯Dom7

I'm currently writing out (into a chord diagram book) all the different voicing/finger positions for the seventh chords. Some voicings are difficult to play and I so my initial thought was "oh, the ...
6
votes
4answers
196 views

Tonality and Rules

One can find many books on "tonality"during the common practice period. e.g., Piston. Tonality seems to be definable as the way in which composers express the chromatic scale in a organized way ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

Are sharp keys “bright” and flat keys “dark”?

I was reading this book and on the "Circle of Fifths" chapter it claims that keys with sharp key signatures (C, G, D, ...) are "often though by musicians" to be "bright" sounding and those with flat ...
4
votes
3answers
71 views

Diminished second and NCTs

Are notes that are a diminished second from a chord tone considered part of the chord, or are they considered an NCT? For example, if the chord contains an F and there's an adjacent E#.
8
votes
3answers
19k views

Difference between minor and major pentatonic scale boxes?

Is there a difference between minor and major pentatonic scale box shapes? Some say you can do the same pattern as a minor scale but three notes up the fretboard and some that you must change pattern ...
4
votes
1answer
103 views

What does an apostrophe on top of a note mean?

In my music (Trombone/Baritone), I see an apostrophe on top of a few notes. What does this mean?
17
votes
5answers
19k views

What is the difference between sharp note & flat note?

In guitar or generally in any musical instruments, what is the difference between sharp notes & flat notes? For example : Are A♯ & B♭ the same? And are C♯ & D♭ the same? Does that make ...
22
votes
9answers
13k views

What is the “theory” behind “odd time signatures”?

There are a number of bands, Genesis, The Police, Crack the Sky, Gentle Giant, that have all incorporated unusual time signatures as their core sound - some entire "pop"songs, "Ordinary World - Duran ...
5
votes
5answers
442 views

Why are key signatures like E# and B# necessary?

Why do we need key signatures such as E#, B#, Cb, and Fb? Take a look at the scales for E# and B#: E# has 4 sharps and 4 double sharps. The key of F is exactly the same, and it only has one note ...
3
votes
4answers
3k views

Are ties necessary?

From a theoretical point of view (let's leave apart for a moment interpretation and writing), are ties necessary to account for note values that notes and dotted notes cannot provide? Two tied ...
1
vote
1answer
76 views

Schoenberg's Hexachord decoded

I had a question regarding the cryptogram of Schoenberg's famous hexachord. The Schoenberg hexachord has a pitch class set of (012569) and a vector of <3,1,3,4,3,1>. In other words, the notes are ...
5
votes
3answers
397 views

What do uncommon time signatures consist of?

Take a X/4, it means "the measure will contain X notes, the value of which are 1/4" I understand this concept for X/Y signatures, with Y being a power of 2. But what does that mean for the others ? ...
37
votes
8answers
6k 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 ...
70
votes
7answers
14k views

Why are there twelve notes in an octave?

I know that one scale consists of 12 half-tones. But my question is still: Why? Why not 13 or 11?
10
votes
4answers
978 views

What is a “D-10” Chord?

I found a Paul McCartney Song, "Maybe I'm Amazed" that showed a chord which still has me stumped: The name of the chord is D-10. Now, I understand that most chord names are 'even' (as opposed to ...
0
votes
2answers
45 views

What does the compound time require to be?

I am trying to study music theory which would help me learn various aspects of music, so I started with basics and then time signature. It states that for a music to be in compound time each beat is ...
2
votes
2answers
83 views

How can I improve my interpretation of rhythm and percussion?

I am a non-drummer/non-percussionist well versed, for my personal purposes, in tonal harmony - up to the point where tonal chord structures can be implemented without functional movement and serve to ...
8
votes
3answers
174 views

Continuous Music Theory

Is there a musical theory of harmony or a system of chord-understanding that does not rely on the 12-tone temperament? For example, a fretless instrument has (theoretically) an infinity of tones ...