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

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6
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13answers
4k views

Why can some people play music well who don't “know music”?

I have seen people who can play instruments well, but can't: 1.Read sheet music. 2.Do not know anything about music theory. 3.Do not know the structures or rhythms of sound, acoustics, or the such. ...
3
votes
6answers
170 views

What's music? A question about 'foundations' [closed]

First of all, I'm new here. I'm a mathematician who's intersted in understanding music in a foundational way. Basically, I want to understand why we call things musical notes, and why there are a ...
9
votes
3answers
414 views

Raised leading tones in Phrygian mode counterpoint

In most cases the penultimate note of the counterpoint will be the leading tone, which must be raised in minor to establish a sense of tonality. But why is the leading tone in the Phrygian mode ...
2
votes
1answer
526 views

Meaning of “Battuta” in Counterpoint

What is Battuta and does it only apply to voice leading by contrary motion? For example, in treble clef, if going from "E-G" (major-tenth - that is, the "E" is in the bass and the "G" is ...
1
vote
2answers
235 views

Voice-crossing in First Species Counterpoint

In two-part counterpoint, is it okay for the counterpoint and cantus firmus voices to cross? Transferred from: Few Questions on Counterpoint in the Tradition of Johan Fux
0
votes
3answers
114 views

Trying to understand a nice harmonic end

The more I learn music and harmony theory the more I understand that I don't know anything yet . As for jazz I was listening for a fly me to the moon performance on the piano : the song is in Am and ...
1
vote
0answers
27 views

What is it called to take a scale but start on a different degree? [duplicate]

By which I mean keep all the same notes in the same order, but start on a note that isn't the root. Let's work in C major. There's obviously the special case that if you start on the 6th ...
5
votes
1answer
254 views

How is the mordent played in the given piece from Petzold

Here is an excerpt of Petzold's Menuett in G major and I stumbled upon a mordent which I don't know how to play. The fun fact is: The excerpt is from a beginner book where there is an explanation of ...
1
vote
5answers
208 views

Is music really infinite? [closed]

In contrast with the common misconception that "there are 7 notes, so you'll end up repeating 'em", I argued that music is infinite. Is this true, or there're boundaries to music?
6
votes
1answer
368 views

Is there a name for a minor scale with a raised 3rd or a major scale with a lowered 6th and 7th?

I've noticed a pattern in chord progressions and melodies where I like to use the b7 and b6 chords with a major tonic and there are several modern songs that like to use this pattern as seen in a ...
0
votes
1answer
113 views

why major chords only have 1-3-5 notes why not other notes? [duplicate]

I have gone through this question The chord formula for the Major Chord is 1- 3 - 5. What do the numbers represent? I haven't understand that and I have also read many document. Please can any ...
0
votes
2answers
51 views

Modulation in the violin solo Bach's Laudamus Te

I'm trying to decide the key changes in the Laudamus Te of the Mass in B minor (J.-S. Bach). I think the key in the 8th measure is B minor (the Laudamus Te is in A Major), but I'm not sure what ...
16
votes
4answers
350 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...) ...
3
votes
1answer
121 views

How do you do accidentals (eg. E♭) in solfège (Do Re Mi)? [duplicate]

I only ever learned the basics of the major scale syllables, mostly from the "Doe, a deer" song. In C Major, Do - C Re - D Mi - E Fa - F Sol - G La - A Ti (or Si) - B Do - C So how ...
4
votes
2answers
232 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
76 views

What's the meaning of the phrase “an eighth note at quarter”

The context is comparing the loudness changes in two sounds. An eighth note at quarter equals 120 is 0.25 seconds long So is it talking about four eighth notes beamed together, or is it ...
0
votes
2answers
198 views

key changing in a song?

how do i change in keys? All by my self - was in the key in F major and transition to C# minor in the middle of the solo? i notice that "all by my self" and "never going to fall in love again" by ...
0
votes
1answer
85 views

How should I understand time signature?

Now, I am not asking for the general answer given in band class ("The top number tells how many beats are in a measure; the bottom number tells what note gives the beat"). I'm more asking what it is ...
0
votes
0answers
46 views

What exactly is the point of the Melodic Minor Scale? [duplicate]

I know how the natural, harmonic and melodic minor scales are formed and the first two I have no problem with. But the very concept of a scale which is different going down and up just seems wrong to ...
2
votes
3answers
155 views

How do you properly define diminished 9th, 11th and 13th chords?

I understand that a diminished 7th chord is defined by the intervals 1-b3-b5-bb7 and a half-diminished 7th chord is 1-b3-b5-b7, but how do you determine what intervals diminished (and half-diminished) ...
5
votes
4answers
148 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
123 views

Is there such a thing as an Add#9 chord?

I understand that the chord formed by the intervals 1-3-5-b7-9 is a 9th chord and that the intervals 1-3-5-9 (omitting the 7) create an add9 chord, but how do you properly define the chord created by ...
13
votes
5answers
4k 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 ...
26
votes
9answers
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 ...
1
vote
3answers
118 views

Chord Roles/Reputations

Does there exist literature examining the particular psychological/emotional role/reputation of each chord in a movement? (For example, I am currently infatuated with IVmaj7, which is to say I find ...
5
votes
2answers
332 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
43 views

DS or DC al coda how to tell go to 3 and 4 verses

I have a song in this format: Verse 1 Verse 2 Chorus has a 1st and 2nd ending Verse 3 Verse 4 Chorus I use repeat for V1 and V2 and then I go to Chorus easy enough. Now I want to go to Verse 3 and ...
2
votes
3answers
196 views

Question about analyzing a Dm C A# chord progression

Say I play the chords Dm C A# How would you describe the chord progression? There seems to be a relationship between Dm and A# but I don't understand how to describe it. They aren't a perfect 5th ...
12
votes
4answers
4k views

What makes a song a “rock” song?

Sometimes I'm not completely sure when a song is a "rock song" or when it is from another music genre or even a "something-rock" song. How do you recognize it? Is it some bass rhythm? Some chord ...
7
votes
1answer
169 views

Debussy: Reflets dans l'eau: Rhythm Ambiguity

I'm having some trouble understanding my edition, particularly measures 23-30. For reference, use First Edition, Paris: Durand & Fils, 1905 [1]. I'll also refer to Leipzig: Edition Peters, 1970 ...
20
votes
10answers
1k views

When is a piece in A minor versus C major?

When would you say a piece, or a movement in a symphony, is in A minor versus C major? They both use the same notes on the scale... what would indicate that the piece is in A minor? Let's take an ...
2
votes
3answers
231 views

How is a chord progression with G#, D#m, F and G possible?

I was analyzing Gone Hollywood by Supertramp, and from around 0:22 a riff starts. The chords in the riff are G#, D#m/F#, F and G. The weird thing is that in the key of G# major the D# minor chord ...
0
votes
3answers
149 views

How does a tab guitar player learn sheet music?

I have been playing guitar for about a decade. I began by playing chords and quickly moved to tabs. I am quite skilled and have no problem improvising. Recently, I decided to give a try to an acoustic ...
4
votes
2answers
126 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?
0
votes
1answer
60 views

Atypical tetrads

[ADDITION] I am wanting to expand Douthett's "4-cube trio" graph to include more tetrads ...
3
votes
4answers
161 views

V chord becoming 7th? minor key

Im listening / looking at a song that is in the key of e minor And the chords for the song are just Em B7 Am Now..im no expert but from my theory i learnt a while back for a minor key thr chords ...
23
votes
5answers
4k views

What is the relationship between the melody line and the rhythm chords?

Let's say I've written a song with the chord progression I-IV-V in the key of A (just as an example). So, the chords I'm playing are A-D-E. When playing a lead over this rhythm, what notes do I need ...
3
votes
1answer
90 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
566 views

Is there any difference between these two note values?

I have never understood if these two note values are supposed to be played in the same way: Mathematically, I can understand that they are the same, since both of them have 6 notes that are being ...
6
votes
2answers
393 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?
3
votes
2answers
77 views

Mathematics of Ritardando

Beyond feel & experience, is there a rule conductors use for ritardando in terms of (a) its rate, (b) its change in rate, and/or (c) the relationship between the final tempo and the tempo of the ...
0
votes
3answers
176 views

What is this jazz scale?

I was jamming on a music piece and found that this scale fits the harmony. I have found the scale by using my ear, I see it is very similar to diminished F scale but can't find what scale it is. ...
13
votes
5answers
693 views

How to know if it's a mode or scale?

How do I differentiate between modes? Suppose a person is playing "D Dorian". How do I know that it's "D Dorian" and not "C Major/Ionian" or "E Phrygian" and so on, and in fact "A natural minor" ...
6
votes
4answers
566 views

Why does this progression sound good, even if it not resolve to the root?

I'm trying to learn some music theory. I'm interested in the magic of chord progression, and how little changes can make a dramatic change in the feeling. Anyway, I suppose that a progression moving ...
9
votes
5answers
303 views

What is the “unresolvable chord”?

A musician friend mentioned this in passing - she talked about the something chord and then explained it was unresolvable, and how she hates it because she cannot stand music that doesn't resolve. ...
6
votes
2answers
543 views

Chord symbols for inversions of 7th chords

Why are root position, first, second and third inversion labeled by V7, V65,V43,and V42 repectively? Are there reasons for the specific numbers chosen? If not how can I memorize them? Thanks.
6
votes
5answers
268 views

Skills for writing your own songs

What are some good starting points to begin writing songs for someone who possesses limited theory knowledge and playing experience (beginner)? What are the essentials skills and knowledge for ...
15
votes
1answer
352 views

Are there any rules of thumb for shifting the key signature within a tone net?

[ ... struggling with giving this a better title ] I'm working out the algorithmic bases for generation of a tone-net (tonnetz) in preparation for programming the presentation layer. The problem is ...
14
votes
4answers
1k 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#?
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Harmony analysis program

Is there any computer program that automatically analyzes harmony given the score? I refer specifically to roman numeral analysis and functional harmony.