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

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1answer
82 views

seeking a piece or study, melodic minor [closed]

I'm teaching electric guitar to a chap who has developed a love for music theory and playing classical and neo-classical pieces. He has requested some more minor work and further explanation of the ...
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6answers
4k 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?
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2answers
685 views

Why is the guitar tuned E A D G B E? [duplicate]

Why is the standard tuning for the guitar E A D G B E, from the lowest string to the highest? The interval between strings is a perfect 4th, except for the interval between the G and B strings, ...
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2answers
63 views

What scales can I play over Maj7 with lowered ninth?

I know that I can play a b2 Dorian scale over a DomSus chord with a lowered ninth, but what about over a major7 b2?
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2answers
93 views

Chords triads in any scale

Sorry for the very basic question, but my only experience comes from using DAW software. The rule I use to create a triade chord is playng three notes at {0,4,7} semitones for a major cord and {0,3,7} ...
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4answers
386 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" ...
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6answers
544 views

I need help understanding the concept of chord inversions.

This article from wikipedia, states: In the first inversion of a C major triad the bass is E—the 3rd of the triad—with the 5th and the root stacked above it (the root now shifted an octave ...
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3answers
166 views

Is raising the flat 7th scale-degree of a mode to become a leading tone to the final still modal?

So for example, taking mixolydian mode, the third of the vm7 chord (the flat seventh of the mode) is raised to create a V7 chord (as commonly occurs in tonal music in a minor key) which is then ...
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2answers
1k views

I need help to understand chord intervals (not single note intervals)

I understand intervals between notes. Each number of steps between two notes has a particular name. Like this: But some times I see people refering to intervals between chords, not single notes. ...
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2answers
376 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 ...
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4answers
431 views

Uses for augmented chords in composition

I've been studying for music theory for many years and I enjoy just writing little chord progressions and melodies to see what certain progressions sound like and how interesting I can make them. The ...
6
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1answer
206 views

How would one create music based on the principles of Cubism?

How would one create music based on the principles of Cubism? (e.g., 20th century painters: Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Juan Gris, Fernand Léger) The basic definition of Cubism calls for the use ...
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2answers
446 views

Why does the C7 chord on guitar omit the G note (5th) in open position?

0 C7 C7 ( 1-3-5-flat7) is suppose to contain a G as its 5th right? So how does a guitar get away with this in open position?
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8answers
771 views

Is there any way to improve composing?

Beside playing drums I'm toying with software to create music. The problem is when I need to advance further. I may have some good, let's say "riffs" (or pieces, or melodies, or ideas), and I'm pretty ...
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2answers
187 views

Alto singing Tenor

I am currently musically directing a community theater production of Sweeney Todd. We have cast a female to play the part of Toby, and in the song "Not While I'm Around", she is not able to achieve ...
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3answers
4k 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 ...
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3answers
283 views

Chord progressions ending in “I” at the end of a phrase vs. the beginning of the next

Is there a generally accepted term or a useful published discussion of differences between chord progressions that resolve within a phrase (say in the fourth bar of a four-bar phrase) as opposed to ...
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2answers
361 views

What's the ''rock rhythm'' like?

Every genre of music has its own rhythm, but I never understood the rock one. Theoretically, it's: one, TWO, three, FOUR but it's never this sequence. It's something like: three weak beats on one, a ...
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3answers
216 views

What note type in the 7th of a chord? - Music Theory

If this diagram is accurate, would the 7th of a Bmin7 be formed from a minor 7th interval or a major 7th interval, e. g. A-natural or A-sharp? I'm assuming A-natural. If this line of thinking is ...
5
votes
1answer
185 views

Natural vs tempered semi-tones

I am reading "Fundamentals of Musical Composition" by Arnold Schoenberg. Chapter XI, page 99, states: Chromaticism is difficult partly because the natural semi-tones differ in size from the ...
18
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9answers
4k views

How is counterpoint different from harmony?

Harmony is a kind of second sound you hear. Counterpoint is also the second sound you hear. Aside from technical differentiation, how can you by ear differentiate these two concepts. I mean, is it ...
5
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1answer
109 views

Is this a modal song?

I just want to check, is this song, Magic Power by Triumph, an example of D Mixolydian (major, dropped 7th)? ...
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0answers
40 views

How to recognize rock music? [duplicate]

I think rock music is the most complex genre ever for being so wide. I mean, you can listen to Coldplay and then right after, listen to Foo Fighters. They're both rock bands, but they're so different ...
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4answers
213 views

Note naming convention while creating scales

I am having some trouble with naming notes in a major scale. The major scale formula is 0 , 1, 1 , 1/2 , 1 , 1 , 1 , 1/2 If I use this formula to calculate notes in G# major scale, I get the notes ...
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3answers
2k views

What are the most common ways to “decorate” a melody?

Yes, I know, there are way too many possibilities and it depends on the style of the music... I would be happy with an incomplete list for beginners (like me). Here is what I have so far: ...
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4answers
1k views

What makes a song a “rock” song?

I mean, 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 rithm? some ...
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3answers
133 views

Song structures and tonality

It has to be prety basic but I never understood how it is conventionally explained. Usually a pop song has a fixed key like in: Cmajor: Verse: C-Am-F-G Bridge: Am-G, Am-G Chorus: F-G-Am How is ...
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5answers
405 views

Comfortable notes in a key

I've been playing guitar for some time, and often when i do improvisation exercises, I hit notes which sound too tense to finish a run/lick/riff on. Kind of like having a sentence which no full stop. ...
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5answers
3k views

What is a 13th chord?

For example an F13. How do you find the 13th note?
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4answers
8k views

How to identify the root note of a chord

I struggle with chords on the staff because I'm not sure which note is the root note. Is it the top note with the rest of the notes falling below it? E.g., The top note is C, and bundled below it are ...
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2answers
572 views

“Andalusian cadences”: How are they commonly heard?

The "Andalusian cadence" I-bVII-bVI-V is commonly heard as a repeated figure in Flamenco music as well as many pop songs, e.g. "Hit the Road, Jack": ...
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3answers
2k views

What time signatures are used in flamenco and related styles?

Recently I've been trying to get some flamenco spirit into my playing. I've already experimented with some 'gypsy' scales and it feels good ... but I've also realized that part of the secret is in ...
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2answers
1k views

Does music theory make you a better Musician? Artist? [closed]

Everyone (not only musicians) comes up with musical ideas in their heads. The proof is that you can ask anyone to hum an improvised melody over a chord progression ; and they probably sound nicer than ...
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5answers
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How to recreate a sound on a synth

Is is possible to recreate any sound you hear in a synth? Think of it like ear training, but with a synth. Being able to deconstruct a sound with your ear, know what type of waveform is being used, ...
2
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3answers
193 views

Philosophy about relatives and parallel keys in modal context

How would we interpret relative/parallel major/minor keys in the context of a modal piece? a) not applicable, implies tonality b) major is Ionian, minor is Eolian always: so C-lydian's relative ...
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votes
2answers
312 views

Feasibility of practising music for a person who are almost tone deaf?

I've always had trouble with relative pitch and hearing music in general. When I was younger I couldn't tell you if it was a major or a minor chord I was hearing (when other people seemed to be fully ...
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10answers
929 views

Where do musicians draw their melodies from?

It has been in my head for so long. I am a visual artist, animator, I do motion graphics, 3D artwork and most of my work is done visually. I am puzzled by this question. Visual artists, they draw ...
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4answers
2k views

Melody Improvisation over Chords

My question deals with what scale to play over a given chord progression. For example, consider a progression containing I,II,IV,V in C. I.e., the rhythm guitar is playing C, Dmin, F, and G... My ...
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2answers
111 views

Resources for learning music theory whilst doing other things?

I spend about 2 hours a day driving in my car, along with a few hours sat at a desk working. I was wondering if anyone can recommend some good audio to listen to (e.g. Podcasts, ear training ...
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2answers
244 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 ...
3
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2answers
136 views

Avid Scorch and Other Apps to Understand Lead Sheets?

I just got done with a class where, as a vocalist, I was require to provide and understand lead sheets... Honestly, normally I just print out chords and remember the song (more or less) -- but I saw ...
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2answers
151 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
6
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4answers
320 views

Composition of music suitable for concentration

What are the parameters of music to consider so that the resulting composition is suitable as a background music when reading, studying or doing some mental work? I'm interested in parameters like ...
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9answers
1k views

Why is there a key signature if I never play those notes?

I'm just getting back to playing on keyboard. I'm trying to play "Ode to Joy" from the piano sheet but I have a basic question. At the beginning of some staffs, on the right of the treble clef I can ...
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4answers
786 views

What purpose do accidentals serve in music?

I'm having trouble writing music containing accidentals. If the diatonic scale contains 7 related notes, what purpose do accidentals serve? If the accidental notes are not related to the overall ...
6
votes
3answers
328 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 ...
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2answers
1k views

Change from G to E minor [closed]

Song Of Myself from Nightwish ends with following words: And there forever remains the change from G to E minor Seems that it's reference to the music theory, but I know too little of it to ...
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5answers
596 views

Is it possible to create the illusion of a sub-harmonic?

The way I understand it, a normal plucked tone consists of a great many overtones in addition to the base tone. A pinched harmonic, however, shifts the base tone higher into the overtone series by ...
6
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1answer
652 views

What are the rules for using diminished chords in part writing?

If I use diminished chords such as ii diminished chord from the minor scale then do I according to the rules for proper part writing use the first inversion of ii diminished. What is the reasoning ...
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2answers
269 views

Finding the “Starting point” when creating a composition or score

This is a fairly simple one, and hopefully not too wide-open to be permitted here: what approaches are available when sitting at a fresh screen or sheet of paper, or at your instrument, to create the ...