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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

23
votes
4answers
1k views

How do I become better at “playing outside”?

One can spend an enormous amount of time playing melodies "in" the tonic. For example if your are in A major, you might favor A major or A lydian. However, there is a term called "playing outside" in ...
2
votes
7answers
512 views

Why do some arrangements of notes make a good melody and some don't?

A note by itself is not always particularly pleasant to hear. Why do some specific combinations of notes make a good, pleasant melody? Why are some people good at coming up with such pleasing ...
2
votes
6answers
260 views

How to practice piano more efficiently and effectively?

I'm a beginner pianist trying to figure out how to play more efficiently and effectively . I hired a piano teacher to teach me how to play better but all she does is just gives me simple randoms ...
16
votes
5answers
638 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
162 views

Why do quartal progressions typically not utilize common tones?

Typically chord are built in thirds, but in quartal harmony chords are built in fourths instead. One pattern in quartal harmony I noticed was chords tend to move completely in parallel even if common ...
6
votes
2answers
114 views

What is the Hanson system used for?

Recently I've been learning about alternate analysis techniques used for modern compositions and one that I've recently learned about the Hanson system partiality described below: Now as shown in ...
1
vote
2answers
90 views

Sharps at the start of a score

I'm having difficulty identifying and playing the sharps which are C# , D# , F# and G# . Do the sharps apply to all the bars ?
35
votes
4answers
4k views

(1/√π)/√⅔ as a time signature?

I recently found this article on wikipedia about lists of musical works in unusual time signatures and the first unusual time signature is (1/√π)/√⅔. I looked up the piece that was listed as having ...
6
votes
6answers
3k views

What is a good solo to learn in the major scale?

I am starting to play / improvise in the major scale and would like to learn some guitar solos that are good examples of this scale so that I see how other people use it. What are some famous solos in ...
12
votes
6answers
832 views

Progression path from an apprentice to a guru in music theory?

I am a computer science major and have been practicing music (as a hobby) for the past 4 years now. I started digging into the basics of Music Theory a year ago and now wish to advance my knowledge so ...
12
votes
5answers
937 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 ...
20
votes
5answers
2k views

Algorithms for music composition

I'm a beginner in music but I also like to fool around with simple computer programs . So I found a little python library to generate MIDI files . So what I do now is that I have a few rhythm ...
4
votes
3answers
545 views

What key is correct when guitars are half step down?

I see many charts for praise and worship songs charted in sharp keys (A#, F#) major. One song is charted F# Major. I would think the guitars are tuned a half step down and they are playing like it is ...
9
votes
5answers
693 views

Flat symbol in key signature and bar

If i have a flat for a note in the key signature, and then in a bar the same note with an flat symbol, does that mean the note is "double flatted"? For example in the key of D Minor with hash one ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views
5
votes
2answers
390 views

Can chords found in parallel modes of the relative minor of a key (or relative major when in a minor key) be considered borrowed chords?

In the key of C major, take the following progression: C----Em----A----G7----C I------iii------VI----V7-----I In this progression, can the VI chord be analyzed as a borrowed chord from the major ...
6
votes
1answer
421 views

Building complex chords from Complex figured bass

I did a music exam today. one of the questions was build chord from the following shapes (with the root given on the staff): mM2 AugM7 dimdim 6/5 Mm6 what is the algorithm behind this markings. I ...
21
votes
7answers
2k views

When to use a dot or a tie in music notation?

Let's say I have the following piece in 4/4, Should it be notated as: or Are there any specific rules? From my previous experience, I believe the second one is the correct notation since it ...
6
votes
3answers
298 views

modulating by a tritone

I have heard that modulating by diminished fifth/tritone is the hardest of all modulations. Interestingly my non-musician husband has just composed a tune with a smooth tritone modulation (ie. from C ...
8
votes
2answers
304 views

What is meant by a “release”?

In a Tom Cosm video tutorial on making beats in Ableton Live, he states (12:20): See, we have that kind of suck now. That's another kind of tension thing. I find with these kind of tension ...
1
vote
3answers
75 views

Is there any easy technique or guide to remember chord conversion?

I am able to play chord progression in any key, but if I want to play by changing the KEY then it is difficult for me to play in the new key. So is there any easy technique to remember the chord ...
3
votes
3answers
158 views

Why is the diminished scale 'artificial'?

Upon reading Mark Levine's Jazz Theory Book, on the chapter of the diminished scale, there a footnote that says: The diminished scale is artificial in the sense that it is not derived from the ...
1
vote
4answers
194 views

Major and minor scales

How can I identify my minor scales faster? I'm good with my major scales, but I always have to reference my major scales when identifying my minor scales.
5
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
62
votes
6answers
8k 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?
3
votes
2answers
131 views

Why Seven Principal Tones? [duplicate]

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?
21
votes
6answers
967 views

What are modes and how are they useful?

I'm a self-taught guitarist with zero to little experience in music theory. After marrying a violinist I found that there's a lot to music theory that I know tribally but don't understand the ...
2
votes
2answers
85 views

Octaves in counterpoint

I am writing a chorale in C flat major and I currently have a 3 chord going to a I6 chord. Stacked, the chords are EGEB to EGEC. Is this considered parallel octaves? HELP.
1
vote
6answers
365 views

How to differentiate between 12/8 vs 6/8 timing (or hemiola)

How would a composer differentiate between a 12/8 and a 6/8 time signature? On 3/4 timing you'd have 3 quarter notes as your rhythm, on 6/8 you'd have 2 dotted quarter notes correct? I wrote a song ...
2
votes
3answers
707 views

In a song in G major the sound F appears and sounds good. Is there a name for such a phenomenon?

The song "Misty Moisty Morning" by Steeleye Span is in a major key. My knowledge of music theory is fragmentary so I may have gotten it wrong but I believe it's true. I don't remember which key it is ...
8
votes
2answers
122 views

Is there a name for this: text syncopates otherwise unsyncopated vocal music?

There's an interesting musical phenomenon in "O Virgo Splendens" (14th century, in the Llibre Vermell de Montserrat) as it is consistently interpreted across all editions I have ever encountered. The ...
5
votes
2answers
496 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
87 views

How did the notes of the Western musical scale get their letter names? [duplicate]

The first thing a brand-new piano student learns is the name, and location on the keyboard, of "middle C". I've always wondered, why is that note called "middle C" rather than, say, "middle A"? To ...
6
votes
3answers
622 views

Expand Bass Guitar Playing Beyond Root Notes

I am fairly new to the bass guitar and I'm in a band. So far, I almost always just play the root note of the chord. I sometimes hold it until a new chord and sometimes repeatedly play this same ...
7
votes
4answers
526 views

Why did composers write atonally?

Can anyone tell me the best justifications for writing atonally by the composers who did so? Did anyone, including Schoenberg, explain what "freeing the dissonance" means? Does it imply that he ...
0
votes
3answers
101 views

Augmented 5th on B double sharp?

So a perfect fifth on B natural is F♯, an augmented 5th on B natural is F♯♯, would that then mean that an augmented 5th on B♯♯ would be F♯♯♯♯?
0
votes
5answers
160 views

Beating 'Blank Page Syndrome' and Projecting Intent

I posted a question earlier, which a number of people pointed out was coming off too broad to make for a good post, and it was suggested I boil it down to a smaller bite, so here goes. I have been a ...
2
votes
4answers
545 views

Where on earth do I begin? [closed]

This question has been answered sufficiently, and I have posted a new, more specific question as was suggested. So, this probably isn't the usual post you might expect going by the title - this isn't ...
14
votes
1answer
555 views

What is a Neapolitan 6th?

In studying music theory I have hear the term Neapolitan 6th a quite few times, but I'm not quite sure what it is. What is a Neapolitan 6th and how is it used in a composition?
2
votes
2answers
325 views

F# Minor and F# harmonic Minor are same?

I'm a musician who can try to learn everything byself. Thats why internet is my only way for searching . I checked F# Minor and F# harmonic Minor and their scales are same . Is it true? I just ...
13
votes
3answers
573 views

Why is a note sometimes a 4th and sometimes an 11th?

If I play the chord: GBDA, then this is considered a Gadd9. But if I play the 3rd above the 5th (GDB), it is not called a 10th. Why don't we refer to all notes by 1-7, and is there a system to ...
3
votes
1answer
146 views

leaps: small vs. large (learning counterpoint)

I'm reading Harmony in Context by Roig-Francoli as a first theory text to teach myself composition. In his Introduction to Species Counterpoint chapter, he mentions that the melody should consist of ...
2
votes
3answers
712 views

Melody within a chord progression

How do I add vocal melody in a guitar chord progression? Are there any rules I must follow such as only using certain notes in the melody for each chord throughout the chord progression?If so how do I ...
12
votes
3answers
668 views

Why does B work as a bass note against F7 in Bb?

I wrote a song in Band-in-a-Box. It includes this turnaround: Dm Dbm Cm F7/B BbMaj7 The chord F7/B doesn't sound good on guitar (I play it as F7 or F9 instead), but the low B note works really well ...
2
votes
2answers
335 views

Do different minor chords (vi, ii, etc) convey different nuances?

I came across some postings discussing whether different minor keys produce different moods, but i have not found one that compares different minor chords... As each minor chord has a different ...
11
votes
1answer
290 views

When did keyboard partitions start to use the G-clef for the upper staff ?

When you look at very old sheetmusic (for harpsichord or organ), you see that the upper staff has a C-clef, first line. The lower one is the familiar bass F-clef, fourth line. Why and when did the ...
15
votes
5answers
1k views

Are doubly augmented and doubly diminished intervals practical?

In music theory when naming intervals, a lowered diminished interval is a doubly diminished interval (dd) and a raised augmented interval is a doubly augmented interval (AA). Ex a C# to a Gb would be ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

What is “groove”?

How's possible to trigger it? Is there a technical reason for the groove to happen? Is it just when you stuble across any kind of rhythm / melodic progression interaction that "moves"? Please do not ...
1
vote
1answer
84 views

Why do retailers mark songs as “explicit” when they clearly are not? [closed]

Pretty sure I've gotten the wrong StackExchange here, but I didn't know where else I could post this question, and I cannot seem to find an answer on the internet. Anyway, I just looked at my Spotify ...
7
votes
1answer
161 views

Do we find music arranged according to Western Music Theory pleasing because of “biological instinct” or because of what we learn?

I know that if I play an out of tune guitar, that it sounds unpleasant. I know that if I play an arrangement on the piano (even one I am making up as I go) and accidentally play a note that does not ...