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

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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 ...
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5answers
1k 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 ...
4
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4answers
128 views

Still Major Intervals?

I have a worksheet to prepare me for my A level music; however I'm confused when being asked to name these intervals: My logic is that as both the tonic and above note are both flat meaning the ...
16
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1answer
313 views

What is a multi-tonic system?

Coltrane changes, Slonimsky-Schillinger Symmetric System, three-tonic system, four-tonic system: what are they? How are they used in improvisation, composition, harmonization, and reharmonization? Are ...
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2answers
100 views

Doesn't a major scale share all its notes with its relative minor and vice versa?

I came across this sentence, reading A Theory of Harmony, John Stainer, P 9 item 27: The scale of a relative minor consists of the same notes as that of its relative major, with one exception, ...
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1answer
156 views

Consonance & Dissonance Relative To Melodies

I've been reading of consonant and dissonant intervals within a scale and was wondering if this is a rule that is generally applied in current music? Can this rule help make a melody for example if I ...
8
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2answers
160 views

What is a good way to train one's mental resources for improvising?

I find improvising to be the most challenging and rewarding part about music. When I first started to improvise I found that the ideas I had were limited to the dexterity of my fingers, but now I am ...
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4answers
218 views

How come songs in a certain key play notes not in that key

I just started trying to learn about music theory as I'm learning to play the guitar. So as beginner's do I looked up a list of easy songs to play and i start learning away. Since I'm also trying to ...
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2answers
74 views

Scales - Melodic and harmonic minor

Recently I picked up modes for guitar scales. I just love how this system works and understand it 100%. However, I have heard about other scales that are not covered with the modes. More specifically, ...
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6answers
14k 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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4answers
295 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 ...
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2answers
402 views

What is the name of the interval Db - D#?

I know that Db - Eb is a major second/diminished third. What is the interval Db - D# called (and why)? EDIT: oops, Db - Eb is NOT a diminished third.
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2answers
236 views

What note(s) are a diminished 3rd above D-flat?

In What is the interval between Db and D# some of the comments indicate that the interval Db->Eb can be considered as a diminished third. I would think that Fbb (double-flatted F) is a diminished ...
11
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4answers
308 views

Do songs written in certain modes not have keys?

Up until recently I thought that if a song was written in a mode with a major 3rd, then it was in a major key, and if it was in a mode with a minor 3rd, then it was in a minor key. But I read an ...
7
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1answer
100 views

What is M-Base and how do I play it?

M-Base was a style of music played by Greg Osby and Steve Coleman. Steve Coleman over the years has been...cryptic about the principles of M-Base. What can you tell me about M-Base that will enable ...
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5answers
2k 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 ...
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3answers
1k views

How do you know what beat to emphasize based on the time signature?

In learning the guitar I have run across various time signatures. In each time signature it seems as if you are supposed to emphasize different beats. Is this something that you just have to intuit, ...
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7answers
608 views

What are some of the components of a good guitar solo?

Putting aside the emotional value of listening to a great guitar solo, what are some of the criteria that can be applied to make an educated judgement as to the quality of a solo within the context of ...
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5answers
4k views

What is a good solo to learn in the Dorian mode?

I understand that Dorian is a commonly used mode in rock. I am starting to play / improvise in the mode and would like to learn some guitar solos that are good examples of this scale so that I see how ...
8
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2answers
341 views

Common Practice Music Theory - Easier method to memorize 4-part harmony doubling rules?

My main question is in the title above. Chords in Common Practice Style only have three notes, so in 4-part harmony (SATB), one note will be repeated. In music theory, there are a ton of doubling ...
9
votes
2answers
122 views

How do instruments with discrete tuning play chords alongside those with continuous tuning?

I was taught that when playing a triad, the third should be played sharper and the fifth flatter than the notes would sound on an instrument tuned to equal temperament, such as the piano. However this ...
9
votes
6answers
751 views

Triplets in 9/8 time

How do eighth note triplets work in 9/8 or 6/8 time? I know in 4/4 they take up the space of two eighth notes but haven't been able to figure out how they work in 8.
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2answers
170 views

What's it called when a piece of music starts off-beat?

I've noticed that this seems to be some sort of trick music composers have been using more and more of recently. Consider this song for example: ...
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5answers
2k views

What defines a Tango?

Is there something about a song that can be used to classify it as "a Tango"? There's different Tango styles (Finnish Tango music, for instance, is different from Argentinian) and there seem to be ...
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2answers
146 views

A natural minor and A Phrygian dominant

First of all , thanks everyone for this good web page My question : I compose a track . it is based on A . Track has 3 verses and 1 Brigde. Track Build like that 1.Verse : A Phrygian dominant ...
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1answer
230 views

Is the bass note of a chord the only indicative of its [the chord's] inversion?

If a C major chord is voiced as (from low to high) E-G-C, it is said to be in first inversion , if it is voiced as G-C-E, it is the second inversion. But the resources I have read do not specify if a ...
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4answers
139 views

What does it mean when there are two time signatures

I am learning the Blazhevic number 34 for tuba and it is in (9/8 3/4) time. What does that mean? It seems to me that some measures equate to be in 3/4 while others equate to be in 9/8. Very confused. ...
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5answers
814 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 ...
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2answers
99 views

Suggested text material about Italian baroque composition

As a hobbyist composer who composes in "almost" traditional music styles (baroque-like, classical-like etc.), I am at a stage where I would like to compose authentic music in a specific style. I have ...
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1answer
68 views

Please tell me! Which scale this artist uses ? [Phrygian dominant scale , Melodic Minor, Arabian Scale or What else ?] [closed]

Please help and tell me if it is possible. Which scale this artist uses to sound his tracks like that? I know which minor but i can't get what kind of scale. I mean that I really want to know . Is ...
15
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8answers
2k views

What makes an interval “Perfect”?

I've been trying to find an answer, but to no avail. Is what we call a perfect interval somewhat arbitrary? It seems as if the modern definition is "perfect under inversion". I know the other thing ...
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votes
2answers
262 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 ...
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2answers
204 views

Which notes are bass line, versus melody line, in a rock song?

I'm actually learning piano, and in piano i can play the bass with my left hand and the melody with my right hand. But it doesn't seem to be the case with guitars and i assume that one guitar(lead) ...
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4answers
238 views

How to identify complex time signatures?

What methods can I use to find the time signatures of strange/complex songs? For example, what are the time signature(s) this song uses? ...
6
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3answers
155 views

Question about playing chords

I have read that: In elementary piano, the left hand (lower notes) typically plays chords, while the right hand plays the melody. If you're playing pop or rock and singing, you might want to play ...
6
votes
1answer
533 views

What are 5 and 6 note chords called?

I only know how to play 2 different types of chords which is a Triad (3 notes) and a 7th (4 notes). But, I often see chords with 5 or 6 notes being used. What are these types of chords called? An ...
13
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1answer
866 views

What is harmonic mixing / mix in key?

I'm currently learning how to become a DJ. One of the concepts that caught my attention was "harmonic mixing". I know some very basic music theory, and I'm having some trouble understanding it. What ...
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0answers
62 views

Which book am I suppose to read if I need to learn jazz? [closed]

I have studied music theory for 2 years. I have learnt about major ,minor , chord scale ,chord progressive etc. I think I love jazz sound and want to learn it. So what is different between classic and ...
5
votes
1answer
61 views

Which notes are considered bassline/melodyline in a sheet music?

Consider that i have a sheet music consisting of a treble clef and a bass clef, and i'm playing piano by myself(solo) Which notes are melody line?(any note in thr treble clef?) Which notes are ...
6
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4answers
837 views

When to use different scale modes over chord progressions?

I know my major/pentatonic/blues scales pretty well, and I can apply it pretty fluently when playing over 1-4-5-min6 chord progressions, but I find that when I try to improvise over more ...
3
votes
2answers
61 views

What characterizes American folk music?

It seems the American folk genre is pretty diverse, from Bob Dylan (and much earlier!) to more modern musicians like Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes. Specifically, I want to know if there are certain ...
12
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4answers
990 views

What makes a song sound “folk-y”?

Are there distinctive traits (melodies, scales, chord progressions, rhythm, techniques) that set the genre of folk music apart?
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2answers
493 views

Harmony and roman numeral analysis: how to deal with chromaticism?

I recently started playing piano. While learning and performing new pieces, I found that it helps me a lot to have some certainty of what's going on with the notes, the chords, and the harmony. I ...
73
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7answers
6k views

Why is the guitar tuned like it is?

Why is there that funny tuning kink between the G and B string on a guitar in standard tuning? I.e., the (musical) gap between the rest of the adjoining strings is 5 frets (or a perfect fourth), but ...
8
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2answers
452 views

What's the difference between harmony and polyphony?

What's the difference between harmony and polyphony? Is it a matter of perspective or is there a qualitative difference?
23
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9answers
4k views

What is the difference between a “riff” and a “melody”?

How do I tell when a riff becomes a melody, or is it even important to know? Can you construct a song around a riff - what are some suggestions on how to construct a song in that manner?
12
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1answer
463 views

What is a Neapolitan 6th?

In studying music theory I have hear the term Neapolitan 6th a quite few times, but I don't know what it is. What is a Neapolitan 6th and how is it used in a composition?
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3answers
203 views

How to give a song this sense of “conclusion”?

Alt-J's first album ends with the song Taro -- a song whose outro leaves a very strong impression on me. The outro sounds like a very fitting ending to any album, because the music simply gives me ...
13
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1answer
220 views

Help me understand this progression

A friend showed me this progression: G7, F#m7b5, B7, Em7, A7, Dm7, G7, CMaj7, Cm7, Bm7, Bdim7, Am7, Ab7, Bm7, Bb7, Am7, Ab7 For the most part, I understand that at its heart it is built on a I vi ii ...
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7answers
25k views

How to know what notes/chords go together while improvising?

This is 3 questions in one, so it might take a slightly involved answer, or some good links. I'm a very good classical pianist, but I skipped theory entirely in my early days and learned to play well ...