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

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13
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Why do the notes of a blues scale sound good with the I, IV, and V chords?

If you are playing the blues in the key of C, any note in the blues key of C should sound good in the melody with either of the C, F or G (I, IV or V) major chords in the bass. Why is this and how do ...
11
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3answers
2k views

What is tritone substitution?

What is tritone substitution? How can this device be applied to improvisation and composition?
10
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3answers
2k 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 ...
9
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5answers
2k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
750 views

What is this called? Why is it allowed?

"Golden Train" by Justin Nozuka (YouTube link below) is in the key of Ab major. However he uses a Cb major chord throughout the song, which is not in the key of Ab major. It sounds good and works ...
7
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2answers
3k views

How do I determine the chord progression Roman numerals?

Let's say I'm playing the chords D, G, A and Bm. I know that D is my key, which would be Roman numeral I. How do I associate the other chords with their proper roman numerals? How would I determine ...
7
votes
4answers
3k views

When is it proper (if ever) to extend time signatures (8/4 vs 4/4)?

When listening to most contemporary music, in my experience, time signatures tend to be in "common time", or 4/4. But sometimes it feels like the phrase or measure extends beyond the four quarter ...
6
votes
5answers
2k views

I-IV-V blues progression

I'm currently learning a 12 bar blues rhythm and am getting confused by it. The solo is played over the A minor pentatonic scale. And the underlying chord progression is A - D - E. But isn't this ...
6
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2answers
1k views

Changing key in a song convincingly

Update 3 I have started to break down this broad question to specific, smaller questions. 1) Classical music example for seamless transition from one section to other with changing keys Say, I ...
6
votes
2answers
194 views

Links and tips for Learning and using scales

Tips and links on learning and using different types of scales will be helpful. If possible List of scales with songs in which they are used and (artists/types of bands) who uses certain scales to a ...
6
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3answers
3k views

What are alternative “voicings” for Major/Minor/Dominant Chords if I can't play “Barre Chords”?

I would like some alternative Chord Voicings if I don't want to play the standard barre chords for major/minor/dominant voicings: Thanks!!
6
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2answers
3k views

An effective method for counting and identifying time signatures.

When I listen to some odd time signature songs I have some serious trouble dissecting the time signatures at times. Songs with 6/8 or 3/4 are easy enough to identify, but some progressive rock/metal ...
5
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4answers
6k views

How Can I Replicate The Sound Of An Instrument?

I have experience of basic music theory, guitar and piano. My current project involves creating a computer program that can replicate the sounds of any given instrument (starting with piano). I can ...
4
votes
2answers
5k views

Scales and Ascending/Descending differences

I'm learning some unique guitar scales and I'm confused with certain scales. For example, the Raga Asavari scale plays a list of notes when ascending. However when you descend, you add more notes to ...
2
votes
4answers
708 views

Why does it take 700 cents to get to a perfect 5th, which is 3/2 (one and a half) from the root?

I think I have the wrong perspective. If you take an octave and express it in cents, you get 1200. Half of that is 600. A perfect 5th is 1.5 (3/2) of the root. But 600 is not a perfect fifth, 700 ...
2
votes
2answers
149 views

Can Appoggiaturas be doubled or tripled?

I know the basic definition of the nonharmonic tone an appoggiatura is a nonharmonic tone that is approached by skip/leap and then resolves by step in the opposite direction. I've recently heard the ...
18
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16answers
6k views

X or Y guitarist doesn't know music theory - how true is this statement?

We've all heard a statement similar to the following: X didn't / doesn't know any music theory and is one of the all time greats replacing X with a famous guitarist. Being a novice, I am ...
18
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11answers
950 views

Can a chord contain both the C and C♯ notes? (as opposed to containing C and D♭ notes)

Can a chord contain both the C and C♯ notes? Or do you always have to use D♭ rather than C♯ in a chord that already contains the note C? I'm guessing the answer is no, both C and C♯ should not be ...
15
votes
1answer
420 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 ...
15
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4answers
6k views

Why is music for strings more likely to be in keys with sharps?

One thing I've noticed is that music written for strings, such as violin concertos, are a lot more likely to written in a key like D or A major than something like F or Bb major. I recently saw a ...
13
votes
4answers
640 views

What is this type of shift called?

In a lot of (usually electronic) music, I notice a section of music that seems to shift up a number of notes and continue with a similar melody in a way that greatly emphasizes the melody. Does this ...
10
votes
3answers
793 views

What mode consists of the note G A Bb C Db E F G?

I was playing random scales . I came to a strange nice sounding mode,but could not find out what it's name theoretically. (Even I could not find a tonic sounding in it) The scale/mode notes are : G ...
10
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2answers
2k 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 ...
9
votes
6answers
874 views

Algorithm for Transposing Chords Between Keys

I'm writing software that transposes sheet music between keys and I'm still new at music theory so I was hoping someone who knows more could let me know if my approach is correct. Here's my process ...
9
votes
3answers
740 views

Why is bII 7(b5) considered a dominant?

I am using Ear Master for ear training and at the Chord Progression exercises, there is an exercise called "Various dominant-tonic combinations". These are the chord progressions that are being ...
9
votes
5answers
7k views

How to differentiate between a diminished fifth and an augmented fourth interval?

Both are a tritone appart, both sound the same. How can we differentiate when an interval is an augmented fourth or a diminished fifth? Context: In voice leading we learn that when the spelling of ...
7
votes
3answers
166 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
3k views

How does fusion guitar playing work?

So I have seen a lot of guitar players playing fusion rock but never understood what is actually going on in the theory. When watching them play, it sounds like they're not in key and just ...
7
votes
3answers
670 views

Minor subdominant in a major key

I was listening to the song "go all the way raspberries" in "Dark Shadows." I sorta figured out the song by ear on my guitar and I was a little confused. It is in the key of A and uses D minor. Here's ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

How does “triplet feel” for eighth notes affect non-eighth notes?

I'm a software developer creating a MIDI player that can play with "triplet feel" -- that is, when it sees two eighth notes, it plays them as if they were a triplet of quarter note + eighth note. This ...
7
votes
4answers
449 views

What's “species counterpoint”? Are there any other types of counterpoint?

I believe the title says it all. On Wikipedia it shows the five species but I have the idea that there is another type of counterpoint not based on those species. Is that vague idea of mine correct? I ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

son vs. rumba clave and bass line

The answer to Latin jazz: anticipated chord change on last beat provided by Ulf Åkerstedt raises another question: I have written a son bass line, and I realize I have a rumba clave on the drum set. ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

How to decode this CSV from a MIDI file?

So I decoded a midi file using a MIDI to CSV converter I found online. The ouput is : 2, 3072, Note_on_c, 1, 26, 96 After reading on MIDI format, I still don't understand what I see here. What ...
6
votes
7answers
628 views

Definition of the note C

That I'm using the note C is arbitrary, I could be using any other. How would you define a C? If you define it as the tone with frequency 261.6 Hz (or 2^n * 261.6) then you run into problems when you ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

What is a parallel mode?

What is a parallel mode? How are the parallel modes used in composition and/or improvisation?
6
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2answers
2k views

What's the difference between sixteenth century counterpoint and eighteenth century counterpoint?

What's the difference between sixteenth century counterpoint and eighteenth century counterpoint? Is sixteenth century counterpoint melody or modal based (as this answer suggests) and eighteenth ...
6
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4answers
225 views

What are some harmonic options for layering guitar lines while recording?

I would like to layer multiple guitar lines for a section of a song that I'm working on. What are some harmonic variations that I would be able to use?
5
votes
1answer
186 views

Is there an amp power formula?

I'm looking to buy a new amp for my keyboards, and I was wondering if there's a formula I can use to help me calculate some of the objective specs I should look for. Something along the lines of: I ...
5
votes
4answers
11k views

What is the I-vi-ii-V Chord Progressions?

Are there any scales that work well over this progression? My Mistake!! I was thinking of the song Breezin' by George Benson!!
4
votes
4answers
241 views

Understanding Inversions

I am not completely understanding how I find the major and minor chords. I understand half of what is going on, but not fully. Can someone please help.
4
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8answers
4k views

Confusion about major and minor second intervals

Why is a major second interval different from a minor second interval considering that in the natural scales formulae they are both one whole step?
4
votes
3answers
702 views

Pentatonic Scales Question

I'm learning the notes on the fret board and I just wanted to ask something about the pentatonic scales you see, A minor pentatonic is A C D E G on the 5th fret, but when I play it on the 2nd fret its ...
4
votes
2answers
244 views

Diatonic Function of Accidentals in Counterpoint

Why is it in counterpoint that the fourth degree of natural mode "F" lowered to "Bb" instead of remaining as "B"? Why isn't the fourth degree lowered for other modes? Shouldn't the "B" ...
4
votes
2answers
919 views

Why don't pianos use multiples of 12 for the number of keys?

In one of the answers of this question, some pianos with 44, 61, 76, and 88 keys are introduced. I just don't get it. Why notes are not following any formula? I mean, a piano with 63 keys means that ...
3
votes
4answers
197 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 ...
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 ...
3
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3answers
390 views

How can I practice harmony?

I know some basic stuff about harmony, but I do not know have to advance any further.I finished my harmony lessons for this year and I'm going to start again in the autumn. Is there any way I can ...
3
votes
2answers
324 views

What gives 'Winter Song' by Nico a medieval sound?

The song below seems to have a definite medieval flavour to it, but what causes this? Is it the guitar or vocal melodies? What scale/mode aspects give this feel?
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0answers
29 views

What are the rules of improvisation in Indian ragas?

In How does improvisation in Indian ragas differ significantly from jazz melodic improvisation? Phil states: With a Raga, there is no theme, per se. A Raga is more like a set of rules as to how ...
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2answers
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Determining modes in a minor Key

Speaking of Functional harmony; If a song is in key C, then we call the C major scale from E to E is a Phrygian mode. Good, what if a song is in key Am, which is actually relative of C and also Am ...