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

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6
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16answers
12k 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: Read sheet music. Do not know anything about music theory. Do not know the structures or rhythms of sound, acoustics, or the such. I ...
4
votes
4answers
123 views

What does the key of a song mean?

I want to know what it means, in terms of the scales and chords involved, when we say that a song is played in a certain 'key'.
3
votes
3answers
923 views

Open/Close Position Chords: What I am missing?

Working through Hindemith's harmony I encountered the following diagram of all the valid positions for a C-Major chord in strict four-part writing. I am befuddled as to why the third chord in the ...
0
votes
2answers
55 views

Russell Lydian chromatic (again)

One more question about Russell Lydian theory. Russell uses as an example the Lydian C scale: C-D-E-F#-G-A-B-C comparing it with C maj scale, then he starts to explain his theory as if they belong to ...
13
votes
9answers
5k views

Is Emajor the dominant chord in the key of A minor?

I read somewhere that Emajor is the dominant (V) chord in A minor. Is this correct? If so, why is it not Eminor, since the A minor scale has no sharps or flats in it?
-2
votes
2answers
113 views

Changing a song's key vs. changing chord voicings

My question relates to playing a song with chords. Why would I want to shift a key up or down when I can just play a song in its original key with higher or lower sounding chord voicings? I also ...
3
votes
3answers
137 views

bV substitution in ii V I

So I have been playing around with the good'ol ii V I standard and I have found, just by playing around, that instead of going to the V, it sounds odd, but you can substitute it for a bV. Key: D ...
1
vote
1answer
50 views

George Russell Lydian chromatic concept

I am reading the George Russell book about Lydian chromatic concept. If anyone has ever read it, maybe you can help me in understanding his use of the term "Lydian do" as well as "Ionian do". My ...
7
votes
6answers
515 views

Is there a term for chords like F/G and C/D?

Chords like F/G and C/D are really quite common in jazz, blues and soul music yet I have never heard or been able to find a concise name for them. To be clear, I am referring to any major (or indeed ...
0
votes
0answers
12 views

how to add chords for a melody i have composed? [duplicate]

i am intermediate level guitar player and have learned to play melody by ear rather than the conventional way of learning first chords on guitar.I have now learned chords also.I compose many new ...
2
votes
1answer
230 views

Why do these two guitar notes create a warble sound?

On a standard tuned guitar, if you play the 12th fret on the top E string and the 16th fret of the B string at the same time, you get a rather impressive warbling sound. It seems similar to if you "...
20
votes
5answers
6k views

With sheet music, how do you determine whether the song is in the major key or the minor key?

For example, if the key signature on the left doesn't have any sharps or flats then it could theoretically be in either the C Major scale or the A Minor scale. How do you determine which one?
0
votes
2answers
68 views

What is the term for a chord change from 0-5-7 to 0-4-7?

From what I understand, the 0-5-7 triad is a sus4 and 0-4-7 a major. So if I have C-F-G and descend a semitone from F to E into a C major chord what would be the technical term for it? I like to use ...
2
votes
3answers
170 views

Modulating from key Gm to key Bbm

I'm trying to modulate from the song 7 Years (Gm) to the song Hometown Glory (Bbm). How do I write a something that joins the two?
7
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
356 views

What is the difference between a chord progression and a riff?

I am just wondering what the difference between a chord progression and a riff is? My assumptions are that riffs are generally 2 measures long, and they are pretty much classed as being played over a ...
10
votes
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 ...
7
votes
5answers
3k views

Does the bass note in a “slash” chord really have an associated interval?

I have a question about "slash" chords. Look at the chord E/G: E G♯ B G 1 3 5 ? G is the minor 3rd interval (♭3) in the key of E. However, I would have thought by definition chords cannot ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

What are the chords in the harmonic minor and the melodic minor scales?

I want to know what the chords are in the harmonic and the melodic minor scales. Like if we take C major scale, then the chords are C Dm Em F G Am Bm(b5) C If we take C natural minor scale, then ...
2
votes
1answer
97 views

Cadences for Modes

For each of the modes, is there a certain chord that goes before the targeted I or i chord? For instance, it seems in the Phrygian mode that II to i is a fairly strong progression. In Ionian, ...
6
votes
2answers
182 views

What is the interval from C double flat to E double sharp called?

What is this interval called in terms of relative scale degrees?
9
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
35
votes
3answers
67k views

What are the differences between tone, note, and pitch?

I was wondering what the differences are between "tone", "note", and "pitch"?
17
votes
6answers
5k 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
310 views

When writing a melody, is the scale used determined by the current chord playing (in the chord progression) or by the song's key as a whole?

This is an embarrassingly basic question, but it's been in the back of my mind for a while, and I haven't been able to find an answer. I've been studying very basic music theory lately and trying to ...
9
votes
6answers
930 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 ...
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vote
2answers
3k views

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 ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is there a natural accidental on this C?

In Simandl's 30 Etudes for String Bass, Etude #10, there is this natural accidental on the note C (fourth bar of the second line): Since there is no alteration of the note either by the key ...
15
votes
8answers
1k views

How to figure out what key a piece is in?

I am trying to write a guitar accompaniment to the piece "Fair and Tender Ladies", but I have no clue what I need to do to figure out what key that piece is in. Also, the instrument playing the piece ...
36
votes
19answers
35k views
6
votes
1answer
325 views

What are the Coltrane Changes?

Also known as Coltrane Matrix, Coltrane Cycle, chromatic third relations, and multi-tonic changes. What are the Coltrane Changes? What's the theory behind them? How are they used in improvisation, ...
0
votes
0answers
25 views

Why `Do` is called as `C`? [duplicate]

Alphabet is start with A and scale is start with Do(in C Major scale) but we call Do as C and La as A. There is any behind story or rule that I don't know?
4
votes
4answers
242 views

Can you have more dots on a note than a triple dotted note?

Recently I've come across some double-dotted notes, and even some triple-dotted ones which seem a bit quirky to me, but who knows? For one dot, you add 1/2 of the note's length, so I suppose for two ...
2
votes
1answer
355 views

How can I overcome '8va' for a few notes?

Let's say I have a whole passage marked with 8va, like below: I want to play just the circled notes at their normal octave. Is there a way to denote this, instead of ending the 8va bracket and ...
3
votes
7answers
1k views

Will a song written in a key only use chords in that key?

When you figure out a key that a song is written in. Will the entire song use the chords in that key? With maybe an accidental?? I've tried several different methods.
2
votes
1answer
348 views

What is the interval between two enharmonic notes?

The interval between, say, C4 and D4 is a major 2nd. What is the interval between B#3 and C4? Is it still a 2nd? For lack of a better term would it be something like a minor minor 2nd?
5
votes
6answers
984 views

How does “Music Theory” all tie together?

I'm a self-taught musician and have been playing for years, but being self-taught really limited my knowledge of music theory (in that I know pretty much nothing about it) and I'm having difficulty ...
1
vote
5answers
9k views

What is a simple way to determine the notes in a scale?

What is a simple way to determine the notes in a scale? For example, let's say, that somehow you determined that a song you want to play, is in the key F# major. How can you quickly recall or figure ...
2
votes
2answers
144 views

What is a Schenkerian graph?

I just started reading Audacious Euphony: Chromaticism and the Triads Second Nature pretty early on it mentioned Schenkerian graphs and put them in the same group of analysis as Roman Numeral ...
7
votes
4answers
936 views

How to determine what key changes are appropriate?

In the month or so until my band get back together I've been working on writing some new material, and want to try and expand how complex my songs are. I apologise if there are a lot of questions - I'...
13
votes
7answers
18k views

Polymeter vs Polyrhythm

What is the difference between a polymeter and a polyrhythm? Do these words mean anything different for different instruments? PS: I'm a drummer.
3
votes
1answer
97 views

Playing Over Changes and Subsitutions

Im a fairly advanced guitarist/musician and love improvising, as most of us do. However, when a progression goes out of the main key, such as borrowing or subsituting, I tend to get lost in my head. ...
2
votes
2answers
94 views

I need help figuring out some of these note values for my sequencer

Alright so I'm using a sequencer that allows you to input notes and change the values of those notes, but for the note values, there are notation symbols used, the majority are quite easy to figure ...
29
votes
9answers
14k views

How to transcribe music by ear?

Often times we find ourselves enjoying a piece of music that, for whatever reason, we are unable to find appropriate documentation/tablature for. What are good practices for transcribing music by ear ...
1
vote
1answer
181 views

What is the difference between the Circle of Fifths and the Camelot Wheel?

I understand the Camelot Wheel is used by DJs to mix songs of different keys together by using adjacent and relative major/minor keys. Can't this same information be deduced from the Circle of Fifths? ...
6
votes
8answers
2k views

Why does a minor sixth chord contain a major 6th interval?

This is something that has always puzzled me. Perhaps I am going about this the wrong way but when I build chords I always build them based on the scale that corresponds to the quality of the chord. ...
4
votes
1answer
216 views

History of “jazz minor/melodic minor” harmony

I'm curious about the development of modern (post-bop-ish) jazz harmony. In Mark Levine's Jazz Theory Book, he shows how modes of the melodic minor scale can be used to form and improvise over chords ...
1
vote
4answers
67 views

What basics should I know to accompany on piano?

I need to accompany on piano for some blues songs. I play a little on piano in childhood and know basic theory. What I need to accompany for this songs: Sweet Home Chicago B.B.King - Everyday I ...
2
votes
12answers
3k views

Improving as a solo guitarist without learning scales

I am a drummer of 20+ years. I am a guitarist for only the last 5 or so (more of a guitar owner). I can play many chords, and have composed a number of songs. I learned to play drums without a ...
12
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...