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

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5
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4answers
159 views

iii9 - I progression in Bach?

In the last of his 15 Sinfonias (aka Three-Part Inventions), Bach uses quite a daring approach to the tonic chord. Occurring in a sequential progression by downward thirds, it can be described most ...
1
vote
4answers
135 views

Is there such a thing as an Add#9 chord?

I understand that the chord formed by the intervals 1-3-5-b7-9 is a 9th chord and that the intervals 1-3-5-9 (omitting the 7) create an add9 chord, but how do you properly define the chord created by ...
13
votes
5answers
5k views

What defines pop music as a genre? Which patterns and trends can we find in pop music?

Today, not all popular music is labeled as pop. To me it seems that pop has become a genre that can be defined by its musical patterns, techniques, and styles. Similar to rock, jazz, and classical ...
27
votes
9answers
3k views

Why isn't D the “most central” note?

When laying out the notes in the two-dimensional Wicki-Hayden layout, which is the most symmetrical layout I know of, it is visually clear that D is the "most central" note. Why, then, doesn't D play ...
1
vote
3answers
118 views

Chord Roles/Reputations

Does there exist literature examining the particular psychological/emotional role/reputation of each chord in a movement? (For example, I am currently infatuated with IVmaj7, which is to say I find ...
5
votes
2answers
350 views

What is the terminology for how we identify numbered notes like C4, E3, D6, etc?

Does this system - where C3 is middle C - have a standard name? For instance, is there a wikipedia page which explains this system and if so how is it titled? (note: As mentioned middle C is C4, my ...
1
vote
1answer
46 views

DS or DC al coda how to tell go to 3 and 4 verses

I have a song in this format: Verse 1 Verse 2 Chorus has a 1st and 2nd ending Verse 3 Verse 4 Chorus I use repeat for V1 and V2 and then I go to Chorus easy enough. Now I want to go to Verse 3 and ...
2
votes
3answers
202 views

Question about analyzing a Dm C A# chord progression

Say I play the chords Dm C A# How would you describe the chord progression? There seems to be a relationship between Dm and A# but I don't understand how to describe it. They aren't a perfect 5th ...
12
votes
4answers
4k views

What makes a song a “rock” song?

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 rhythm? Some chord ...
7
votes
1answer
177 views

Debussy: Reflets dans l'eau: Rhythm Ambiguity

I'm having some trouble understanding my edition, particularly measures 23-30. For reference, use First Edition, Paris: Durand & Fils, 1905 [1]. I'll also refer to Leipzig: Edition Peters, 1970 ...
20
votes
10answers
1k views

When is a piece in A minor versus C major?

When would you say a piece, or a movement in a symphony, is in A minor versus C major? They both use the same notes on the scale... what would indicate that the piece is in A minor? Let's take an ...
2
votes
3answers
240 views

How is a chord progression with G#, D#m, F and G possible?

I was analyzing Gone Hollywood by Supertramp, and from around 0:22 a riff starts. The chords in the riff are G#, D#m/F#, F and G. The weird thing is that in the key of G# major the D# minor chord ...
0
votes
3answers
154 views

How does a tab guitar player learn sheet music?

I have been playing guitar for about a decade. I began by playing chords and quickly moved to tabs. I am quite skilled and have no problem improvising. Recently, I decided to give a try to an acoustic ...
4
votes
2answers
133 views

Once I know the chords, how do I recognize the chord progression?

For example, in the intro to Snow by Red Hot Chili Peppers, the chords played are: G#m - E - B - F# in that order. How do I begin to realize the chord progression? Do I need to find the key first?
0
votes
1answer
60 views

Atypical tetrads

[ADDITION] I am wanting to expand Douthett's "4-cube trio" graph to include more tetrads ...
23
votes
5answers
5k views

What is the relationship between the melody line and the rhythm chords?

Let's say I've written a song with the chord progression I-IV-V in the key of A (just as an example). So, the chords I'm playing are A-D-E. When playing a lead over this rhythm, what notes do I need ...
3
votes
1answer
103 views

How many types of modulation are there?

I know a few types of modulation off the top of my head like common chord modulation and and chromatic modulation, but I was wondering how many different types of modulation are there and what are ...
8
votes
4answers
583 views

Is there any difference between these two note values?

I have never understood if these two note values are supposed to be played in the same way: Mathematically, I can understand that they are the same, since both of them have 6 notes that are being ...
6
votes
2answers
422 views

How to calculate the difference in cents between a note and an arbitrary frequency?

Let's say I have the note A 440Hz and the frequency 450Hz. How do I calculate the distance in cents between that note and that frequency?
3
votes
2answers
81 views

Mathematics of Ritardando

Beyond feel & experience, is there a rule conductors use for ritardando in terms of (a) its rate, (b) its change in rate, and/or (c) the relationship between the final tempo and the tempo of the ...
0
votes
3answers
177 views

What is this jazz scale?

I was jamming on a music piece and found that this scale fits the harmony. I have found the scale by using my ear, I see it is very similar to diminished F scale but can't find what scale it is. ...
13
votes
5answers
712 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" ...
6
votes
4answers
583 views

Why does this progression sound good, even if it not resolve to the root?

I'm trying to learn some music theory. I'm interested in the magic of chord progression, and how little changes can make a dramatic change in the feeling. Anyway, I suppose that a progression moving ...
9
votes
5answers
307 views

What is the “unresolvable chord”?

A musician friend mentioned this in passing - she talked about the something chord and then explained it was unresolvable, and how she hates it because she cannot stand music that doesn't resolve. ...
6
votes
2answers
655 views

Chord symbols for inversions of 7th chords

Why are root position, first, second and third inversion labeled by V7, V65,V43,and V42 repectively? Are there reasons for the specific numbers chosen? If not how can I memorize them? Thanks.
6
votes
5answers
282 views

Skills for writing your own songs

What are some good starting points to begin writing songs for someone who possesses limited theory knowledge and playing experience (beginner)? What are the essentials skills and knowledge for ...
15
votes
1answer
361 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

If between E and F is a halftone, why can F not be an E#

A ♯ raises a note by a semitone or halftone. I'm confused. If E and F are a halftone apart, why can't F be E#?
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Harmony analysis program

Is there any computer program that automatically analyzes harmony given the score? I refer specifically to roman numeral analysis and functional harmony.
7
votes
3answers
603 views

Can bass chord notes be different octaves after playing the root?

The reason for my question is because it seems like everything I read, the bass note is normally the root of the chord, but I am outlining an Am chord where E is the bass note. I thought I found an ...
18
votes
4answers
1k views

Why is bass note so important in harmonic analysis of music?

In any type of harmonic analysis the bass plays big part in determining the function of the harmony. There are even special ways describe what note of the chord is in the bass (known as inversions) ...
14
votes
6answers
11k views

How to tell the time signature of a song by listening?

Every song has some kind of time signature even if different parts of the song have different time signatures there is always a time signature. When learning a song by ear and no score, knowing the ...
2
votes
3answers
142 views

Can't seem to find a good tutorial on theory for guitar players

After 13 years of playing the guitar (just chords)... I am just starting to investigate learning theory to be a better guitar player. Also seeing piano players pick up the guitar and soloing in no ...
3
votes
1answer
454 views

How can this simple bass line be categorized in chords or scales?

I am attempting to finally learn music theory after years of owning a bass and screwing around. So, with that, I have been playing certain things and trying to figure out the chord or scale. Take for ...
0
votes
3answers
312 views

How do I convert music to a mathematical formula? [closed]

Yes, I know this sounds absurd... Maybe even a little impossible. I saw a thing on youtube though where someone played the Fibonacci Sequence on a piano! There was also this song using Phi. Phi and ...
13
votes
2answers
392 views

What is the theory behind scales?

My question is the following: Scales are The backbone of quite everything in western music. Does anybody know if there is some sort of backbone behind scales? A number, something like that? Or do some ...
29
votes
11answers
46k views

Why learn scales? What are they for?

I tried Googling but it seems there is no answer for this one. So the internet assumes everyone knows what scales are for? Why should I learn them? Are they important to be a good guitarist?
-2
votes
1answer
65 views

Music in the 1990s [closed]

We're working on a school project whereas a part of the task is to find values in the 1990s music. I haven't found much to go on and a lot of the information out there is just a bunch of squeezed ...
8
votes
2answers
863 views

In jazz, what is an upper structure triad?

What is upper structure? Which are the upper structure triads? How are they used?
7
votes
1answer
238 views

Tonnetz algorithms

I'm looking for applied algorithms for Riemannian tonnetz. I was thinking first of the "big bang" approach with some of the 3D projections of tonnetz, but those are overshoot.
8
votes
2answers
137 views

Which roman numeral should I use for F# diminished chord in the key F Major?

In the key of F major, what roman numeral is the F# A C chord? I know it is a diminished chord. It is going from a F to F#dim to Gm7
7
votes
8answers
827 views

Limits of Fortissimo and Pianissimo

How far can pianissimo/fortissimo go? I have heard both the limit is 4 and 2 of each. Meaning pppp/ffff or pp/ff. What is the actual limit?
6
votes
2answers
281 views

When to use inversions in harmonizing a bass line

What exactly is the procedure for harmonizing a bass line? In my class, the teacher introduced inversions of chords, which are not hard to understand per se, but I can't wrap my head around how can I ...
15
votes
2answers
1k views

What does it mean to be able to write a fugue?

My theory teacher told me once in passing that she had written fugues. Later on people let me know that to write a fugue you need to be somewhat of a theory genius. Why is this so? What makes the ...
9
votes
1answer
512 views

Is i-V a stronger progression than I-V?

I'm just starting to learn a little music theory (in connection with learning to play the ukelele), and I repeatedly see I-V as basically the strongest chord progression (in whatever sense "strongest" ...
12
votes
5answers
4k views

Music Theory: Frequencies related to playing a note on guitar

I am studying the physics related to playing guitar. I need to understand the relationship between the fundamental frequency of a guitar string and its harmonics. For e.g., the top string has the ...
2
votes
2answers
135 views

What are the different rhythm styles? Is that the right word?

I remember way back in music class, at the top of the sheet music it would say things like the name of the piece, beats per minute and sometimes it would say something like Style = Swing. What ...
7
votes
4answers
426 views

Why are the natural notes on the staff special?

I can read music and I also understand how we build diatonic scales on top of the C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C sequence. I also know that intervals between any version of two "letter" notes have the same name, ...
3
votes
3answers
242 views

Diatonic scales

I'm reading a book on music theory, and it says that a diatonic scale is any seven-note scale that uses the notes ABCDEFG in an arrangement of 5 tones and 2 semitones. I wanted to clarify one point. ...
7
votes
4answers
523 views

Simple explanation of counterpoint?

Wikipedia defines counterpoint like this: In music, counterpoint is the relationship between voices that are interdependent harmonically (polyphony) yet independent in rhythm and contour. What ...