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

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95
votes
11answers
15k 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 gap (interval) between the rest of the adjoining strings is 5 frets (or a perfect fourth), but ...
0
votes
0answers
12 views

Books to start playing Piano? [duplicate]

I'm a guitar player and I would like to know a good starting book for piano. I have some music knowledge acquired with years of guitar theory. I did my research and I did find some interesting books ...
2
votes
2answers
149 views

Playing barre chords without E strings - does it have a name?

Many rock bands play barre chords without the E strings. Is there a name for that? For example, the F chord at 1:27. A normal F chord normally contains more notes. The last string is muted. I heard ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

What are some interesting ways notes and chords are spelled in cultures outside of the U.S.?

I've heard that German musicians spell the seventh note of the C major scale with an "H" where an American musician would use a "B". And, for the fourth note of the F major scale, where an American ...
24
votes
7answers
39k 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., if the top note is C, and bundled below it ...
15
votes
5answers
881 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
175 views

In what octave am I supposed to play a chord progression?

If someone asks me to play I VI II IV in C minor, am I supposed to play them in the same octave? Like, if I start with C minor in the third octave, do I then move 6 steps up to play G# major or can I ...
13
votes
4answers
637 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
106 views

Does a chord imply a change in the key signature?

I was looking at Cold Duck Time : Where the key signature is F major. On the second bar, the bass line says that the A is to be played natural. The key signature doesn't have Ab, but the chord ...
3
votes
2answers
122 views

How to name the key of a song that modulates?

I'm in the process of learning about keys. I'm looking at the song Cherub Rock by the Smashing Pumpkins. The tabs I see online say that the song is in the key of E major. The main riff of the verse ...
19
votes
4answers
2k views

Did baroque composers think of ritardando on their compositions?

I've been always told that whenever I play any baroque piece on the piano, I should take special care when attending to, for example, the amount of right pedal I should use. It sounded perfectly ...
2
votes
1answer
168 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 ...
7
votes
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 ...
9
votes
2answers
364 views

Do capable harmony singers sing in just intonation or tempered tuning?

I understand that the mathematical frequency ratios between certain intervals will correlate with the overtones that are present when a note sounds in a fundamental frequency. Certain predictable ...
1
vote
3answers
147 views

Confusion about using scales and modes together in a solo?

Ok so my music theory knowledge is limited. I have been playing guitar for a couple of years now, mostly by ear and I often struggle in applying theory. While writing a solo I wondered whether I ...
3
votes
3answers
262 views

Does a key signature remain the same after a clef change?

Does a key signature stay the same after a clef change? I have provided an example; it is in the second staff of the lower system as indicated by the blue arrow.
3
votes
3answers
158 views

Why is a major second not called a perfect second? [duplicate]

Apart from a second, intervals can be described as either {Diminished, Perfect, Augmented} or {Dim, Minor, Major, Aug} depending on whether or not the major and minor scale share that interval. For ...
7
votes
1answer
212 views

How was the ordering of Allen Forte's list of prime forms determined?

I'm familiar with how "prime forms" are determined from a pitch class set using the Forte (or Rahn) systems. A good list is at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forte_number However I am puzzled by how ...
8
votes
10answers
564 views

How can I learn to play the chords by listening to the song (like I do with notes)?

I have started learning to play piano (I am from a poor family and can't afford a teacher). So,I've learned some popular songs and the notes from the internet. From there I started listening to songs ...
5
votes
2answers
400 views

7th chord notation confusion

I simply cannot understand the notation used in this question: I need to express this chord in 4-part, open or closed position; I just can't seem to understand how the notation works. I know that ...
10
votes
6answers
1k views

Is F Lydian mode in the “key” of C Major?

I would assume that many would agree that if we have a piece of music and there are no sharps or flats in the key signature that in most cases (if not all) the piece would be considered in the key of ...
3
votes
1answer
107 views

Traits of calypso music?

I'd like to compose my own calypso music, but I've not been exposed to enough calypso in my lifetime to be able to do so intuitively. Of course, calypso is instantly recognisable as such, but why? ...
14
votes
4answers
4k views

What are the most common ways to “decorate” a melody?

Yes, I know, there are way too many possibilities and it depends on the style of the music... I would be happy with an incomplete list for beginners (like me). Here is what I have so far: ...
26
votes
6answers
9k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
60 views

Soloing / leads over chord progression with vi chord a major 7th?

I've written a song that's based largely around G major, with some C major parts. However, the G major progression utilizes a B7 chord, so it sits outside a normal G major scale. I've heard lots of ...
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 ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Why D sharp not E flat in Turkish March

I'm analyzing Mozart's Turkish March piece for the piano. As I see in measure 18 the harmony is F7 (fourth) with minor seven. Assuming it is a minor seven because the harmony is F7 why they thought ...
4
votes
1answer
116 views

Transformative vs Generative in Algorithmic Composition

What's the difference between generative and transformative algorithms in relation to algorithmic composition of music? As I understand the basic idea of the algorithms themselves, generative uses ...
4
votes
2answers
86 views

What do the ratios of the partials in inharmonic spectra deviate from?

There is a paragraph where author talks about harmonic and inharmonic spectra, and he points out that the harmonic spectra have partials that deviate from the precise ratios (for example the term ...
4
votes
5answers
714 views

Book recommendations to understand theory and harmony of music. Classical, Jazz, R&B everything :)

Short story: I have started playing piano about 1.5 years ago. I miss only a few days without practise apart from being ill, on holiday, visiting family etc. I practice like crazy. My wife who ...
0
votes
2answers
148 views

Piano chord made of 2 notes an octave apart

How can one build a chord made of 2 notes an octave apart from more basic chords, inversions, and deletions? E.g: a chord made of C-C. For example, one can smoothen a V7 chord by omitting the 5th and ...
2
votes
4answers
423 views

Chords in the chromatic scale [closed]

In a major scale, I know the chords to be: major, minor, minor, major, major, minor and diminished. What are the chords for the chromatic scale...using the C-major scale as reference...?! What I ...
15
votes
5answers
1k views

Guide-lines for creating a simple chord-progression?

I am working on a computer program that generates a simple melody, based on a simple chord progression of four chords taken from the 7 triads of the C Major scale. The program is also supposed to ...
0
votes
3answers
141 views

Tonicisation of Secondary Dominant in D Minor

Okay, so I'm basically just hoping someone can tell me if I'm on the right or wrong track here. I have to implement the technique described in the title in a piece I've written for an assessment. In ...
1
vote
3answers
123 views

Why are certain scales considered unstable?

The Locrian Mode is considered unstable - my question is what in it makes it unstable? What makes a scale stable (have better relation between the keys)?
3
votes
1answer
488 views

c#-minor Vs E-major for Moonlight Sonata

I see Moonlight sonata often referred to as being in the key signature of c#-minor. I am beginning to learn music and just learning about key signatures and I would have referred to the key signature ...
0
votes
1answer
56 views

How would this woodwind's shape affect its sound?

So, hopefully this question doesn't sound too vague, maybe I can completely explain it here. I have been trying to invent a theoretical instrument that has three main parts to it. The middle piece is ...
11
votes
4answers
503 views

Can any diminished chord be used as V anywhere?

I've been playing with diminished chords as 'V' in ii-V-I progressions. I often use one of the three diminished chords in a ii-V-I progression -- I sharpen the 5th note of the scale and hang a ...
1
vote
1answer
678 views

Transposing notes from piano notation to play on guitar

I have music theory book that is piano centered and switches between bass and violin clefs. I'm wondering how to transpose notes to comfortably play it on guitar. Moving one octave up is best way? ...
10
votes
2answers
261 views

Was the pitch A given that letter because the minor key was originally the “basic” mode?

It's something that's puzzled me; The key that has no sharps and no flats, in essence the "basic" key, is C Major. Well, fine, but why C? Why not label that key and note A, if it's the foundation of ...
1
vote
1answer
77 views

Why are major and minor harmonies multiple orders of magnitude more common than modal harmony? [duplicate]

At least for Western music of the past 300 years, it has been far more common for music to have major or minor scales as their basis of harmony, as opposed to a modal harmony. Is there a reason modal ...
2
votes
5answers
144 views

Approach to progressing with guitar?

Situation: I can play chords, barre chords, major and minor pentatonic, and diatonic scales. Have been playing for a couple of years but most of that was spent improvising on scales I already know, so ...
4
votes
2answers
284 views

I've played piano for three years and have never seen this symbol above a note, what is it?

Really freaked me out when I saw something this uncommon in a beginner song. It's piano solo music if you need that info.
2
votes
6answers
557 views

What key could the progression Dmaj7-Amaj7-A6-Esus4-E be in?

A friend is writing a song that begins with the following chord progression: Dmaj7-A-Esus4-E, and then repeats. I changed it to this (just trying things out): Dmaj7-Amaj7-A6-Esus4-E. The two A ...
13
votes
4answers
1k views

Distinction between same notes played on different strings

While playing a particular piece (not chords, fingerpicking/single note playing) on my ukulele (or as far as the question is concerned, any similar instrument), I use the standard notation and then ...
0
votes
2answers
79 views

confused about modes and the proper way to use them in my playing

I was wondering if someone could explain to me the correct way to play and use modes. some websites that I use to teach myself about them say that (in relation to C major) the Dorian would simply be: ...
1
vote
2answers
118 views

Roman numerals analysis

I'm studying music theory in https://www.musictheory.net I have reach a point where the roman numeral analysis is explained. A couple of lessons later, I found the next image: I really can't make ...
0
votes
1answer
89 views

Do I have perfect or relative pitch? [closed]

Okay, I fully understand the definitions and differences between perfect and relative pitch, but I've still been wondering what I have because I feel like my abiities fit neither. To make things ...
5
votes
3answers
757 views

Is two singing voices occasionaly being unison “allowed”?

I was writing a lower harmony to an existing (rock) lead voice with a given chord progression and there is a point in time, where it seems like the two voices need to sing the very same note. The only ...
1
vote
1answer
72 views

Song is described as C# is this C# major, minor or?

I am learning to play "Every praise by Hezekiah Walker" and the gentleman in the video describes the song in C# with the chords F, Eb, F#, is he referring to C# Major or Minor? I understand C# is ...