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

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12
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3answers
397 views

What are some good/interesting ways to exit a circle of fifths section?

Circle of 5ths is in tons of chord progressions, sounds nice and 'easy', etc. But if you keep going on it the song can sound unreasonably predictable. What are some good ways to use a little bit of ...
9
votes
5answers
477 views

Writing Arrangements

I play in a youth brass band and I've been writing basic arrangements for it for the past year or so. The thing is, I use MuseScore. I just enter what I think will sound good, play it back and make ...
1
vote
2answers
197 views

Happy, oriental minor songs

According to music theory, songs in minor keys are supposed to be sad. However i often find minor pentatonic songs, especially from Chinese folk songs, that are happy and upbeat (Chinese New Year ...
51
votes
21answers
2k views

Ways to get out of a scalar rut?

I'm a well versed and experienced guitarist. I have a decent sense for rhythm and melody, but I have a VERY hard time with soloing. I know you've heard it all before I'm one of those guys that got ...
2
votes
10answers
705 views

Why is the tonic chord of a key formed with the 1,3 and 5 notes of the key but the major chords in that key are the I IV and V?

The tonic chord in a given key is formed by using the 1 and 3 and 5 notes of the scale in whatever key you are in. However, in chord theory, the Major chords that work in that key are the one, four ...
15
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
171 views

chord progression if the chords are not part of the scale?

I've been learning about harmony, and the harmonisation of major scales. I can recognise simple chord progressions, and I try and practice by listening to popular songs. For a major scale, we ...
11
votes
9answers
2k views

Use of Music Theory in Composition

I've been told by many people that music theory is not normative; it doesn't tell you what to write or do in music to create something beautiful that sounds good. I've been told that it's strictly ...
3
votes
3answers
101 views

The melody+chords pattern in perspective

Most of us who know the basics of music theory and share the "common" musical culture (western mainstream popular songs, mass media, "classical" music from the common practice period), tend to think ...
2
votes
3answers
212 views

Harmonizing a melody for 4 voices… help?

Recently I've started encountering a multitude of questions that ask for me to harmonize a melody. I've never really seen a question like that before, so I've been a bit lost as to where to start. I ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

Parallel octaves vs doubled octaves

I've read this Wikipedia article on parallel fifths, which also touched on parallel octaves. However, I'm having difficulty understanding the difference between doubled and parallel octaves. I think I ...
1
vote
3answers
149 views

How can different compositions use C Major?

Pardon what I know is an embarrassing question - I am at the very basics of learning music theory. If a scale such as C Major is an exact pattern of intervals, how can multiple songs be composed with ...
2
votes
6answers
358 views

Why do composers use seemingly/unecessarily complex time signatures?

I see this all the time: In the piece I'm currently analysing (Sei Quartetti Brevi by Sciarrino), the composer uses 7/16 + 4/8 in the first measure, followed by 5/8 + 3/8 in the second, followed by ...
3
votes
3answers
967 views

What does it mean when one says that rock and jazz have strong beats on the even numbered beats?

It is usually said that rock and jazz musics have the strong beats on the even numbered beats (2 and 4 on a typical 4/4) instead of the odd ones (1 and 3). However, chord changes and bass (whether ...
5
votes
1answer
268 views

What do the numerator and denominator of a chord name in roman numerals mean?

I'm reading a paper on music theory and I keep coming across names of chords expressed as a fraction - I/I, I/V, ii/I, etc. Based on the use of these names in the paper, I'm reading this as: I/I: A ...
5
votes
1answer
620 views

Why do the Canadian and American ways of writing chords symbols differ?

I've been studying music harmony (for the RCM program), and my teacher explained to me that the American way of writing chord symbols slightly differs from the Canadian way. For example, the chord ...
3
votes
4answers
316 views

Non-diatonic chord?

I've done some looking to no avail, so I'm hoping one of you will know the answer to my question. If I'm in a minor key and I play a i, iv, v progression, but later on I change ONLY the i to a major, ...
13
votes
6answers
839 views

What gives a piece of music its personality and feeling?

What makes a piece of music sound angry, dark, sad, happy, or otherwise? "La Chute" by Yann Tiersen sounds so angry to me and "A Dark Knight" from "The Dark Knight" movie sounds so dark and ...
3
votes
4answers
420 views

Do the 'natural' chords to use in a key change if you use a different mode?

This question gives a great, not-too-technical explanation of modes: What are modes and how are they useful? I wondered if playing in a different mode would mean the standard chords change move also? ...
6
votes
13answers
5k 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: 1.Read sheet music. 2.Do not know anything about music theory. 3.Do not know the structures or rhythms of sound, acoustics, or the such. ...
3
votes
6answers
175 views

What's music? A question about 'foundations' [closed]

First of all, I'm new here. I'm a mathematician who's intersted in understanding music in a foundational way. Basically, I want to understand why we call things musical notes, and why there are a ...
9
votes
3answers
430 views

Raised leading tones in Phrygian mode counterpoint

In most cases the penultimate note of the counterpoint will be the leading tone, which must be raised in minor to establish a sense of tonality. But why is the leading tone in the Phrygian mode ...
2
votes
1answer
575 views

Meaning of “Battuta” in Counterpoint

What is Battuta and does it only apply to voice leading by contrary motion? For example, in treble clef, if going from "E-G" (major-tenth - that is, the "E" is in the bass and the "G" is ...
1
vote
2answers
254 views

Voice-crossing in First Species Counterpoint

In two-part counterpoint, is it okay for the counterpoint and cantus firmus voices to cross? Transferred from: Few Questions on Counterpoint in the Tradition of Johan Fux
1
vote
3answers
119 views

Trying to understand a nice harmonic end

The more I learn music and harmony theory the more I understand that I don't know anything yet . As for jazz I was listening for a fly me to the moon performance on the piano : the song is in Am and ...
1
vote
0answers
27 views

What is it called to take a scale but start on a different degree? [duplicate]

By which I mean keep all the same notes in the same order, but start on a note that isn't the root. Let's work in C major. There's obviously the special case that if you start on the 6th ...
5
votes
1answer
285 views

How is the mordent played in the given piece from Petzold

Here is an excerpt of Petzold's Menuett in G major and I stumbled upon a mordent which I don't know how to play. The fun fact is: The excerpt is from a beginner book where there is an explanation of ...
1
vote
5answers
233 views

Is music really infinite? [closed]

In contrast with the common misconception that "there are 7 notes, so you'll end up repeating 'em", I argued that music is infinite. Is this true, or there're boundaries to music?
6
votes
1answer
380 views

Is there a name for a minor scale with a raised 3rd or a major scale with a lowered 6th and 7th?

I've noticed a pattern in chord progressions and melodies where I like to use the b7 and b6 chords with a major tonic and there are several modern songs that like to use this pattern as seen in a ...
0
votes
1answer
145 views

why major chords only have 1-3-5 notes why not other notes? [duplicate]

I have gone through this question The chord formula for the Major Chord is 1- 3 - 5. What do the numbers represent? I haven't understand that and I have also read many document. Please can any ...
0
votes
2answers
55 views

Modulation in the violin solo Bach's Laudamus Te

I'm trying to decide the key changes in the Laudamus Te of the Mass in B minor (J.-S. Bach). I think the key in the 8th measure is B minor (the Laudamus Te is in A Major), but I'm not sure what ...
16
votes
4answers
363 views

Is there a Relative Pitch Clef?

To start out: I am more-or-less familiar with all the standard musical clef notations, including F, C, and G clefs; as well as the fact that clefs can be movable (tenor clef, french violin clef...) ...
3
votes
1answer
190 views

How do you do accidentals (eg. E♭) in solfège (Do Re Mi)? [duplicate]

I only ever learned the basics of the major scale syllables, mostly from the "Doe, a deer" song. In C Major, Do - C Re - D Mi - E Fa - F Sol - G La - A Ti (or Si) - B Do - C So how ...
4
votes
2answers
244 views

Which enharmonic to use when writing down a sequence of chords

I've got a sequence of chords, denoted using solmization here: S: re di do ti A: ti TA la sol B: fa mi ri re I'd like to write down these chords in B flat major. I'm concerned with the ...
0
votes
2answers
81 views

What's the meaning of the phrase “an eighth note at quarter”

The context is comparing the loudness changes in two sounds. An eighth note at quarter equals 120 is 0.25 seconds long So is it talking about four eighth notes beamed together, or is it ...
0
votes
2answers
281 views

key changing in a song?

how do i change in keys? All by my self - was in the key in F major and transition to C# minor in the middle of the solo? i notice that "all by my self" and "never going to fall in love again" by ...
0
votes
1answer
95 views

How should I understand time signature?

Now, I am not asking for the general answer given in band class ("The top number tells how many beats are in a measure; the bottom number tells what note gives the beat"). I'm more asking what it is ...
0
votes
0answers
46 views

What exactly is the point of the Melodic Minor Scale? [duplicate]

I know how the natural, harmonic and melodic minor scales are formed and the first two I have no problem with. But the very concept of a scale which is different going down and up just seems wrong to ...
2
votes
3answers
267 views

How do you properly define diminished 9th, 11th and 13th chords?

I understand that a diminished 7th chord is defined by the intervals 1-b3-b5-bb7 and a half-diminished 7th chord is 1-b3-b5-b7, but how do you determine what intervals diminished (and half-diminished) ...
5
votes
4answers
173 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
146 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
119 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
372 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
49 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
215 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
191 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 ...