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

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4
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4answers
226 views

How to analyze music outside of common practice harmony?

I'm familiar enough with common practice harmony, its rules and methods for diatonically harmonizing the scale, tonicizing scale degrees and modulating into new keys. But these tools seem to lose ...
16
votes
4answers
428 views

Why do melodies have harmonies?

It seems to me that every melody can be assigned chords. Although different people may assign different chords, in many cases, only certain chords (a small subset of all possible chord choices) seem ...
3
votes
2answers
195 views

I need help understanding a complex (or maybe compound) time signature

I composed this song a few years ago originally using a tracker (an old-school, very freeform compositional workflow), and have been recently trying to transcribe it into a more modern DAW (Ableton ...
5
votes
3answers
357 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
134 views

The Musical Effect of a Unison Ensemble

Upon reading sheet music for black spirituals, I discovered something unusual: As you might notice, the bass, tenor, alto, and soprano parts are all singing the exact same notes throughout the ...
7
votes
5answers
183 views

Chords and Intervals - Unison

Just trying to wrap my head around intervals but I'm confused by Unison. If I am playing a chord on a piano, how do you play a Unison chord if you can't press the same key twice at the same time? ...
5
votes
1answer
348 views

What are 5 and 6 note chords called?

I only know how to play 2 different types of chords which is a Triad (3 notes) and a 7th (4 notes). But, I often see chords with 5 or 6 notes being used. What are these types of chords called? An ...
9
votes
4answers
258 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
566 views

Building Lydian chords

I am learning about chords and their relationships to major scale modes in jazz. As I understand it, each mode allows a different chord to be built by choosing the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th of the scale. I ...
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2answers
115 views

What are the notes in a 11th chord?

Does a chord like C11 contain (apart from 1st, 3rd, 5th) the 7th and the 9th? Or I can just play the 3rd, 5th and the 11th and the root? I have the same question with chords like C9 and C13.
13
votes
3answers
301 views

Why do harmonics sound good?

Harmonics, as in multiple of a fundamental frequency, sound good to our ears. A few examples: Octaves, i.e. doubling the frequency. We assimilates pitches separated by octaves to a same pitch class. ...
2
votes
2answers
204 views

Common patterns in music

When I asked my question on why do C7 chords contain a Bb and not a B, a user gave an example, how tonic chords transforms into a IV chord thru a dominant chord (C - C7 - F). I found this transition ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

How can I find the more comfortable key to sing?

Given that I have the melody of a song, how can I find the more comfortable key to sing? I want to transpose the melody to be comfortable for the greatest number of people - with all voices (soprano, ...
8
votes
5answers
280 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
8k views

The differences between natural, harmonic and melodic minors

I'm studying scales and came across the natural, harmonic, and melodic minors. I understand the patterns for each scale but what other important differences exist between the three?
2
votes
1answer
278 views

Which scales to use on complex chord progressions?

According to this article, it is possible to make a chord progression by just keeping one tone that remains constant in all chords of the progression. Also, it gives these examples: Cadd9 F6 D G ...
5
votes
3answers
145 views

Cb and Eb in C minor

I'm working on Beethoven's Sonata no 5 I passed by this I can't figure out how the C and E are flat, as Cb is a B and E is already Flat according to the C minor scale I'm very new to music ...
2
votes
1answer
75 views

Question about key modulation in 'Magdalena' by Johannes Brahms

I am analyzing the chords in 'Magdalena' by Johannes Brahms, and am having trouble determining whether the key modulates from g minor. The piece is in strophic form, and repeats measures 1-8 three ...
11
votes
6answers
711 views

“slash” chords, e.g. B/F♯ - are these only for inversions, or can any note be the bass note?

I'm trying to work out whether it is technically correct to have a "slash" chord where the bass note is not one of the notes in the chord. I thought the main reason for slash chords is to show which ...
5
votes
2answers
217 views

What is a “D-10” Chord?

I found a Paul McCartney Song..."Maybe I'm Amazed"... that showed a chord that still has me stumped: D-10 is the name of the chord Now, I understand that most chord names are 'even' (as opposed to ...
10
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
15
votes
4answers
848 views

Why do these progressions sound good?

I have always wondered why these progressions sound so exiting. I don't really know how the I-IV-things work, so I'll just write the chords. An explanation of what's really going on would be much ...
8
votes
3answers
459 views

Relative Major/Minor keys question

I've got a question, I thought perhaps one of you fine human beings could help me out. I am under the impression that you can find the relative minor key of a major key by counting down 3 steps, ...
4
votes
6answers
539 views

Sharp / Flat: Collectively known as property by what name?

If a chord can be said to have a Quality which relates to whether it is major, minor, augmented or diminished then by what name do we call the property of a single note's flatness or sharpness? Note: ...
1
vote
3answers
161 views

Magen Abot Scale - Indigenous Recordings

In a purely theoretical space, I noticed some interesting properties of a scale which I determined to be the Magen Abot Scale. The scale I am interested in is: C Db D# E F# G# A B or 1 b2 #2 3 ...
5
votes
2answers
206 views

Placement of F# on Alto Clef

For the past four or so years now, I have been playing the Viola. Y'all know what that means: Alto clef. Up until just a few weeks ago, I have always seen an F# displayed in a key signature like this: ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Figuring out the difference between major and relative minor scales?

I always seem have difficulty determining whether a song is in a major scale, or the relative minor. (the 3rd note back into it, but minor) Lets use the Pokemon theme song for example. As I ...
19
votes
5answers
491 views

What are modes and how are they useful?

I'm a self-taught guitarist with zero to little experience in music theory. After marrying a violinist I found that there's a lot to music theory that I know tribally but don't understand the ...
7
votes
2answers
272 views

How do you name chords in 20th Century Music? (Chords stacked in intervals other than 3rds)

This question stems from some thoughts on List of possible trichord/triad names.. When you stack chords in 3rds, you get all the standard chord names of Major, minor, 7 etc, but what about when ...
6
votes
7answers
2k views

How to improve/solo over a song/backing track besides staying in key?

I recently bought an electric guitar and am looking to start soloing/playing along songs/backing tracks - I have learnt all positions of the pentatonic scale, know a handful of licks and have a basic ...
1
vote
2answers
130 views

How are pitch and tempo related to harmony

Currently I am trying to write a program to create harmony. From an input wav file (human voice) , I used some signal processing to get tempo and pitch. My next step is to create harmony based on the ...
3
votes
1answer
83 views

seeking a piece or study, melodic minor [closed]

I'm teaching electric guitar to a chap who has developed a love for music theory and playing classical and neo-classical pieces. He has requested some more minor work and further explanation of the ...
51
votes
6answers
5k views

Why are there twelve notes in an octave?

I know that one scale consists of 12 half-tones. But my question is still: Why? Why not 13 or 11?
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votes
2answers
1k views

Why is the guitar tuned E A D G B E? [duplicate]

Why is the standard tuning for the guitar E A D G B E, from the lowest string to the highest? The interval between strings is a perfect 4th, except for the interval between the G and B strings, ...
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vote
2answers
70 views

What scales can I play over Maj7 with lowered ninth?

I know that I can play a b2 Dorian scale over a DomSus chord with a lowered ninth, but what about over a major7 b2?
3
votes
2answers
108 views

Chords triads in any scale

Sorry for the very basic question, but my only experience comes from using DAW software. The rule I use to create a triade chord is playng three notes at {0,4,7} semitones for a major cord and {0,3,7} ...
10
votes
4answers
448 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" ...
9
votes
6answers
573 views

I need help understanding the concept of chord inversions.

This article from wikipedia, states: In the first inversion of a C major triad the bass is E—the 3rd of the triad—with the 5th and the root stacked above it (the root now shifted an octave ...
3
votes
3answers
185 views

Is raising the flat 7th scale-degree of a mode to become a leading tone to the final still modal?

So for example, taking mixolydian mode, the third of the vm7 chord (the flat seventh of the mode) is raised to create a V7 chord (as commonly occurs in tonal music in a minor key) which is then ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

I need help to understand chord intervals (not single note intervals)

I understand intervals between notes. Each number of steps between two notes has a particular name. Like this: But some times I see people refering to intervals between chords, not single notes. ...
8
votes
1answer
244 views

How would one create music based on the principles of Cubism?

How would one create music based on the principles of Cubism? (e.g., 20th century painters: Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Juan Gris, Fernand Léger) The basic definition of Cubism calls for the use ...
16
votes
2answers
522 views

Why does the C7 chord on guitar omit the G note (5th) in open position?

0 C7 C7 ( 1-3-5-flat7) is suppose to contain a G as its 5th right? So how does a guitar get away with this in open position?
19
votes
8answers
838 views

Is there any way to improve composing?

Beside playing drums I'm toying with software to create music. The problem is when I need to advance further. I may have some good, let's say "riffs" (or pieces, or melodies, or ideas), and I'm pretty ...
10
votes
2answers
203 views

Alto singing Tenor

I am currently musically directing a community theater production of Sweeney Todd. We have cast a female to play the part of Toby, and in the song "Not While I'm Around", she is not able to achieve ...
18
votes
3answers
4k views

How do classical composers write music?

I am starting to learn about music theory and today it hit me how do classical composers such as Mozart and Beethoven are able to write music for instruments they don't play, such as (for example ...
6
votes
3answers
337 views

Chord progressions ending in “I” at the end of a phrase vs. the beginning of the next

Is there a generally accepted term or a useful published discussion of differences between chord progressions that resolve within a phrase (say in the fourth bar of a four-bar phrase) as opposed to ...
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vote
2answers
504 views

What's the ''rock rhythm'' like?

Every genre of music has its own rhythm, but I never understood the rock one. Theoretically, it's: one, TWO, three, FOUR but it's never this sequence. It's something like: three weak beats on one, a ...
5
votes
3answers
237 views

What note type in the 7th of a chord? - Music Theory

If this diagram is accurate, would the 7th of a Bmin7 be formed from a minor 7th interval or a major 7th interval, e. g. A-natural or A-sharp? I'm assuming A-natural. If this line of thinking is ...
5
votes
1answer
199 views

Natural vs tempered semi-tones

I am reading "Fundamentals of Musical Composition" by Arnold Schoenberg. Chapter XI, page 99, states: Chromaticism is difficult partly because the natural semi-tones differ in size from the ...
18
votes
9answers
5k views

How is counterpoint different from harmony?

Harmony is a kind of second sound you hear. Counterpoint is also the second sound you hear. Aside from technical differentiation, how can you by ear differentiate these two concepts. I mean, is it ...