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

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6
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1answer
240 views

When did the half-step/whole-step modulation in the middle of a song become popular?

Many pop songs in modern times will use a half step or a whole step modulation in the middle of a song in order to increase excitement. I would like to know when this strategy started, and if it is ...
3
votes
4answers
183 views

Music Theory Classification Systems

For musical instruments there are a number of hierarchical classification systems in use worldwide, amongst them the well-known but somewhat limited Hornbostel-Sachs system. I find myself wondering ...
3
votes
4answers
401 views

From Scales and Chords Theory to a chord Progression

I'm a beginner at music theory and started learning it just about a week ago. The whole thing with the piano scales and chords is really difficult to understand, but I have a lot of fun learning it. ...
4
votes
3answers
856 views

What key is correct when guitars are half step down?

I see many charts for praise and worship songs charted in sharp keys (A#, F#) major. One song is charted F# Major. I would think the guitars are tuned a half step down and they are playing like it is ...
1
vote
0answers
66 views

What is the difference between alto and tenor saxophone in the lines they produce? [closed]

Sometimes I hear musical jazz mentors say to the saxophone player, "You are playing the tenor saxophone like an alto one, please play the tenor like a tenor". What do they mean by these words? I know ...
7
votes
15answers
9k 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
4answers
102 views

“The” versus “a” diatonic scale

A diatonic scale is defined as an ordered collection of pitches. However, given the many modes of the diatonic scales, what is meant when someone says "the" diatonic scale? Wikipedia says it's an ...
1
vote
1answer
74 views

Substituting all chords with relative minor/major…?

I was mucking around with Oasis' "Don't look back in anger" on the acoustic guitar/vocals. I was using these chords, but on capo 4 as I reworked the song a bit: ...
7
votes
3answers
281 views

Dealing with synthesized sounds where only a subset of tones sound good

I created a heavily modulated and filtered bass sound on F-1 but cannot play anything other than the F-1 itself and its # as the rest have too many conflicting frequencies. How can these two keys be ...
18
votes
8answers
21k views

What chord is formed by the open strings of a guitar in standard (EADGBe) tuning?

Here is something that I have been wondering about for a while: If you strum all six strings of a guitar in standard (EADGBe) tuning what chord would you play? I think it would be some variety of a ...
1
vote
1answer
106 views

What is the most convoluted standard musical form?

In musical composition, we tend to reuse sections of a piece in patterns that are referred to as "musical forms". Some basic examples of these that I know of are ABA, AABA, ABAB, and the rondo form ...
1
vote
2answers
106 views

Has anyone done any work specific to experimenting/creating formulaic math evaluations for the purpose of defining musical patterns?

I realize the question may sound too broad or unclear but specifically, I was recently thinking that you could take a certain genre of music, or a certain composers' works, and mathematically define ...
3
votes
3answers
388 views

Do different minor chords (vi, ii, etc) convey different nuances?

I came across some postings discussing whether different minor keys produce different moods, but i have not found one that compares different minor chords. As each minor chord has a different sound, ...
1
vote
11answers
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 ...
3
votes
5answers
189 views

Why does the minor scale have modes?

My knowledge of music theory is very limited at the moment. I'm in the process of learning about scales and modes. I've learned that the major scale has a mode for every degree of the scale. The 6th ...
5
votes
2answers
140 views

Theory behind Bach's deviations from the scale

It's very common to see in Bach's work, that he follows a particular scale but then in a special moment, uses a chromatic alteration. What I have observed is that he usually does it when reversing the ...
4
votes
6answers
163 views

Intervals for music

I have a question concerning the intervals on a piano Between A flat and G, is it a Major 7th or Minor 7th? It seems both scales have the same note.
11
votes
11answers
3k 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the difference between equivalent Flat and Sharp keys as far as musical notation? Are there any reasons to prefer one over the other?

I wrote a sone in Dd Major, but I could also notated that it would be equivalent to say C# Major as well. I am not well versed in musical theory and I think both are equivalent to each other and ...
6
votes
1answer
54 views

Rahn Atonal Prime Form Confusion

A review via the mark I eyeball of the prime form tables in "Basic Atonal Theory" (Rahn, 1980) versus modern software calculations of the prime form yields some differences; are these errors in ...
2
votes
4answers
304 views

Tonal harmony, counting intervals and confusing about Perfect Fifth in C Major

Distance from E to F is a half step because no other notes fall between them. Why are we using the G note as a perfect fifth in C Major chord? Shouldn't be G sharp?
10
votes
3answers
749 views

What is a “D-10” Chord?

I found a Paul McCartney Song, "Maybe I'm Amazed" that showed a chord which still has me stumped: The name of the chord is D-10. Now, I understand that most chord names are 'even' (as opposed to ...
15
votes
5answers
9k views

Is it possible to find the correct chords from melody notes alone?

I'm caught up in this thought. My friend gave me just the melody notes of a song. Here it is, So, here is the problem: "without having the chords supplied, there is no way of knowing what the chords ...
2
votes
3answers
68 views

Which of two enharmonic note names to use? [duplicate]

If during composition, an accidental note is used, is there a method/reason for using one name instead of the other? For example if a song is in the key of A, but a Eflat/D# note is written is there ...
7
votes
4answers
750 views

Is it possible to have a note that is both dotted and a triplet?

Basically, I am coding a C# function that returns a number of milliseconds depending on the given note. I was wondering if it's possible to have a note that is both dotted and a triplet, it would be ...
2
votes
2answers
97 views

Modulation via a major chord, then another major chord a half step down

In Nick Cave's "Darker With The Day", there's a modulation at the end of the chorus which sounds very good (to me), but I don't understand why it works. The verse is more or less in G major: GM ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Whole bar rest in 6/8 time?

Can one expect to find a semibreve rest in 6/8 compound time?
8
votes
2answers
302 views

What's the caged system good for?

So I see a lot of people talking about how the caged system us good because It connects scales with chords, what I don't understand is that If I'm playing A major scale Caged system helps me find all ...
31
votes
9answers
1k views

What is the best way of learning the notes on the fretboard.

What is the best way to learn the notes on the fretboard. Are there any good tips on how to do this?
13
votes
8answers
4k 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?
1
vote
3answers
124 views

When to learn music reading?

Do I have to know some scales before learning to read music notation? And please recommend me a good book to learn read music on the guitar.
7
votes
3answers
4k views

What is a chromatic scale?

I notice that the blues scale usues notes that don't fit into the regular pentatonic scale, is there an entire scale that icorporates this method?
3
votes
1answer
90 views

Why is the Phrygian Dominant Scale thusly named?

I recently started experimenting with the Phrygian dominant scale. As I understand, it is the 5th mode of a harmonic minor scale. For example an A Phrygian Dominant consists of the notes ...
4
votes
7answers
620 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. ...
2
votes
2answers
164 views

Music Theory, Circle of Fifth, Chords that fit, Exceptions and example song “Sultans of Swing”

I am playing guitar for some years now, mostly self-taught. I had never studied that much of music theory, but now as I want to improve my improvisation skill and want to get a broader view I started ...
0
votes
1answer
121 views

Improvisation Technique and Theory Over Modal Sus or slash chords

i would like to understand how to improvise over a Modal Sus chord progression. As an example you can look at the video down here at 3"00. There Begins a Improvisation by a Keyboarder and later a ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

In what order should I learn all the theoretical concepts for piano?

I can do major scales with every key. I am now start minor scales. In what order should I learn all the concepts and theories? For example chords, chord progressions, lots of other stuff etc.. I ...
3
votes
3answers
180 views

How does one establish a key? What are the criteria?

I am reading 'Guide to the Practical Study of Harmony' by Tchaikovsky. On page 63, he says to pass from one key into another it is not sufficient merely to employ a number of chords not belonging ...
11
votes
5answers
25k views

How to know which scale a song uses?

I have a song in my mind, and I want to play it on the guitar. I know how scales are made (full and half steps), and I can recognize whether the next note is higher or lower in a song (not ...
1
vote
1answer
99 views

Question on blues chords

In most blues the chords are I-IV-V. I am learning Help me through the day by Freddie King. I looked at the intro of this song and the chords are B minor, E minor and F sharp 7th. What key signature ...
5
votes
4answers
368 views

Are chord progressions based off of one chord used?

I was fiddling around with chords on the guitar and "variations" of the D chord. After a bit I noticed the following progression was pretty good: D - Dsus2 - D6 - Dsus4 In tabs it is: D ...
5
votes
1answer
188 views

Relation of the diminished chord to the circle of fifths?

Within each key there are seven chords. If I understand it correctly the "first" six correspond to the minor and major variants of the current key and its immediate neighbors in the circle of fifths, ...
3
votes
2answers
389 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 ...
3
votes
7answers
178 views

Why are there major and minor intervals?

I'm clearly thinking about this wrong, because it just doesn't make any sense to me. The way I'm mentally modelling intervals, a minor second should just be named a second (interval encompassing 2 ...
3
votes
3answers
327 views

Modulating from E Minor to C Minor

I'm struggling to get from E Minor to a Bbsus chord. Once I get there, my modulation to C minor is good but I'm struggling to find something that moves me smoothly to the Bbsus. Any thoughts?
2
votes
7answers
323 views

How can I learn the theory behind chord progressions?

How can I learn about the relationships between chords to build chords progressions? Every book I read explains how to build chords, but they don't teach how to put the chords in progression. They ...
2
votes
5answers
546 views

Why do I need to learn counterpoint if I know harmony?

When I search for differences between harmony and counterpoint I usually read that in the end there's harmony in counterpoint. Can't I learn just harmony and get the same results ?
2
votes
3answers
161 views

How can I identify Gregorian modes in Bach music?

I'm learning these Gregorian modes things and I'm trying to identify these modes in a Bach music, Invention 8 F Major, for example: The music starts at F in Ionian mode. But I think It changes when ...
4
votes
6answers
1k views

Why is the 2nd note of a chord called major third?

On a piano, the root note of the C major chord is referred to as 1. The second note played is E, which is actually the fifth key when starting at C. Not 3? Yes this makes senses to call it a 3 when ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

Is it too late to learn music theory and composition?

I have been playing electric guitar for 5 years and have pretty decent technique. I have a decent ear too (I'm still improving it). I listened to rock guitar virtuosos like Yngwie Malmsteen, Paul ...