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

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14
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8answers
1k views

How to figure out what key a piece is in?

I am trying to write a guitar accompaniment to the piece "Fair and Tender Ladies", but I have no clue what I need to do to figure out what key that piece is in. Also, the instrument playing the piece ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Pentatonic scale with a sharpened 2nd note, any name?

I was messing with the A minor pentatonic scale and discovered that if I sharpen the 2nd note of the scale, it sounds very interesting to my ears, even more than the original scale. Does this already ...
12
votes
2answers
6k views

Can an accidental carry over to the next measure?

I have been practicing this piece (The Stars and Stripes Forever) for a while. On the first note of the second measure of the second line, there is a natural sign. I have always understood accidentals ...
10
votes
2answers
364 views

How long is Staccato?

Question for skimmers: how do we know when to play portamento/portato or a dry staccato? Is it based on a date or composer? Or is a half-staccato still common practice? Sometime in college I played ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

Is there a term for a chord progression that chromatically ascends or descends an octave?

I've noticed a pattern in music that is very interesting where a progression will start with one chord and chromatically ascend or descend until the starting chord is reached again. For example: a ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Do different instruments playing single notes simultaneously form a chord?

Wikipedia says about chords: A chord, in music, is any harmonic set of three or more notes that is heard as if sounding simultaneously. The Glossary of musical terms by naxos.com defines a ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the difference between a collection of sounds and music?

From my reading I've gathered that the difference between music and noise is that music is an organized collection of sounds. In that definition, noise would then be an unorganized collection of ...
7
votes
1answer
510 views

Parallel Fifths in Pachelbel's Canon in D?

The other day, I was watching a scrolling score of Pachelbel's (in)famous Canon in D on Youtube, when I noticed something interesting. In the excerpt below, shouldn't the the circled notes in the 1st ...
7
votes
1answer
509 views

Why isn't the second whole note's accidental natural?

Above is a staff. After the third bar, why isn't the second C either sharp or natural?
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 ...
7
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
444 views

Is solfege systems octave-agnostic?

I'm writing a somewhat comprehensive music theory programming library - Both to have the ability to make "intelligent" theory programs, and to refresh all the theory to myself. I've however just met ...
7
votes
3answers
5k 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?
6
votes
1answer
523 views

Is the bass note of a chord the only indicative of its [the chord's] inversion?

If a C major chord is voiced as (from low to high) E-G-C, it is said to be in first inversion , if it is voiced as G-C-E, it is the second inversion. But the resources I have read do not specify if a ...
6
votes
2answers
178 views

The Harmony of Clashing Tempos

The jazz guitarist John McLaughlin once published a book of scores for a number songs that he composed for his Mahavishnu Orchestra. There are some very unusual theoretical conundrums that come up ...
6
votes
4answers
16k views

Piano music with two treble clefs, and notes between staves

I do not understand why there are two treble cleff staves and why there are music notes in the middle of the two staves. Which hand should I play those notes with and why are there two treble cleff ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Same note in two staves [duplicate]

I have only just started to learn (on my own) to read music and play the piano at the grand old age of 64! Please can someone tell me how to play the same note on two staves? I keep being asked to ...
5
votes
3answers
383 views

What do uncommon time signatures consist of?

Take a X/4, it means "the measure will contain X notes, the value of which are 1/4" I understand this concept for X/Y signatures, with Y being a power of 2. But what does that mean for the others ? ...
5
votes
2answers
590 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
398 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
295 views

Why does a melodic half step resolve on the higher note?

What is so special about a melodic half step that makes it "want" to go up (As in the leading tone to the tonic). Why isn't there as much resolution in a melodic half-step downwards?
4
votes
2answers
113 views

Why are the same notes written on different staves?

I am learning Chopin's Prelude No. 15 in D flat Major, and I was curious as to why the Db F notes in the bass are written in the lower stave in the first bar but then the upper stave in the second ...
4
votes
6answers
313 views

What is the best way to learn scales on guitar?

I want to be able to just play solos in a certain scale, but what is the best way to learn scales? Is it in the block shapes or just learn the fret board?
4
votes
5answers
297 views

Tonality of modes?

With the basic modes like phrygian, Lydian etc, the modes with the same notes as C major ( so no flats or sharps) how do they sound different from a major or minor scale.( this is like E phrygian).
4
votes
2answers
325 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
183 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?
4
votes
4answers
251 views

How to write music using standard notation / Finding key

I would like to ask a typical question from amateur musician. Most of amateur musicians understand tablature notation and often even some music theory, I personally can read notes but not in all keys ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Classical music example for seamless transition from one section to other with changing keys

As a search for specific questions for this broad question (Changing key in a song convincingly), I am asking for "mainstream" classical music examples (pre-modern era and movie scores can be ...
4
votes
3answers
362 views

Musical construction in rock - what does this mean?

Andrew Chester writes (emphasis mine): Western classical music is the apodigm of the extensional form of musical construction. Theme and variations, counterpoint, tonality (as used in classical ...
3
votes
7answers
882 views

Will a song written in a key only use chords in that key?

When you figure out a key that a song is written in. Will the entire song use the chords in that key? With maybe an accidental?? I've tried several different methods.
3
votes
3answers
226 views

Chord progressions : which note resolves to which note

In the key of C , going from G to C, note B resolves strongly to note C. How should the note D resolve? (To note C or E? I guess it should be to note C, assuming the key note has higher "priority". ...
2
votes
5answers
467 views

How to master the guitar fretboard

I've been playing guitar for many years, yet I have made the huge mistake of never really learning scales. I want to catch up, but I'm a bit lost, since there are so many scales in so many different ...
2
votes
2answers
71 views

Phrygian dominant scale with a major seventh

The Phrygian dominant scale with a major seventh instead of a minor seventh is formed by: a root a minor second a major third a fourth a fifth a minor sixth a major seventh. My questions are: ...
2
votes
2answers
191 views

Are the names for these chords valid?

I came up with these chord names, but I don't know if they are right: 1st chord c d# F# G# B = cmM7add-13b5 --- cmm7 = c d# B... add-13 = g#<< min 6 without 11th.... b5 = actual 5th lowered ...
2
votes
4answers
315 views

What does it mean to play a note for half a second?

This is my first serious look at the science side of music, as I am getting started with audio programming, and I am greeted by an awkward bouncer first up. I know that a note is simply a certain ...
2
votes
7answers
1k views

Why do some arrangements of notes make a good melody and some don't?

A note by itself is not always particularly pleasant to hear. Why do some specific combinations of notes make a good, pleasant melody? Why are some people good at coming up with such pleasing ...
2
votes
2answers
132 views

Good material source for learning to read music?

Specifically I am interested in learning how to play the Violin. I am good at reading music insofar as the open strings are concerned, but when we are using the E string such that we are hearing a G I ...
1
vote
3answers
229 views

Voiceleading and piano

I have for a long time been very confused about how the principles of voice leading taught in 4 part Harmony writing relate to music in general. The dogma seems to be that virtually all tonal music is ...
1
vote
3answers
166 views

Are the formulae for Minor scale and Major scales related?

I'm looking at the formulae used to create the Major and Minor scales, with 'W' meaning whole step and 'H' meaning half step. Major scale: W-W-H-W-W-W-H Minor scale: W-H-W-W-H-W-W Is there ...
0
votes
1answer
73 views

Why (Occidental) conventional rhythm notation became conventional? [closed]

Human languages evolve and adapt themselves to the needs (phonetics, auditory, contextual) of the users. To what extent has been showed that Occidental music notation followed that path? Is it ...