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

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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 ...
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1answer
116 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 ...
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5answers
117 views

Learning while recovering from tendonitis

I've recently developed some tendonitis in both hands and will be significantly reducing my practice hours for about a month (hopefully!). I had been putting in a lot of hours before with my ...
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2answers
176 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 ...
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6answers
164 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.
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5answers
275 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 ...
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1answer
64 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 ...
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4answers
346 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?
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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 ...
2
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2answers
101 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 ...
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4answers
806 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 ...
3
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1answer
102 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 ...
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3answers
72 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 ...
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2answers
199 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 ...
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2answers
402 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 ...
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8answers
1k 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. ...
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1answer
137 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 ...
6
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2answers
279 views

Why are the harmonic and melodic minor scales called what they are?

Does the harmonic minor have something to do with harmony, and does the melodic minor have something to do with melody? I searched this question on Google and nothing came up.
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3answers
225 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 ...
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4answers
385 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 ...
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1answer
107 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 ...
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3answers
416 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?
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3answers
697 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 ...
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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 ...
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4answers
2k views

Is there any “research” in music theory?

A researcher in, say, mathematics, conducts research in the form of proving theorems, laying out foundations for new theories, etc. But what do, for example, PhD candidates do in music theory? Split ...
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5answers
151 views

Are the inharmonic frequencies of an instrument in addition to or instead of the theoretical overtone frequencies?

I'm working on some computer code to detect musical notes and have just found out about in-harmonics (up until now I was under the impression that the overtones were always integer multiples of the ...
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3answers
87 views

Is a composition of a major triad constant in a key

If you have a C major triad with a root, 3rd and 5th in the key of C major, would a G major triad still be composed of a root, 3rd and a 5th?
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7answers
199 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 ...
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1answer
134 views

Music theory. HELP! [closed]

Guys I have music homework due in on the 14th of September. I need to know what the time signature is for a minim and a crotchet. The minim's number of beats is 4. the crotchet's number of beats is ...
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2answers
55 views

What is such deviation and reconciliation called?

Can anybody please suggest what it is called when different instruments that play in an agreement to the melody, suddenly deviate from each other by couple of notes creating an asymmetry and then ...
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2answers
356 views

What are the characteristics of medieval music? [closed]

What I would like to know is what make medieval music sounds the way it sounds? What are its characteristics? Are there some specific keys? Are there some specific modes? What about rythms? I ...
2
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6answers
798 views

classical guitar - how hard is it to learn new songs

I have no musical knowledge, am just able to hold a few chords. I am trying to learn the classical guitar tab of a song i really like. I see in the tab many combinations of notes being played ...
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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 ...
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2answers
325 views

Why do composers use fermatas?

I am taking part in a music theory course on coursera, and I could not understand the difference between a tie and a fermata. Could someone please explain it to me?
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5answers
3k views

How can a non-musician recognize anacrusis?

I need help understanding anacrusis (pickup notes). I'm no musician - I'm more of an anthropologist. I was reading some articles on ethnomusicology, and one of them makes reference to anacrusis in ...
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2answers
68 views

A major scale flat and natural accidental

Wikipedia states the following for the A major scale The key of A major is the only key where a Neapolitan sixth chord on 2 requires both a flat and a natural accidental. Can anyone explain what ...
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4answers
162 views

Is there a pattern behind the numbers of sharp keys in chromatic scale

Here are the keys of the chromatic scale containing 12 pitches: | C | C# | D | D# | E | F | F# | G | G# | A | A# | B | |---+----+---+----+---+---+----+---+----+---+----+----+ | 0 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 ...
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2answers
159 views

“ii and ii6 rarely used to harmonize 6 in the soprano” - for what reason?

In my old theory book, I read that while ii and ii6 harmonize scale degrees 2 and 4, they rarely harmonize scale degree 6 in the soprano. (I'm assuming they mean for common practice music, SATB). ...
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2answers
123 views

Why Cminmaj7 is used and the purpose of minor and major are together?

I am learning the construction of 7th chords and this Cminmaj7 chord made me really confused when I came across in my studies. Why do both minor and major 7 exist together? Also, is this a consonant ...
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2answers
100 views

In Four Part Writing, is an augmented unison interval in a single voice allowed?

I'm composing a traditional four-part part-writing piece with a soprano, alto, tenor and bass. The song progresses from a F Major chord to an A Major chord. In the former chord, the bass is on C, and ...
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1answer
428 views

How can I change the style/rhythm of a song?

I came across a video by Maan Hamadeh, in this he has played Fur Elise in different styles. What is the theory behind this ?
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3answers
373 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 ? ...
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2answers
127 views

At what speed should notes be played?

I'm in the very early stages of reading music. There are great resources on the internet but I'm struggling to find a suitable explanation for a 'Time Signature' that I completely understand. I think ...
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2answers
135 views

How does a Time Signature affect tuplet duration?

Take a X/Y time signature (but I don't think X matters here). What would be the duration of a n-tuplet (of 8th, 16th and 32nd notes), depending on Y and n?
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2answers
151 views

Can a note be heared in wrong pitch?

Just like Optical illusion happens to our eyes. can this happen to our ears? Consider a well tuned Piano. can we make hearing illusion with music? because of my horrible English and lack of ...
2
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5answers
274 views

How to learn musical theory?

I am taking 1/2 hour lessons in classical guitar and progressing well. I guess I am at the high end of beginner level, just finishing Aaron Shearer's first book. But I don't know how to gain an ...
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3answers
112 views

Minor Chord Progression

Let's say we have this chord progression (keyboard and SATB voicing): b: i-V-i If I understand it correctly, we have to use harmonic minor in chord progressions. Thus, we never use natural minor for ...
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2answers
304 views

What do these unusual time signature symbols mean?

I have been studying advanced music theory lately. Having explored a wide range of musical symbols, I was surprised to encounter the following time signature symbols I've never seen before in ...
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136 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.
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7answers
346 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 ...