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

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What chord is this and when is it the dominant?

For a song I've written I do a chromatic descending climb with the bass note in a Cm chord and end up with my fingers like this: First of all I'd like to know what chord this is, my guess is an A ...
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2k 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 ...
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1answer
285 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 ...
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1answer
248 views

What are the names of these scales? [closed]

I noticed recently that quite a few Jewish songs (e.g. Havah Nagila) tended to use certain scales. I thought they were normal minor scales, but then I played them on the piano and noticed that the ...
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136 views

Links and tips for Learning and using scales

Tips and links on learning and using different types of scales will be helpful. If possible List of scales with songs in which they are used and (artists/types of bands) who uses certain scales to a ...
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1answer
185 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 ...
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180 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 ...
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169 views

What is the definition of counterpoint?

We see the concept of counterpoint in many contexts, from classical music composition to jazz improvisation. What is the definition of counterpoint?
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244 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 ...
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1answer
180 views

Non-fixed-frequency instruments playing by themselves versus with fixed-frequency instruments

[I don't know a better term than "non-fixed frequency instruments" but I mean things like string instruments, voice, trombone as opposed to things like a piano which has a fixed (typically 12-et) ...
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2answers
139 views

Difference between passing note and suspension?

I'm under the impression that a passing note has a dissonance on a "weak" beat. So you may have |3, 4|6 where | is a barline where the 3 4 6 all form a scalic run. e.g. F G| A ontop of a bass of D | ...
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182 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: ...
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417 views

Uses for augmented chords in composition

I've been studying for music theory for many years and I enjoy just writing little chord progressions and melodies to see what certain progressions sound like and how interesting I can make them. The ...
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1answer
109 views

Is this a modal song?

I just want to check, is this song, Magic Power by Triumph, an example of D Mixolydian (major, dropped 7th)? ...
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373 views

Collective word for sharps and flats in the key signature

On a mailing list I'm subscribed to, someone recently asked what the collective name was in English for the sharps and flats you find in the key signature. Apparently, the closest translation from ...
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2answers
1k views

What are the characteristics of Negro Spiritual vocal arrangements?

I've tried several times to write vocal arragnements that are in the style of Negro Spiritual music. Here's an example of the style I'm referring to. Typically, I use simple SATB style arrangements, ...
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1answer
1k views

An effective method for counting and identifying time signatures.

When I listen to some odd time signature songs I have some serious trouble dissecting the time signatures at times. Songs with 6/8 or 3/4 are easy enough to identify, but some progressive rock/metal ...
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2answers
1k views

Using modes and static harmony

Edit: i know what modes are and how they are related to major scale..etc. question is about modal harmony and chord progression in modal harmony. not what is a mode and name of other modes..etc What ...
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3answers
171 views

Book or reference for music theory with deep explanations? [closed]

I attempted to get into guitar years ago and quickly burned out. I never properly learned theory and was never able to play what I heard (either in my head, or by listening to music). Playing ...
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223 views

How to use diminished scale over I IV V changes in blues

I want to spice up my solos over a Blues progression. I already can play a variety of scales but the Diminished scale is something I would like to add because of the particular sounds it creates. In ...
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231 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 ...
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2answers
347 views

What is A flat to C minor?

I know that Cm is the relative minor of Eb. I noticed the Eb chord is made up of two of the same notes of Cm (beginning on the third degree). Ab is also made up of two of the same notes, but on the ...
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1answer
773 views

Franz Liszt Liebestraum No. 3 Bar 17 Roman Numeral Analysis

I'm going through Liszt's Liebestraum No. 3 in Ab M.... in bar 17, I don't know how to mark the A natural chord. It's either a #1 or the song has modulated to the natural minor, in which case it would ...
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273 views

Computer-aided musicology

I have been trying to explore music theory concepts programmatically, namely through music21 software, but I've run into a lot of trouble. Are there any other frameworks for this?
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1answer
217 views

Alternative Numerical Representation of Pitch

I'm aware of a number of different ways of representing pitch as numbers (including one I developed for use in my own software) but am interested if there are others. The most widespread is probably ...
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1answer
92 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 ...
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457 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: ...
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372 views

Do music theory books differ per instrument?

I'm an amateur Spanish guitar player, I know Solfège and how to read music sheets (not expert though). I'm looking for a book that teaches me music theory to gain more understanding and maybe try to ...
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2k views

What do you call plucking the violin strings with the finger, rather than using the bow?

I was attempting to learn a bit about violin sheet music, and then I wondered if the act of producing sound with the finger or the fingernail had a written notation. I had a hard time finding a video ...
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573 views

Classical music theory notation for chord inversions

In classical music harmony analysis, we see the chord inversions notated like I6/4, I6, V4/3. Examples: What are those numbers? How do they define the inversion? What's the theory behind using ...
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138 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 ...
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215 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 ...
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225 views

Why do so many pieces written in a minor key sharp the 7th?

I've been going through several pieces (mostly of Bach, but also others) and I noticed that very commonly, the 7th is sharped when played coming down from the tonic. Examples: Little Fugue, Toccata ...
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160 views

What are some harmonic options for layering guitar lines while recording?

I would like to layer multiple guitar lines for a section of a song that I'm working on - what are some harmonic variations that I would be able to use?
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6answers
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Want to learn composing and producing music on DAW's. Where To start from?

Well i am basically a computer engineer and passionate music listener. I have been listening to movie score and soundtracks from many years now and it has really inspired me to learn and create ...
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4answers
775 views

What purpose do accidentals serve in music?

I'm having trouble writing music containing accidentals. If the diatonic scale contains 7 related notes, what purpose do accidentals serve? If the accidental notes are not related to the overall ...
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2answers
1k views

What is a key signature?

I'm trying to learn the flute and I bought a book that is supposed to help me learn. In one of the first chapters it describes something about key signatures and the circle of fifths and I'm ...
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3answers
225 views

What's “species counterpoint”? Are there any other types of counterpoint?

I believe the title says it all. On Wikipedia it shows the five species but I have the idea that there is another type of counterpoint not based on those species. Is that vague idea of mine correct? I ...
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583 views

Chord books and theory

I have some basic knowledge on chords but I was wondering what books on chords and theory were the best for expanding my musical knowledge? As in, intermediate to advanced level books ?
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295 views

What's so special about III ?

Take a C major scale, and pick each other note, starting from each note C-D-EF-G-A-BC-D-EF I: C E G = C ii: D F A = Dm iii: E G B ...
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360 views

What is the difference between “Solo” and “Improvisation”?

How would someone describe the differences that make up the two?
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1k views

Beaming in different time signatures

I'm studying music theory in the UK, aiming for ABRSM Grade 5, currently working for grade 3. I'm having trouble grasping the rules for when to beam quavers. In my study book, by Eric Taylor, I see ...
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6answers
239 views

What is this common chord pattern, if that's the right term?

I really commonly find that contemporary songs use an arpeggiated up-and-down progression over notes that are in this shape, here are some examples: C1, G1, C2 C#1, G#, C#2 E1, B, E2 A1, E, A2 Is ...
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2answers
1k 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, ...
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2answers
175 views

How to compose an acoustic guitar chorus?

I've been playing guitar off and on for years, and every once in a while I come up with some lyrics and chords that seem to be really great for a few verses. The problem is that I can never seem to ...
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4answers
621 views

Does playing in scale mean only using notes from that scale?

Many melodies contain notes that are not from scale they are composed in. For example, "Stairway Heaven" solo contains an A minor pentatonic scale plus an additional F note. I've read that this is not ...
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190 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 ...
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278 views

Why is the ''backbeat'' called the ''rock beat''?

The basic rock beat is 4/4, so you count 1-2-3-4. And to create the rock rhythm, you have to place the emphasis on the off-beats, which 2 and 4. So it goes like this: one, TWO, three, FOUR. At least ...
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717 views

What is the difference between a dominant scale VS a mode?

I'm a beginner guitar player and I just started learning music theory. I've been going back and forth into scales and modes but I have little to zero knowledge of how they work, mainly knowing about ...
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108 views

Can the “music of the spheres” be applied (or projected) to instrumental music?

I've read lots of books on Pythagoras and the philosophy of the Music of the Spheres, but it all seems to stop at labeling planets with scale degrees. And then what? If they're all there, filling up ...