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

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6
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3answers
615 views

Need help with notation and time signatures

This is my first twelve-tone composition, and I realize that it's terrible. My problem is that I was told that I'm not writing in 4/4 correctly, and I have no idea how I'm supposed to interpret that. ...
3
votes
3answers
172 views

Why are notes beamed across the barline in this piece?

In the piece Three Pieces for String Quartet by Igor Stravinsky I've noticed something very odd that I cannot explain. There are several places in the piece where eighth notes are beamed across ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

Different Simile Marks

In the pictures below, there are many measures with different simile marks. I know there are many different types of simile marks, varying number of lines, with or without dots, on barline or in the ...
3
votes
3answers
404 views

Minor scale with 7th chords, 7th not raised on 1 and 3

In my music theory class, the text book has in an example, all of the 7th chords in a G harmonic minor scale. Why, in the chords on 1 and 3, is the 7th is lowered? While the chords on the 5 and 7 are ...
5
votes
2answers
422 views

Can chords found in parallel modes of the relative minor of a key (or relative major when in a minor key) be considered borrowed chords?

In the key of C major, take the following progression: C----Em----A----G7----C I------iii------VI----V7-----I In this progression, can the VI chord be analyzed as a borrowed chord from the major ...
11
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3answers
1k views

What is tritone substitution?

What is tritone substitution? How can this device be applied to improvisation and composition?
0
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9answers
2k 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
360 views

Alternative Analysis for Non-Functioning Secondary Dominants

I've been reading though my Pocket Music Theory book and in the chapter on secondary dominants there is a concept that confuses me. The book says there can be non-functioning secondary dominants that ...
1
vote
2answers
86 views

Ethno and folk music of the german region (excluding bavaria)

I'm having a hard time finding out about ethno or folk music in the german region (exluding bavaria) and especially about the inner workings of examples of such. I'm especially interested in anything ...
7
votes
1answer
233 views

Debussy: Reflets dans l'eau: Rhythm Ambiguity

I'm having some trouble understanding my edition, particularly measures 23-30. For reference, use First Edition, Paris: Durand & Fils, 1905 [1]. I'll also refer to Leipzig: Edition Peters, 1970 ...
9
votes
5answers
782 views

Flat symbol in key signature and bar

If i have a flat for a note in the key signature, and then in a bar the same note with an flat symbol, does that mean the note is "double flatted"? For example in the key of D Minor with hash one ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

Name for descending semitones under a repeating musical phrase?

In much contemporary music, especially instrumental guitar music, there is a particular device employed. It involves a musical phrase in which usually one note, often a bass note, descends in one ...
10
votes
5answers
9k views

How do I become a better electronic music producer?

I am 18 years old. I love music and I would love to make it and maybe become a music composer. However I do not know anything about music theory or anything. I can't play any instrument or so. When I ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

How can I find the length in seconds of a quarter-note (crotchet) if I have a tempo marking?

Given a tempo marking in bpm (beats-per-minute), how can I work out the length of a crotchet (quarter-note) beat?
2
votes
3answers
202 views

What is a good for system for learning theory through improvisation?

I have been playing the guitar for many years yet I find music theory elusive. Consequently, my musical vocabulary is limited. But I still love to improvise and, through trial-and-error, compose ...
13
votes
2answers
527 views

What is the theory behind scales?

My question is the following: Scales are The backbone of quite everything in western music. Does anybody know if there is some sort of backbone behind scales? A number, something like that? Or do some ...
7
votes
1answer
274 views

What is this chord called that looks similar to power chords?

While watching to some guitar covers I found this chord that looks similar to a power chord. In the cover the guitarist played it on the second and fourth fret. It looks like this: Images ...
4
votes
0answers
31 views

Essential strumming patterns/techniques? and the theory behind it? [duplicate]

I used to play silly led zeppelin and velvet underground covers. i knew all the vu strumming just because i knew the records by heart. i've started to get more into classic folk and country and nick ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Why do notes have multiple names?

I've seen the same note called different names for example the note F# can also be written as Gb. Why is this the case and are there times to use one name over another?
3
votes
2answers
213 views

Why Seven Principal Tones? [duplicate]

Why are there seven principal tones (A-G)? Just tradition? In the same vein, why are various sounds (of differing pitches) said to represent the same principal tone?
7
votes
4answers
589 views

Why does this harmonic minor scale notation use a natural sign?

On the Wikipedia page for Minor scale is this diagram of the harmonic minor scale starting at A: Why is there a natural sign on the F? I thought the natural sign was only used when the note had ...
3
votes
1answer
166 views

leaps: small vs. large (learning counterpoint)

I'm reading Harmony in Context by Roig-Francoli as a first theory text to teach myself composition. In his Introduction to Species Counterpoint chapter, he mentions that the melody should consist of ...
4
votes
3answers
361 views

Pentatonic Scales Question

I'm learning the notes on the fret board and I just wanted to ask something about the pentatonic scales you see, A minor pentatonic is A C D E G on the 5th fret, but when I play it on the 2nd fret its ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

If between E and F is a halftone, why can F not be an E#

A ♯ raises a note by a semitone or halftone. I'm confused. If E and F are a halftone apart, why can't F be E#?
4
votes
2answers
164 views

Studies showing the brain chemical reactions when listening to depressive music

I have been listening for some time "classical"(not the proper meaning of the word) music. Many works, such as Schubert's, capture incredibly well the feeling of sadness. Other works seem to create ...
0
votes
0answers
32 views

Why do composers choose different keys for their works? [duplicate]

For example, why did Beethoven choose C sharp minor when composing his moonlight sonata while choosing f minor for appassionata? Why did he not choose to compose all of his works in C major or A ...
10
votes
7answers
805 views

Is it possible to create a completely new genre of music

This question might appear really weird, but still I ended up asking me this. Every genre of music as we know today comes from some previous genre (as an evolution, a combination of two different ...
4
votes
1answer
99 views

Are certain subdivisions “uncountable”?

Typically every note gets a beat. The way I learned how to count 32nd notes in 4/4 though only every other beat gets a count so it's like counting 16th notes, but having two notes every count. I.E. ...
4
votes
2answers
236 views

String gauge, scale, and tuning relationship? (Guitar in particular)

Does anyone have general guidance or a good resource on this, specifically considering scale length, string tension, string gauge, and tuning? I've found loads of anecdotal research and a even few ...
4
votes
4answers
474 views

Chord Progressions Including Majors That Should Be Minors

I have been learning a song by John Frusciante that looks like it's in D minor (or maybe F Major, you tell me). The main changes go something like this: Amin -- Bb -- Dmin F -- C -- Gmin -- Dmin C ...
5
votes
3answers
935 views

How to make a chord progress go from the key of C major to the key of A minor?

How do you chord progress go from the key of C major to the key of A minor? I would do it this way: progress to the III chord (Em), change the III chord to a Dominant 7th form (E7), now the E7 chord ...
3
votes
2answers
211 views

F Dorian and Associated Chords

So I have been playing guitar for a long time, but only recently have begun to seriously dive in to music theory. I have limited knowledge, so little that I am unaware if this is a very simple ...
2
votes
2answers
775 views

How do I find guitar chords to play while I sing “Frozen Heart” from disney's Frozen?

I'm a beginning guitar player, and I like playing disney songs. I've learned most of the songs from the movie Frozen, but I'm struggling with Frozen Heart. Here's the song: ...
6
votes
7answers
587 views

Definition of the note C

That I'm using the note C is arbitrary, I could be using any other. How would you define a C? If you define it as the tone with frequency 261.6 Hz (or 2^n * 261.6) then you run into problems when you ...
11
votes
11answers
3k views

Math PI represented musically

I'm creating a program to output the values of pi as sound. I've seen a few videos and some other representations, and want to try to make my own for fun, except i'm unsure how to proceed. There are ...
5
votes
2answers
214 views

Error computing prime form of a pitch class set

I'm working on coming up with prime forms. I've been using this calculator online to check my work. My problem is that the prime form I compute for a certain PCS doesn't agree with the calculator, ...
6
votes
1answer
489 views

Polyphony vs Homophony in Hymns

I understand that polyphony is multiple melodies, while homophony is a single melody with chordal accompaniment (in my own words). I've read that hymns are generally homophonic, yet I find that hymns ...
0
votes
3answers
660 views

How to resolve chords (and general questions)

I really want to start understanding how harmony works, so I was wondering if anyone could could give me a general explanation as to how chords resolve just to tie me over until I begin studying ...
5
votes
3answers
143 views

Is there any scale that contains eight different notes?

Today while praticing guitar I've played the following notes on the fretboard, one after another: E F G G# A B C D# E It didn't sound wrong, in fact, it sounded like Harmonic Minor with something ...
10
votes
9answers
1k views

Is it possible to learn theory without sight reading?

I'm learning music theory by myself with online books and video lessons. I don't have much trouble understanding the basics of theory, such as intervals, basic scales and modes, but I have a huge ...
5
votes
1answer
130 views

What is the clearest way to signify the harmonic function of a polychord?

Chords can be analyzed with roman numerals to indicate function: C, Am, Dm, G I, vi, ii, V (or I, VI-, II-, V in jazz theory) And inversions may be analyzed by adding an arabic numeral indicating ...
8
votes
2answers
127 views

Is there a name for this: text syncopates otherwise unsyncopated vocal music?

There's an interesting musical phenomenon in "O Virgo Splendens" (14th century, in the Llibre Vermell de Montserrat) as it is consistently interpreted across all editions I have ever encountered. The ...
5
votes
5answers
628 views

Techniques for creating melodies

I've posted this question: Learning to create melodies I've got a few ideas of techniques towards creating melodies but wanted to ask if there are any specific methods to help get better. I've read: ...
21
votes
7answers
2k views

When to use a dot or a tie in music notation?

Let's say I have the following piece in 4/4, Should it be notated as: or Are there any specific rules? From my previous experience, I believe the second one is the correct notation since it ...
18
votes
6answers
4k views

Relationship between 3/4 and 4/4

I understand the meaning of music notations such as 3/4, 4/4 and so on. The first number is the number of beats per measure, while the second number is the note-duration (quarter, half, one-eighth) ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

(Post)-minimalist compositional techniques

I was wondering if anyone out there knew of any techniques associated with the minimalist tradition. I've been really interested in the philosophical notion of minimalism over the last few months or ...
2
votes
3answers
365 views

Website that analyze songs?

Is there a website that analyze songs? for example it describes the rhythm of the song, what key and chords are used, and what scale the solo is using? for example a song like Pink Floyd's Time, it ...
4
votes
4answers
142 views

Still Major Intervals?

I have a worksheet to prepare me for my A level music; however I'm confused when being asked to name these intervals: My logic is that as both the tonic and above note are both flat meaning the ...
8
votes
2answers
158 views

Doesn't a major scale share all its notes with its relative minor and vice versa?

I came across this sentence, reading A Theory of Harmony, John Stainer, P 9 item 27: The scale of a relative minor consists of the same notes as that of its relative major, with one exception, ...
4
votes
5answers
166 views

How to create an interval from a note which doesn't start a major scale

When constructing an interval, e.g. a major third from A I work like this: Count three notes including the starting one, so A, B, C Now check on the circle of fifths whether A major scale has an ...