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

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12
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3answers
5k views

Difference between “Bar” and “Measure”

I was taught musical theory in the UK where I grew up. I was taught what a bar is. In my experience, the terminology "measure" is not used in a musical sense in the UK. Since living in the US, I ...
6
votes
4answers
450 views
27
votes
6answers
3k views

Is there a way to measure the consonance or dissonance of a chord?

I know that if I played C and B together they would be very dissonant compared to if I played a G or C one octave up. Is there a quantitative way to describe that sort dissonance? Edit: I understand ...
6
votes
7answers
563 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
165 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
643 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: ...
4
votes
2answers
756 views

Why don't pianos use multiples of 12 for the number of keys?

In one of the answers of this question, some pianos with 44, 61, 76, and 88 keys are introduced. I just don't get it. Why notes are not following any formula? I mean, a piano with 63 keys means that ...
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 ...
4
votes
5answers
155 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
192 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
2answers
1k 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 ...
0
votes
3answers
392 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
339 views

How to become a DJ

I'd like to become a DJ, and to tell the truth, I also have made many tracks using Encore notation software. But, now that I want to bring it to reality, I don't know what instruments to purchase. A ...
19
votes
5answers
20k views

What is the difference between a riff and a lick?

That's it. I was wondering what is the difference between a riff and a lick. The Wikipedia page for lick is somewhat confusing-- what do you think?
6
votes
1answer
404 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
107 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
139 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 ...
17
votes
1answer
468 views

What is a multi-tonic system?

Coltrane changes, Slonimsky-Schillinger Symmetric System, three-tonic system, four-tonic system: what are they? How are they used in improvisation, composition, harmonization, and reharmonization? Are ...
8
votes
2answers
146 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, ...
3
votes
1answer
303 views

Consonance & Dissonance Relative To Melodies

I've been reading of consonant and dissonant intervals within a scale and was wondering if this is a rule that is generally applied in current music? Can this rule help make a melody for example if I ...
8
votes
2answers
166 views

What is a good way to train one's mental resources for improvising?

I find improvising to be the most challenging and rewarding part about music. When I first started to improvise I found that the ideas I had were limited to the dexterity of my fingers, but now I am ...
4
votes
4answers
481 views

How come songs in a certain key play notes not in that key

I just started trying to learn about music theory as I'm learning to play the guitar. So as beginner's do I looked up a list of easy songs to play and i start learning away. Since I'm also trying to ...
2
votes
2answers
95 views

Scales - Melodic and harmonic minor

Recently I picked up modes for guitar scales. I just love how this system works and understand it 100%. However, I have heard about other scales that are not covered with the modes. More specifically, ...
22
votes
6answers
19k views

How to identify the root note of a chord

I struggle with chords on the staff because I'm not sure which note is the root note. Is it the top note with the rest of the notes falling below it? E.g., The top note is C, and bundled below it are ...
5
votes
4answers
337 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
435 views

What is the name of the interval Db - D#?

I know that Db - Eb is a major second/diminished third. What is the interval Db - D# called (and why)? EDIT: oops, Db - Eb is NOT a diminished third.
4
votes
2answers
268 views

What note(s) are a diminished 3rd above D-flat?

In What is the interval between Db and D# some of the comments indicate that the interval Db->Eb can be considered as a diminished third. I would think that Fbb (double-flatted F) is a diminished ...
11
votes
4answers
408 views

Do songs written in certain modes not have keys?

Up until recently I thought that if a song was written in a mode with a major 3rd, then it was in a major key, and if it was in a mode with a minor 3rd, then it was in a minor key. But I read an ...
7
votes
1answer
105 views

What is M-Base and how do I play it?

M-Base was a style of music played by Greg Osby and Steve Coleman. Steve Coleman over the years has been...cryptic about the principles of M-Base. What can you tell me about M-Base that will enable ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

How do you know what beat to emphasize based on the time signature?

In learning the guitar I have run across various time signatures. In each time signature it seems as if you are supposed to emphasize different beats. Is this something that you just have to intuit, ...
22
votes
7answers
707 views

What are some of the components of a good guitar solo?

Putting aside the emotional value of listening to a great guitar solo, what are some of the criteria that can be applied to make an educated judgement as to the quality of a solo within the context of ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Common Practice Music Theory - Easier method to memorize 4-part harmony doubling rules?

My main question is in the title above. Chords in Common Practice Style only have three notes, so in 4-part harmony (SATB), one note will be repeated. In music theory, there are a ton of doubling ...
9
votes
2answers
146 views

How do instruments with discrete tuning play chords alongside those with continuous tuning?

I was taught that when playing a triad, the third should be played sharper and the fifth flatter than the notes would sound on an instrument tuned to equal temperament, such as the piano. However this ...
9
votes
6answers
1k views

Triplets in 9/8 time

How do eighth note triplets work in 9/8 or 6/8 time? I know in 4/4 they take up the space of two eighth notes but haven't been able to figure out how they work in 8.
5
votes
2answers
301 views

What's it called when a piece of music starts off-beat?

I've noticed that this seems to be some sort of trick music composers have been using more and more of recently. Consider this song for example: ...
1
vote
2answers
189 views

A natural minor and A Phrygian dominant

First of all , thanks everyone for this good web page My question : I compose a track . it is based on A . Track has 3 verses and 1 Brigde. Track Build like that 1.Verse : A Phrygian dominant ...
6
votes
1answer
353 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
254 views

What does it mean when there are two time signatures

I am learning the Blazhevic number 34 for tuba and it is in (9/8 3/4) time. What does that mean? It seems to me that some measures equate to be in 3/4 while others equate to be in 9/8. Very confused. ...
5
votes
2answers
118 views

Suggested text material about Italian baroque composition

As a hobbyist composer who composes in "almost" traditional music styles (baroque-like, classical-like etc.), I am at a stage where I would like to compose authentic music in a specific style. I have ...
0
votes
1answer
113 views

Please tell me! Which scale this artist uses ? [Phrygian dominant scale , Melodic Minor, Arabian Scale or What else ?] [closed]

Please help and tell me if it is possible. Which scale this artist uses to sound his tracks like that? I know which minor but i can't get what kind of scale. I mean that I really want to know . Is ...
15
votes
8answers
3k views

What makes an interval “Perfect”?

I've been trying to find an answer, but to no avail. Is what we call a perfect interval somewhat arbitrary? It seems as if the modern definition is "perfect under inversion". I know the other thing ...
5
votes
2answers
379 views

Which notes are bass line, versus melody line, in a rock song?

I'm actually learning piano, and in piano i can play the bass with my left hand and the melody with my right hand. But it doesn't seem to be the case with guitars and i assume that one guitar(lead) ...
3
votes
4answers
351 views

How to identify complex time signatures?

What methods can I use to find the time signatures of strange/complex songs? For example, what are the time signature(s) this song uses? ...
6
votes
3answers
193 views

Question about playing chords

I have read that: In elementary piano, the left hand (lower notes) typically plays chords, while the right hand plays the melody. If you're playing pop or rock and singing, you might want to play ...
7
votes
1answer
732 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

What is harmonic mixing / mix in key?

I'm currently learning how to become a DJ. One of the concepts that caught my attention was "harmonic mixing". I know some very basic music theory, and I'm having some trouble understanding it. What ...
2
votes
0answers
81 views

Which book am I suppose to read if I need to learn jazz? [closed]

I have studied music theory for 2 years. I have learnt about major ,minor , chord scale ,chord progressive etc. I think I love jazz sound and want to learn it. So what is different between classic and ...
5
votes
1answer
100 views

Which notes are considered bassline/melodyline in a sheet music?

Consider that i have a sheet music consisting of a treble clef and a bass clef, and i'm playing piano by myself(solo) Which notes are melody line?(any note in thr treble clef?) Which notes are ...
7
votes
4answers
4k views

When to use different scale modes over chord progressions?

I know my major/pentatonic/blues scales pretty well, and I can apply it pretty fluently when playing over 1-4-5-min6 chord progressions, but I find that when I try to improvise over more ...