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

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17
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9answers
2k views

Learning to create melodies

I've researched my question on Google before and came across a few threads which I've read a couple of times. So far I've got into music theory and understand scales, how chords are formed, I know ...
2
votes
3answers
190 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 ...
0
votes
5answers
366 views

A reliable foundation from which to understand what “key” really means [closed]

(my original question) I am well-educated. I'm new to, and trying to learn, music theory, but the constant hedging on what things mean is frustrating. Can you say ANYTHING that is 100% reliable about ...
0
votes
2answers
161 views

Understanding the key concept

I'm trying to understand the concept of key. After googling for a while I found that key is the same as tonality, and it consists of the set of notes that form a scale (major, minor, ...). But which ...
2
votes
4answers
264 views

Progressing from a C Minor 9th

If I am playing a C Minor 9th chord what are the next chords up that work with a C Minor 9th? Am I able to follow the C Minor scale and create a 9th from each note in the scale? A bit confused on ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Understanding minor key harmony

A comment discussion under this question from me, clued me in to the fact that I don't really understand how minor keys work very well. So here is what I think I know The natural minor comes from the ...
6
votes
3answers
941 views

What is the difference between equivalent Flat and Sharp keys as far as musical notation? Are there any reasons to prefer one over the other?

I wrote a sone in Dd Major, but I could also notated that it would be equivalent to say C# Major as well. I am not well versed in musical theory and I think both are equivalent to each other and ...
10
votes
3answers
511 views

Why must the final bar complete the anacrusis?

The Wikipedia page for anacrusis states that Western standards for musical notation often include the recommendation that when a piece of written music begins with an anacrusis, the composer, ...
1
vote
1answer
727 views

In traditional (tonal) harmony, how is the word “sonority” used?

In traditional harmony, I have heard the word "sonority" used sometimes freely in a way to describe harmonic structures or harmonic systems. However, in my experience the word was used somewhat ...
12
votes
10answers
4k views

What is the full list of possible chord names? Are there chords that don't have a name in chord theory?

My chord book covers 35 different chord types. When I look on the web or in other tools, all the same types of chords come up. But I don't think this is the "full" set of possible chords. I'm not ...
14
votes
4answers
2k views

Capitalization of key names (C Minor vs. c minor)

I was taught when I was young that minor key names should be written with the note in lowercase, as well as the word "minor". Nowadays on recordings, etc., I usually see both capitalized. What was ...
4
votes
1answer
1k 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?
0
votes
2answers
350 views

What is the difference between minor and major chords?

Can you please simply explain the definitions? And then explain it in terms of triad, root notes, and inversions.
2
votes
1answer
39 views

Multiply-diminished intervals from a major

I know that starting from a perfect interval and shortening the interval by two semitones gives a doubly-diminished interval. But what about starting with a major interval? For instance, starting ...
12
votes
3answers
398 views

Interval of a 4th above the bass

As I was studying music theory (harmonizing a melody in particular) I got confused with the statement: The interval of a 4th above the bass is considered dissonant and must resolve down by ...
6
votes
4answers
698 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
393 views

I need help understanding a complex (or maybe compound) time signature

I composed this song a few years ago originally using a tracker (an old-school, very freeform compositional workflow), and have been recently trying to transcribe it into a more modern DAW (Ableton ...
7
votes
1answer
255 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
192 views

What is the technical term for what the percussion is doing in this song?

In Massive Attack and Burial's collaboration track Four Walls, the percussion in the middle part of the song does something interesting where it shifts around the beat. It can be heard at 6:22 and ...
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 ...
8
votes
3answers
788 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
560 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
155 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 ...
15
votes
10answers
2k views

Why is there a key signature if I never play those notes?

I'm just getting back to playing on keyboard. I'm trying to play "Ode to Joy" from the piano sheet but I have a basic question. At the beginning of some staffs, on the right of the treble clef I can ...
5
votes
5answers
489 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: ...
2
votes
2answers
271 views

Scale degree naming

As I understand the minor pentatonic degrees are 1 b3 4 5 7b it says b3 & 7b, does it matter which side the b is on? and do they both mean flat? Scale degrees are almost always based off the ...
14
votes
10answers
968 views

Looking for a high level Music Programming language

I'm looking for a high-level programming language. I did some googling and found a number of examples (some summarized here http://users.soe.ucsc.edu/~sasha/proj/musicpaper.pdf) but haven't found ...
8
votes
3answers
476 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
247 views

The Musical Effect of a Unison Ensemble

Upon reading sheet music for black spirituals, I discovered something unusual: As you might notice, the bass, tenor, alto, and soprano parts are all singing the exact same notes throughout the ...
0
votes
0answers
31 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
594 views

Differentiating between II and II7 (secondary dominant V of V)

I'm studying harmony and start to make roman numeral analysis on Bach pieces. I often mistake a II (second degree) for a secondary dominant on the 2nd degree(V7 of V). I guess there are some notes ...
4
votes
1answer
88 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. ...
3
votes
1answer
110 views

What is the Slonimsky-Schillinger Symmetric System?

What is the Slonimsky-Schillinger Symmetric System? What's the theory behind it? How is it used in composition?
6
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
206 views

What is the four tonic system?

What is the four tonic system? What's the theory behind it? How is it used in improvisation, harmonization, reharmonization?
4
votes
2answers
178 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
6k 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
508 views
6
votes
7answers
568 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
177 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
684 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
766 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
157 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
199 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
452 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
344 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 ...
21
votes
5answers
22k 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
422 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 ...