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

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7
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3answers
2k 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
261 views

What is the best way to organize chords/keys in a database (details below)?

I am working on a project that involves putting together a database of chords/keys, and I'm wondering what you guys think is the best way to categorize each chord/key. For example, if I want users to ...
4
votes
2answers
804 views

tanpura - 7 notes?

I overheard that indian music disputes the notion that 7 notes are equally divided. Hence, people should use tanpura (instead of harmonium or piano) to practice with. I googled about it, and I read ...
2
votes
2answers
319 views

What can I do on the ukulele beside plucking just melody line?

I can already figure out the melody of a song by 'trial and error' along the C major scale just because it is easier on that scale and eventually become okay at guessing melody. This is fun enough on ...
8
votes
3answers
7k views

How to find out the Major and Minor chords of a scale?

How do I know which notes of a scale may be a Major/Minor chord? Take this question as an example. The OP states that the C major scale contains the following chords: C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am, Bdim How ...
10
votes
4answers
11k views

How to know which scale a song uses?

I have a song in my mind, and I want to play it on the guitar. I know how scales are made (full and half steps), and I can recognize whether the next note is higher or lower in a song (not ...
2
votes
4answers
605 views

Why is the basis of Jazz harmony tetrads (7th chords)?

Triads are the basic building blocks of classic harmony, but in Jazz the basic building blocks of harmony are tetrads (7th chords). Why does Jazz use 7th chords as the basis of their harmony instead ...
49
votes
17answers
2k views

Ways to get out of a scalar rut?

I'm a well versed and experienced guitarist. I have a decent sense for rhythm and melody, but I have a VERY hard time with soloing. I know you've heard it all before.. I'm one of those guys that got ...
9
votes
3answers
216 views

Which has more overtones: vowels or consonants?

When comparing frequency patterns(e.g. using an FFTSCOPE) for spoken vowel sounds and that of consonants, some of us found vowel sounds to have more overtones(i.e., a larger number of peaks in the ...
6
votes
5answers
552 views

What do these numbers at the start of the music score mean

At the start of a guitar or drum score , there are always these 2 numbers which I don't understand What do the 2 numbers circled in red mean ??
1
vote
3answers
156 views

How to get started on keyboard?

I'm 18 years old and I'm soon getting a keyboard because I'm really interested in music. I am especially interested in composing my own music and learning a lot of music theory. I used to play the ...
8
votes
1answer
306 views

The meaning of the word “inversion”

I'm looking for clarity over how to best describe two different meanings of the word "inversion" I have come across. The two different aspects I see are: I have three notes C-E-G. The intervals ...
5
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
27
votes
8answers
3k views

Is it possible to write a song without a key?

"This song is in F Major", "That song is in A Minor", "This song is in D Minor, but modulates to F Major in the middle", etc. Can we say "This song has no key"? Are there songs that have/follow no ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Score analysis: Minuet in G Minor BWV Anh 115

The piece modulates from G minor to Bb major between the bars 12-14 but I don't know how to mark these chords as they have B natural in them, which doesnt't belong neither to G minor nor Bb major. So, ...
5
votes
2answers
551 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 | ...
4
votes
2answers
575 views

Is the time signature switching every measure?

I think that the reason my compositions in DAW's have seemed off is because they've actually been changing time signatures throughout, and I haven't accounted for it. I tested this by making this tab ...
6
votes
2answers
280 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?
6
votes
3answers
262 views

What do I need to know about drums as an electric metal guitar player

My questions are as follows ... As A guitarist (Mostly electric with heavy distortion) what minimum knowledge of drums do I need to be able to create or chose drums beats that suits the song I am ...
2
votes
3answers
397 views

melody within a chord progression

Ive searched for such a simple question though all i get is the worst of answers. how do I add voice melody in a guitar chord progression. By voice melody i mean the singing you are doing throughout ...
4
votes
2answers
108 views

Omitting the 5th in four part counterpoint

When writing four part counterpoint in context of the common practice period it is common to omit the 5th of a chord when in a jam. Is it always ok to omit the 5th and are there times when the 5th of ...
5
votes
4answers
280 views

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 ...
6
votes
2answers
334 views

Changing key in a song convincingly

Update 3 I have started to break down this broad question to specific, smaller questions. 1) Classical music example for seamless transition from one section to other with changing keys Say, I ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

How to differentiate between a diminished fifth and an augmented fourth interval?

Both are a tritone appart, both sound the same. How can we differentiate when an interval is an augmented fourth or a diminished fifth? Context: In voice leading we learn that when the spelling of ...
3
votes
1answer
55 views

Melodic Equivalence of a rhyme?

It is very common in most songs with lyrics for the end of a vocal phrase to rhyme with the end of another vocal phrase. It also very common for solo instruments to play the same phrase twice and have ...
5
votes
3answers
354 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?
10
votes
1answer
188 views

Trumpet improv harmonics?

So I have no background in music theory, only basic knowledge from junior high band, but I've recently started playing trumpet with some friends and I've noticed that when I try to improvise, if I ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

In jazz, what is a guide tone?

I've heard that guide tones are very useful while improvising, and seems to be an important concept for jazz theory. What is a guide tone? How can it help improvisation?
3
votes
1answer
768 views

What is texture, according to classical music theory?

Texture in a sound-design, acoustic, and sound engineering context refers to the harmonic content of a sound, its timbre. Now that I'm starting to dive into classical music theory, it seems that ...
4
votes
3answers
296 views

What is the most classically correct way to play this fast run?

I am trying to figure out the best way to play the first run in Francesco Tarrega's Caprice Arabe. This run is meant to be played really really really fast. First way: p i p i ...
5
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

What is bad about Roman Numeral Analysis?

I have studied roman numeral analysis in my theory courses and I think that it's a good way of describing and understanding classical music, especially that of the classical and early romantic ...
17
votes
8answers
13k views

What chord is formed by the open strings of a guitar in standard (EADGBe) tuning?

Here is something that I have been wondering about for a while: If you strum all six strings of a guitar in standard (EADGBe) tuning what chord would you play? I think it would be some variety of a ...
17
votes
4answers
1k views

Why do frets get closer as the notes get higher?

Why do spaces between guitar frets get smaller as the notes get higher?
6
votes
2answers
144 views

The Harmony of Clashing Tempos

The jazz guitarist John McLaughlin once published a book of scores for a number songs that he composed for his Mahavishnu Orchestra. There are some very unusual theoretical conundrums that come up ...
4
votes
4answers
288 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 ...
15
votes
4answers
541 views

Why do melodies have harmonies?

It seems to me that every melody can be assigned chords. Although different people may assign different chords, in many cases, only certain chords (a small subset of all possible chord choices) seem ...
7
votes
5answers
239 views

Chords and Intervals - Unison

Just trying to wrap my head around intervals but I'm confused by Unison. If I am playing a chord on a piano, how do you play a Unison chord if you can't press the same key twice at the same time? ...
10
votes
4answers
338 views

What is this type of shift called?

In a lot of (usually electronic) music, I notice a section of music that seems to shift up a number of notes and continue with a similar melody in a way that greatly emphasizes the melody. Does this ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Building Lydian chords

I am learning about chords and their relationships to major scale modes in jazz. As I understand it, each mode allows a different chord to be built by choosing the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th of the scale. I ...
1
vote
2answers
151 views

What are the notes in a 11th chord?

Does a chord like C11 contain (apart from 1st, 3rd, 5th) the 7th and the 9th? Or I can just play the 3rd, 5th and the 11th and the root? I have the same question with chords like C9 and C13.
13
votes
3answers
395 views

Why do harmonics sound good?

Harmonics, as in multiple of a fundamental frequency, sound good to our ears. A few examples: Octaves, i.e. doubling the frequency. We assimilates pitches separated by octaves to a same pitch class. ...
3
votes
2answers
241 views

Common patterns in music

When I asked my question on why do C7 chords contain a Bb and not a B, a user gave an example, how tonic chords transforms into a IV chord thru a dominant chord (C - C7 - F). I found this transition ...
4
votes
2answers
3k 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, ...
9
votes
5answers
381 views

Writing Arrangements

I play in a youth brass band and I've been writing basic arrangements for it for the past year or so. The thing is, I use MuseScore. I just enter what I think will sound good, play it back and make ...
13
votes
4answers
12k views

The differences between natural, harmonic and melodic minors

I'm studying scales and came across the natural, harmonic, and melodic minors. I understand the patterns for each scale but what other important differences exist between the three?
2
votes
1answer
422 views

Which scales to use on complex chord progressions?

According to this article, it is possible to make a chord progression by just keeping one tone that remains constant in all chords of the progression. Also, it gives these examples: Cadd9 F6 D G ...
6
votes
3answers
159 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
82 views

Question about key modulation in 'Magdalena' by Johannes Brahms

I am analyzing the chords in 'Magdalena' by Johannes Brahms, and am having trouble determining whether the key modulates from g minor. The piece is in strophic form, and repeats measures 1-8 three ...
11
votes
6answers
822 views

“slash” chords, e.g. B/F♯ - are these only for inversions, or can any note be the bass note?

I'm trying to work out whether it is technically correct to have a "slash" chord where the bass note is not one of the notes in the chord. I thought the main reason for slash chords is to show which ...