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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

8
votes
5answers
367 views

Learning music theory and music writing around guitar

I have fun playing guitar, learning songs or licks and solos from songs is fun and all but I really don't know much about these pieces of music and why they sound good. Sometime I want to be able to ...
5
votes
2answers
140 views

Why does a melodic half step resolve on the higher note?

What is so special about a melodic half step that makes it "want" to go up (As in the leading tone to the tonic). Why isn't there as much resolution in a melodic half-step downwards?
13
votes
3answers
1k views

Circle of fourths in Jazz

I read on Wikipedia that the circle of fourths (as opposed to circle of fifths) is preferred in the analysis of Jazz music. Why is this so? Are the any good examples to explain this?
25
votes
8answers
7k views

Why Is Just Intonation Impractical?

I've read about the debate of "just intonation" vs 12-tone equal temperament. And nowhere it was clearly stated why just intonation is impractical. Here are my assumptions. Please let me know if I am ...
7
votes
1answer
248 views

Dealing with synthesized sounds where only a subset of tones sound good

I created a heavily modulated and filtered bass sound on F-1 but cannot play anything other than the F-1 itself and its # as the rest have too many conflicting frequencies. How can these two keys be ...
5
votes
1answer
161 views

What are the Coltrane Changes?

Also known as Coltrane Matrix, Coltrane Cycle, chromatic third relations, and multi-tonic changes. What are the Coltrane Changes? What's the theory behind them? How are they used in improvisation, ...
2
votes
3answers
406 views

How major pentatonic scale is built?

I would like to use this scale to start improvising on an acoustic guitar. I understand the shape on the neck, but I want to increase my knowledge and ask you how is it constructed. Thank you for ...
17
votes
5answers
3k views

Why is music theory built so tightly around the C Major scale?

Lately, I'm trying to study deeper into music theory, learning Intervals, key Signatures, Chords, Progressions etc. I can see that everything is built around the 'normal' notes that belong to the C ...
1
vote
2answers
214 views

What are the origins of music theory? [closed]

When learning music theory, I always have wondered about the vocabulary words, and how weird some of them were. Who came up with the words? Now, I'm just curious about not just the origins of the ...
8
votes
4answers
895 views

Why is a minor 3rd consonant but an augmented 2nd dissonant?

I am currently reading the Jazzology and on the chapter per the consonant and dissonant intervals I came across this statement: while a minor 3rd is consonant, an augmented 2nd is dissonant. ...
17
votes
3answers
1k views

Why are thirds used to construct chords?

I am (slowly) learning music theory on the guitar. I've begun learning about scales and chords, and it seems that all chords are built using some combination of thirds. For example, a minor triad is ...
18
votes
1answer
433 views

Is this piece of renaissance music really in the locrian mode?

A fifteenth-century dance manual contains this piece of music: which appears to be (uncharacteristically) in the locrian mode. Is it really, or am I mis-reading? Does anybody know of other music ...
20
votes
4answers
6k views

What are the practical reasons for still having transposing instruments?

I understand that historically there was a need for transposing instruments. e.g. Brass instruments would use lead pipes to change their key and players in brass bands would like to stick to the same ...
11
votes
3answers
943 views

Why do we need modes?

We don't play scales, we play music. The notes we play and the order is based on sound and emotion. Then why is it that if the notes are the same for all of the derived modes, why do we need modes? ...
2
votes
1answer
258 views

How to analyze and obtain useful information from a score

I'm a self taught musician. I have learned music theory, composition, and instrument performance by myself. I would like to improve my composition techniques and I believe that I should begin ...
4
votes
2answers
807 views

Scales and Ascending/Descending differences

I'm learning some unique guitar scales and I'm confused with certain scales. For example, the Raga Asavari scale plays a list of notes when ascending. However when you descend, you add more notes to ...
8
votes
2answers
235 views

What Scale is This?

I sort of stumbled upon an unusual scale in a black metal song. It goes: E-F-G-A-A#-C-C#-D#-E or HWWHWHWH It is not a scale I recognize, though it resembles a mixture of familiar scales. Would ...
3
votes
1answer
103 views

Vocal Melodies: Suitable Training [closed]

My biggest obstacles with singing are two things: Identifying suitable notes on the fly and keeping pitch. I play guitar, have been for many years and I have always been singing along with it. I can ...
5
votes
1answer
156 views

Why does the first note is the second Bach cello suite(Prelude) sound like C#?

Suite 2 in the Bach suites is in D minor howcome the first note sounds like C# even though its written on the 3rd line(d)?
2
votes
2answers
144 views

What is this Chord Notation?

I know how to read Roman Numerals for chord progressions. But I've seen something recently I don't understand. I've attached an image below. What are those sub/post-strip's?
7
votes
3answers
198 views

Minor subdominant in a major key

I was listening to the song "go all the way raspberries" in "Dark Shadows." I sorta figured out the song by ear on my guitar and I was a little confused. It is in the key of A and uses D minor. Here's ...
18
votes
7answers
7k views

Why does the Dorian mode on C have two flats?

I'm studying scale modes and I just found on Wikipedia that the Dorian mode on C has two flats... Why is this? Because the Dorian mode is just the major scale (Ionian) starting from the second ...
6
votes
3answers
573 views

What is a parallel mode?

What is a parallel mode? How are the parallel modes used in composition and/or improvisation?
8
votes
2answers
721 views

In Jazz, what is an avoid note?

Why are some scale degrees avoided? What is the reasoning behind the avoid notes? Are there avoid notes in all modes? If so, which are the avoid notes of the different modes? Is this pattern widely ...
43
votes
4answers
11k views

What are some chord substitutions for a I-IV-V blues progression?

I was watching a video of SRV and one of the things that really stood out was the fact that he seemed to have a different iteration of the I-IV-V turnaround - and made it look/sound effortless. Any ...
6
votes
1answer
205 views

In jazz, what is a chord family?

In the jazz context, what is a chord family? How is the concept used in improvisation, chord substitution, and re-harmonization? Which are the families and their members? I've seen chords divided in ...
18
votes
4answers
3k views

Why is the aeolian mode the minor scale?

I've studied music theory for many years now, and one thing has always confused me about the naming methodology for the minor scale. A major scale is based off the Ionian mode and consist of only ...
9
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
181 views

Voice classification and voice types: how can voice be classified based on range?

How can voice be classified based on range? What system is typically used? Which voice types are there? What are their ranges? Are there other less-known or alternative systems?
6
votes
2answers
154 views

Notation used for harmonic context

Could someone please explain what it means to say, "the harmonic context of V/V-V-I". How should one read this? It would be nice if you could also give two or three examples if you think it would ...
2
votes
4answers
190 views

How can I increase my note reading and finger strength?

I'm playing piano and I have problem going through pieces quickly, I keep pressing wrong keys and it takes me a lot of concentration and practice to get the piece sounding like it should and even ...
12
votes
1answer
194 views

What are the significant schools of 20th century music theory?

I'm reading the following paper, Lerdahl, F. (1988). Tonal pitch space. Music Perception, 315-349. I'm interested in comparing what is written here with other equivalent theories. Some of these ...
10
votes
1answer
434 views

In jazz, what is diatonic substitution?

What is diatonic substitution? How is it used in improvisation?
7
votes
1answer
265 views

Parallel Fifths in Pachelbel's Canon in D?

The other day, I was watching a scrolling score of Pachelbel's (in)famous Canon in D on Youtube, when I noticed something interesting. In the excerpt below, shouldn't the the circled notes in the 1st ...
20
votes
8answers
1k views

What are good resources for learning music theory?

What is a good resource for learning music theory, especially as it relates to the guitar, coming from a completely beginner's perspective? I had a musician friend try to teach me about modes such as ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

What is a “Chord of Nature”?

Could someone explain in simple terms, and preferably with an example or two what "chord of nature" means. I tried reading about this in Wikipedia, but I cannot see how this is different from just a ...
10
votes
1answer
206 views

What are the fundaments of Harmolodics?

Ornette Coleman has developed a framework for his ideas called Harmolodics. It is somewhat hard to understand what this constitutes though. It is stated that melody, harmony and rhythm are equally ...
7
votes
1answer
177 views

Groups of eighths

A lot of times, I've seen eighths in groups of 2, and other times in groups of 4. Is there any difference in the way you are supposed to play them?
6
votes
2answers
210 views

Voice-leading with three chords in first inversion?

Hey guys just keeping my part writing skills sharp (not flat) for the long summer. I got this out of Assignment 9.4 of Robert W. Ottman's "Elementary Harmony." It's in G♭ major. I was already given ...
4
votes
3answers
193 views

Naming pitch and interval collections

I have a few questions regarding the correct naming of pitch and interval collections. We call an ordered collection of adjacent pitches a scale. For example, (C D E F G A B) is called C major (or ...
6
votes
4answers
380 views

What notation would you use to differentiate different types of minor keys (e.g. Em natural, Em harmonic, Em melodic)?

Are they all just 'Em', or is there some standard, concise way of differentiating between them? Thanks!
4
votes
1answer
210 views

Does a taste in music reflect an understanding of that music?

It has been my experience that often times I will not like a song the first time I hear it, but the more I hear it the more I begin to like it. I think it has something to do with understanding the ...
8
votes
2answers
153 views

Pursuing a career in music [closed]

I've been debating on going full time in the music world. Does anyone have any creative suggestions on how to finance it? I know I could gig all the time or teach, but I don't want to get burned out.
11
votes
3answers
950 views

Pentatonic scale with a sharpened 2nd note, any name?

I was messing with the A minor pentatonic scale and discovered that if I sharpen the 2nd note of the scale, it sounds very interesting to my ears, even more than the original scale. Does this already ...
3
votes
3answers
229 views

How can I practice harmony?

I know some basic stuff about harmony, but I do not know have to advance any further.I finished my harmony lessons for this year and I'm going to start again in the autumn. Is there any way I can ...
4
votes
2answers
587 views

Name for a group of notes made up of a root, major third, and perfect 4th?

I'm looking at the song "One thing leads to another" by the Fixx. Throughout the song, the guitarist plays the highest three strings at the 5th fret (giving C E A). Correct me if I am wrong, but the ...
2
votes
2answers
96 views

Good material source for learning to read music?

Specifically I am interested in learning how to play the Violin. I am good at reading music insofar as the open strings are concerned, but when we are using the E string such that we are hearing a G I ...
7
votes
2answers
198 views

What's so off about the intro to Prokofiev's Dance of the Knights?

Now this question is by no means an attack on any conductor or orchestra, nor Prokofiev himself, but why does it seem that it's hard for everyone to get right into time with one another with this ...
3
votes
4answers
151 views

Drums: Playing consecutive beats with the same hand compared to alternating hands

I am currently learning the Seven Stroke Roll , Drum tune : Right , Right , Left Left .... Will playing the above tune : Right , Left , Right , Left instead of Right , Right , Left , Left ...
4
votes
4answers
393 views

Do the different Modes have different scale degrees?

For example, C Ionian has the same notes as D Dorian. But when looking at the scale degrees, I think they have to be different. Here's what I mean: C Ionian: C Db D Eb E F F# G Ab A Bb B C ...