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

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15
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8answers
5k views

How many (major and minor) keys are there? Why?

I am wondering about how many major and minor keys there are and why. Here are some suggestions: 24 keys One could argue that there should be one major and one relative minor key for each of the 12 ...
2
votes
3answers
429 views

18-note groupings across 4 beats in this Yngwie Malmsteen inspired lick

I have a few questions regarding the following lick: ...
20
votes
4answers
4k 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
4answers
2k views

What makes a song a “rock” song?

I mean, sometimes I'm not completely sure when a song is a "rock song" or when it is from another music genre or even a "something-rock" song, how do you recognize it?? is it some bass rithm? some ...
17
votes
3answers
592 views

Are the any great open questions in music theory?

In many sciences there a are a number open questions that are well known in the field, and for which a solid answer would gain the answerer much Prestige. For example, maths has many open questions, ...
10
votes
2answers
203 views

Was the pitch A given that letter because the minor key was originally the “basic” mode?

It's something that's puzzled me; The key that has no sharps and no flats, in essence the "basic" key, is C Major. Well, fine, but why C? Why not label that key and note A, if it's the foundation of ...
9
votes
3answers
885 views

Voice leading confusion

I perfectly understand the theory of voice leading when explained in most theory books about moving voices between chords in the shortest possible manner to give a smooth connection between chords. ...
10
votes
2answers
247 views

Do different modes have the same cadence structure?

In major and minor keys, the perfect cadence is V to I Will this structure remain the same in a different mode? I.e. E Phrygian Mode in the key of C (E F G A B C D), the tonic chord is the iii of ...
2
votes
2answers
140 views

Which note is consonance and which is dissonance

1) I did some reading saying 2nd, 4th, 6th and 7th note are unstable note. where 7th note tends to move towards the tonic and it is the most unstable note. Is it true? When I play through the scale, i ...
2
votes
1answer
149 views

How to come over nervousness while stage performance? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How can I overcome the fear of performing in front of an audience? I have played guitar several time on stage. But every time I start performing I feel a lot nervous. I ...
4
votes
3answers
454 views

Musical Harmony: When to use more than three chords

I understand that I, IV, and V chords in both major and minor keys are common chords that make up a good progression. I understand that those 3 chords cover all the notes diatonic to the key that we ...
1
vote
4answers
140 views

Is music always supposed to be dependent on timing? [closed]

I wanna know, is music supposed to be dependent on timing, or what we more specifically call Beats Per Minute (BPM) or time signatures?
9
votes
4answers
985 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
370 views

What are the major differences in a composition of metal and progressive metal?

I am a bit confused about the differences in the composition of metal and progressive metal. Are there major differences in their orientation of sound, or it is just the difference of incorporating ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Using modes and static harmony

Edit: i know what modes are and how they are related to major scale..etc. question is about modal harmony and chord progression in modal harmony. not what is a mode and name of other modes..etc What ...
19
votes
8answers
933 views

Is there any way to improve composing?

Beside playing drums I'm toying with software to create music. The problem is when I need to advance further. I may have some good, let's say "riffs" (or pieces, or melodies, or ideas), and I'm pretty ...
7
votes
4answers
372 views

Lorem Ipsum in music

I would like to use some Lorem Ipsum like thing for synthesizer sound demonstration. To be specific, I want the following properties Polyphonic (Some sounds like pads really needs a chord) It should ...
10
votes
4answers
3k views

Music Theory: Frequencies related to playing a note on guitar

I am studying the physics related to playing guitar. I need to understand the relationship between the fundamental frequency of a guitar string and its harmonics. For e.g., the top string has the ...
1
vote
2answers
851 views

Determining modes in a minor Key

Speaking of Functional harmony; If a song is in key C, then we call the C major scale from E to E is a Phyrigan mode. Good, what if a song is in key Am, which is actually relative of C and also Am ...
11
votes
5answers
5k views

What is a 13th chord?

For example an F13. How do you find the 13th note?
4
votes
2answers
228 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
396 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.
6
votes
3answers
288 views

Is solfege systems octave-agnostic?

I'm writing a somewhat comprehensive music theory programming library - Both to have the ability to make "intelligent" theory programs, and to refresh all the theory to myself. I've however just met ...
17
votes
7answers
6k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
347 views

What are these aspects of song structure called?

In songs, we often have very similar melodies and rhythm patterns being repeated over and over again. The following is an approximate melody of one stanza of Willy O' Winsbury as performed by ...
4
votes
1answer
492 views

Is there such a thing as “pop music theory”?

There is large body of work describing the theory of Western classical music; I'm unaware of the state of analysis of popular music forms. Are the differences between, say post-50's American ...
5
votes
1answer
173 views

Sixth and Minor Seventh inversions conflicts

For example consider C6 [C-E-G-A] and Am7 [A-C-E-G] which share the same notes in different order. When we play [E-G-A-C] how is it called?(is this a inversion of C6 or Am7) Generally, how are these ...
6
votes
1answer
954 views

Franz Liszt Liebestraum No. 3 Bar 17 Roman Numeral Analysis

I'm going through Liszt's Liebestraum No. 3 in Ab M.... in bar 17, I don't know how to mark the A natural chord. It's either a #1 or the song has modulated to the natural minor, in which case it would ...
4
votes
3answers
525 views

What are some interesting ways notes and chords are spelled in cultures outside of the U.S.?

I've heard that German musicians spell the seventh note of the C major scale with an "H" where an American musician would use a "B". And, for the fourth note of the F major scale, where an American ...
0
votes
2answers
277 views

Why is the note name “a” not on any important scale position? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why is C the base note of standard notation and keys? The note names are derived from the alphabet, which starts with "a". But why is our note "a" not on any important ...
14
votes
3answers
448 views

How can I move beyond learning songs?

I can competently learn and play chord progressions and simple runs on the guitar but I do not feel like I understand the instrument. My playing progresses by memorizing songs. However, I know that ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Finding chords that sound like a single note

I cannot seem to find an algorithm to do this. Say I play an E (not a chord)... it sounds a certain way. If I make it into a chord an play an E Major chord it sounds completely different. What would ...
16
votes
5answers
12k 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?
23
votes
7answers
26k views

What does it mean to write a song in a certain key?

I have been searching for a while to try to correctly understand this. What exactly does it mean if for example a song is written in C Major? Does it mean the song's notes cannot contain any sharps ...
2
votes
1answer
321 views

Can modal counterpoint be studied without studying harmony? Where to start?

I have a background 1 year of harmony study and I'm now taking a non-western modal approach to music (trough Indian Classical Music, which is mainly monophonic and have no concept of harmony). I have ...
15
votes
4answers
996 views

Why do these progressions sound good?

I have always wondered why these progressions sound so exiting. I don't really know how the I-IV-things work, so I'll just write the chords. An explanation of what's really going on would be much ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

What's the difference between sixteenth century counterpoint and eighteenth century counterpoint?

What's the difference between sixteenth century counterpoint and eighteenth century counterpoint? Is sixteenth century counterpoint melody or modal based (as this answer suggests) and eighteenth ...
6
votes
4answers
296 views

What's “species counterpoint”? Are there any other types of counterpoint?

I believe the title says it all. On Wikipedia it shows the five species but I have the idea that there is another type of counterpoint not based on those species. Is that vague idea of mine correct? I ...
14
votes
2answers
15k views

What's the difference between “modal music” and “tonal music”?

As the title says, what's the difference between "modal music" and "tonal music"? Is there also any other classification besides "modal music" and "tonal music"?
5
votes
2answers
1k views

son vs. rumba clave and bass line

The answer to Latin jazz: anticipated chord change on last beat provided by Ulf Åkerstedt raises another question: I have written a son bass line, and I realize I have a rumba clave on the drum set. ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

Most common jazz theory method book

What is the most common text book for learning jazz music theory? I have a strong background in classical music theory and would like to supplement it. I particularly am looking for something for ...
4
votes
2answers
562 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 ...
10
votes
7answers
4k views

Why is the highest frequency on a piano 4186 Hertz?

The human hearing range is between 20 Hz and 20,000 Hz. The lowest frequency on a piano is 27.5 Hz, which is almost at the start of the human hearing range. However, the highest frequency on a piano ...
4
votes
2answers
946 views

Harmony analysis program

Is there any computer program that automatically analyzes harmony given the score? By harmony, I of course mean, 'I', 'III, 'IV' etc.. and their connection.
1
vote
2answers
1k views

How to develop musicianship skills?

There are a lot of books that teach music theory, but are there any books that teach how to develop musicianship? Such as how to acquire it? I'm reading "Revisiting Music Theory", the author said the ...
3
votes
1answer
382 views

What is the frequency interval length of k semi-tones? (k = 1…11)

Go up 12 semi-tones from frequency f on a guitar, and the frequency interval difference in terms of f is f = 2f - f. What is the formula for the intermediate 11 non-trivial intervals? So for k=2, ...
2
votes
1answer
938 views

A good source to learn the theory of chords in an accordion

I have been learning to play accordion for a few months and I can play 15-20 songs with their chords now. I know the physics behind the musical notes (such as I can understand what one implies by ...
3
votes
3answers
317 views

Why did Lou Reed make Metal Machine Music?

For background, it's a record that was made "without musical instruments" by rigging up ring-modulators and envelope filters and tone generators to create a sort of living shape of feedback. But ...
9
votes
3answers
501 views

Relative Major/Minor keys question

I've got a question, I thought perhaps one of you fine human beings could help me out. I am under the impression that you can find the relative minor key of a major key by counting down 3 steps, ...
16
votes
5answers
691 views

Is it possible to create the illusion of a sub-harmonic?

The way I understand it, a normal plucked tone consists of a great many overtones in addition to the base tone. A pinched harmonic, however, shifts the base tone higher into the overtone series by ...