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

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1answer
74 views

Do we find music arranged according to Western Music Theory pleasing because of “biological instinct” or because of what we learn?

I know that if I play an out of tune guitar, that it sounds unpleasant. I know that if I play an arrangement on the piano (even one I am making up as I go) and accidentally play a note that does not ...
5
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3answers
2k views

What is “groove”?

How's possible to trigger it? Is there a technical reason for the groove to happen? Is it just when you stuble across any kind of rhythm / melodic progression interaction that "moves"? Please do not ...
0
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3answers
122 views

Why is the complete circle of fifth progression more common in minor than major?

In relation to How common is the complete circle of fifths progression? which describes some examples of the complete circle of fifth progression (a consecutive 4-7-3-6-2-5-1 progression), apparently ...
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4answers
107 views

Do notes from non-natural minor scales fit well in the associated major key?

Any major scale contains the same notes as the natural associated minor scale - C major being the easy option contains all the same notes as A minor natural. But of course we also have other common ...
0
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3answers
92 views

Major and minor scales

How can I identify my minor scales faster? I'm good with my major scales, but I always have to reference t=my major scales when identifying my minor scales.
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8answers
292 views

What is a perfect fifth?

I have gone through many documents, but don't understand what a perfect fifth is. Can somebody please explain with an example? (An example is important!) I have already found these explanations, but ...
0
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4answers
104 views

Are the accidentals counted as a single note or double notes?

I am a newbie to music . I have a doubt about accidentals . My doubt is whether a basic note and an accidental of that note is counted as a single note or double. That is , if a tune X contains ...
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2answers
95 views

Modulating between minor keys

I wanted to change keys from A minor to B minor. Tried ii-V-i progression (through F# major chord on the way up) but the transition did not sound smooth. Tried Em-F#m- Bm which sounds slightly better ...
2
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1answer
79 views

Which one to teach first: solfege or absolute notation?

Which musical notation should be taught to kids first- the solfege (movable do, in this case) or absolute notation? Thanks :)
7
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4answers
205 views

Alternative Analysis for Non-Functioning Secondary Dominants

I've been reading though my Pocket Music Theory book and in the chapter on secondary dominants there is a concept that confuses me. The book says there can be non-functioning secondary dominants that ...
6
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4answers
731 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 ...
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3answers
94 views

What might make for “ambient” or “atmospheric” classical music?

I am primarily trying to identify the types of compositions and approaches to composition that would produce such music, with any particular composers or pieces that might make good examples as ...
12
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3answers
373 views

What are some good/interesting ways to exit a circle of fifths section?

Circle of 5ths is in tons of chord progressions, sounds nice and 'easy', etc. But if you keep going on it the song can sound unreasonably predictable. What are some good ways to use a little bit of ...
9
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5answers
420 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 ...
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2answers
145 views

Happy, oriental minor songs

According to music theory, songs in minor keys are supposed to be sad. However i often find minor pentatonic songs, especially from Chinese folk songs, that are happy and upbeat (Chinese New Year ...
50
votes
21answers
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 ...
12
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2answers
591 views

Why does B work as a bass note against F7 in Bb?

I wrote a song in Band-in-a-Box. It includes this turnaround: Dm Dbm Cm F7/B BbMaj7 The chord F7/B doesn't sound good on guitar (I play it as F7 or F9 instead), but the low B note works really well ...
2
votes
10answers
466 views

Why is the tonic chord of a key formed with the 1,3 and 5 notes of the key but the major chords in that key are the I IV and V?

The tonic chord in a given key is formed by using the 1 and 3 and 5 notes of the scale in whatever key you are in. However, in chord theory, the Major chords that work in that key are the one, four ...
15
votes
5answers
3k views

What defines a Tango?

Is there something about a song that can be used to classify it as "a Tango"? There's different Tango styles (Finnish Tango music, for instance, is different from Argentinian) and there seem to be ...
3
votes
2answers
111 views

chord progression if the chords are not part of the scale?

I've been learning about harmony, and the harmonisation of major scales. I can recognise simple chord progressions, and I try and practice by listening to popular songs. For a major scale, we ...
8
votes
9answers
1k views

Use of Music Theory in Composition

I've been told by many people that music theory is not normative; it doesn't tell you what to write or do in music to create something beautiful that sounds good. I've been told that it's strictly ...
4
votes
3answers
238 views

Difference between minor and major pentatonic scale boxes?

Is there a difference between minor and major pentatonic scale box shapes? Some say you can do the same pattern as a minor scale but three notes up the fretboard and some that you must change pattern ...
3
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3answers
77 views

The melody+chords pattern in perspective

Most of us who know the basics of music theory and share the "common" musical culture (western mainstream popular songs, mass media, "classical" music from the common practice period), tend to think ...
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2answers
50 views

How to recognise time signatures. [closed]

As an adult learner of piano, I have now learnt the theory and structure of time signatures. However, I cannot HEAR what time signature is being used. Please advise.
2
votes
3answers
87 views

Harmonizing a melody for 4 voices… help?

Recently I've started encountering a multitude of questions that ask for me to harmonize a melody. I've never really seen a question like that before, so I've been a bit lost as to where to start. I ...
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votes
2answers
2k views

Parallel octaves vs doubled octaves

I've read this Wikipedia article on parallel fifths, which also touched on parallel octaves. However, I'm having difficulty understanding the difference between doubled and parallel octaves. I think I ...
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3answers
76 views

Augmented 5th on B double sharp?

So a perfect fifth on b natural is f#, an augmented 5th on b natural is f##, would that then mean that an augmented 5th on b## would be f####?
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3answers
600 views

In a song in G major the sound F appears and sounds good. Is there a name for such a phenomenon?

The song "Misty Moisty Morning" by Steeleye Span is in a major key. My knowledge of music theory is fragmentary so I may have gotten it wrong but I believe it's true. I don't remember which key it is ...
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3answers
113 views

How can different compositions use C Major?

Pardon what I know is an embarrassing question - I am at the very basics of learning music theory. If a scale such as C Major is an exact pattern of intervals, how can multiple songs be composed with ...
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6answers
252 views

Why do composers use seemingly/unecessarily complex time signatures?

I see this all the time: In the piece I'm currently analysing (Sei Quartetti Brevi by Sciarrino), the composer uses 7/16 + 4/8 in the first measure, followed by 5/8 + 3/8 in the second, followed by ...
3
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3answers
827 views

What does it mean when one says that rock and jazz have strong beats on the even numbered beats?

It is usually said that rock and jazz musics have the strong beats on the even numbered beats (2 and 4 on a typical 4/4) instead of the odd ones (1 and 3). However, chord changes and bass (whether ...
5
votes
1answer
228 views

What do the numerator and denominator of a chord name in roman numerals mean?

I'm reading a paper on music theory and I keep coming across names of chords expressed as a fraction - I/I, I/V, ii/I, etc. Based on the use of these names in the paper, I'm reading this as: I/I: A ...
5
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1answer
574 views

Why do the Canadian and American ways of writing chords symbols differ?

I've been studying music harmony (for the RCM program), and my teacher explained to me that the American way of writing chord symbols slightly differs from the Canadian way. For example, the chord ...
3
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4answers
233 views

Non-diatonic chord?

I've done some looking to no avail, so I'm hoping one of you will know the answer to my question. If I'm in a minor key and I play a i, iv, v progression, but later on I change ONLY the i to a major, ...
13
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6answers
745 views

What gives a piece of music its personality and feeling?

What makes a piece of music sound angry, dark, sad, happy, or otherwise? "La Chute" by Yann Tiersen sounds so angry to me and "A Dark Knight" from "The Dark Knight" movie sounds so dark and ...
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votes
8answers
938 views

Improving as a solo guitarist without learning scales

I am a drummer of 20+ years. I am a guitarist for only the last 5 or so (more of a guitar owner). I can play many chords, and have composed a number of songs. I learned to play drums without a ...
3
votes
1answer
80 views

Word for part of a beat

Simple prolation (such as 2/4 or 3/4) divides a beat into two X's. Compound prolation (such as 6/8 or 9/8) divides a beat into three X's. What is X called? Background: Mensural notation nomenclature ...
3
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4answers
329 views

Do the 'natural' chords to use in a key change if you use a different mode?

This question gives a great, not-too-technical explanation of modes: What are modes and how are they useful? I wondered if playing in a different mode would mean the standard chords change move also? ...
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13answers
3k views

Why can some people play music well who don't “know music”?

I have seen people who can play instruments well, but can't: 1.Read sheet music. 2.Do not know anything about music theory. 3.Do not know the structures or rhythms of sound, acoustics, or the such. ...
3
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6answers
166 views

What's music? A question about 'foundations' [closed]

First of all, I'm new here. I'm a mathematician who's intersted in understanding music in a foundational way. Basically, I want to understand why we call things musical notes, and why there are a ...
9
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3answers
381 views

Raised leading tones in Phrygian mode counterpoint

In most cases the penultimate note of the counterpoint will be the leading tone, which must be raised in minor to establish a sense of tonality. But why is the leading tone in the Phrygian mode ...
2
votes
1answer
472 views

Meaning of “Battuta” in Counterpoint

What is Battuta and does it only apply to voice leading by contrary motion? For example, in treble clef, if going from "E-G" (major-tenth - that is, the "E" is in the bass and the "G" is ...
3
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1answer
156 views

Diatonic Function of Accidentals in Counterpoint

Why is it in counterpoint that the fourth degree of natural mode "F" lowered to "Bb" instead of remaining as "B"? Why isn't the fourth degree lowered for other modes? Shouldn't the "B" ...
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2answers
222 views

Voice-crossing in First Species Counterpoint

In two-part counterpoint, is it okay for the counterpoint and cantus firmus voices to cross? Transferred from: Few Questions on Counterpoint in the Tradition of Johan Fux
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3answers
110 views

Trying to understand a nice harmonic end

The more I learn music and harmony theory the more I understand that I don't know anything yet . As for jazz I was listening for a fly me to the moon performance on the piano : the song is in Am and ...
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0answers
26 views

What is it called to take a scale but start on a different degree? [duplicate]

By which I mean keep all the same notes in the same order, but start on a note that isn't the root. Let's work in C major. There's obviously the special case that if you start on the 6th ...
5
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1answer
190 views

How is the mordent played in the given piece from Petzold

Here is an excerpt of Petzold's Menuett in G major and I stumbled upon a mordent which I don't know how to play. The fun fact is: The excerpt is from a beginner book where there is an explanation of ...
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5answers
180 views

Is music really infinite? [closed]

In contrast with the common misconception that "there are 7 notes, so you'll end up repeating 'em", I argued that music is infinite. Is this true, or there're boundaries to music?
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1answer
355 views

Is there a name for a minor scale with a raised 3rd or a major scale with a lowered 6th and 7th?

I've noticed a pattern in chord progressions and melodies where I like to use the b7 and b6 chords with a major tonic and there are several modern songs that like to use this pattern as seen in a ...
0
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1answer
88 views

why major chords only have 1-3-5 notes why not other notes? [duplicate]

I have gone through this question The chord formula for the Major Chord is 1- 3 - 5. What do the numbers represent? I haven't understand that and I have also read many document. Please can any ...