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

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Ending a song with a dominant chord

As far as i know, almost all songs end in the tonic chord, because this is the most "stable" condition. On the other hand, a dominant chord at the end of a progression (or song) sounds "incomplete". ...
11
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1answer
268 views

When did keyboard partitions start to use the G-clef for the upper staff ?

When you look at very old sheetmusic (for harpsichord or organ), you see that the upper staff has a C-clef, first line. The lower one is the familiar bass F-clef, fourth line. Why and when did the ...
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2answers
243 views

Do different minor chords (vi, ii, etc) convey different nuances?

I came across some postings discussing whether different minor keys produce different moods, but i have not found one that compares different minor chords... As each minor chord has a different ...
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5answers
1k views

Are doubly augmented and doubly diminished intervals practical?

In music theory when naming intervals, a lowered diminished interval is a doubly diminished interval (dd) and a raised augmented interval is a doubly augmented interval (AA). Ex a C# to a Gb would be ...
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4answers
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 ...
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1answer
56 views

Why do retailers mark songs as “explicit” when they clearly are not? [on hold]

Pretty sure I've gotten the wrong StackExchange here, but I didn't know where else I could post this question, and I cannot seem to find an answer on the internet. Anyway, I just looked at my Spotify ...
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1answer
93 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 ...
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3answers
136 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
113 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 ...
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3answers
100 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
305 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 ...
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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
96 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 ...
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1answer
83 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 :)
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4answers
206 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
737 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 ...
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3answers
378 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 ...
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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
146 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 ...
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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
596 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 ...
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10answers
467 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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
115 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 ...
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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 ...
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3answers
249 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 ...
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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
51 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.
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3answers
90 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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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
77 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
602 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
115 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
253 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
828 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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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4answers
234 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, ...
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6answers
746 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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8answers
953 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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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3answers
382 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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
157 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 ...