33
votes
4answers
2k views

When were the terms “Major” and “Minor” applied to keys?

In 1547, Heinrich Glarean published Dodecachordon in which he posited that in addition to the 4 existing pairs of church modes (plagal and authentic versions of modes with finals on D (Dorian), E (...
17
votes
9answers
3k views

Why do many songs in major keys use a bVII in the chord progression?

Based on my understanding of chord theory, the chords used in most modern popular songs are comprised of notes that occur in the scale of the tonic key for that song. So the I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, ...
20
votes
3answers
2k views

How do I set up an electric guitar?

How do I set up the pickups, neck, etc. in an electric guitar? I'm not concerned with producing a particular sound as I am with keeping the neck from warping, prevent string buzz, improving ...
16
votes
3answers
3k views

Name for descending semitones under a repeating musical phrase?

In much contemporary music, especially instrumental guitar music, there is a particular device employed. It involves a musical phrase in which usually one note, often a bass note, descends in one ...
10
votes
6answers
27k views

What factors affect a guitar's ability to sustain a note?

There are effects and gadgets that can create a long sustained note, but what about the guitar itself? I have a squier standard strat which I can't help but feel could be letting notes ring longer, ...
20
votes
11answers
8k views

What makes an interval “Perfect”?

I've been trying to find an answer, but to no avail. Is what we call a perfect interval somewhat arbitrary? It seems as if the modern definition is "perfect under inversion". I know the other thing ...
11
votes
6answers
23k views

What is the difference between male head voice and falsetto?

What is the fundamental difference between head voice and falsetto in male singers? I think I know the answer, but I cannot be sure in its credibility, since all my self-researched knowledge comes ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

What is a key signature?

I'm trying to learn the flute and I bought a book that is supposed to help me learn. In one of the first chapters it describes something about key signatures and the circle of fifths and I'm ...
24
votes
9answers
25k views

What is intonation and how can I find out if my guitar has correct intonation?

What is intonation? What is the best way to check my intonation and fix it if necessary?
22
votes
4answers
16k 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
10k views

What tempo is Agitato?

I'm looking at Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C# minor and notice that the tempo changes from Lento to Agitato. I'm familiar with the former tempo marking, but not the latter. At what tempo should Agitato ...
17
votes
9answers
7k views

How do I properly stretch my newly strung strings?

I came across this string stretcher device. It's called The Stretcha. It claims to properly and evenly stretch new strings and maintain tuning. I never really made a point to properly stretch ...
10
votes
1answer
3k views

How do I use string gauge tables?

I have seen that string manufacturers publish tables of string gauges and tensions. For example, this one. How can I use these to choose a set of strings for my instrument?
5
votes
3answers
498 views

General procedure for determining the name of an interval given a major key / diatonic collection

I'm attempting to program a library that lets one make use of concepts from Peter Westergaard's tonal theory. The current problem I'm trying to solve is to determine the specific name of an interval ...
26
votes
2answers
8k views

Why is my guitar's saddle at an angle?

Most acoustic guitars I've seen, including my own, have an angled saddle (the white strip holding up the strings): This makes the bass strings longer than the treble strings. Why is this? ...
4
votes
5answers
9k views

Tips playing F barre chord

Any tips for a newbie in playing the F barre chord. I find it very hard to put my fingers in place. I've got a strat. I hear you can move it up and down the neck for other barre chords.
36
votes
19answers
35k views

What is the difference between a mode and a scale?

I can't seem to find a straight definition for both.
35
votes
8answers
1k views

What exactly should I have to learn to understand why certain combination of chords are harmonic when played in a sequence?

I am an intuitive music composer trying to move to a technical music composer. As a dummy, I see music as a composition of 'pieces' (my word). Each piece is a set of notes that are melodical when ...
36
votes
10answers
72k views

Why learn scales? What are they for?

I tried Googling but it seems there is no answer for this one. So the internet assumes everyone knows what scales are for? Why should I learn them? Are they important to be a good guitarist?
20
votes
6answers
46k views

What is the first scale one should learn on guitar

The title really sums it all up but I'll try expand it slightly. Lets say I'm learning guitar and would like to improve my guitar work. Which of the scales should I learn first and why?
29
votes
7answers
77k 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 ...
17
votes
5answers
10k views

Is it possible to find the correct chords from melody notes alone?

I'm caught up in this thought. My friend gave me just the melody notes of a song. Here it is, So, here is the problem: "without having the chords supplied, there is no way of knowing what the chords ...
36
votes
4answers
107k views

What Does a Compressor Pedal Do?

Quite often, when I see a pedalboard of guitarists I admire, there is a compressor pedal in the chain. How exactly does this pedal affect the sound?
30
votes
11answers
18k views

How is counterpoint different from harmony?

Harmony is a kind of second sound you hear. Counterpoint is also the second sound you hear. Aside from technical differentiation, how can you by ear differentiate these two concepts. Is it possible ...
18
votes
9answers
7k views

Learning to create melodies

I've researched my question on Google before and came across a few threads which I've read a couple of times. So far I've got into music theory and understand scales, how chords are formed, I know ...
17
votes
6answers
15k views

Get back into an instrument after long break?

In my youth I played lots of piano, for over 10 years, and became quite good at it. During college, however, I just didn't have the time to keep it up. It looks as if I'll soon have access to a ...
25
votes
2answers
36k views

How necessary is an USB Audio Interface?

I'm currently recording songs on my computer and the quality of my microphone is awful and the microphone is very quiet. That doesn't surprise me, because it's a 20$ karaoke microphone... I got into ...
13
votes
10answers
3k views

What are the various methods of tuning the guitar?

This is not a question as much as it is a discussion. I am curious to know what are the different techniques to tune the guitar (using standard tuning) given you know that one string is in tune. I ...
10
votes
6answers
616 views

What are the specific progressive steps to take in basic ear training?

This question: What are the most effective ear training methods has an excellent best answer. I'd like to zoom in on its conclusion: All of these skills, like playing an instrument, take time. ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

Improving breath support

What are some exercises or tips to help singers improve their breath support?
10
votes
1answer
6k views

How do you practice Audiation (playing music in your head)?

Time for a tricky question. Audiation appears to be the practice of playing music in your head. I found an answer referring to what audiation is in To sing is good for ear training, but is it ...
32
votes
15answers
87k views

Why shouldn't I put electric guitar strings on my acoustic guitar?

I've always found even the lightest acoustic (bronze) guitar strings to be a bit too heavy to play comfortably. Electric (nickel) guitar strings tend to be lighter. But nobody uses electric strings on ...
25
votes
3answers
4k views

Why is A4 the standard pitch reference for tuning?

Why do musicians use concert A, the A above middle C, as the standard pitch reference for tuning? Various national and international standards define the frequency of this note. For example, ISO 16 ...
18
votes
9answers
27k views

How to bend and release without flicking the other strings?

I'm trying to bend up then back down on the G string (so it plays both notes, I'm not muting the bend back down to G) but I always catch my fingernail on the D string. So when I let the bend back ...
7
votes
6answers
5k views

What's a good book for learning how to play the piano? [closed]

I'm considering learning to play the piano by reading resources instead of taking up piano lessons. It would allow me to just a buy the piano and learn it by myself. What good books or other resources ...
30
votes
15answers
55k views

How can I practice in an apartment without annoying the neighbours?

I live in an apartment and I find my current amp (a 15W solid-state) to be poorly suited to that. I can't turn it up without upsetting the neighbours, but at low volume it sounds horrible with any ...
6
votes
2answers
389 views

Why are the harmonic and melodic minor scales called what they are?

Does the harmonic minor have something to do with harmony, and does the melodic minor have something to do with melody? I searched this question on Google and nothing came up.
28
votes
8answers
11k views

Is there any practical difference between 3/4 and 3/8 time?

Is there any practical difference between 4/4 and 8/8? regards a common and unusual time signature; both 3/4 and 3/8 time are pretty common. What difference in performance is implied in the the ...
23
votes
3answers
14k views

What are the Solfège names of the semitones between the basic do, re, mi, etc?

What are the names of all the notes in a sol-fa scale, especially the chromatic notes between the basic Do, Re, Mi's.
22
votes
5answers
17k views

Why is a grand piano better than an upright piano?

A Grand piano is considered better than an upright piano. Aesthetically I could understand why, but why does the orientation of the strings matter so much sound-wise?
17
votes
5answers
5k views

Why do standard modern pianos have 88 keys?

I know that the piano contains 7 octaves plus a 4th. I also know that it accommodates the full circle of fifths (from C and back to C). But since a fifth contains 7 semitones, it only "needs" 7X12 = ...
14
votes
1answer
718 views

What is a Neapolitan 6th?

In studying music theory I have heard the term Neapolitan 6th quite a few times, but I'm not quite sure what it is. What is a Neapolitan 6th and how is it used in a composition?
8
votes
1answer
7k views

What is a transposing instrument?

I've read this term many times. However, I'm not quite sure of what it exactly is. What is a transposing instrument? What would be an example of one?
6
votes
2answers
7k views

Which strings should I use for DADGAD tuning on my acoustic guitar?

I have recently switched to DADGAD tuning, before that I was using light tension strings ( 12 16 24 32 42 53 ). But because of DADGAD, to compensate for the lack of tension on the neck, I wanted to ...
22
votes
4answers
26k views

What are the benefits of guitars with fanned frets?

I've seen fanned frets on some extended-ranged classical and electric guitars. What are the benefits of guitars with fanned frets? Are there any drawbacks?
15
votes
6answers
1k views

Collective word for sharps and flats in the key signature

On a mailing list I'm subscribed to, someone recently asked what the collective name was in English for the sharps and flats you find in the key signature. Apparently, the closest translation from ...
7
votes
1answer
4k views

How can I find the length in seconds of a quarter-note (crotchet) if I have a tempo marking?

Given a tempo marking in bpm (beats-per-minute), how can I work out the length of a crotchet (quarter-note) beat?
7
votes
3answers
9k views

Is there a standard range for a baritone? What is it?

I think I'm a baritone, but I'm not entirely sure due to not being able to find a clear definition of what that is. Wikipedia's definitions vary a bit from F2 to C3 on the low end and seem to be ...
5
votes
5answers
897 views

Need Help in Starting to Learn Guitars?

I am a beginning guitar player. I enjoyed playing in my childhood, but for some reason I was not able to learn. But now I want to learn guitar. I wasn't sure whether to buy an electric guitar or a ...
25
votes
11answers
8k views

What does this note - B# - mean?

I'm confused as to how I should play the second note below, B#. Does it mean it's C? It is possible? In which case, why is it written like this, and not just C?

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