15
votes
3answers
26k views

Classical music theory notation for chord inversions (figured bass)

In classical music harmony analysis, we see the chord inversions notated like I6/4, I6, V4/3. Examples: What are those numbers? How do they define the inversion? What's the theory behind using ...
14
votes
10answers
3k views

Can legato notes be played staccato?

I've been working on this piece by Sousa, and I came across this oddity: Does this mean to play these notes somehow legato and staccato at the same time? If so, how would I play it? If not, what ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the the Nashville Numbers system?

Recently, a couple of my bandmates were talking about a technique they use called Nashville Numbers. It's similar to writing out chords, but instead uses numbers. These numbers are a pattern that ...
10
votes
2answers
11k views

How should I go about choosing a beginner drum kit?

I'm thinking about getting a beginner drum kit, and am hesitant to make the jump for fear of either buying a lemon or not being as interested as I'd have hoped. Things to consider: 24 years old ...
8
votes
3answers
859 views

Difference between Polychords and Extended chords

I'm really curious about the difference between polychords and extended chords. I know a polychord is two chords played at the same time where there is a higher chord and a lower chord. The common ...
6
votes
3answers
15k views

Should I mute “unwanted” strings or not when playing power chords?

I've been playing guitar for a while but haven't yet actually learned to play any songs featuring hard power chords. Now I'm trying to learn some songs by Metallica and AC/DC, and I don't have to tell ...
5
votes
7answers
13k views

Is Hanon's “Virtuoso Pianist” good for self-taught musician?

I am a self-taught painist (or keyboardist, whatever you prefer). Some time ago I came across The Virtuoso Pianist but, because I never played under an eye of a professional, I was turned away by the ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

Difference between equal temperament and just intonation

I am learning Indian classical music and learned about just intonation and equal temperament. I want to know the difference between them. I know that Indian classical music uses just intonation and ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Are there any publicly available databases ( not just web apps ) of guitar chords?

I need guitar chords in a database for a project I'm working on ( preferably MySQL, CSV or some other easily portable format ). I can imagine many formats by which one could store this information, so ...
25
votes
9answers
48k views

Will a 61-key keyboard severely restrict my piano repertoire?

I'm planning on trading my 88-key digital piano for a 61-key portable music workstation as I'm more inclined into rock keyboards as of late than classical music. However, I do enjoy playing classical ...
21
votes
5answers
3k views

Why are birds never out of key when they sing?

Why are birds never out of key when they sing? In fact, this is not just about birds; almost all creatures that make pleasant sounds (except us) never make a note out of key. How is this possible?
19
votes
5answers
8k views

Why does the D string in a guitar breaks so often?

Well... that's about it. D strings (on acoustic nylon guitars at least) break way more often than the others. I guess there's a physical explanation but I wasn't able to found anything on the Internet....
19
votes
5answers
3k 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). One example is a C♯ ...
18
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
17
votes
7answers
2k views

Where does picking speed come from? Forearm, hand, or bicep?

Where specifically on the arm/hand should rapid picking speed come from?
16
votes
5answers
2k views

If between E and F is a halftone, why can F not be an E♯

A ♯ raises a note by a semitone or halftone. I'm confused. If E and F are a halftone apart, why can't F be E♯?
13
votes
4answers
15k views

Cleaning a tarnished flute

My flute is tarnished and needs to be cleaned... I was afraid if I polished it, I would break something on it. I read online that it's a bad idea to remove tarnish on a flute yourself as you can ruin ...
11
votes
1answer
3k views

Different Simile Marks

In the pictures below, there are many measures with different simile marks. I know there are many different types of simile marks, varying number of lines, with or without dots, on barline or in the ...
10
votes
6answers
19k views

What kind of guitar for big hands?

For someone with big hands, what kind of guitar is suitable? What are the advantages and disadvantages of big hands for playing guitar?
10
votes
4answers
396 views

Recommended arm and hand position for neck side

I was wondering if there are some really clear sites, videos or texts explaining the best practices regarding the way to hold your guitar, both to be efficient and to avoid straining your fingers/arm.
9
votes
4answers
10k views

How to use diminished scale over I IV V changes in blues

I want to spice up my solos over a Blues progression. I already can play a variety of scales but the Diminished scale is something I would like to add because of the particular sounds it creates. In ...
9
votes
2answers
839 views

Common names for sections of a piece of music

Generally, what is is the name for the non-vocal parts of a song that are not interludes or preludes and not a guitar solo or instrumental verse/chorus? For example, right after the acapella vocal ...
9
votes
2answers
866 views

Finding the “Starting point” when creating a composition or score

This is a fairly simple one, and hopefully not too wide-open to be permitted here: what approaches are available when sitting at a fresh screen or sheet of paper, or at your instrument, to create the ...
7
votes
3answers
4k views

Why is it so hard to count beats and play at the same time?

I am just beginning to learn to play the piano on my own. I seem to have much difficulties keeping the beats and play the notes at the same time. For example, I have been practicing on this same ...
7
votes
5answers
3k views

Does the bass note in a “slash” chord really have an associated interval?

I have a question about "slash" chords. Look at the chord E/G: E G♯ B G 1 3 5 ? G is the minor 3rd interval (♭3) in the key of E. However, I would have thought by definition chords cannot ...
6
votes
3answers
461 views

What is the easiest/most popular way of figuring out the chords used in a song?

What is the best way for someone with a minimal amount of music theory knowledge to figure out the chords used in a song? I've used Chordify (chord recognition software) if someone hasn't published ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

Is it possible to use video games to help improve one's singing?

I've decided that I want to improve my singing. In order to give me incentive to practice (and regular feedback), I thought getting a video game might be of help. I know that it's no substitute for ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

Backing Tracks for Practicing

Looking for Backing Tracks for Practicing on Guitar, I listen to Heavy Metal and Progressive Metal genre.
4
votes
4answers
2k views

Why do Major keys contain minor chords?

Looking through each Major Key: At position II, III, VI these are MINOR key signatures? At position VII, this is a DIMINISHED key signature? Looking at the C Major Key as an example, this chord ...
4
votes
1answer
348 views

How are keys in the circle of fifths related?

I know this seems like a basic question, and in the traditional sense, I actually know how their related. Though, whilst reading a book titled 'harmony for computer musicians', I've come across a ...
3
votes
3answers
155 views

How to read piano key signatures

I just started playing piano, but Im confused about reading key signatures. For example take a look at the first measure of this song: http://www.musicnotes.com/sheetmusic/mtd.asp?ppn=MN0130187, does ...
15
votes
6answers
483 views

How do you care for your guitar?

A guitar that is used regularly will sooner or later show signs of wear and tear. How do you best care for your guitar and make sure it stays as good as it is for as long as possible?
15
votes
6answers
26k views

What are the ABRSM graded examinations, and why would one want to take them?

I have seen several questions here about the exams offered by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music in the United Kingdom. Most questions are from the standpoint of people who are in the ...
15
votes
9answers
1k views

Musical Aids to Memorize Intervals

As the tutor for my school's music department, I spend a lot of time helping students drill intervals. However, I only have a handful of songs to recommend recognition. P8 — Somewhere Over the ...
13
votes
8answers
11k views

How can I stop my electric guitar strings from rusting so quickly?

I suffer from hyperhyrdosis which means my hands sweat quite a lot. The problem is that because of this my electric guitar strings seem to rust quite quickly because of this. Is there anything I can ...
13
votes
6answers
1k views

I need help understanding the concept of chord inversions.

This article from wikipedia, states: In the first inversion of a C major triad the bass is E—the 3rd of the triad—with the 5th and the root stacked above it (the root now shifted an octave ...
13
votes
5answers
29k views

How to know which scale a song uses?

I have a song in my mind, and I want to play it on the guitar. I know how scales are made (full and half steps), and I can recognize whether the next note is higher or lower in a song (not perfectly)...
13
votes
4answers
16k views

How can I do rough vocals without hurting my voice?

I recently wrote a song where the vocals are supposed to sound rough, but not quite growling/screaming. What's the best way to get that sort of sound from my voice without any long-term or short-term ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

With sheet music, what happens with sharps and double sharps that are already sharped in the key signature?

For example, let's say the key signature has an f sharp and then also an individual f note has a sharp next to it. Are they just emphasizing the f sharp or does that actually become a g? Same ...
12
votes
7answers
1k views

What methods can I use to aid note accuracy when playing a Theremin

The main problem I have with the Theremin is identifying "anchors" to help train my muscle memory for note accuracy. My first violin, about 35 years ago, had tape added by my instructor for the first ...
12
votes
1answer
562 views

What are good techniques to bend notes on brass instruments

I play Eb tuba, and sometimes I come across bending down in my notes - either as an effect at the end of a note, or sometimes as a slide between two notes. I find this difficult to achieve with a good ...
12
votes
3answers
4k views

How do you know what beat to emphasize based on the time signature?

In learning the guitar I have run across various time signatures. In each time signature it seems as if you are supposed to emphasize different beats. Is this something that you just have to intuit, ...
12
votes
5answers
2k views

Is there a name for a chord which combines the major and minor thirds of the root?

I noticed while noodling on my acoustic guitar that playing Cm using the Am shape barred on 3rd fret, that opening the high E string gives a pleasingly discordant sound. I realised the E comes from ...
12
votes
2answers
4k views

Why do wind bands use a concert Bb for tuning?

Back when I was part of my school's wind band, we used to always tune to a concert Bb. Why do wind bands tune to a Bb rather than an A (as discussed here)? I recall our director once vaguely ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

Are there any enharmonic chords?

Will I even encounter any enharmonic chords? For example would an inverted variation of one chord be equivalent to the root variation of another chord?
11
votes
5answers
8k views

Do weighted keys on a keyboard lead to more expressive playing?

I use an acoustic piano to learn/play classical music. I use a midi keyboard to record/produce own music. My piano has weighted keys while my midi keyboard has a very light touch. I find that I am ...
11
votes
2answers
3k views

Learning 4/5 trills on the piano?

This has got to be one of the hardest technical things to teach your hands. I'm looking for advice from someone who's already surmounted this particular obstacle. To be clear, I'm talking about ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

How to have a penetrating voice?

My voice is always buried in background sound, no matter if it is singing or speaking. What can I do to have a more penetrating voice? What kind of voice is more penetrating, high or low pitch?
11
votes
4answers
23k views

Putting steel strings on a cheap nylon guitar

I was trying to get back into playing guitar. I only took lessons for a few years with a nylon string guitar that was fairly cheap. When I pulled the guitar out of the attic it needed new strings so I ...
10
votes
4answers
3k views

Can I make Electronic Drums even more quiet?

I live in an apartment and recently bought a Yamaha dtxtreme III. Luckily I live on the bottom floor and have no one under me, however the drums are facing a wall that I share with my neighbors. The ...

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