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 ...
17
votes
3answers
758 views

Why are pianos traditionally tuned “out of tune” at the extremes?

My understanding is that the vast majority of western music uses equal temperament, i.e. all semitones have a frequency ratio of the 12th root of 2. However I can hear in my piano that the notes at ...
16
votes
5answers
2k views

What is Voice Leading?

In both classical music and jazz, we often encounter the concept of voice leading. What is it? What does it do?
16
votes
5answers
693 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 ...
16
votes
6answers
8k views

How can I minimize going out of tune when using the whammy bar?

Perhaps my selection of musicians is biased, but usually when I see a whammy bar used, it's usually with a locking tremolo bridge like a Floyd Rose. Everybody else seems to take the whammy bar out and ...
14
votes
3answers
2k 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 = ...
13
votes
1answer
225 views

Should the dominant-seventh chord in just intonation use 9:5 for its seventh, or rather 16:9?

It may be just out of habit, what with the 12-edo temperament all around us, but anyway: I find the dominant-seventh rendition 20:25:30:36 sounds extremely harsh. In particular, the tritone from the ...
13
votes
3answers
899 views

Able to recall music in its correct key, but don't have perfect pitch — what is it called?

I don't have perfect pitch, but there are certain things I can do that I've been wondering if there's a name for. Given the name of a piece I've heard reasonably recently, I can sing it in my head in ...
13
votes
6answers
7k views

What should a guitarist learn first: Rhythm or Lead?

It is a slightly subjective question, however, there is, I'm sure, a common consensus as to what lends itself better to a beginner so as not to get frustrated with the instrument. I'm curious as to ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Does weight and/or body frame have anything to do with singing?

Does a small body frame (meaning small bones and possibly small organs) or low weight affect the "power" of a singing voice?? Does a higher weight creates some sort of "pressure" or something that ...
12
votes
6answers
5k views

Do I need a teacher to learn violin?

I'd like to take up the violin, but I travel too much to take lessons. Is it reasonable to learn violin without a teacher? And I take 'unreasonable' to mean "don't even bother- you'll be much better ...
12
votes
6answers
11k views

What scales are suitable for funk? Is there a funk scale?

I hope this question isn't too "noob"-ish for you guys (but hey I've gotta start somewhere). What scales are suitable for funk? Is there a funk scale, akin to the blues scale? I'm pretty sure the ...
11
votes
3answers
556 views

Origin of the 'squigly line' used for quarter note rest?

This has been driving me nuts - I can't find a single thing on the net that would indicate why the quarter rest is penned the way it is. Did it evolve from some initial or abbreviation or was it ...
11
votes
6answers
780 views

“slash” chords, e.g. B/F♯ - are these only for inversions, or can any note be the bass note?

I'm trying to work out whether it is technically correct to have a "slash" chord where the bass note is not one of the notes in the chord. I thought the main reason for slash chords is to show which ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

What is a secondary dominant chord?

What is a secondary dominant chord? What's the theory behind them? How are they used in composition?
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Pros and cons of different types of vibrato on trumpet

Thus far, I've learned three ways of performing vibrato on trumpet: Diaphramatically (ha ha ha) By moving the jaw By moving the fingers over the valves What are the pros and cons of each? A ...
10
votes
6answers
1k views

What is the proper way to play A-Flat scales on piano?

Consider four cases: A-flat major A-flat (natural) minor A-flat melodic minor A-flat harmonic minor I start them with the third finger on the A-flat key (both hands), but I have no idea how a ...
9
votes
3answers
413 views

How would you describe F G A chord progression?

I like the sound of F G A chords progression on a guitar, three major bar chords. Do these chords fit any scale? Am with an added 3 in it? Does it make it a 6-7-1 progression? When I solo over this ...
9
votes
1answer
5k views

What is the difference between sharp note & flat note?

In guitar or generally in any musical instruments, what is the difference between sharp notes & flat notes? For example : Are A♯ & B♭ the same? And are C♯ & D♭ the same? Does that make ...
9
votes
5answers
893 views

What can I do to learn violin before going to a teacher?

Well, I just got a violin today. Got it set up, tuned up (I think), aaaand... Most horrible sound ever heard in my life! :D So, it is time to learn to play it. Apparently, it is highly advised to get ...
9
votes
3answers
491 views

Online counterpoint materials

For a long time I've wanted to teach myself counterpoint, but haven't been able to find any materials online. Are there any hidden tutorials anyone knows of, or good books written in English in the ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

What is an “open tuning”?

I know that Keith Richards has been known to use open tunings on some songs, but what is an open tuning exactly and when/why would you use it?
9
votes
4answers
452 views

Free exercise books

I've asked a question here: What is a string skipping exercise?. A follow up question: Are there some good free exercise books available on-line for the post-beginner stage? A link to a good ...
8
votes
5answers
471 views

What is the best way to learn scales in order to improve improvisation/writing of lead guitar parts?

Where I'm at skill-wise Played guitar on-and-off for about 5 years Up until a year ago had only really learned by playing from tabs Have been undertaking bi-weekly guitar lessons for just over a ...
8
votes
5answers
458 views

How to go learn through a book

This is not your average "which book to learn from" question. I'll post my research and background in as much detail as possible (since this could potentially help others with similar question). I've ...
8
votes
1answer
626 views

What is this called? Why is it allowed?

"Golden Train" by Justin Nozuka (YouTube link below) is in the key of Ab major. However he uses a Cb major chord throughout the song, which is not in the key of Ab major. It sounds good and works ...
7
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
461 views

Does a chord need to include its root?

While I understand that it is very important to include the root note in a chord, is it required? Let's say I'm in C Major, and I want to play a I chord. Do I need to include C in order for it to be ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Why do the notes of a blues scale sound good with the I, IV, and V chords?

If you are playing the blues in the key of C, any note in the blues key of C should sound good in the melody with either of the C, F or G (I, IV or V) major chords in the bass. Why is this and how do ...
7
votes
1answer
285 views

Does one play a song better after “sleeping on it”?

Whenever I'm learning something new on the piano, I'll usually learn the basic notes and rhythm of a section of the song (several measures, maybe a full page depending on the complexity / tempo, ...
7
votes
2answers
954 views

Adjusting clarinet or saxophone reeds

How do various techniques and equipments for adjusting reeds compare? e.g. ...
7
votes
5answers
273 views

Resources for learning the Blues

Can anyone recommend any good resources (books or online) for learning the Blues on the guitar? Scales and theory is what I am looking for.
7
votes
3answers
283 views

What are good tips for remaining composed during one's first public performance?

One's first public performance can be daunting in terms of the amount of anxiety involved. How should first time performers who have never been on stage (or performed in front of unknown people) deal ...
6
votes
2answers
293 views

How far do the supporting chords contribute to the tonality of Vi Hart's “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, and if they do, how?

Vi Hart, a mathemusician (cool eh!) at the Khan Academy posted an excellent video explaining 12 Tone music. She first explains the rules thus: You have to use all twelve chromatic pitches in some ...
6
votes
4answers
6k views

Accepted ranges for SATB choral works?

I am writing an a Capella choral work. I need to know if the following ranges are reasonable or not. S1: Eb4-Ab5 (One S1 is assigned an optional Db6) S2: Eb5-Gb5 A1: C4-F5 A2: C4-F5 T1: C3-Bb4 ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

What is the best way to start learning to play guitar by ear

I've been using TAB for a while but I want to transition to picking things up by ear. What is an effective way to do that? Please give answers about methods you have experience with and explain how ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

How much louder can a singer go safely above the conversation voice ?

It seems that some increase in loudness is inevitable when going to higher notes. Is there any widely known recommendation or rule of thumb from the voice experts as to how many decibels can a singer ...
6
votes
4answers
427 views

When is it proper (if ever) to extend time signatures (8/4 vs 4/4)?

When listening to most contemporary music, in my experience, time signatures tend to be in "common time", or 4/4. But sometimes it feels like the phrase or measure extends beyond the four quarter ...
5
votes
4answers
992 views

How do I improve vibrato and breath volume in singing?

Some people say that vibrato is a gift acquired by birth while some say vibrato has to be practiced and gained before puberty. Once puberty (10-12 yrs) is attained, and the male voice changes to a low ...
5
votes
2answers
153 views

Links and tips for Learning and using scales

Tips and links on learning and using different types of scales will be helpful. If possible List of scales with songs in which they are used and (artists/types of bands) who uses certain scales to a ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

What are alternative “voicings” for Major/Minor/Dominant Chords if I can't play “Barre Chords”?

I would like some alternative Chord Voicings if I don't want to play the standard barre chords for major/minor/dominant voicings: Thanks!!
5
votes
5answers
5k views

How to play upstrokes with our hand when playing an acoustic guitar?

I have seen a lot of guitar videos and read a lot of guitar books but one thing they all have in common is that while teaching strumming they tell you to "loosen up", "keep going up and down" etc. Or ...
4
votes
2answers
950 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.
4
votes
4answers
3k views

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

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 ...
4
votes
1answer
303 views

Can vocal range extrema be reached by a lot of practice?

Wikipedia lists the world records and extremes of the vocal range, can extrema be reached by a lot of practice or were they born with that?
3
votes
2answers
1k views

How can I learn to play funk on a keyboard?

I used to play piano when I was a kid, mostly classical education in a Gulbenkian conservatorium. Now I'm 24 and nurturing a deep love for Booker T's funky keyboards. Besides my piano, I have a ...
2
votes
4answers
2k views

How Can I Replicate The Sound Of An Instrument?

I have experience of basic music theory, guitar and piano. My current project involves creating a computer program that can replicate the sounds of any given instrument (starting with piano). I can ...
2
votes
1answer
324 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 ...
26
votes
15answers
17k 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 ...
25
votes
9answers
3k views

“one finger per fret” - is it worth following this rule?

When I first got into guitar, I was given advice to follow a "one finger per fret" rule with the left hand. Basically, to fret notes with all four fingers, and to follow a pattern such that in any ...

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