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38

The keys are only identical on equal-tempered instruments, but that's most modern western instruments like pianos. Wind instruments other than the trombone are built to be (mostly) equal tempered [EDIT: I might be simplifying too much here, see David's comment below], but the players can bend pitches somewhat. The trombone, all non-fretted string ...


28

D's central position in Wicky-Hayden layout is an artifact of the fact that Dorian mode is a symmetric scale (its descending interval pattern and ascending interval pattern are the same) in some tunings, including the twelve tone equal temperament (and it's the only such diatonic mode). Even though I'm sure this mathematical property of Dorian mode has been ...


26

Two reasons. You don't have enough fingers to play it. The fifth is the most expendable note in a 7th chord (1-3-5-7). Without the 7, it wouldn't be a 7th. Without the 3rd, it wouldn't be major or minor. Without the root, it wouldn't be the chord that it is. But the fifth doesn't contribute any vital property of the chord. There is this other fretting ...


24

Yep, the second one is far better for precisely the reason you say. A general rule is that you shouldn't have dotted-notes that start on an off beat and carry through the next beat. There are exceptions even to this rule, but showing the underlying beat structure of the meter is paramount in the vast majority of situations. Elliott Carter is an example of ...


24

One option if you're primarily interested in representing the individual digits of pi is to use a representation in a base other than 10. For example pi base 12 would have an individual digital for each chromatic note. Here's a website that might help get you started: http://www.virtuescience.com/pi-in-other-bases.html


23

This is more clear when you think of it in terms of the length of the string. Ignoring for a second that strings need to be a minimum length in order to vibrate, we can produce a full octave on the first half of any length of string. Open for the "base" note, midpoint for the octave, one third of the way up for the fifth, etc. So on a guitar you have the ...


21

Harmonic mixing is the practice of using music theory in your dj sets. You can use this knowledge to achieve specific functions when mixing two songs (similar to chord progressions), or to know which songs are compatible with each other, just to give a few examples. The most common and basic form of harmonic mixing. If you don't want to know about the ...


21

Sharp-keys are in some ways nicer to play than flat ones. The preference for these keys is perhaps most extreme in folk styles: going through two collections of celtic-style fiddle music[978-1-85720-202-1],[1-871931-04-5], I found the distribution to be this crass: ♭♭ : 5 ♭  : 5 ♮  : 7 ♯  : 57 ♯♯ : 70 ♯♯♯: 9 In particular D major is really a great ...


19

The key change you are describing is known as a Chromatic Mediant Relationship. This type of modulation rose to prominence in the Romantic Period and has been used by composers and musicians ever since. Chromatic Mediant Relationships are ones in which the roots or tonal centers of the keys are a non-diatonic 3rd apart. If diatonic (within the key), it ...


19

1. Bias against "unorthodox" notes Western music tradition (and some others) was, and to a large extent still is, based on heptatonic scales, that is, seven unequal divisions in an octave. So, in a given musical context, all twelve notes are not created equal. For instance, in a musical phrase in C major, natural notes (ones with no accidentals) are the ...


18

The term "voice leading" comes from choral music, but it applies to chord progressions in all sorts of arrangements for all sorts of instruments. A chord progression has two dimensions: horizontal and vertical. Let's say you are playing four-note chords in sequence. You can think of the progression as a series of block chords (vertical), but you can also ...


18

Yes. The key signature of Db has a Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, and a Gb. Those notes are flat unless otherwise noted no matter the octave. For any key signature on any staff, you will only ever see the accidentals written once in a typical pattern. The octave the accidentals are in are entirely based on the clef used, but apply to all octaves. You can think of the ...


17

The minor scale is not called the "minor scale" because it is the most minor. Names don't have to accurately reflect the definition. Modes are sometimes classified as "minor" or "major" depending on their third (a minor third usually comes with other minor degrees like the flat 7th which is common to all minor modes of the major scale). And of all the minor ...


17

I would say that the last paragraph of your question is closer to the truth. I wouldn't consider knowing the names and shapes of some chords as knowing theory. I know for a fact that people can play very well with little to no theoretical knowledge, since I have friends with this ability. Theory wasn't there before music, theory is a tool to understand and ...


17

I've studied music in both the US and the UK (piano lessons in the UK at age 14, majored in piano in the US), and bar and measure are used interchangeably in both in my experience. Jazz and blues musicians tend to say "bar" more often than "measure": 12-bar and 16-bar blues, for example. Also, you'd never hear a jazz musician say "He stepped on four of my ...


17

This is an A minor chord in first inversion. A is the root note, C is the minor 3rd, E is the perfect 5th. As the C, the 3rd, is at the bottom, this chord is in first inversion. The musical excerpt below shows this with conventional notation. Each chord has the same three pitches of an A minor triad, A C E (R m3 5), but the change to the lowest pitch ...


16

It's essentially just a matter of perspective. The circle is only organized differently for different purposes. The circle of fourths and circle of fifths are, in fact, the same thing, but written in different directions. This is because P4 and P5 are inversions of each other. For example, a G going to C could either go up a fourth or down a fifth. Both ...


15

Using only your ears, it's impossible to determine the exact time signature the composer would have used when writing the score. This is because there are many ways to write the same thing, all of which sound the same when played. For example, a piece written in 3/4 time can easily be re-written in 3/8 time by halving all the note values and playing it half ...


15

I feel like I've already at least partly answered this question here. But I'll endeavor to add more here. First of all, you aren't quite right in your description of the note-naming system. There are seven letters, and every one of these can be sharped or flatted: A♭, A, A♯ B♭, B, B♯ C♭, C, C♯ D♭, D, D♯ E♭, E, E♯ F♭, F, F♯ G♭, G, G♯ It's just that many ...


14

As someone who writes music, I have this to add: I usually come up with ideas for songs by improvising on a piano until I come up with a phrase that I really like. Way back when I started improvising, I came up with some ideas in certain keys (mostly based on what was easy for me to play at the time), and over time, the emotions in those songs became ...


14

Great question - I remember when I myself was confused about this very same thing many years ago, and indeed at first, it all seems completely random. In order to answer your question, there needs to be a little background: Historically, thinking about music in terms of harmonic progression is one that has really only come to complete prominence in the ...


14

It's important to understand that mode doesn't have to be, and often isn't, an explicit choice. You wrote: The notes we play and the order is based on sound and emotion. and that's true enough, but—if you've mostly written notes from a single western key and are writing in a more or less traditional style—then the way you've used those notes will be in ...


13

This is called Modulation (which basically just means a planned key change), specifically "Sequential Modulation" (meaning that it changes to the next key in a sequence, and not randomly), and even more specifically a "Diatonic Sequential Modulation" (meaning that the sequence of key changes is diatonic, in your example it's a major scale). This is not just ...


13

They are called "5 note chords" and "6 note chords" because they are not so fundamental a component of music that they need a shorter name. A "triad" applies to many different three-note chords - always based around the root, a third, and a fifth -- but the third may be major (4 semitones from the root) or minor (3 semitones from the root), and the fifth ...


13

It is a Major triad built on the lowered 2nd scale degree. It's usually in first inversion, hence the "6th" part of the name. So if I'm in C-minor, the Neapolitan 6th (sometimes analyzed as N6 or bII6) would be a Db-major triad, probably with the F in the bass. They are chromatic harmonies, and their primary function is to go to V. EDITED TO ADD: There is a ...


13

One last update. The question as I understand it has numerous nested questions: "...if this statement can ever make sense: "X didn't / doesn't know any music theory and is one of the all time greats..." "...is the above statement really saying that these guitarist essentially make up chords as they go along based upon intuition and ear alone?" "...Is ...


13

No, not directly. The beaming may affect how you think about the time subdivisions (four groups of two eighth notes vs. two groups of four eighth notes) which might subtly affect your accenting of the overall piece, but it's not really an explicit thing, no. For comparison, in choral music, you often see all the eighth notes unbeamed, unless they belong to ...


13

The number 10 doesn't necessarily map well to values in traditional musical theory. (For instance, there are 12 chromatic pitches per octave, using conventional divisions of the octave; diatonic scales have seven pitches; note durations are related as powers or negative powers of 2). So, for this reason, the world is your oyster! I guess you can choose any ...


12

What OP means is that if you use the notes of that scale (no sharps or flats added or removed) and play a third and a fifth on each note you get those chords. Example on C major scale: C (first note): 3rd up = E 5th up = G Chord = C major D (second note): 3rd up = F 5th up = A Chord = D minor (note the half step between E/F making the minor third) G ...


12

Because frequency with regard to pitch is exponential, not linear. Exponential (frequency doubles for each octave -- each higher octave fits perfectly into the lower one with the least possible interference -- 2:1 ratio): A3: 220hz A4: 440hz A5: 880hz Linear (same value added to each successive frequency, making the top note a 3:2 ratio with the previous ...



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