Linked Questions

0
votes
2answers
515 views

Why is Western music based on the 12 tone, 7 note octave? Is this purely a cultural/historical phenomenon, or is there an objective basis? [duplicate]

Any resources in this are welcome. I know Pythagoras is often brought up, but where and why did he develop this?
2
votes
0answers
111 views

What is the historical time line of the diatonic and chromatic scales? (history pov) [duplicate]

I was wondering the historical origin of the diatonic/chromatic scale and how it ended up looking the way it does now in our equal temperament system. And whats the difference between chromatic and ...
74
votes
12answers
47k views

Purpose of double-sharps and double-flats?

In a few pieces of music I have read through, I have come across double-sharps and flats. To my understanding, they are two semitones above/below the note indicated. What is, then, the point of ...
61
votes
9answers
13k views

Is there a way to measure the consonance or dissonance of a chord?

I know that if I played C and B together they would be very dissonant compared to if I played a G or C one octave up. Is there a quantitative way to describe that sort dissonance? Edit: I understand ...
39
votes
10answers
8k views

The major scale - why and how?

background: I am an amateur guitarist. I was trained in Indian classical music as a kid. Most of what I know in music theory is from books or Google. So please feel free to correct me or tell me if I'...
41
votes
5answers
26k views

Does it really make difference to play a song in a different key?

I hear sometimes players and composers say that this song won't sound good in F Major for example, and you should play it or write it in G Major (this was just an example). In other words, it seems ...
37
votes
5answers
9k views

Why do notes have multiple names?

I've seen the same note called different names for example the note F# can also be written as Gb. Why is this the case and are there times to use one name over another?
45
votes
3answers
19k views

Why is C the base note of standard notation and keys?

Why is it that notes "start" with C? In key signatures, for example, C Major is the basis and accidentals are added for all other key signatures. I know that the musical alphabet starts with A and ...
19
votes
4answers
7k views

Why are notes named the way they are?

In 12 tone equal temperament, why are the notes named: C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B instead of, for example, A, A#, B, B#, C, C#, D, D#, E, E#, F, F# or any other thing?
15
votes
5answers
10k views

Origin of the asymmetrical keyboard layout of a piano

The piano keyboard has white keys based on the C Diatonic scale plus black keys, which add the remaining notes used in western music. The asymmetrical way in which the black and white keys are placed ...
2
votes
10answers
572 views

Are there any instruments which don't split an octave into 12 notes?

I am an absolute beginner to the theory of music and was just curious if there are instruments around the world which break this 'rule' of 12 notes. I know it is possible but are there any such ...
4
votes
1answer
392 views

History of piano key naming

Hope this hasn't been asked previously, as it could be piano question no. 1000! The convention that C is the name of the key to the left of two black keys came from somewhere. But where? The '...
2
votes
2answers
90 views

A scale question

If the interval between the root and the 3rd contains 4 half steps, why does the interval between the root and the 5th contain 7 half steps rather than 8?
-1
votes
2answers
121 views

How to understand the keyboard of a piano (or any such instrument)? [closed]

I would like to ask about something like theoretical foundations or fundamentals of an 88 piano keyboard. My thinking is a) there is a range of pitch a human can hear (lets assume that there is no ...
1
vote
0answers
85 views

Why is the key of C the one key with no sharps or flats? [duplicate]

It would seem like that would have been A from a logical stand point. Does anyone know the origin of this as to how music evolved this way with C being the so-called starter key? Just a curiosity on ...