Questions tagged [classical-music]

Questions about the music produced or rooted in the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music during a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times.

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54
votes
11answers
25k views

Why isn't there a classical composer like Beethoven, Chopin or Mozart today?

Why there aren't composers writing in a classical style today? Why don't we hear of classical composers today like we do of Beethoven, Chopin or Mozart? My question may be strange, but I am really ...
36
votes
12answers
4k views

Appreciating the music of J. S. Bach

I have been learning piano for many years and am able to really enjoy the music of Beethoven and Chopin. However, when it comes to Bach, I must shamefully admit, I can't see why he is held in such ...
33
votes
7answers
13k views

Why is the key included in classical music titles?

I was always curious why classical composers use names like this Étude in E-flat minor (Frédéric_Chopin) or Missa in G major (Johann Sebastian Bach). Is this from scales of this songs? Weren't they ...
33
votes
6answers
38k views

How do classical composers write music?

I am starting to learn about music theory and today it hit me how do classical composers such as Mozart and Beethoven are able to write music for instruments they don't play, such as (for example ...
29
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4answers
8k views

How did composers “test” their music?

How did composers "test" their music, especially in multi-instrument works (eg. chamber, orchestra) or in pieces for instruments they didn't know how to play? Did they really have an orchestra (for ...
26
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5answers
36k views

What is Voice Leading?

In both classical music and jazz, we often encounter the concept of voice leading. What is it?
25
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11answers
11k views

Where do musicians draw their melodies from?

It has been in my head for so long. I am a visual artist, animator, I do motion graphics, 3D artwork and most of my work is done visually. I am puzzled by this question. Visual artists, they draw ...
25
votes
3answers
71k 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 ...
24
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4answers
5k views

Did baroque composers think of ritardando on their compositions?

I've been always told that whenever I play any baroque piece on the piano, I should take special care when attending to, for example, the amount of right pedal I should use. It sounded perfectly ...
19
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6answers
2k views

Progression path from an apprentice to a guru in music theory?

I am a computer science major and have been practicing music (as a hobby) for the past 4 years now. I started digging into the basics of Music Theory a year ago and now wish to advance my knowledge so ...
19
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3answers
7k views

Classical examples of a 'fifth voice' or 'ghost soprano'

There is an interesting phenomenon in choral (and perhaps also instrumental?) singing in which typically four voices are arranges in such a way that a 'fifth voice' or 'ghost voice' can be heard. It ...
18
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3answers
2k views

Is there any classical precursor to boogie woogie?

It is often been said (rather too simplistically in many cases) that jazz is a combination of European and African practices. I am interested particularly in classical piano techniques that have been ...
17
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6answers
2k views

Do classical pieces sound different today than the originals due to temperament?

I was reading how classical music used to not be in equal temperament. So each of their keys sounded completely different and that's why they named their pieces after the keys they were playing. ...
17
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4answers
4k views

Why was Brahms's music considered 'too academic'?

I posted on here before about learning to compose, after hearing some classical music that moved me enormously. I have been researching many of the famous composers from all over the world; Brahms ...
16
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7answers
7k views

Why aren't chord names written in classical sheet music?

When I see classical sheet music I don't see the chords named, were chords not used back then? And if they were, do the notes that are under a bass clef generally outline the shapes of chords? I only ...
16
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2answers
3k views

Why does Brahms stand next to Bach and Beethoven?

I've often heard the expression, "Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms" as sort of a summary of classical music, or something. I feel that I understand why Bach and Beethoven should serve as pillars of ...
15
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5answers
8k views

How long do you hold a fermata?

I am new to piano and just downloaded this book, it seems simple enough for a beginner like me but there is a symbol that I don't really understand, a fermata. Googling I see I am supposed to hold ...
13
votes
2answers
774 views

Score for orchestra tuning

I was talking this monring about Cage's 4:33 and I mentioned that I'd love to see a score for an orchestra tuning. It's one of the most recognisable sounds in concerts and has many distinctive musical ...
12
votes
7answers
4k views

“The intervals considered dissonant have changed since the 'Middle Ages'”; How so?

In reading my new book 'Complete Classical Music Guide', I understand the following: If two notes are separated by a consonant the sound is pleasing to the ears. If they are of a dissonant ...
12
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2answers
1k views

Why does the same classical piece sound like it's in a different key in different recordings?

I've noticed that sometimes a different recording of the same piece will sound like it's being played in a different key. For example, I listened to Concerto No. 6 in B-Flat Major, BWV 1051: III. ...
12
votes
6answers
5k views

How often is the Sostenuto pedal used in classical and modern Piano Music?

In most of the pianos that we see today, the Sostenuto pedal does not exist. Only the pianissimo (una corda) and the sustain (damper) pedals can be seen. Throughout the time that I've been studying ...
12
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4answers
29k views

How much digital piano polyphony is really needed for classical music?

I am looking for my very first piano to learn to play. I have only played a very little bit when I was a kid, and it was with a cheap acoustic upright piano at home. I'm not going to play ...
12
votes
1answer
296 views

E flat or E natural in score of Beethoven String Quartet Op 131?

I have heard recordings of Beethoven's C sharp minor string quartet Op. 131 where, in bar 53 the third crotchet of the first violin part is played as E flat, and at least one recording where it is ...
11
votes
8answers
11k views

How does a advanced classical pianist start to play pop music?

I consider myself an advanced classical pianist, being able to play many Etudes, Ballades and Sonatas by Beethoven, Liszt and Chopin, for example. However, I have been struggling to play pop music for ...
11
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2answers
2k views

Vivaldi's “The Four Seasons”, Who Chose the Title?

Did Vivaldi himself choose the title "The Four Seasons" and the titles for each of the four concerti, or they're chosen by publishers?
11
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5answers
3k views

Does improvisation in the classical idiom differ significantly from jazz and folk improvisation?

How do musicians who actually improvise in classical music, such as Robert Levine, JS Bach, Edgar Meyer, church organists and classical ballet pianists, compose in the moment? Are there any ...
11
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5answers
2k views

Why is the choice of key considered so fundamental in Classical music that it often effectively becomes part of the name of the composition? [duplicate]

I often hear references to, e.g., "Bach's Fugue in G Minor," sometimes with a number (something like "Bach's Fugue in G Minor #13"). Why is the key of the piece so important that it becomes part of ...
11
votes
2answers
4k views

Can someone explain the rhythm of a Mazurka?

While perusing some Chopin and Liszt sheets, I tried to play a Mazurka or two. But, I simply don't understand how the rhythm works. It feels awkward and unbalanced when I try and I just don't get it, ...
11
votes
3answers
508 views

Is there a term for the practice of omitting staves for the measures that have no music in an orchestral score?

Particularly in 20th century "atonal" orchestral music, one from time to time comes across a score in which staves that have no music are not notated with a whole rest, but rather are not even printed ...
11
votes
1answer
756 views

What is the process by which singers identify their voice type/fach?

I am trying to gain insight about the process by which vocalists identify their voice type or fach. I am not looking for any discussion about the basic distinctions between, say, soprano and alto. ...
10
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6answers
23k views

How can I get a violin sound from my electric guitar?

I have composed a modern classical piece of music which has sections for violins, cellos, some horns and percussion. The problem is that I did all of that using an electric guitar, so I actually don't ...
10
votes
2answers
810 views

Do classical and rock musicians train with different goals?

I expect most musicians aim to master the instrument they play. But articles & interviews I've read suggest that: Classical musicians: Place importance on precision and theoretical knowledge ...
10
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1answer
1k views

Earliest-*known* use of a double leading tone cadence?

Background For those who do not know, the double leading tone cadence was perhaps the single defining characteristic of Ars Nova. Earlier music styles used much simpler cadences (movement by 3rds, ...
10
votes
2answers
292 views

Is it considered poor skills if a (Western) classical singer has to cough during performance?

I was watching some videos of classical Indian (Carnatic) vocal concerts recently, and I noticed that from time to time the singers cough or clear their throats in the middle of a piece, even between ...
10
votes
1answer
109 views

When did the practice of exiting-reentering during applause in classical concerts start?

As the title suggests, I'm looking for some information on when the practice (concerning soloists and directors) of exiting and reentering the stage during an applause after a classical performance ...
9
votes
6answers
818 views

Do you have to enjoy a lot of music to make the investment of learning the piano worth it?

I'm currently learning how to play the piano and realizing there are actually not so many pieces that I would like to play. Over the years my taste in music has narrowed a lot. Even though I've tried ...
9
votes
6answers
5k views

Why do string players tend to breathe heavily in performance?

Recently, I've started to develop an interest in classical music, specifically chamber music and, more specifically, piano trios. Having listened to a few performances now, I can't help but notice ...
9
votes
4answers
7k views

Piano (sheet music) curves on top and numbers in circles

I am new to Piano and sheet music in general so I downloaded a "simple version" of Fur Elise to play as I already know how the tune goes in my head. Presently, I only play it with my right hand. A ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

My guitar pupil is a pregnant woman. Should she keep playing classical guitar?

What are the consequences for the baby ? Are there any studies that would have noticed positive / negative consequences on the baby of the vibrations a classical guitar induces on the belly and the ...
9
votes
1answer
578 views

What is this particular type of chord progression, common in classical music, called?

I don't know anything about music theory but I am a fanatic when it comes to listening to classical music. For a while I have been curious about a type of chord progression which is very common in ...
9
votes
5answers
4k views

What are some examples influences from external cultures on the development of Western classical music?

So, I think it's largely safe to presume that the core of Western musical theory developed almost entirely within Europe -- Greece in its very early history, mainly Italy and also the Franco-Flemish ...
9
votes
1answer
160 views

What is meant by “large scale tonal organization?”

I found this in a CD liner note. "the work shows the influence of Beethoven in its dramatic contrasts and its feeling for large scale tonal organization." What does this mean? TIA
8
votes
4answers
2k views

In classical music scores we often find French horns of different pitches. Why is that?

For example, in many pieces, there are two horns in F and two in E flat. What is the reason? Divide the horns to be able to give each group the better matching parts concerning intonation? For pitch ...
8
votes
3answers
179 views

Unintentional plagiarism while composing

I have recently started composing using some knowledge that I got after a few months of studying counterpoint and harmony (well it is more like trying to compose). And I have mentioned that quite ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there a specific name for music that sounds like it has no rests?

Example: Prelude no. 2 from Bach’s “Well-Tempered Clavier”. That piece sounds like it has no rests. It’s a constant flow of music the entire time. I love pieces like that. I want to know if there’s a ...
8
votes
2answers
169 views

How to read a classical music title as a host in a classical music concert?

So, I was invited to host a mini piano and orchestra concert at my school despite having a little knowledge of classical music. I have some problems with the naming conventions of some musical pieces, ...
8
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3answers
4k views

What makes a great conductor?

What qualities do great conductors share? Are there unique qualities that make a particular conductor great that do not exist in other conductors?
8
votes
1answer
787 views

Is there such a thing as “pop music theory”?

There is large body of work describing the theory of Western classical music; I'm unaware of the state of analysis of popular music forms. Are the differences between, say post-50's American pop-...
8
votes
3answers
220 views

In which music should I add my own embellishments?

I know that music from the baroque era was composed with the assumption that performers would add their own embellishments (when viable, not for canons or fugues). I've also heard that Mozart didn't ...
8
votes
3answers
6k views

How did JS Bach improvise?

Before his compositions were rediscovered, JS Bach was not known as a composer (as CPE Bach was) but as one of the foremost improvisers and performers of his time. What is known about JS Bach's ...