Questions tagged [terminology]

For questions about the terms used to describe music or the language used within the musical field. Questions about symbols should use the "notation" tag.

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Term for sequence of notes of equal duration?

Is there a general musical term for a sequence of musical notes, all with the same duration, ignoring any other context? For example, a sequence of five quavers, or a sequence of three semibreves, ...
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What is it called when the main melody is playing in a different time signature from the harmony?

For example, in the Phantasy Star Online Intro song, the main melody starts to play in 3/4 time, whereas the overall song (and the harmony) remains playing in 4/4 time. (starts after 10 seconds, at ...
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1 answer
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Is there a word for a section of music where many of the instruments suddenly stop playing? [duplicate]

I literally know nothing about music, so this will probably seem like a very novice question. Is there a word for the part of a song where many of the instruments drop away very suddenly? To give you ...
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How do you treat add6 on a minor chord? [duplicate]

So would a Dm(add6) chord have a major or minor 6 on top? Are they just always major by convention? Would a Dm chord with a Bb on top be a Dm(addb6)?
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What is a "minor-minor" seventh chord?

In the question "difficulty with chord spelling and voicing in Neumeyer's Hindemith analysis", reference is made to a "minor-minor" seventh chord. Note that the 'VI-with-upward-...
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Describing minor triads as 1, b3, 5: convoluted, misleading, or am I missing something?

I've found myriad sources describing “Minor Triads” as “1, b3, 5” with emphasis on the b3. Following an embarrassing amount of head scratching and research, the implication seems to be that b3 in ...
3 votes
3 answers
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Music Theory Terminology

What is the term for when one instrument (let's say trumpet 1) plays a high note, while another (trumpet 2) plays a note an octave or 5 semitones lower? I want to be specific and get this correct. ...
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Is there a name for the way George Strait phrases his lines?

When looking at the sheet music I have noticed that most of his phrasing is at the end or beginning of a Measure in a very short choppy line. Is there a name for this style of phrasing? For example, &...
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What's that mystery beat that's present in Spanish and Middle Eastern music? [closed]

Believe it or not, I've been trying to find the name of this specific beat since I was 7 or 8 years old. Here are some examples of it:
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3 answers
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Csus4, Csus2, C is there a name?

I set my DAW to organ and was playing with chords. I played Csus4, Csus2, C roughly 95bpm 2 counts each. The descending (in my opinion) dissonance from sus4 to sus2 to major feels really nice. But ...
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Tempo alteration "retard" instead of "ritard"

So, this is a piece I'm working on with a large chorus of youngsters ages 10-12. I've never seen a tempo alteration spelled this way. Is it something distinct from "ritard?" Is it simply ...
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What's the (italian or classical) name of a single slash repeat?

I know, the "percent" sign, to repeat the previous bar, is also called due volte. See here: taken from here. However, I'm looking for the (classical name of a) single slash, like here in ...
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Female singing a song written for a male vocalist

I am a singer at my church. Oftentimes I have to choose a song written for a male’s vocal range, which means I have to sing the song in a male key but with my soprano voice. What is the official term ...
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Does the scale of C major with a half-sharp D have a name?

I am using the same melody for 2 instruments and I half-sharpened every D note on the second one, and left the first as C major. Does this have a name? Or is it used anywhere?
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What is the lowered supertonic note called, especially in Phrygian and Locrian modes?

I know most scales/modes like Ionian (major), Dorian, Lydian, Mixolydian and Aeolian (natural minor) have a major second note called the supertonic, but some scales/modes like Phrygian and Locrian ...
3 votes
3 answers
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Pieces or parts of pieces containing only harmony?

I am listening to some pieces where the whole composition or some internal parts seem to contain only harmony/chords without producing a discernible melody. Is this some particular technique or we can ...
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Are there languages/cultures which use a different mental framing of note pitch than "low/high"?

It occurred to me recently that the way we refer to the pitch of notes is somewhat arbitrary. We refer to notes with a low frequency as "low" and notes with a high frequency as "high.&...
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The nature of rhyme in _Surrender_? [closed]

Consider the priceless Surrender, written by Rick Neilsen, 1977. Mother told me, yes she told me In a sense, the me/me rhymes. I'd meet girls like you She also told me stay away You'll never know what ...
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1 answer
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Is there proper terminology for the fundamental elements / layers of a drum beat?

In many musical styles a drum beat is composed of three main elements: Bass drum Snare Hi-Hat ... but more fundamentally, three separate functions that can be performed by other parts of the drum ...
2 votes
3 answers
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Term for music evoking nature that is not "pastorale"?

I'm looking for a concise term, already in use in music writing or analysis, for a composition that evokes nature. I don't want to use "pastorale" because of its usual association with ...
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2 answers
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What is it called when a song starts sounding like the beat is in one place, but is actually somewhere else? [duplicate]

The example that brought this to mind is Lindsey Stirling's "Darkside". At the beginning of the song, plucked notes are played on what we later find out is on the third triplets, but we have ...
2 votes
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What is the difference between an auxiliary chord and a chromatic chord?

I've become confused about what actually an auxiliary chord is. Is it a chord which doesn't belong to the key the piece is written in? Is a chromatic chord an auxiliary chord which is achieved by ...
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More Terms for Melodic Functions in Narrative Situations

Leitmotifs (which in this context I mean as a motif or theme representing a person, place, thing, idea, etc.) are one of the only music theory concepts that have really escaped into (comparatively) ...
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What is the term for swapping parts in a harmony?

What is the technical term given to the technique where parts of a choir switch or swap their parts in a harmony?
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What are 'modal rhythm' and 'mensural rhythm'?

The following is from Harvard Dictionary of Music 2nd Edit. From the definition of 'Discant' (bold added): [...] The ideal of contrary motion was mentioned in the 13th-century "Tractatus de ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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Would anyone be able to help name this progression?

I've had trouble coming up with a name for this progression and was wondering if there is a jazz term or if it's a type of cadence. Cm7 D7 Gmaj7
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Are there applications of interval graphs in musical analysis?

For each voice v_j we have notes n_ji (not rests) which are played at times s_ji and end at time e_ji. Now let us collet all intervals of time where the notes of all voices are played: I_1 = [a_1,b_1],...
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What is tonality?

Here is a dictionary explanation of tonality. the character of a piece of music as determined by the key in which it is played or the relations between the notes of a scale or key. "the sonata ...
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3 answers
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Harmonic or fundamental?

I've always called the overtones one can play on, say, guitar, harmonics, but some say the fundamental is also a harmonic. Which means my 1st harmonic is their 2nd harmonic. Confusing - to both of us, ...
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Descending mode vs. Mixolydian

I looked through my notes and I saw the formula for descending mode. I had written that the formula was "WWHWWHW". I'm confused because I'm sure that is also the formula for the Mixolydian ...
3 votes
4 answers
139 views

Term for Major Scale with a minor seventh

Given a C major Scale, with C as root: C D E F G A B now make the 7th. step minor, and keeping C as root (not switching to F Major) C D E F G A Bb What is the term / name for this key?
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What is the term for when a song switches to a wall of sound, often with a rising chromatic scale, and often found at the end of a song?

You often hear this at the end of songs when the lyrics end and it becomes a 'wall of sound' for want of a better term. Here's an example: Here's another example: ...
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Is coda the same thing as a cadence?

So a coda is "the concluding passage of a piece or movement, typically forming an addition to the basic structure" (Oxford Languages). A cadence, according to Britannica, is the ending of a ...
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Is there a name for the progression Ⅰ-Ⅶ?

Taylor Swift - willow This chord progression is used in the song VERSE1. https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/taylor-swift/willow-chords-3461768
6 votes
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What are modes added with sharps and flats to make them sound better called?

I'm watching this video about modes and right here he mentions something that sounds like 'musica fikta' which he explains as sharps and flats added to modes to make them sound better (right when ...
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What is the relative major of a minor?

I've heard of the relative minor of a major, but what is the relative major of a minor and how do you find it? I've tried searching it up, but all I got were some pretty vague results and a few not ...
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1 answer
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Terminology for style where melody uses low notes?

Usually the notes that compose the melody are the high notes, and accompaniment are low notes. However, for some arrangements, I've noticed one style flips this by putting the melody in the low notes ...
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What does this kind of arrow mean above a note/chord? [duplicate]

I'm playing Scherzo in D Minor (Gurlitt), in Applause book 2, and was wondering what this arrow meant. It looks like the tip of an arrow, shaded in, and I didn't know how to phrase it on Google. ...
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Is there a name for the guitar-based scale E-G-A-C-D-E?

If you use only the open chords on a guitar, you can walk a bass line using these notes: E G A C D E This line tends to be expressed with chords that mix modes. So for example the A chord may contain ...
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Does a broken chord, alternating up and down intervals, have a name?

It's like an arpeggio but doesn't go straight up or straight down. I want to call it a non-linear arpeggio but I completely made that up. So is there a name for the pattern?
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What are equivalents to literary theories for music?

Are there equivalents to literary theories for music ? I'm trying to find extensive music review "theories" which would be arguably philosophical ( similar to for example structuralism/...
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What is the proper term for the time quantum in additive rhythm?

What is the proper musical term for the time quantum in additive rhythm (e.g. Indian music): i.e., the duration of which all notes/rests are some integer multiple? EDIT: The precise context for which ...
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1 answer
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How to interpret this tuning description for a kalimba? a' c" c' a' A f' e' e" b'

This is the tuning description for my kalimba, but I have no idea how to read it. I don’t know the difference between capital letters and lowercase nor the meaning of the apostrophes.
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What do the labels on drumsticks (5A, 7B, etc.) mean?

There are different letters and numbers that different drumsticks carry, such as 5A, 7B. What do they represent? Does the material used (different woods, aluminium, etc.) have a bearing on the ...
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Interval direction

Could someone tell me the usual terminology for moving an interval up vs moving an interval down vs moving an interval distance? When we write things like 1 b3 5 we mean moving up modulus octaves, ...
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What scale is this (A, Bb, C#, D, E#, F#, G# )

To what scale would this group of notes correspond? A, Bb, C#, D, E#, F#, G# I tried searching online but did not have much luck.
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Please help me clarify this sentence about 'microtones' on Grove Music

The following sentence is from an article titled Microtone from Grove Music. The harmonic question is differently settled, of course, when microtones are conceived not as additions to the equal-...
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6 votes
1 answer
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What are "apparent octaves and unisons"?

In the workbook for "Harmony and Voice Leading" (5th edition), there is an exercise on page 14 for which I need to write an accompaniment. As you can see in the instructions, octaves and ...
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2 answers
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Is there a word for when you scoop to the same note?

I'm a vocalist who's done different kinds of ensembles over the years, and I often have this instinct to scoop to (rearticulate? emphasize?) a repeated note if the other voices change to make a ...
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How do song credits work on Spotify?

I haven't been able to figure out whether this question is on-topic, hopefully it is. I have recently been wondering about how credits are given to the people who contributed to a song. To be more ...

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