Questions tagged [terminology]

For questions about musical terms. Questions about symbols should use the "notation" tag.

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96 views

Which specific terms could be used to search for music without beats / percussions / drums?

From what I can gather, most music besides some specific genres is based on top of a background beat layer. I happen to be one of the (apparently) few people with a strong dislike of any kind of ...
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2answers
249 views

What is this alternating notes called? [duplicate]

Reading the works of Bach, there's an unusual pattern I keep seeing. Consider, for example, the opening of the fugue from the infamous BWV 565: It constantly alternates between A, which doesn't move, ...
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14answers
5k views

To what extent is music theory just giving us a language to describe/break down music, or does it really have significant "scientific content"?

For instance, you can always chop up notes into chord tones vs non-chord tones; and then separate non-chord tones into passing tones and neighbor tones. These are very much just classifications. Thus, ...
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1answer
147 views

Bach Die kunst der fuge reference in Beethoven Op. 111

In Beethoven last sonata's arietta, the variations starting at bar 33 seems to be clearly a reference to the contrapunctus 2 from die Kunst der fuge. Since as well Beethoven seems to attempt to do ...
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2answers
81 views

What is it called when the vocal parts move to the harmony above

What is it called when there's 3 part harmony, and each part goes to the part above them(the highest part goes to the octave above the lowest part)? For example, in this video: at 1:16, the highest ...
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3answers
131 views

Guitar terminology : A word for a set of positions on the fretboard

I'm looking for a particular word for a concept in guitar playing. This image shows a set of positions in the fretboard. It is usually used to show easily how to play a scale or an arpeggio. ...
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4answers
130 views

What exactly counts as writing for "electronics"?

What does "writing for electronics" mean? For example, when a call for scores is asking for a piece for electronics, or for another instrument and electronics, what exactly is it asking for? ...
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1answer
83 views

Is there a name for this kind of a transition in songs?

In ALL ABOUT THAT BASE parody (Star Wars Parody - Meghan Trainor's All About That Bass), there's a certain transition / change near the linked time after "places" (the video has lyrics shown)...
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2answers
209 views

What is "Four Part" Harmony?

Can someone explain “four part” harmony and its difference or/and its relation to regular harmony? I’ve been searching the internet and can’t find any information that clearly answers my question ...
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1answer
57 views

Putting music theme A onto theme B background

A friend has shown me 2 piano books she has where a classical piece is used as the background theme and another non-classical piece is overlaid at intervals. For example, a piece begins with ...
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5answers
247 views

Is it correct to refer to a third/fifth/etc even if they're on black keys?

As I understand it, the terms "third", "fifth", "seventh", etc. all refer to the n-th white key relative to the root note. To demonstrate this, let's observe a C major ...
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1answer
581 views

What is the politically correct term for a feminine cadence?

I have known the below cadence for some time as a feminine cadence. My (old) books state feminine cadence. I'm totally fine with a new politically correct term but the wikipedia article on cadences ...
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3answers
404 views

What mode/scale is a minor scale with an added flat root note?

I've heard a lot of music that is in a minor key but also has a flattened root note. I'm not sure if this is considered a flattened root, or a sharp 7th. For instance, in the key of Em, an E♭ (E flat) ...
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1answer
218 views

What is it called when the vocals follow the instruments' tempo?

Sorry, I don't know how to explain properly. It's about the vocals and instruments doing same timing. Here is an example: and another one:
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1answer
83 views

Is there a name that specifically refers to the Western pentatonic scale?

By Western pentatonic scale (which shows up in other musical traditions as well), I mean all the modes of the major pentatonic scale, which is anhemitonic (scales that do not contain semitones) and ...
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2answers
91 views

What is a commonly used term for "Arranged for piano and voice" in regards to popular music recordings?

Generally, searching for "piano cover" + a popular song's name in DDG, Google, and YouTube yields videos of instrumental covers, not someone's personal accompanying-instrument-and-voice ...
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4answers
191 views

Why do some people not recognise Gilbert & Sullivan as part of classical music? [closed]

Though G&S have influenced and helped start musical theatre, I'd still consider them part of classical, they reflect romanticism in their work and have everything an opera from the other composers ...
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2answers
123 views

Term for One person performing a whole Arrangement with nothing else accompanying (As a Cover)

Like how "Unplugged Version" means the Original Song has been performed with 0 usage of technology-stuff (other than Microphone) [No editing, Acoustic Instruments only, No Faders, No ...
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2answers
128 views

Is there a definitive list of forms for classical music?

I am creating a classical Music song scraper, that takes disparate file names, ascertains its properties, and rewrites their titles in a uniform way and identifiable way. Some examples of the ...
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2answers
141 views

Do we have a name for a melody note that is hold on while there is a chord change?

As can be seen here on measure 23, with the melody playing a D that lingers while the side guitar go from E5 to D5. The D starts when E5 is being played, but is held on even when the chords change to ...
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1answer
2k views

Cadenza, Sonata, Concerto, Symphony - what are the differences apart from length?

Cadenza, sonata, concerto, symphony - what are the other differences apart from length? Which ones can contain which other ones? When did they come into existence as distinct forms?
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2answers
201 views

Is there a defining difference between fusion and free form jazz?

I should probably get a handle on the differences between the two styles because when I read a question posted about "Fusion", the idea in my head is that the question is referring to what I'...
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4answers
91 views

Word for the list of compositions of a Classical composer?

Either I'm being stupid or my brain is not working properly... Is there a word for the list of compositions of a Classical composer? I can only think of 'discography' for a performer but that's not ...
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3answers
79 views

Proper terms for comparing notes

I am trying to find a way to properly name different ways of comparing notes, Let's say we have two notes, let's name them NoteA and NoteB, let NoteA be C3 and NoteB C4. NoteA = C3 NoteB = C4 ...
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3answers
128 views

Is there a term in English to characterize the male/female bipolarity of major and minor tonality?

Is there any association of dur and moll with male and female like in European compositions to define the polarity of major and minor tonalities in orchestral works like symphonies? Edit: To avoid ...
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1answer
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Italian for concerto

I am watching an Italian TV series which prompted this question. In English, concert and concerto are quite distinct. The TV show made it apparent that the Italian concerto corresponds to English ...
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3answers
302 views

Are there defining differences between melodic motifs and melodic patterns?

As part of my guitar practice routine, I work on a rotating schedule of practicing Melodic Patterns. And when I'm studying music theory and analyzing a particular song, part of that analysis includes ...
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2answers
84 views

"il basso una corda" (in Nevin's Narcissus)

This passage from Ethelbert Nevin's Narcissus for piano has the instruction "il basso una corda". I think this is the 1891 Schirmer edition; the passage shown is bars 16-18. What does the ...
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6answers
8k views

Why do some pianists occasionally play their hands at different times?

Piano is not my main instrument, but I have always been taught that the same rhythms should always sound together. In other words, if both hands play on the downbeat of the measure, both hands should ...
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4answers
526 views

Should mode names be capitalized?

I'm seeking opinions about whether to capitalize mode names in educational materials I'm preparing. In ordinary references (not in titles) should I use Dorian or dorian, Locrian or locrian? Here's a ...
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6answers
2k views

Melody using a different scale than the bassline - what is it called?

Since I only know some very rudimentary terms in music theory, I don't know what it's called when one does the following to create a sort-of interesting sound. Suppose I'm playing the piano, using my ...
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4answers
1k views

Is there a difference between playing off the beat and syncopation?

I will be doing my music exam soon for school and I am very confused with this example question they gave me which was "What is the difference between playing off the beat and syncopation?". Could ...
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5answers
528 views

Is it possible to state whether someone is singing in tune?

I have a recording of a vocalist accompanied by guitar. The vocalist claims not to have a good voice but swears he is "singing in tune". Is there anyway to determine if this is true and, if in this ...
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1answer
1k views

What is this symbol that looks like an elongated "L" on the left-hand piano staff, and how can I write it in Musescore?

I'm writing out the Bärenreiter version of Bach Concerto for two violins BWV 1043 on Musescore, and have come across an odd symbol in the left hand piano part. Here is a picture - the elongated L ...
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6answers
347 views

Understanding Rhythm with Time Signatures

Trying to follow the rules, yes I am trying to learn my instrument, watching YouTube videos, and trying to learn from looking at sheet music... It seems I "learn" about something it feels like it ...
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3answers
464 views

What makes the Hungarian rhapsodies sound... Hungarian?

More generally, how can a piece of music be made to sound, for want of a better word, foreign? I was listening to some of Chopin's mazurkas and the one that struck me the most was Mazurka No. 34 in C ...
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6answers
2k views

What is the name of using a major chord instead of a minor chord at the end of a progression?

I've heard somewhere that there's a technique where you put a major chord where a minor chord is expected, and it creates a feeling of unexpectedness. If I recall, there's one in Hey Ya by OutKast: ...
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2answers
231 views

What is a **Ruggiero** in music?

I have once heard this term Ruggiero in a discussion about a Baroque composition on the radio. I thought it could be this walking bass line of 4 notes we know so well from Bach's concertos: "so la ...
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1answer
84 views

Celtic modes, what modes are these?

I know the ancient Greek modes and the Gregorian modes of the medieval era. Reading in a comment the term Celtic modes I wonder is there something different or special that I have missed until today?
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5answers
6k views

How should I play two notes together on lines below the staff?

How should I play two notes together on lines below the staff?
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5answers
5k views

Why is a doubling of frequency called an octave?

I understand that when two frequencies have a ratio of 2^n:1 for any natural number n, they are said to be n octaves apart. Moreover, they sound "essentially the same" to our ear. However, why do we ...
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2answers
214 views

What is "melodic modulation"?

I've studied direct modulation and I understood it. I've tried searching about "melodic modulation", but I couldn't find the meaning of it. Could you please explain to me what "melodic modulation" is ...
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2answers
275 views

Are non-functioning secondary dominants the same as deceptive secondary dominants?

If you have a chord progression like this: V7/V IV I've seen different websites that have different names for this: Non-functioning secondary dominant Deceptive secondary dominant Secondary ...
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2answers
185 views

Canceling the rubato sign

Hi if I write rubato in the beginning of a piece, is there an expression to cancel the rubato from here and further, you need to play on time. In other words not rubato?
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1answer
59 views

What is the correct spelling of Bar chord?

Occasionally I respond to questions here, and I try to be correct in my answers, but in my literature and online investigations I've seen Bar-chord spelled or misspelled at least three different ways, ...
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1answer
117 views

What is the practical impact or use of a dodecagram?

Looking for an answer about modulation and affects I came across with the term "dodecagram". So I was interested whether this has been already asked here, as I think it would be quite useful but I ...
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2answers
274 views

Power Supply vs Battery for Guitar Effect Pedal?

I'd like to get an external battery for my reverb pedal, I have a Strymon Big Sky. But everywhere I look people are talking about "Power Supplies" and I'm not sure if it's the same thing as a battery, ...
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1answer
59 views

Sonatas for piano and violin?

I'd just like to ask if there's a difference between a sonata (or any duet for that matter) for piano and violin vs sonata for violin and piano? I was watching a performance online and saw comments ...
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2answers
174 views

Stressing the third beat more than the first in 4/4: is it syncopation?

The definitions of syncopation I've come across generally talk about stressing the offbeat (see, for example, Wikipedia) where "offbeat" sometimes refers to placing the accent in between beats (on the ...
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1answer
148 views

What can I call these sustained tones, under which the harmony changes but does not create dissonance?

In an analysis of Haydn's "Piano Variations in F minor" my student has used the term "pedals" to describe the first 3 Es of the piece in the top line/right hand...and also the 3 Fs at the end of bar 2....

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