Questions tagged [terminology]

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

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4answers
1k views

What's the global, general word that stands for "center tone of a song"?

There are many words which means "center tone of a song", but each word seems to have its own limitation of usage. Tonal Center Key Center I heard (and was told) that these are the terms for tonal ...
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3answers
63 views

Modulation in synthesis versus music theory

To modulate in regular music theory means to change key. But in synthesizer programming it means to change a value over time. So for example you'd say that an ADSR envelope can modulate an instrument'...
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2answers
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Diatonic and heptatonic scales, and degrees

I have been working on listing all the possible diatonic scales in order of degrees, the number of accidentals in the scale. The first is the ionian ( major ), since there are zero accidentals. The ...
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3answers
89 views

Violin - basics 101 [closed]

I have recently purchased a violin and I am beginning to practice it. I am new to music and I do not understand the language and nomenclature of it. I am looking to answer some questions before moving ...
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1answer
325 views

Is there a name for a beat/tempo that can be interpreted as being in two different times

I am not a musician, I don't read music and I don't actually play any instruments. However (and sorry if this sounds stupid) I'm a very good dancer and believe I have a good ear and feeling for tempo ...
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3answers
348 views

Smaller notes notation in Chopin's Polonaise Op. 53

I encountered a notation in the Chopin's Polonaise, Op. 53 that I have not seen before: smaller font notes not explicitly following the time signature. While it is pretty obvious how it is played (...
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2answers
127 views

Repeat-modify-mix technique for developing a musical theme

The level of my musical education leaves much to be desired, so I apologize in advance for maybe amateurish question. Several times I've encountered a situation when a composer repeats some piece in a ...
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2answers
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Unknown indication below upper stave

The number 2, quite large and in italics, appears twice below the notes on the upper stave. There are some fingering indicators but one quarter the size. The time signature is 6/8
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6answers
455 views

Is a bass line the same as a bass progression?

In alot of songs there's a chord progression. Say we have a 4 chord progression. Each chord can correspond to a note the bass plays. So now the bass is playing a 4 note progression. Is that called a ...
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2answers
101 views

How do certain chords get such prominent names?

A musician friend just mentioned that "F major is my favourite chord (or tonality)". Regardless whether it makes sense to have a "favourite" chord, this got me thinking. There must be many, many ...
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5answers
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Why would you need merely the term "collection" for pitches, but not "scale"?

In his lecture Understanding the Fundamentals of Music from 2006, Robert Greenberg says (on p. 119 of the transcript) this quote. Scan of that page is at the bottom. Despite its overwhelmingly ...
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0answers
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What are these kinds of rhythms called? [duplicate]

I've noticed that these kinds of rhythms seem to be extremely common in popular music: X: 1 M: 4/4 L: 1/16 K: C c3c3c2 c3c3c2|c3c3c3c3c2c2| The example in the first bar appears to be a 2 over 3 ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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1answer
961 views

Difference between One-Step and Two-Step Rags

I would like to know the actual difference between one-step and two-step rags. So far I thought that a one-step is a rag, where the melody is mostly written in quarter and eighth notes, so there are ...
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2answers
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What are Antecedent & Consequent Phrases in Music?

I've never heard the terms before: Antecedent and consequent phrases they seem to be elements of a period. It seems to be evident that I am not the only one ...
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1answer
101 views

Pentatonic Terminology Box versus Position

I'm late to the party. Is it incorrect to refer to "Box 2 of the Am pentatonic scale" as "Position 2 of the Am pentatonic scale"? I am aware of a classical guitarist would say position 1 if the root ...
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900 views

Usefulness of complex chord names?

We get many questions about chord names for various odd bunches of notes. I often wonder whether they have much value. Obviously, the common simple chord names are useful. E.g. you might ask a ...
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4answers
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What word describes the sound of an instrument based on the shape of the waveform of its sound?

I'm interested in learning about how human beings perceive qualities of sound. We know that the human ear hears sound when air vibrates against the eardrums at different frequencies and amplitudes. ...
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2answers
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What does ben tenuto il basso mean?

In the second theme of the recapitulation of Beethoven's Pathetique Sonata where the bass line goes into the treble clef and the bass register becomes part of the melody, I see the marking ben tenuto ...
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5answers
4k views

What does "function" actually mean in music?

I remember when the term function was introduced in math - y=f(x) - the teacher was a substitution and still himself a student. He used the term function as if we already knew of what he was talking ...
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3answers
550 views

Pentatonic, hexatonic, heptatonic, octatonic... what is a 12 tone scale called?

Pentatonic, hexatonic, heptatonic, octatonic... what is a 12 tone scale called? This seems like a dumb question. I know it's just called the chromatic scale, but isn't there a ______-tonic name? I ...
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3answers
129 views

Is there a term that define the number of notes in a chord?

There are triads (3 notes), 7th chords (4 notes), 9th chords (5 notes), 11th chords (6 notes), 13 chords (seven notes). Is there some commonly used term that is used only to describe the quantitative ...
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2answers
506 views

Identifying "Drop chords" from a given voicing

I'm new to this concept of "drop chords" for guitar, and apparently other instruments as well. Well, I know about chord voicings in general, but not necessarily how the drop-n voicing system works. ...
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2answers
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What is chord melody?

I've heard the term "chord melody" used by a jazz player acquaintance of mine, but I'm not really certain what he is describing or how it works. Would someone please give me a definition in easy to ...
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1answer
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What is the musical term for a note that continuously plays through a melody?

I have been wanting to know this for a long time. It is when a note stays on while some other notes are being played at the same time, it is kind of like a Pedal Point from research. Here are some ...
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0answers
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What does it mean to rework or remodel an existing composition?

I was looking at the contributing artists for Ryuichi Sakamoto's album ASYNC-REMODELS, where on the back cover are some terms I wasn't so sure what they meant: You can see that the first track is ...
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1answer
116 views

What would this chord progression be called?

There's a section of the melody of Kyari Pamyu Pamyu's song ふりそで〜しょん, specifically the part preceding the chorus, where the composition shifts from a relatively straightforward A mixolydian melody to ...
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3answers
995 views

Why is it called Mixolydian #11 and not Mixolydian #4?

I was watching an instructional video and the guy's talking about Mixolydian #11 being one of the modes of the melodic minor. The regular G mixolydian looks like: G A B C D E F G And the G ...
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1answer
149 views

What is the name of the practice of rhythm being written as series of 2's and 3's?

I remember some time ago learning about traditional Irish music and how a lot of the music wasn't written with our modern time signature structure, but was instead written as a series of 2 beat / 3 ...
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4answers
491 views

Music terminology - why are seven letters used to name scale tones [duplicate]

Since the scale is logarithmic with each interval (half-step) being a constant multiple of the previous frequency, why didn't they just name the pitches A to F with each note having a half-step #/b in ...
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4answers
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What is the term when two people sing in harmony, but they aren't singing the same notes?

I'm not a musician, and I know basically nothing about music, and music theory and what-not. (I basically just know a few common terms, and how to play chords) In most songs with two or more people ...
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3answers
382 views

What do you call a lightweight version of a chorus inside or between verses?

If you have two different choruses, where one is a more mellow version of the "real" chorus. What do you call it? For instance on this form: Verse, X, Verse, Chorus. What do you call X? It's not a ...
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3answers
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What is the difference between a marcato and an accent?

I hear a few people refer to what looks like an accent as a marcato. Is a marcato a different name for accent, or is it a different way of playing the accent?
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4answers
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Slur or Tie when they are mixed?

For my understanding, the top notes D and F are slurs, the bottom notes G and C, what are they? Please help! Thanks!
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1answer
169 views

Is there a name for songs whose lyrics are sung through twice?

Some songs just have their lyrics sung through from beginning to end twice - usually with a key change for the second time through. Is there a name for that? I am thinking of "The Impossible Dream" (...
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5answers
571 views

Is A♭ major a closely related key to C♯ major?

I'm trying to list the closely related keys to C♯ major, and here is what I get: C♯ major, the original key D♯ minor (???) F♯ major (???) A♯ minor x (B♯ diminished is not a key!) For the points that ...
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2answers
386 views

What's the musical term for a repeated phrase with shifting emphasis?

For example, a riff/pattern that's three beats long played over 4/4 so that a different part of the phrase is emphasized on each repetition. This happens briefly in The Killers "Somebody told me", ...
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2answers
1k views

What does "con piu fuoco possibile" mean?

Towards the end of Chopin's Etude No. 4 in C# minor, Op. 10 No. 4, it says "con più fuoco possibile." What does this mean?
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2answers
160 views

Musicians' jargon, on-stage communication

I’m translating a documentary about a Hungarian folk-jazz musician into English and there are a few words, which I am sure are very simple, yet which I simply cannot find a solution for anywhere on ...
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3answers
84 views

Is it correct to call a 'tone row' a 'scale'?

I'm unskilled at German; perhaps translation is the snag. Anyhow, at 6:07, the violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann refers to the tone row in Berg's Violin Concerto as a 'scale'. Is this correct?
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1answer
132 views

What is the term for the sung voice found especially in Bach's chorale music (eg. Jesu Joy of Man's Desire BWV147)?

I have wondered what the correct musical term for the voiced melody overlaid in a piece like Jesu Joy of Man's Desire BWV147, or Sleepers Awake BWV645 is. In this piece of music (and other likes it, ...
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3answers
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Are the terms "stab" and "staccato" synonyms?

When I look up the term "stab" in Wikipedia it says: "In music, a stab is a single staccato note or chord that adds dramatic punctuation to a composition." So I was wondering, are stab and staccato ...
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5answers
931 views

When to use the term transposed instead of modulation?

I was playing 'In the Hall of the Mountain King' and noticed it modulates from B minor to a fifth above, F-sharp major. I looked on wikipedia and found it says: "...
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5answers
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Must a tritone substitution use a dominant functioning seventh chord?

The tritone substitution has been discussed in several questions here, perhaps most notably What is tritone substitution? and Why is bII 7(b5) considered a dominant? (I believe my question is ...
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2answers
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Is there a more specific term for this blues sound? (5 and ♯4)

I like the crunchy, janky texture of playing a note with the note a semitone under it in a melodic voice, usually on the dominant scale degree. For example, in the original Thomas the Tank Engine TV ...
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2answers
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Is there a name for the progression ♭VI–♭VII–I?

The so-called Andalusian cadence occurs when one harmonizes the descending tetrachord from tonic down to dominant with I–♭VII–♭VI–V. Yet the progression ♭VI–♭VII–I seems just as common. It's ...
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1answer
197 views

What is a "Slovenian Cadence"?

I recently acquired a large collection of music theory review materials. In it, I came across the term "Slovenian cadence." Does anyone know what this might be? Unfortunately, the review materials ...
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5answers
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What's the relationship between the chords Cmaj Dmaj Emaj?

If I play the chords: C major, D major, then E major. I'm wondering what their relationship is called. It almost sounds like chromatic mediants but I can't call it that since it doesn't move by a ...
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2answers
163 views

Is a doubly augmented seventh a compound interval?

I'm reading about the theory behind intervals, and Wikipedia says: A compound interval is an interval spanning more than one octave. Does "spanning" in this case refer to the number of staff ...
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4answers
212 views

Term for distinguishing dim/perfect/aug intervals from dim/min/maj/aug ones

There are two types of intervals, distinguished by their possible qualities: Unisons, fourths, fifths, and octaves (and their compound variants) may be of perfect or (multiply) diminished/augmented ...

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