Questions tagged [terminology]

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

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11
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1answer
356 views

Is it a coincidence that "blue" notes are "chromatic"?

According to the OED: The word "chromatic" has been applied to music with lots of accidentals since at least the 17th century. In the 19th century, a "blue note" was one that was incorrect; starting ...
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4answers
1k views

What's this rhythm called?

I often hear this rhythm in accompaniments in contemporary music: |x---x---x---x---| Beat |--x--x--x--x--x-| Lead 1.:.2.:.3.:.4.:. That is, it's a 4:3 polyrhythm but with a single quarter note ...
11
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1answer
176 views

What is the Linear Harmonic Transform?

What is the Linear Harmonic Transform actually?
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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 ...
11
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1answer
3k views

What is the Lydian Chromatic Concept?

I've recently found out about George Russell's book the Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization and I've been curious about exactly what the Lydian Chromatic Concept is and how it can be used ...
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2answers
1k views

Do the EDO and TET acronyms mean the same thing?

In the context of dividing an octave into n intervals, I understand n EDO to mean n Equal Divisions per Octave and n TET to mean n Tones Equal Temperament. Do the EDO and TET acronyms mean the same ...
11
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1answer
1k views

What is the difference between grouping overlaps and elisions?

I am reading "A Generative Theory of Tonal Music" by F. Lerdahl and R. Jackendoff and I don't understand the difference between grouping overlaps and elisions (this is explained in section 3.4). The ...
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4answers
1k views

Does the line between the time signature have a name?

In a time signature (4/4 for example), does the / have a term or a name?
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4answers
10k views

What do "bars" mean?

I am trying to understand the meaning of the word "bars". I will give a couple examples: In an interview the rapper 50 Cent mentioned that when he was coming up "he just rapped", he "didn't ...
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7answers
56k views

What is first chair?

I am under the impression that first chair is the seat reserved for the best player of a particular instrument. Second chair would be reserved for the second best. Is that all there is to it? Or does ...
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3answers
4k views

What should I look for in a recording microphone for personal use?

I was browsing through mics on Amazon and quickly realized I was out of my depth. There are a couple closely related questions I am wondering about: Are there different types of mics for (1) singing ...
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2answers
1k views

What do they mean by 'This amp has a lot of headroom'?

Do they mean how loud it will go without getting distortion?
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5answers
5k views

How to be expressive?

Joe Satriani said: There are a lot of good guitarists out there. Their technique is great, their fingers stretch really wide and they can play really fast. But very few of them can be ...
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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
722 views

Does each note have a more specific name depending on its pitch?

Other than the symbolic identifier for the pitch of the note in sheet music, is there a way to specify the pitch of a note in some other notation or call it by any other name? This would be very handy ...
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1answer
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Why are instrumental tracks also called "minus one tracks"?

Why are instrumental (non-vocal) tracks also called "minus one tracks"? What does it mean and how did this term come about?
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2answers
323 views

What is the definition of "technically contrasting"?

On the RCM Piano Syllabus, for most of the etudes it states "Students must prepare two technically contrasting etudes from the following list." What does it mean for two pieces to be ...
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5answers
8k views

Is there a term for music composed of everyday sounds?

Is there a term for music composed of everyday sounds (animal calls, cars honking, etc.) that are timed just right to sound like music together? (I hope this isn't off-topic here)
10
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1answer
852 views

Does a walking bass line usually consist of chord tones?

Do we define a walking bass by it consisting of mainly chord tones? So it's just a skeleton of a chord progression? What if it wasn't just chord tones, would it still be considered a walking bass line ...
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3answers
2k views

Are there names for referring to the top or bottom numbers in a time signature?

In a time signature of 3/4 (three by four), what is the name given to the 3 and the 4? I know it in my own language, but can't find the answer for the English equivalent.
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3answers
9k views

The origin of "Battle Ends And Down Goes Charles' Father"

The order of the flats is given by the mnemonic "Battle Ends And Down Goes Charles' Father", and the order of sharps by the reverse ("Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battle"). What is the history ...
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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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2answers
222 views

Is there a name for the sound of a performer physically interacting with their instrument?

Is there a name for the sound produced by the mechanical action of a musical instrument? I'm referring specifically to sounds not usually associated with the instrument's voice—the movement of a ...
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2answers
4k views

What is a "Stable" Chord?

What makes a chord "stable"? What makes a chord "unstable"? Just saw this in my piano book, but it doesn't really explain what it means.
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3answers
389 views

Is there a term for metric equivalence analogous to "enharmonic" for pitch equivalence?

Key signatures, chords, scales, and phrases are said to be enharmonically equivalent if they contain the same pitches, but are notated differently. Is there an analogous term to express that time ...
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4answers
553 views

Are there any cases that a minor triad can be a dominant chord?

Okay so that is quite a weird question, but are there any possibilities? And in a natural minor key does a minor v count as a dominant?
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2answers
471 views

Who invented rhythmic value names based on fractions of a measure of 4/4 music?

In American music a Semibreve is called a "whole note". Here it states that the name "whole note" comes from a German expression (ganze Note): In the world of music, you may ...
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2answers
1k views

Where did the term backbeat come from?

In most modern music in 4/4 beats 2 and 4 are where the snare hits are and are usually referred to as the backbeat. Normally in 4/4 the 2 and 4 beat would not be accented, but the snare hits do just ...
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3answers
302 views

Is there a name or common usage of this piano damper pedal effect?

I've noticed an effect that I use when playing acoustic piano. Play a note or chord staccato, and quite quickly after playing it, press the damper pedal. The effect is rather like an echo which ...
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8answers
46k views

Is there any name for two melodies that are being played at the same time?

Is there any name I can use for two melodies that are being played at the same time? (The rhythmic part isn't identical). For Instance, there is Fables of Faubus by Charles Mingus which starts off ...
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6answers
2k views

Black keys - what scale are these, how to use them?

I'm a beginning music theory student and often when I'm supposed to be doing exercises I get distracted and start doodling around for fun on the black keys. It's easy to compose simple, satisfying ...
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3answers
3k views

Why call a major second a diminished third?

In the Hungarian minor scale we have the following intervals, expressed here in semitones, between the scale's notes (I to VIII): I II III IV V VI VII (I) / VIII ...
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5answers
28k views

What are Accidental Notes?

Can any one please explain what is an accidental note? Do they have any rules to play accidental notes in a scale? I only have basic knowledge of keyboards.
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4answers
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How to technically differentiate between wind instrument types (definition)

What is the official way to differentiate between a woodwind and a brass instrument? I know it's not about the material that they are made of, but how the sound is produced.
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5answers
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What is "groove"?

How's possible to trigger it? Is there a technical reason for the groove to happen? Is it just when you stuble across any kind of rhythm / melodic progression interaction that "moves"? Please do not ...
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2answers
3k views

Is there a term for when a lyric is sung and then an instrument (sound) is played to mimic the lyric?

Is there a term for when a phrase in a song, i.e., "shivers down my spine" as in Bohemian Rhapsody, after that phrase is sung, a tinkling or some kind of sound is made with an instrument, to mimic "...
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3answers
3k views

What's the name for the style of guitar on Reggae songs

I'm wondering if there's a word for the style of guitar on most Reggae songs, when they play chords on the upper strings and mute them after. I would love to know if there's a word for that, that ...
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2answers
3k views

What is meant by a "release"?

In a Tom Cosm video tutorial on making beats in Ableton Live, he states (12:20): See, we have that kind of suck now. That's another kind of tension thing. I find with these kind of tension things,...
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3answers
1k views

What is the difference between temperament and intonation?

We talk of equal temperament but just intonation. From wikipedia, tempering is described as "the process of altering the size of an interval by making it narrower or wider than pure." where ...
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2answers
3k views

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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2answers
2k views

Common names for sections of a piece of music

Generally, what is is the name for the non-vocal parts of a song that are not interludes or preludes and not a guitar solo or instrumental verse/chorus? For example, right after the acapella vocal ...
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6answers
2k views

English translation for "rubato"

Most italian musical indications and concepts are easy to translate in one or two words (largo, presto, crescendo, ...) but it is difficult to find even an approximation to rubato. Any suggestions?
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6answers
3k views

What are the various ways of vocalizing rhythmic figures?

I know of the standard western technique where the beats (quarter notes) are numbered and eighths are vocalized as 'and' and sixteenths are vocalized as 'ee' and 'uh' (One-ee-and-uh Two-ee-and-uh). ...
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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 ...
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3answers
873 views

What do you call a very brief change of key

When the key changes for a longer period and a new tonic is firmly established, we call it modulation. However, what do we call a very brief change of at most several measures, when harmony from ...
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1answer
1k 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 ...
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2answers
611 views

Why is meter divided into simple and compound types?

From what I understand, Simple Meter -- divisible by twos Compound Meter -- divisible by threes Why do we choose 2 and 3? Why not n divisions?
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2answers
3k views

What is the wall of sound on many early 60's pop records

Phil Spector is noted for his distinctive "wall of sound" on the records that he produced in the early sixties. What is it and how did he achieve it?
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3answers
17k views

What is meant by "Top-End" and "Bottom-End"?

When guitarists describe the sound of their guitars, a lot of terms are used. What does a guitarist mean when they talk about top and bottom end?
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3answers
456 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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