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Questions tagged [theory]

For questions about of how music works, seeking to identify structures and patterns in music.

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Harmony on measure 21/22 of Chopin's Fantaisie-Impromptu

On measure 21, Chopin uses a B major-minor chord followed by a D# minor chord. One might think we're in E major and that he's just borrowing the D# minor, but on measure 19, it seems Chopin has ...
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1answer
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Why do some phrygian dominant pieces end on the iv chord?

I was looking at Itzhak Perlman playing Shalom Aleichem It starts (0:14) in E Phrygian Dominant with the i chord, but ends (4:16) in A minor, the iv chord. I've seen the same thing happen with Hava ...
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3answers
284 views

Is it wrong to have two voices move from a perfect fifth to a perfect octave?

I had a teacher once tell me that although not forbidden, it is not advisable to have the same two voices move from a perfect fifth to a perfect octave (specifically referring to a four-part chorale ...
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2answers
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Is this chord in Für Elise an example of a diminished seventh chord in classical music?

We seem to think that some of those 'far-out' seventh chords are only the remit of jazz music but you can as I understand it add a fourth note to any of the diatonic chords in standard harmony to make ...
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1answer
42 views

Is a chromatic mediant considered a modulation?

Say I go from a C major chord to an E major chord. I understand that this is a chromatic mediant. Does this change my key from C to E though? said differently, does non-functional harmony change ...
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4answers
72 views

What is the ordering of modes (Ionian, Dorian, etc.) from least to most dissonant?

What is the ordering of modes (Ionian, Dorian, etc.) from least to most dissonant? Intervals are dissonant/consonant so why wouldn't there be a way to measure the totality (or average?) of modes ...
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1answer
39 views

How does one interpret (or write) scientific pitch notation with accidentals when it crosses octave boundaries?

Given C♭♭4, for example, is that enharmonic with B♭3 (because you start at C4 and flat it twice) or B♭4 (because octave number 4 means octave number 4)? Asked another way, how do you write the note ...
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3answers
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Transposing down

When transposing, if its transpose down a Major 6th from C. Do you take the key of Eb and say that a major 6th up is C as that would be a major 6th down. But cause your starting note is C if you took ...
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2answers
43 views

what are the hand-signs in solfege?

I've searched in SE for solfege and names of altered notes or tones. This point seems to be cleared. But I couldn't find a about hand-signs for solfege. What are the solfege hand-signs? In our school ...
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2answers
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Are all modes relative to Ionian (major) in Roman numeral analysis?

I saw in this Wikipedia article that there are a lot of flats and sharps in the modal natural chords. And I was wondering if it's because they all refer to Ionian. So in Aeolian the "bIII" chord is ...
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1answer
49 views

Grade 8 ABRSM Theory - weaknesses

I have taken the grade 8 ABRSM theory exam twice now and have failed by a couple of marks. My main weakness is question 2: completing the piano extract. Has anyone got any tips on how to complete this ...
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5answers
85 views

How do you build a blues scale?

Hi I am doing grade 8 theory (Trinity). I need a quick and easy way to remember/ know of how to build blues scales. TIA
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1answer
27 views

What is the difference between accented and unaccented notes?

how can I tell the difference between an accented and unaccented note? (I am doing grade 8 ABRSM & Trinity theory, any tips?)
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6answers
2k views

What chord does C, E, G♭ , and B♭ make?

You can use whatever note, but we can use C. Unfortunately, I don't know what the root position would be in this case, so I will lay them out as positions. I used intervals, too. Position 1: Root, ...
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1answer
46 views

Solo Scales to Blue Train (John Coltrane)

Blue Train (John Coltrane) is a blues in Eb. What are the best options for soloing to it (Trombone)? major pentatonic? It feels somehow strange... the F minor pentatonic seems to fit quite well also.
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1answer
766 views

Are you still playing a scale if you don't include every note in said scale? [duplicate]

For instance, if you're playing C major, and instead of playing C D E F G A B, you play C D E F G A, or C D E F G, would that still be considered playing in that scale or key? Because I doubt that ...
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7answers
192 views

How is music theory helpful in fitting notes together?

I'm very new to music; i've played a guitar before but without a real direction in my practice. I'd like to learn to play the guitar properly, but before that can happen I need a clarification ...
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1answer
39 views

Identifying chords with multiple extensions

I understand that this may be basic. I have a chorus progression (C major) I am working on, and it originally started as basically the following: I-VII-V-vi-V I wanted to experiment a little by ...
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1answer
57 views

How to properly notate scales that are not heptatonic

As far as I understand Scales are defined on intervals. So, for example, the major scale is defined by the following intervals from the root: C - Root D - Major Second E - Major Third F - Perfect ...
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5answers
2k views

Which are all the musical intervals that are valid?

I have been reading around many sources, but it seems there is not a full standardized way in naming intervals, some sources say that such a thing as a diminished first exist. So I started making an ...
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2answers
86 views

Am I observing subharmonics using this method on guitar?

Are we hearing a subharmonic? Friends and I hear a note that is lower than my lowest unfretted string on my standard acoustic guitar with standard tuning when I use the following very simple, easy ...
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1answer
46 views

Are seventh and extended chords used to create dream-like and fantasy music? [closed]

There's an arpeggio that I've heard in different songs and it usually signifies some kind of transition into a "dream world". Here's an example of it, which happens for the first few seconds of Great ...
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1answer
68 views

Psychology Of Key Preferences

I'm a layperson with regards to all things music. I have some experience with the guitar and took a semester long music theory class in high school, but aside from that and some stuff I've heard from ...
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1answer
50 views

Is there a way to create a personal keyboard online? [closed]

I'm working on a project of my university (mathematics). I think it would be really cool if I could show that we can make new music systems with new tunes. So, is it possible to create a keyboard ...
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63 views

Can someone teach me [closed]

Can someone teach me how to write melodies like: I know basic theory but I don't know how to generate melodies.
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5answers
1k views

Do the notes in a scale have to be played in order?

Beginner here, it seems like a scale just defines a particular set of notes that don't have to be played in any order to me. But if you look at A minor pentatonic scale you have A, C, D, E, G, yet ...
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1answer
78 views

Parallel chord substitutions

Are parallel chord substitutions common in (classical) music (if so, please share some examples)? And do they have the same function as the original chords? By saying parallel chords I am referring ...
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3answers
58 views

Best sequence to learn about harmony, melody and rhythm? [closed]

I have basic knowledge about these but I want to learn in depth. So what could be the sequence to learn. Also tell where Form, and other elements will come.
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2answers
71 views

Mathematical methods for analysing melodic contour?

Are there any mathematical methods for identifying melodic shape, identifying motifs and general pattern recognition?
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1answer
75 views

What is a panharmonic scale?

In the English translation of Plato's Republic, he does not allow flutes to be played because they are used to play "panharmonic scales", and he says that no panharmonic scales should be played or ...
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1answer
54 views

Is there a formal name for tones occurring at the same instant?

I am not talking about chords. Imagine a score with two staffs (e.g. for piano) and let's say 2 voices. In the first measure on the upper staff we have some chord (let's say it consists of 4 notes) ...
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1answer
141 views

What kind of guitar scale did I “discover”?

I barely know any music theory but I love experimenting with notes and finding two-note chords that sound cool on my guitar. I've been playing this progression below and I've found that any three ...
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1answer
104 views

Correct Notes for C## in Harmonic Minor Scale

Is the following scale correct for C## Harmonic Minor? C##, D##, E#, F##, G##, A#, B# I read on a good music theory page and they had B## as 7th note in the key, so I was wondering, but I'm pretty ...
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2answers
83 views

What are weak and strong chords?

I'm reading Jazz Theory by Stuart Smith. In the chapter on functional harmony the author introduces the notion of strong and weak chords: I, II, and IV are generally treated as strong chords. V, VI,...
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2answers
115 views

Learning piano by song tutorials

I started learning piano few years ago. I did not spend too much time on theory as it seemed straightforward to me, but easy to forget. I However practiced a couple of songs over and over. I looked at ...
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6answers
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Which 'Scale' A Song is In

A month or two ago, I participated in a school music programme, where I was playing guitar. The chord progression I was playing was in the key of C. Then our music teacher comes, and asks in which ...
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5answers
2k views

Which key are these notes and how to transpose it to the key of D?

I am a beginner in music theory so please bear with me. I was looking up a document which talks about transposing music and I understand a few things I think about transposing music. But if I, for ...
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3answers
73 views

How to identify the swing style from the staff?

I'm learning "Blues No. 1" from "The joy of Boogie and Blues". I found that all the demo in Youtube are played in swing rhythm (Boogie rhythm, shuffle rhythm ...), but it's obviously not shown in the ...
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8answers
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Do all songs have to be in a major or minor scale? Can a song have random notes that don't belong to any major or minor scale?

For example, every scale has a given set of notes. But is it possible that there's a composition which doesn't fall into one particular scale?
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2answers
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Are these inversions in a cadence correct?

I would greatly appreciate it if someone could help me. Currently, I am learning about Authentic, Half, and Plagal Cadences. And I have to find them in composition, then tell the name. At first it ...
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6answers
2k views

When we play the C mixolydian mode, are we still in the key of C?

Whenever we discuss the key of a piece, we usually describe it as either a major or minor key. And then, based on the intervals of the major or minor scale and the root note we define, we can ...
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2answers
88 views

What key is this progression? Amaj7- Gmaj7- Fmaj7- Cmaj7

I have been building chords in maj7 and stringing them together in what sounds good to me. I like the sound of this progression and am curious as to how to determine what key it is, if any. I am very ...
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2answers
62 views

How do you play a 3 note jazz voicing for a slash chord?

Please answer for piano specifically. So classic 3 note jazz voicing to my understanding is Root in the left hand and the 3 and 7 in the right. But what if you have an inversion with 3 or 7 in the ...
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1answer
690 views

How to write a score that begins with a pickup note and repeats

Hi I'm writing a song as a score for piano and vocal. The verses begin with a pickup note on 4. So, after the chorus I end on 4 and then pickup up into the next verse with a repeat sign. The question ...
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3answers
117 views

Is the basis of classical music triads while the basis of jazz is sevenths?

I'm just wondering if this sounds right. It seems like the basis of jazz harmony makes use of seventh chord and classical music the basis is triads?
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1answer
48 views

How to apply Tuplets properly?

1. About Quadruplet. A quadruplet is a note-grouping of 4, played in the length of 3 of its note-type (4:3). But I'm wondering can we use the quadruplets spanning less and more than 3 notes (ratios ...
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2answers
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Does a song in C major need to start in C major? Generally, what can a starting chord be in relation to the key?

I'm making a tool to help plan chord progressions, and I'm wondering what the starting options should be.
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2answers
121 views

Naming the chords in Bach’s Prelude [closed]

As a practice I am trying to name the chords in each bar in Bach’s Prelude in C major. Can you correct me if I am wrong?
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5answers
51 views

How can I pick a minor II - V on a Real Book standard?

I'm having trouble understanding when to play minor7♭5 and dominant7♭9 chords. This is definitely because I didn't pay enough attention during my lessons (sorry teachers). I'm currently ...
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2answers
47 views

Modal scales' variations

I know two basic variations of minor and major scales, and these are melodic and harmonic. My question is, are there melodic and harmonic variations of modal scales? Like Dorian harmonic? or ...