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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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Can we have a perfect cadence in a minor key?

I understand that, at least in the context of using a major scale, a perfect cadence is V-I. That is, if I were playing a piece in C major, I could play a chord similiar to the G major triad followed ...
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0answers
39 views

What do you call a lightwheight version of chorus inside a verse or in between them?

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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1answer
49 views

What is a whole tone scale?

What is exactly the concept of the "whole tone scale"? Is it a scale of C - D - E - F# - G# - A# - C, made of only M2s and a d3?
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4answers
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A standard term for “Dominant seventh resolves by P4th up motion”

In Japan, there's a common word "Dominant Motion", which specifically means "V7-I motion" or "any motion that dominant seventh chords resolve to P4th above, to more stable chord". It's presented as a ...
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1answer
65 views

How do I make melodies out of the C Major Scale? [on hold]

I know that this scale consists of the notes CDEFGABC. But now how do I make melodies out of it. Perhaps I'm only supposed to play some of these notes, is this correct? If it is, am I supposed to ...
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1answer
35 views

Does Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty modulate to the relative minor?

There's a part of Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty that I like. And I was wondering if I'm right as far as the theory goes: Measures 156-159 is in the relative key of G minor, and ends on this key. ...
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7answers
5k views

Why is it that I can sometimes guess the next note?

For some songs and musical pieces that I am listening to for the first time, why is it that I can occasionally guess what the next note will be? I imagine the next note in my head and sometimes it is ...
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5answers
1k views

How much theory knowledge is actually used while playing?

Let's say you are playing Bach on a classical guitar, which theory concepts do you constantly think of and use? Do you always know the key and the scale you are in? The mode maybe? The interval ...
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3answers
91 views

Help Understanding Guitar Lick

My uncle is a jazz player and showed me a few licks while I was visiting him but never explained what context he would play them in. I'm not much of a jazz player but I love the sound of one lick in ...
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4answers
591 views

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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5answers
157 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
125 views

Perfect 4th is dissonant?

Why is the perfect fourth dissonant in some cases when it does not sound dissonant? When I play it in closed position, it does not sound dissonant at all. When I play it as a compound interval, I ...
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1answer
22 views

Is a Cadential 6/4 tonic or dominant function? [duplicate]

A cadential 6/4 would normally occur before a V, and after an IV, ii, V/V, viio/V, It. 6, Fr. 6, or Ger. 6. Does a cadential 6/4 have tonic or dominant function? (Or... maybe... subdominant function....
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5answers
86 views

Perfect 4th as a starting note of a phrase. What does it do?

I was listening to Eric Clapton's guitar playing on All Along the Watchtower. The chord progression is very simple, which is I-VII-VI-VII in a key of C minor. Most of the time, he played based on root ...
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2answers
85 views

What order should I learn music theory?

i am teaching myself music theory to help get ahead in the AP class im taking next year. what order should i go about learning each concept? i am already familiar with what you would know after 7 ...
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1answer
63 views

Final cadence appears as Em7 - Am (v7 - i in A minor). Name?

I see an unusual cadence in the end of Debussy's Prelude of Pour le Piano. It is v7 - i in A minor. Is there an actual name for this? (Chord Progression: Fmaj7 - Abaug7 - Gaug7 - C9 - Em7 - Am)
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1answer
15 views

Is it necessary to use a dash to indicate a suspension in a figured bass?

In the ABRSM theory exams, a 4-3, 7-6 or 9-8 suspension always has a dash between the two numbers in the figured bass. I have not found this to be the case in analyses that I have looked at. So is the ...
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5answers
117 views

How do i remember note positons on my guitar? (I learned all the notes already)

I am playing a steel-string classical guitar, but i mostly play acoustic songs on it. I mention this because classical guitars have 12 frets. I learned all the notes, 1st-12th fret, 1st-6th string, ...
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1answer
24 views

Are there books specifically on the subject of modulation?

Questions concerning smooth modulations, especially how to effect them, keep coming up in my own efforts at composition. Apart from Max Reger's little treatise (which in some ways is and in other ways ...
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3answers
48 views

Music theory for Bach's Inventions

I just got a piano and want to start working on Bach's Inventions. I have sort of managed to play 2 and 14 some years ago, but my knowledge of music theory pretty much consists of being able to work ...
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1answer
69 views

What is the key/mode of “you are the government” by bad religion?

I'm trying to make sense of keys and modes, and I'm studying simple songs note by note to reach this goal. One of them is "You are the Government" from Bad Religion. It starts with a riff that goes : ...
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3answers
380 views

What are some nice/clever ways to introduce the tonic's dominant seventh chord?

I'm in C minor and want to modulate to its subdominant key of F minor. One way to do this is to introduce the tonic flat seventh chord C-E-G-B♭, which is the dominant seventh chord of F minor. ...
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3answers
981 views

Know when to turn notes upside-down(eighth notes, sixteen notes, etc.)

Suppose I have four of eighth notes(4/4 as time signature), all of them at different pitches, one being very high. An example is show below: How would I know if I need to turn that upside down(...
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2answers
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Analyzing Tschaikovsky's “Der Puppe Begräbnis”

00:56 starts the measure 9 the Cm/eb , G7/D ..( is the 7th measure from the picture but I called it measure 9 because in the actual song it's measure 9 ) what is this chord progression at measure 13 ...
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4answers
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Identifying the interval from A♭ to D♯

This is a very theoretical question but it's confusing me a little. So intervals overlap - That's why I can call a major 3rd a diminished 4th, and such. However, from what I understand, a perfect ...
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4answers
66 views

Does the dissonance of scale notes, to the tonic, follow a pattern of ascending fifths?

Does the dissonance of scale notes, to the tonic, follow a pattern of ascending fifths? For example start with a C major scale and lets track the position of the C note in ascending keys ... C G D A ...
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3answers
86 views

What key is this?

So I'm listening to a song, and the pitches used are these: C, D♭, E♭, F, G, A♭, B♭ Seems like the key of A♭ major, right? Or perhaps F minor. (Indeed, the song seems to be in a minor key.) But no, ...
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1answer
82 views

Identifying this chord (Fb Db F?)

I'm practicing identifying chords from sight reading for the first time, here is what I have so far (feel free to correct any possible mistakes I might have made). I'm struggling with that last chord ...
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2answers
362 views

what does the apostrophe mean in this notation?

Found this whilst reading some basic theory on wikipedia, but am trying to figure out what the supposed meaning is. example: b-c' kleine secunde 16:15 source: Wikipedia link with interval table ( ...
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3answers
2k views

Playing ONE triplet (not three)

Has anybody ever seen playing only ONE or TWO triplets instead of three? Can anyone tell me if it's even possible and if anybody tried to do it? I guess it would be hard to count, because: In 4/4 at ...
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3answers
103 views

Is it possible to generate a perfect sawtooth wave?

I was wondering if it is possible to generate a perfect sawtooth wave (Wikipedia). Because in nature everything is continuous and therefore for example a common speaker would be unable to produce such ...
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0answers
72 views

What mode is this plainchant melody?

https://gregobase.selapa.net/chant_img.php?id=7376 We start on sol and use sol-la-si/ti. We have two finalis: sancti ends on sol but amen ends on la. The recitation is la. Hypophrygian, I think, has ...
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1answer
67 views

Composition of Cowell's “rhythmic key changes”

I'm currently reading Henry Cowell's New Musical Resources and On page 98, Section 6,(TEMPO) in part 2 (RHYTHM), is a paragraph of for instances. Directly, I'm grappling with the SECOND FOR INSTANCE ....
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4answers
1k views

Shifting between bemols (flats) and diesis (sharps)in the key signature

I am a beginner in music with little knowledge, but like once in a month spend a little time playing with a digital keyboard. I noticed that if I have some notes of a song which got 4# in the ...
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5answers
272 views

Relative minor key change in chord progression

I'm writing a song in F Major key. I have a chord progression that goes Like 4/4 C7 - C#dim - Dm - Dm ( V7 - V#dim - Vi - Vi ) After this four measures, I wanted to change key to Dm for a moment. ...
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2answers
535 views

Are E natural minor and B harmonic minor related?

Came across a chord progress Em C Am B under "Em backing track". With mention - Use E minor scale and harmonic minor on B to jam along with it But Em has following chords - Em F# G Am Bm C D ...
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3answers
117 views

How does 'If I were a rich man' work?

I was playing 'If I were a rich man'. I noticed how it makes use of alot of notes outside its scale even though it's in C major. and I was wondering what the term is for what is it doing. Is it ...
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Chord has every note of the harmonic minor scale. Name? [closed]

I see an extremely strange type of chord in the first bar of the attachment below. This is the beginning of the fourth movement of Beethoven's 9th Symphony. It has all of the notes of the D harmonic ...
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1answer
67 views

What is the standard definition of a distant key?

In my knowledge, a distant key is any key that is not enharmonic, parallel, relative, or closely related to the original key. However, some people claim that distant keys are simply keys that are not ...
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5answers
207 views

Can you please explain why 'white' soul means accented on the first and third beat while 'black' soul is on the second and fourth? [closed]

Can you please explain why 'white' soul rhythm means accented on the first and third beat while 'black' soul rhythm is on the second and fourth?
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1answer
45 views

Why oughtn't listeners try to hear where tone rows start and stop?

David McCleery. p. 27, Liner note to Discover Music of the Twentieth Century. Between 1912 and 1923 he [Schoenberg] wrote very few works, dedicating his time instead to developing the twelve-...
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3answers
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What is brightness?

I hear the term get thrown around a lot, and it seems pretty nebulous. Usually, it's invoked under the heading of tone, but I've heard it linked to intonation and a handful of other categories. At the ...
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1answer
70 views

Are the intervals do-re and re-mi equal in size if we are tuning re-fa to be a minor third and re-sol to be a perfect fourth? [closed]

On a modern piano (in well-tempered tuning) the interval between do-re and re-mi are equal in size. Can they be equal in size if we use the harmonic series to make re-fa a minor third and re-sol a ...
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0answers
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Is the 7th harmonics used in plainchant and childrens taunting?

In the taunting of children the 7th harmonics is used according to Leonard Bernstein in his Harvard lectures. We sometimes notate this as sol-mi-la-sol-mi but...it is not correct according to ...
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3answers
94 views

Do accidentals in a figured bass last the full measure, or do they only apply to that single chord?

Consider the example below. In m. 1, the second beat has a G♯, but beat 4 should have a G♮. Does the G♯ used on beat 2 carry over into beat 4? As such, should we specify ♮...
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3answers
94 views

What are whole steps and half steps?

My choir teacher talks to my class about whole steps, and half steps a lot. The problem is, I am unable to understand what whole step and half steps are. What are whole steps and half steps?
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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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3answers
97 views

What determines a note, and when we change to another one?

I have begun playing the tin whistle recently, and am quite curious about something in particular. How is a note defined? My idea is that the sharp and flat versions of a note are the "boundaries" ...
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1answer
43 views

Can you measure consonance of intervals played by sine waves? [duplicate]

Is there a way to measure consonance of intervals that are played by pure sine waves? I am looking for a list that shows the order of consonance between intervals of sine waves with no overtones. Also,...
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0answers
34 views

Too late to learn music theory? [duplicate]

Hye guys, I'm 19 and I want to learn music theory to start improvising solos and composing songs like king krule, cosmo pyke and yellow days, but I don't know if I'm already late to start. I already ...