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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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Which instruments (besides piano) are in one to one correspondence with its range of notes?

We know that for each note in a piano's range, there is only one key pertaining to that note. This is in contrast to, say, a guitar where there are multiple ways to play, say, middle C. Are there ...
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3answers
28 views

Where is the antecedent and consequent phrase in this melody?

I have learned that a period is made up of two phrases, the antecedent and consequent phrase. In this melody we have two periods in the verse. Do I simply say: bars 1-2 is antecedent, bars 3-4 is ...
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3answers
32 views

How to make the Bass in SATB move more smoothly?

While writing for SATB, I realise I have a few chords where the Bass part is moving down in intervals of 6ths or 7ths from one chord to the next. For example, I have a chord progression ii7b in F ...
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6answers
709 views

Beginner looking to learn/master musical theory and instrumental ability. Where should I begin?

I have always had a subtle but under the hood feel that music is for me. I've never trained myself nor had any real dedicated musical practice, but I have composed music on my computer. What I don't ...
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3answers
109 views

What is a Bm chord with a G in it?

I am writing a song with G > Bm > Em as the main chord progression but I found a lot of nice fingerings on the guitar for the Bm chord with an added G in it. Does this make the chord a B minor 6 ...
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3answers
63 views

Is there a rule in SATB writing regarding the Soprano & Bass moving in contrary motion?

While writing a melody over a bass line, it is generally advised to have the melody & the bass line moving in contrary motion to each other. I want to know if such a rule also exists when you ...
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3answers
320 views

Maximum interval between Alto & Tenor, & intervals when writing for SATB

What is the maximum interval permitted between the Alto & Tenor when writing for SATB? I have read it should not be more than a 10th, whereas another source said it should not be more than an 8th. ...
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1answer
49 views

Tenor part written higher than the Alto part in SATB

I have read that Bach in his chorales wrote the tenor part high (frequently using ledger lines for this). Another source said that the Tenor part would be written higher than the Alto part - for ...
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1answer
91 views

Is the “sad” side of a major scale the relative or parallel minor? [on hold]

I know that whenever anybody talks about happy/sad it gets downvoted. But please hear me out. I think that major/minor is so prevalent because as humans we tend to always be in a shifting state of ...
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3answers
158 views

Mikrokosmos, BB 105, Vol. 1: No. 17 Contrary Motion (1) - Can't understand the structure

Can somebody explain how the harmony works in this piece? It seems that the right hand plays on C key and the left hand alternates between G and D. Why when played in opposite direction do the ...
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3answers
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How can one use theory/harmony in order to learn BWV anh 114?

How can one use theory/harmony in order to learn BWV anh 114? I am only talking about theory/harmony in order to be able to play and memorize this piece.
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61 views

Modulation or passing through different keys in the following Bach chorale [on hold]

This is Bach's chorale R.80. I want to know if the music has modulated to a particular key in certain, or is it only passing through different keys (and hence not a fixed modulation to only one key)?
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Is the ♭VII chord still a dominant chord in the natural minor scale? [duplicate]

If I have the progression Cm > Ab > Bb > Cm from the C natural minor scale, does the Bb chord still work as a dominant chord as it would in Eb major? I know that in the minor scale, ...
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4answers
697 views

Modulation from major key to relative minor - what could be the pivot chord?

I want to modulate from D major to B minor. I have a perfect cadence (A7 - D) in D major, after which I need to use a pivot chord to go into B minor. I was thinking of using the F# chord, but I am not ...
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2answers
45 views

Is it ok to practice naming intervals with a guitar or keyboard in hand?

I am not formally trained in music but was wondering if it is better to try and learn intervals without looking at an instrument or if it doesn't matter really? I suppose on written tests you wouldn't ...
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2answers
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Using passing notes in SATB writing

When writing for SATB, which is the best voice in which you can use passing notes & auxiliary notes? Also, in a music exam where the Soprano part is given to you (and you have to harmonise the ...
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Using chord iii in a chord progression (major key) [closed]

I haven't come across music as yet where chord iii is used in a chord progression. I read somewhere that generally chord iii is not used, or very rarely used. Is this correct? If chord iii is used, ...
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2answers
55 views

Chords between i and an augmented-sixth chord [closed]

I am wondering about chords that can go between i and different augmented-sixth chords. Are there any resources on this? I've googled and searched past questions and didn't find anything... edit: in ...
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1answer
50 views

Is it ok to write a note of the same register in two voices (SATB)?

I want to know if this is allowed when writing for SATB. The chord is D/F#. The note D is of the same register, but repeated in the Alto & Tenor voices. Is this allowed in a music theory exam?
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0answers
34 views

Writing characteristic chord progressions in inversion, & doubling notes other than the root

There are characteristic chord progressions taught in music theory, for example, the cadential 6-4, which is Ic - V - I. Then there's Ib - ii7b - V - I, & so on. I want to know if these cadences ...
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3answers
617 views

Are there any sonatas with only two sections?

In a classical sense, the Sonata is a structure composed of three sections: exposition, development, and recapitulation. Are there any examples of a Sonata with only two sections?
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Chord in Bach's chorale

This is a part of Bach's chorale R.311. I am unsure of the starred chord. It uses a passing note in it as well. According to me, I think this chord is A°/C, with the D as an accented passing note. ...
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2answers
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Identifying unusual chord progression & chord [closed]

I have come across this short piece. I am unsure about the key (even though it uses 2 flats as its key signature - so I am assuming it mostly is Bb major). I could not identify one of the chords (...
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2answers
143 views

Calculating the distance of chords

I was trying to create a chord progression in C major with borrowed chords from C based modes. There aren't too many "in-depth" materials about how to do this, and what I found says: "just try, maybe ...
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3answers
56 views

Major scale interval quality [duplicate]

C d e F G a b C 2min 3min 4Maj 5Maj 6min 7dim What determines that the intervals 2,3,6 are minor and the intervals 4,5 are major? I would assume the same ...
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1answer
56 views

What does the author mean in these examples of chorales & harmony?

This is an example in G major. I am learning about Bach's chorales & how he uses modulation. I came across a page online (choraleguide.com), & in one example given, I couldn't understand what ...
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1answer
71 views

How are the chords in this progression functioning together?

I wrote a song that has a pretty simple verse that's in D minor. I can understand all of the chords in that progression. However, I can't figure out what's going on in the chorus. I'm curious why it ...
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4answers
139 views

when is a perfect fifth interval a diminished 6th and why? [duplicate]

I did a music theory test where I was asked the interval between F# and Db. I called the interval a perfect fifth but I was wrong. It was a diminished 6th. Can someone please can explain why this ...
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3answers
565 views

Are modes in jazz primarily a melody thing?

I was wondering when jazz cats talk about how they'd use a Lydian scale to improvise over a major chord, or a Dorian scale to improvise over a minor chord they're mainly talking about the melody? So ...
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6answers
1k views

What chord could the notes 'F A♭ E♭' form?

Can someone please help me understand this chord progression that actually takes the listener from E♭ to B♭. There is a chord at the end of the phrase and I can't understand what chord it ...
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1answer
66 views

Is Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me) in A minor or F major? [closed]

'A pirate's life for me' sounds like it's in A minor (and that's what multiple websites indicate) yet there's an A#/Bb in it. Where does that Bb come from? Does it modulate between F major and A minor ...
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4answers
236 views

What are these “advanced or unknown” nonchord tones that I haven't found out on wiki or other sites?

Nonchord tone (Wikpedia) is one of sources I've learned it from. I'm analyzing nonchord tones on Charlie Puth's song, Attention, to get used to them. However, some of them, I call "unknown" nonchord ...
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1answer
60 views

What does Decorated Suspension, a type of nonchord tone, mean in this below explanation?

I'm learning about decorated suspension. But I don't understand the explanation below. Could you guys help me with this? P/s: I type the script of explanation below, so you guys with smartphone ...
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3answers
184 views

Does the 7th major scale note resolve more strongly to the lower tonic (note 1) than the higher tonic (note 8)? [closed]

Does the 7 resolve more strongly to the 'lower' tonic (1) than the 'higher' tonic? I used the word resolve as the octave notes are different despite being the same name. My ear says going from B ...
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0answers
58 views

Differences between Music Theory across the world [closed]

I'm asking about some advice on what to read on the subject of world music theory. By this I mean that I want to understand the fundamental assumptions made in e.g. Western music theory, that makes ...
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3answers
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Why is B♯ higher than C♭ in 31-ET?

I was looking into microtonal series, and started reading a bit on the 31-ET series, and came across something that doesn't quite make sense to me. I noticed this chart on the wiki page for 31-ET ...
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548 views

Should one double the thirds or the fifth in chords?

Generally, theory books mention that one should double the root of the chord. This is followed most of the time, except by some composers who choose to double the 3rd or the 5th of the chord. When ...
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1answer
51 views

Labelling chords in Bach's chorale

The image is a part of Bach's chorale BWV 94.8 or R. 291 (image taken from www.bach-chorales.com). I want to confirm the harmony of the 2 chords marked with a star. Is the chord with a blue star A7/C# ...
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4answers
83 views

Labeling suspension chords

I have an idea of what suspension chords are (in theory). However, I have a problem in labeling the chords correctly. Could anyone explain with an example on how to correctly label suspension chords ...
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1answer
49 views

Is Nirvana's 'Aero Zeppelin' intro in Locrian mode?

The song 'Aero Zeppelin' by Nirvana (see here for Youtube video link) begins with a calmer introduction that has a 'creepy' feeling, due to the occurrence of the tritone. I have tried to analyse the ...
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3answers
71 views

What is the chord symbol for the marked chord? [closed]

The image is a part of a short piece. It is in D major. I am not sure of the chord symbol for the chord marked with an arrow (4th crotchet beat bar 1). I am confused between the chord being either C#°/...
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1answer
65 views

Goodbye Porkpie Hat - solo harmonic analysis

I have been untangling Goodbye Porkpie Hat, the original on Mingus Ah Um. The solo section has different chords to the head on this version. I have listened to the sax solo, and I am making notes, but ...
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5answers
3k views

Why are notes ordered like they are on a piano?

Why is the order of keys/notes on a piano C,C#,D,D#,E,F and so on as opposed to in order of consonance like C,G,E,B and so on? Thank you!
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3answers
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Need help understanding harmonic series and intervals

so i need some clarification as this is confusing me terribly.. What are the first 12 harmonic series of a fundamental (Lets say A (440hz)? Do those harmonic series of the fundamental pertain to ...
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4answers
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Can I use a fundamental's harmonics to sustain consonance by making its harmonics the following fundamental?

I've been studying music theory from a physics standpoint and want validation on my supposed theories, firstly the harmonic series and secondly consonance and dissonance. First question, If C is the ...
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4answers
331 views

Rolling Stones Sway guitar solo chord function

I enjoy jamming over Sway by the Stones. The final solo is C minor pentatonic mainly played over two chords, C major and Bb major. While I understand why you would use a minor pentatonic on a major ...
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5answers
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How would this chord from “Rocket Man” be analyzed?

[Chorus:] Bb Eb And I think it's gonna be a long, long time Bb 'Till touch down brings me roung again to find ...
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3answers
71 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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3answers
282 views

What is “leading note” and what does it mean to “raise a note”?

I try to learn rules of how basic melody ("Cantus Firmus") should be built. At the moment I read this document. The second rule there is: The penultimate note should go to the final in a stepwise ...
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0answers
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What general composition techniques/ Music qualities that convey motivational, anger, fear and sad emotions [closed]

So I am doing a research where I study about how acoustic features in electronic music evoke emotions. I found out through literature review that high levels in energy implies for higher emotional ...