Questions tagged [theory]

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

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8 views

A reccomended structured approach to self studying music theory for songwriting

A bit of background information: My piano level is levelled with the Trinity Level 1 Diploma and my music theory knowledge is from the ABRSM Grade 5 exam. I want to become a songwriter and I need ...
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2answers
71 views

Weird question for scale degree name

I am taking AP Music Theory at school, and today, during a diagnostic test, I came upon a question that I have never encountered. I was to name the scale degree name for a chord, consisting of C#, E, ...
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2answers
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Rules for naming borrowed chords in roman numeral analysis

I don't seem to find an extensive resource on how to name out of scale chords in roman numeral analysis. E.g. let's look at this piece from "All imperfect things" of Michael Nyman: I'm stuck on M5 ...
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32 views

The Complete Musician [on hold]

I really want to buy The Complete Musician book. But I am not sure which edition I should go for. Not sure what the difference is between the editions and which one is the best.
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0answers
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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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3answers
107 views

Why aren't slight imperfections in consonant intervals extremely dissonant?

In theory classes, we're taught that an interval's acoustic consonance is a function of how "simple" it is as a ratio, where "simple" means being a ratio of small integers. So a perfect fifth (3:2) is ...
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1answer
84 views

What scale(s) would I use to improvise over this riff?

I am a keyboard player and as an exercise, I like to figure out riffs or background chords to songs I like and improvise over them. I chose to tackle this riff, starting at 6:14 with a guitar soloing ...
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34 views

What motivates the dissonant minor third in the beginning of Respighi's Notturno?

Ottorino Respighi's Notturno is a Nocturne that begins in the key of F#. A melody is played atop the chords, however in bar 7 the melody hits the A note, which is the minor 3rd of the F# scale: This ...
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5answers
96 views

Difference between Minor and Diminished Intervals

The minor is decreasing Major intervals (2nd, 3rd, 6th, 7th) by half step. Diminishing means made the perfect or the major intervals smaller by half step as well. So what is the difference? I am ...
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2answers
100 views

Is the circle of fifths also listing the relative dissonance/consonance of notes of a major scale? [duplicate]

EDIT: CLARIFIED THE QUESTION Is the circle of fifths also listing the relative dissonance/consonance of notes in a major scale? and not just a list of key signatures? Consider the solfege ... a ...
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2answers
113 views

Chord structure and arppeggio study

This question is just to satisfy my own curiosity. I play mainly guitar, and some piano. Both are chording instruments so I study chord structure and arpeggios as part of my education process. I found ...
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Neo-Riemannian Theory, The Minor Plagal Cadence, and Chromatic Voice Leading

In my reading, a criticism that I have heard leveled against Neo-Riemannian theory is that it does not explain the smooth chromatic voice-leading possible in the iv - I instance of the plagal ...
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1answer
116 views

How does a minor major seventh chord have tonic function when it's so unstable?

In a minor key, the chord built on the tonic can be a minor sixth or a minor major seventh chord, both of which are supposed to have tonic function. To my ear, the minor sixth chord can feel like "...
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1answer
207 views

What is the difference between 2/4 and 4/4 when it comes the accented beats?

What is the difference between 2/4 and 4/4 when it comes the accented beats? I have been taught that 2/4 is popular in faster music like polka. I also see some hymns written in both 4/4 and 2/4. 4/4 ...
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3answers
86 views

Resolution in Major and Minor Scales

It is my understanding that subdominant chords, IV and ii, contain the fourth scale degree. The fourth scale degree wants to resolve down to the third scale degree. In the scale of C major (C, D, E, F,...
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1answer
74 views

The difference btw Major and Chromatic Scale

I learn music theory self study from Alfred book and I have a problem here As you see in question No 7 and 8 I don’t know what do they mean by Major or chromatic scale Thanks for you help 🖤🎶
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5answers
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Accurately recalling the key - can everyone do it?

I'm wondering if it is common for people to accurately recall not only the melody of a song they know, but also the key. I've recently done a small experiment where I asked a few of my friends to hum ...
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3answers
727 views

Music Theory: Facts or Hierarchy of Opinions?

To get right to the point, what I want to know is: what makes a claim acceptable in the world of music theory? From my understanding, music theory has very little to do with any "natural law" or ...
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1answer
70 views

How to diffrentiate countermelody from arpeggiated accompaniament?

I wonder what would be main difference between arpeggiated accompaniament and counter melody. Could it be the rule that if it's an arpeggiated accompaniament then it would be more repetitive (because ...
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2answers
167 views

Exercise from second chapter of Harmony by Walter Piston

Exercise 7, j. : With G sharp as the soprano note, write in four parts a triad in first inversion, with the subdominant of G sharp minor in the bass. It seemed to me that such a chord does not exist. ...
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8answers
2k views

Why are subdominants unstable?

In music theory, the subdominant is unstable and need to be resolved to the mediant. Similar resolution happens to the leading note and other notes that are not in the tonic triad. (Of course, I am ...
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3answers
348 views

Why did the natural major scale and the minor scales come to dominate common practice music? [duplicate]

I suspect that it might have something to do with tonality and functional harmony. A diminished or augmented tonic chord, due to dissonance, would be less satisfying and conclusive as the final chord ...
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1answer
93 views

Personal Taste or Something Else (9th and minor 7th chords) [closed]

Probably this is a matter of personal taste, but I thought I might ask to be sure that there isn't a more in-depth explanation out there. To my ear, 9th chords and minor 7th chords are oddly ...
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2answers
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Want to buy a wooden flute, but I don't know what the specifications entail

So I'm in a country where, when I browse flutes online, they have notes written next to the name of the flute in the syllabic form. So for instance you have a "Kaval flute" with "Si", "Sib", "Re", or "...
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2answers
143 views

How to end a song on a chord that isn't the I chord?

I've been trying to finish a song with the following chord progression: C G7/D Am F. I know I'm supposed to end it on a C, but it just doesn't sound right. I tried the other chords in the progression ...
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0answers
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Is this an example of Modal interchange? [duplicate]

The section I'm referring to is circled in red. The piece is in D♭ major. And I think here it's in F mixolydian, as both Cmin7 and F7 are in F mixolydian. Also, this part is the end of a phrase and ...
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1answer
50 views

Transposing the melody in negative harmony

All talk of negative harmony, such as What is the correct process for deriving the 'mirror' or 'negative' harmony of a progression? deals with transposing the chords according to the ...
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4answers
51 views

Preparation of Chordal 7ths in Classical Harmony

What is the proper practice for preparing chordal sevenths in dominant, diminished and other chords in classical 4-part harmony? In The Complete Musician (4th ed.) by Stephen Laitz, he states on page ...
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3answers
164 views

How should background music be used in documentary video? [closed]

I wonder how background music should be used during a video on a complicate topic and requires some analysis. I think that: If it's about giving information, then having background music can increase ...
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3answers
170 views

How to measure the tension or resolution of a chord?

Let me begin.. A chord is fundamentally built off the selection of multiple intervals. Those intervals hold a position in a 12TET interval ranking from most consonant to most dissonant. Depending on ...
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1answer
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The Names of Treble and Bass Notes

A video I saw said the C note above middle C (octave) is called Treble C. Below middle C is called Bass C. He didn't mention other notes. Would the same be true referring to the D note on the treble ...
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1answer
251 views

Get Chord Name From a Given Set of Notes

I am trying to come up with an algorithm that gets the proper chord name given certain Notes, user may or may not inform which from the notes is the root. I suppose that the process in recognizing a ...
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2answers
76 views

Standard Chord Naming Conventions

I am developing some software for music production, I am now coding some classes for Chords, but I came to realize that I understood much less than I thought. What I am trying to do is to rip apart ...
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4answers
171 views

Best method to convert MIDI style data to proper sheet with correct note names? [closed]

What are the best general algorithms to determine the correct notes (with sharp/flat) as they appear on a sheet with only input a MIDI-style data that has only the designation of a white or black key ...
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3answers
145 views

How is rock founded from blues if they have different scales?

I heard that rock was created from blues. But most of the scales in rock are either major or minor. But blues scales are created from adding chromatic notes to a pentatonic scale. Isn't rock more ...
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4answers
181 views

Is it acceptable to use a Maj7♯5sus4 chord? Avoid note/interval clarification

I have been looking through possible triads over bass notes and found an odd one.. F minor triad over B bass note. I rearranged the notes to give me a particular 7th chord 1 4 ♯5 7. Basically a ...
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1answer
66 views

What is the harmonic function of this?

What is the harmonic function of the boxed beat in the fourth measure?
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4answers
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12 TET Interval Ranking

Is it correct that composers of most popular genres use 12 TET based interval consonance and dissonance when building chord progressions and a composition as a whole? Could you provide me with the ...
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2answers
91 views

Where to get the chords of a song in roman numerals instead of regular chords

In web pages like https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/ you get the chords of a song (see this for an example). And that's enough if you are aiming to be a campfire guitar player. But when looking for ...
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3answers
272 views

Are extended chords assumed to have each extended interval below it and a 7th? [duplicate]

For instance, is a 13th chord assumed to have an 11th, 9th, 7th, 5th and 3rd along with it unless otherwise noted? And a 9th is assumed to have a 7th along with the triad, an 11th is assumed to have a ...
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0answers
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Music theory behind songs: looking for materials [closed]

I want to apologise for a potentially stupid question, but as a self-taught player I sometimes find myself in situations when I can't find a proper material. What are the best books/websites that ...
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What is the technical explanation of the note “A♭” in a F7 chord in the key of C?

I am practicing some blues bass lines and there is a chord progression of C7 | F7 | C7. The notes played during the F7 chord are (the bass plays one per beat): F A A♭ D, followed by the notes G ...
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1answer
77 views

How do I harmonize my bass, melody, drum line, and chord progression all together? [closed]

I'm aspiring to be a pop music producer. When I create a catchy melody, I then attempted to add a bass line that was also catchy. Unfortunately, they didn't sound well together. And I know if I were ...
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60 views

(Conflict) Kostka/Payne Cadence Chart vs. Authentic Cadence in Natural Minor [duplicate]

According to Is this generic cadence chart from Kostka/Payne generally accepted?, However, the authentic cadence in natural minor, which is v-i, does not meet the definition by Kostka/Payne here. ...
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1answer
57 views

Analysing harmony in music [closed]

I've read books like Theory of Harmony, Tonal Harmony, The Complete Musician, and just started reading structural functions of harmony. But I still find myself confused on those weird out-of-key ...
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2answers
138 views

Why the difference between interval ratios and the harmonic series?

I've observed that the harmonic series which are the most consonant pitches of the fundamental such as the note A for this example, with A's first harmonic series being (A) E and C#.. Do not correlate ...
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Variant Cadences

I've gone through many unusual cadences so far - conclusive cadences that are not V-I, V-i, v-i (rare), viio-I, #viio-i, IV-I, or iv-i, and progressive cadences that are not V, v (rare), V-vi, V-VI, ...
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1answer
134 views

Are there J.S. Bach pieces that do not start with the tonic chord?

I know some simple pieces where the initial phrase starts in the IV chord or the V chord, but I'm wondering if Bach used to do that.
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2answers
49 views

Use of sharps and flats when writing altered notes to chords in key

A quick question about the conventions of writing music. I have a song I am working on where I am going from a G major to a F#-b9. The song is in G major for most of it before going into a middle ...
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2answers
61 views

How to produce tension and resolution

I'm beginning to enter the concept and science of tension and resolution and would like some context entering this section. Thus far what I have gathered is the following.. Tension and Resolution is ...