Questions tagged [theory]

For questions about how music works, seeking to identify structures and patterns in music. Used to indicate questions about musical concepts and structures, as opposed to techniques and execution.

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19 votes
1 answer
2k views

Notes not adding up to time signature, with weird white oval note

Any idea how to play this piece? The notes doesn't add up to 8/4, and there are some white oval notes, which I've never encountered before. Also, what does "Air" mean on the second staff? ...
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2 votes
2 answers
102 views

Getting played note frequency using Unity and FFT

I am working on a project using the Unity game engine, The idea of the project is that the user plays a note on a guitar (and other instruments) and the app should display the note frequency that the ...
-3 votes
3 answers
137 views

Solo piano: Why not compose everything in or including the keys C major and A minor? [duplicate]

This is a follow-up question to What's the point of keys other than C and Am? After going through that question, I wrote down the key general facts: The C major and A minor keys have the simplest ...
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1 vote
0 answers
41 views

I am teaching myself to identify sequences (harmonic and melodic) in Bach Orchestral Suite No.3 Air

I am using Bach's "Air" to identify melodic/ harmonic sequences. I started some of the first page and want to know if I am on the right track. IS the bass I labeled considered a sequence? I ...
1 vote
0 answers
54 views

How Can I Make a Chuck Berry Inspired Piece? [closed]

I'm thinking about making an unofficial Club Penguin Music Jam song for the Pizza Parlor, and I want to make it inspired by Chuck Berry, the king of Rock and Roll. What can I do to achieve the Chuck ...
8 votes
2 answers
243 views

Calculating the frequency of quarter tones

I have several questions on the subject of note frequencies and their ranges: First Question How should I calculate the frequency of a quarter tone, such as the half-flat (half-bemol) that is found in ...
2 votes
0 answers
46 views

Shostakovich style (5th, 10th) [closed]

During my music education I was more focused on classical styles of western composers up until times of Beethoven. Namely, I understand the structure and some ideas behind music by Vivaldi, Bach, ...
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0 votes
0 answers
71 views

What is this chord and its harmonic function? [closed]

In this part of the song, it goes from an F#m to what I think is an Edim7 chord to a D. I hear a tritone between E and A# but I'm sorta guessing on what the other notes are. ...
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4 votes
1 answer
62 views

Is there proper terminology for the fundamental elements / layers of a drum beat?

In many musical styles a drum beat is composed of three main elements: Bass drum Snare Hi-Hat ... but more fundamentally, three separate functions that can be performed by other parts of the drum ...
3 votes
1 answer
49 views

Teaching myself to identify phrases and need feedback

I took this piece by Schumann (Melodie) and am trying to identify the cadences. I have already started to try and identify the phrases first. I am unsure if the first system is one phrase. Any help ...
5 votes
4 answers
1k views

Jarring F natural in Bartok's "Former Friends"

I'm trying to wrap my head around the awfully jarring - it hurts my ears so bad, I literally can't bring myself to play it - F natural in m16 of Bartok's "Former Friends" from his Book 1 for ...
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4 votes
2 answers
203 views

How does this time signature work

I’m fairly new to grasping this concept so take it easy on me. In the following piece which I assume is 4/4 the sum of the notes simply do not add up. Lots of 32nd notes and some quarter notes ...
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1 vote
3 answers
105 views

Bottom number on a time signature [duplicate]

My understanding of the bottom number in a time signature is that this is how many beats there are in a whole note. So if the bottom number is 4, a whole note gets 4 beats. If the bottom number is 2 a ...
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1 vote
0 answers
39 views

More Terms for Melodic Functions in Narrative Situations

Leitmotifs (which in this context I mean as a motif or theme representing a person, place, thing, idea, etc.) are one of the only music theory concepts that have really escaped into (comparatively) ...
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0 votes
2 answers
46 views

notes to play in a "modal scale" other than tonic & character notes?

what other notes should get used along with the modal tonic & the character note, when going for a "modal" sound? Take Dorian, a minor mode, for example, playing over a (dm7: D-F-A-C) in ...
1 vote
1 answer
49 views

If a chord has a note from an extension in the bass, is that note still an extension? [duplicate]

This question stems from a recent discussion I had with a friend, neither of us are academically trained musicians. A chord was described as a Gm9/C. My point of view was that the C note makes it a ...
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2 votes
2 answers
85 views

how to properly bring out a modal "color"

Let's please stay in the key of CMaj (C Ionian, D dorian, E phrygian, etc.) If for example, if I have an underlying CMaj triad (C-E-G), but wanted to emphasize the middle note (E), I could solo using (...
3 votes
2 answers
264 views

Making note longer at end of measure

I have the following notes. They are four notes lasting 1 time unit on a 4 time units measure on a staff. Now, I want the last note to last two units, but I cannot convert it to a note with an empty ...
1 vote
4 answers
67 views

Lydian mode alleviates the clashing between the (M3) & (P4), but creates just as much between the (#4) & (5)?

I'm very confused when choosing modes to solo over my chord progressions. I've read that the Lydian scale is often used over underlying Major or Major 7th chords, to cut down on the natural clashing ...
3 votes
2 answers
89 views

What is the term for swapping parts in a harmony?

What is the technical term given to the technique where parts of a choir switch or swap their parts in a harmony?
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6 votes
2 answers
336 views

Is there anything special about A♭ in a Tonnetz?

I just discovered what a Tonnetz is, and I'm amazed by the treasure of information that is hidden in this diagram: Among others, it's easy to find major/minor/augmented/diminished chords, or the ...
3 votes
1 answer
90 views

G# major vs Ab major in the Liszt's Les Preludes

In this video at 6:21, the instructor says that In measure 62 of Liszt Les Preludes (image below), the intonation is difficult if you think of as a "G sharp major." Instead, it will be ...
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2 votes
3 answers
122 views

VII-i cadence in a minor key

I have read many people claiming that this cadence is actually a disguised V-vi in the relative major. But as a pianist and composer I do not feel this way at all. For a concrete example, here is a ...
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8 votes
6 answers
2k views

Chopin's Etude op. 10 No.1 - why the D sharp in bar 8?

In Chopin's Etude op. 10, No.1, bar 8, why does Chopin choose to have D sharp (D♯) in the purple square quoted below? Why not choose the more natural D there? Is there logic, a good reason, and ...
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6 votes
1 answer
335 views

Can I use/when can I use dotted rests in time signatures such as 5/8 or 7/8?

I'm writing a song that changes to 7/8 and I'm wondering if or when dotted rests are appropriate (assuming that dotted rests are appropriate for compound meters).
3 votes
6 answers
2k views

Why do e# and b# exist in theory? [duplicate]

I'm aware why E and B sharp don't exist but apparently they exist in music theory because of functional differences that may occur. If they don't exist on instruments, why do they exist in theory? Why ...
0 votes
3 answers
92 views

Is the chord progression of this short piece C-G7-C?

Is the chord progression of this short piece C-G7-C? I'm new to music theory and want to confirm my understanding.
0 votes
3 answers
87 views

Can there be a chord with two inversions represented by the same figure?

When figures are used to describe chords, they represent the intervals above the lowest pitch, and these seem to be treated as unique. For example, basic triads come in 5-3, 6-3, and 6-4 forms; and ...
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0 votes
2 answers
87 views

How to study part-writing as a self-taught musician?

I've recently picked up Schoenberg's "Preliminary Exercises In Counterpoint" after reading most of "Fundamentals of Musical Composition" as he indicates there and in other texts ...
4 votes
0 answers
78 views

Is there a list of Just Intonation chords as defined by Fétis, using ratios?

One way of ‘spelling’ chords in just intonation is using ratios - such as 10:12:14:17 (multiplications of the frequency of an implied ‘missing fundamental’). Fétis is quoted in Wikipedia (and here by ...
3 votes
1 answer
82 views

How to write functional chord symbols with accidental roots

How to write functional chord symbols of chord with roots with accidentals, for example: in C major scale, what is the functional chord symbol of the notes C#-E-G?
1 vote
1 answer
49 views

How do I write the roman numeral symbol for 6 chords and tritone substitution chords?

Am6 in the key of A minor. (or just 6 chords in general) Is there a correct way to write this or do I just write "i"? I can't use i6 cause that obviously means an inversion. What about 6 ...
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4 votes
2 answers
155 views

Db - Ab - Abb - Fb: What is this chord?

In Chopin's Nocturne in Bb minor, Op. 9, No. 1, m. 19, b. 4-6, we have a left-hand arpeggio comprising, in order, Db2 - Ab2 - Db3 - Abb3, while the right hand plays Fb. This harmony sits between Db ...
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0 votes
2 answers
29 views

How is 2nd and 3rd species in 4 part supposed to look like? How do I do it?

If second species is the 1st pic (the one with half notes) and 3rd species is the 2nd pic, how do i do that in 4 part writing? Like both...combined? "2nd and 3rd species in 4 parts". Im not ...
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1 vote
2 answers
55 views

Descending mode vs. Mixolydian

I looked through my notes and I saw the formula for descending mode. I had written that the formula was "WWHWWHW". I'm confused because I'm sure that is also the formula for the Mixolydian ...
1 vote
1 answer
54 views

Hearing the difference between a I6 vs iii?

In the opening of this song, I hear an Ab to to Eb/G but then in the verses I hear a Gm after the Ab for the most part. I know the difference between the chords in theory and that they both can ...
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2 votes
1 answer
60 views

schenkerian analysis archive [closed]

I would like to know if there is something like an Archive of Schenkerian Analysis of most pieces of music, or, at least, some kind of analysis. If you want to analyse an important piece of music, I ...
0 votes
1 answer
74 views

In an arrangement, what rules/heuristics do you use to determine when it's okay for notes to stack on one another?

For example, say you have a piano playing chords whose top notes are between middle C and the C above - in what situations would you say it's okay for some melody line to cross over those top notes? ...
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5 votes
4 answers
678 views

How to construct chords in exotic scales?

Till now i've been learning to construct chord's by stacking / altering notes in the MAJOR scale and its modes. What about other types of exotic scales ? I can see lot of exotic scales here -> ...
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1 vote
2 answers
121 views

Music theory question about finding keys

If I have chords Dm, F Maj, Am and no other melodic context is provided, I just have these three chords as an information, how do I know what key is it? From my understanding , it can be either Am or ...
6 votes
1 answer
118 views

How did we move from using syllables (ut, re, etc) to refer to intervals to using syllables to refer to notes?

My understanding of syllables used in solmization is when Guido d'Arezzo created syllables ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la, it was a mean to refer to intervals in any hexachord built on :2:2:1:2:2: intervals ...
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0 votes
2 answers
95 views

Noob Chord Progression Question

I make music in FL Studio and I have this chord progression which goes: VI - i - VII - i - iv - i - VII - i I guess my question is what is the decision behind putting the tonic (i) in the 2nd, 4th and ...
6 votes
2 answers
788 views

What are modes added with sharps and flats to make them sound better called?

I'm watching this video about modes and right here he mentions something that sounds like 'musica fikta' which he explains as sharps and flats added to modes to make them sound better (right when ...
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0 votes
2 answers
68 views

Keyboard with black and white keys all the same size and in-line? [closed]

I want to know if anyone makes a chromatic keyboard on which sharps/flats are black, but the same size as the other keys and in line with them (see sketch below). There needs to be no distinction ...
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6 votes
4 answers
466 views

Which is more comprehensible for a player after writing fortissimo: forte or meno forte?

So after writing ff when you want musicians to play very loud, would you rather write f alone or meno f if you want them to go a bit softer but still loud enough?
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4 votes
2 answers
501 views

what is the oldest use of 9th chords in western music and when did they become popular

From page 752, of Laitz's The Complete Musician 4th edit. ''(...) By continuing the process of stacking thirds, these composers added another third above the seventh, creating a ninth chord; by adding ...
2 votes
0 answers
85 views

Researching Music [closed]

I have recently started researching music in the area of music and learning instruments. While my university has given me access to a number of resources such as JSTOR and EBSCO in addition to their ...
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2 votes
1 answer
409 views

How are the Imperial March intro harmonies best interpreted on piano?

I'm wondering how the below is most effectively performed on piano. I've solved the 'rhythm problem' (i.e., the very rapid triplet repetitions) by using both hands via piano 'split' feature — each ...
0 votes
1 answer
71 views

Why does this IV-iii-i6-ii chord progression work?

I've been listening to a lot of jpop and I've heard a lot of this chord progression, which is basically IV-iii-i6-ii. In the song that I've linked below, I think it's in G, so the progression is ...
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2 votes
2 answers
75 views

How to determine if a song is in F#Aeolian or D Lydian or Ab Locrian

Hello how are you? :) delighted to be here in my first post, I am a graduate of Sound Engineering and I am currently studying modern harmony in a self-taught way, I have been able to understand the ...

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