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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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2answers
93 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
691 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
89 views

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
122 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
52 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 ...
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3answers
81 views

Abstracting chords for a C++ class [closed]

I am trying to abstract the building blocks for a Musical Chord for a Music Composition Code Library, I am trying to fit this in a way that complex chords can be created and properly named. This is ...
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4answers
53 views

Key and possible missing “tonic chord”

I just figured out in this tune the chords F major and e minor fit, and they are repeated all over. Surely its a simple and repetitive piece, but what I am wondering is, the only key where both chords ...
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6answers
154 views

Is it better to learn scales or chords first in Music Theory?

I'm a novice when it comes to music composition and I'm trying to expand my knowledge on scales, chords, intervals and progressions. I've been playing lead guitar in a thrash metal band for quite a ...
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3answers
80 views

Understanding Time Signature: How do I identify the time signature of a song?

I have played music for years and I still don't understand what a time signature actually signifies. I understand it from a superficial sense. If given sheet music I could tell you what time ...
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1answer
55 views

What does this exponent-like note notation mean? (e.g., “c^1, e^1, g^1, c^2, e^2, g^2”) [duplicate]

I'm a self-taught composer currently trying to make my way through Arnold Schoenberg's "Theory of Harmony." I'm unfamiliar with what the numbers super-scripting certain notes means- is it the octave?
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4answers
2k views

Does octave not matter when tuning?

Why does it not matter what octave you're tuning to? If you wind a string to two different octaves of the same note, surely it's going to have a big effect on the sound, no?
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3answers
2k views

Can I turn any synthesized instrument into a bass by lowering the frequency?

In terms of electronic music, when I'm picking a "bass" can I choose any instrument, including leads, and just set that instrument to be of lower frequency (lowering the octave) in order to create a ...
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2answers
79 views

How to understand the keyboard of a piano (or any such instrument)? [closed]

I would like to ask about something like theoretical foundations or fundamentals of an 88 piano keyboard. My thinking is a) there is a range of pitch a human can hear (lets assume that there is no ...
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4answers
81 views

Pause in song versus bar length

I want to do this kind of thing in my song: In one moment, before a chorus tension raises significantly, then I want to mute all the sounds for a moment just to hit the listener with the chorus in all ...
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2answers
66 views

Does this chord function as a 13 chord?

In Debussy's La Fille aux Cheveux de Lin, there is this passage: (Debussy: Préludes Livre I, No. 8, bar 24) The piece is in Gb major. This first chord is probably a I chord. But since it has that ...
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0answers
50 views

Help with a cello cadenza (Boccherini Concerto No 3 in G Maj)

Here’s a cadenza my daughter came up with, by mixing parts of the original score and changing them a little bit, e.g changing the key. She is unsatisfied with two things here. Maybe you could give me ...
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4answers
504 views

Chords and Keys [closed]

To what keys do chords like C6, C6/9 , Gm7b5 or dominant 7 sharp ninth chords, suspended chords, power chords, belong to? Note: I don't specifically mean C6, I'm more focused on the type of chord ...
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3answers
598 views

How do you analyze this Mozart Piano Sonata?

How does one analyse the progression in bar 81 of this Mozart piano sonata?
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1answer
55 views

Is this 4/4 or 6/8? [closed]

I never was much good at working this sort of thing out. Hopefully, a real musician can tell me. Thanks in advance. Please listen here.
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2answers
72 views

Where in the guitar fretboard do you play the composition

I am relearning guitar by myself with the help of the web. I have studied music theory and started to sight read. When I have easy sheet music for the guitar (Ode to Joy for example), I tend to play ...
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2answers
39 views

Finding relative keys of modes

How does one go about finding the relative keys of modes? For example, determining the relative major of F# Phrygian or determining the relative locrian of G Mixolydian?
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1answer
51 views

Statistics about the frequency of different type of intervals

Do you know if any statistics about the frequency of different type of intervals in music (of a certain period or by a specific composer) exist? For instance, suppose you have this piece of music in ...
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1answer
73 views

Why can I so quickly find the root of a given chord?

Why is it that no matter what arrangement or inversion of notes are presented to me, I can quickly find the root? Is it training or is there a mathematical answer? If you play C E G or E G C or G ...
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3answers
281 views

When, if ever, are arpeggiated six-four chords really “real”?

Textbooks traditionally teach that there are four types of six-four (i.e., second inversion) chords: Pedal six-four (also sometimes called neighbor), where the bass stays the same; Passing six-four, ...
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1answer
369 views

I need help analysing weird chord progression

Here is the progression, bar-by-bar (newline after each 4 bar phrase): Verse: D | Bm7 | Gmaj7 | Em9 D | Bm7 | Gmaj7 | Fmaj7 Chorus: Abmaj7 | Abmaj7 | Abm7 | Abm6 Ebmaj7/G | Ebmaj7 | F7 | F7 Fm7 ...
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3answers
87 views

Tempo and Rhythm

If an eighth note is half the duration of a quarter note, would the duration of an eighth note played at 60bpm be equal to the duration of a quarter note at 120bpm? If yes, why was the concept of ...
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4answers
94 views

What is this sequence and why does it play with the melody in such a distinct way?

I play ukulele and can't read notes very well, so I play with tabs. Luckily, the arrangement am asking about is duplicated in standard notation as well. This is a line from the Christmas carol "...
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3answers
376 views

I would need someone to help understanding those chords

I have started reading "Jazz Theory" by Mark Levine. Note that I am a beginner so please be indulgent :) At the beginning of chapter 2 he gives examples of II-V-I chord progression. However when I ...
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4answers
721 views

What causes overtones at harmonic frequencies in an instrument? [duplicate]

I know when a string is plucked on a violin you can hear many overtones at harmonic frequencies, but where do these overtones come from? Does an ideal string vibrating in a vacuum vibrate at the ...
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4answers
67 views

Melody And Intervals [closed]

How do composers think about intervals like minor, major,etc to compose melody? Eg I know playing major third will invoke happy mood....that is if we play C and then E creates happier environment......
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5answers
2k views

Why do lower pitched string instruments have a larger body?

I know that increasing the length of the string will decrease the pitch, but that doesn't explain why the body of a cello is larger than a violin, only longer. What would be the "problem" with ...
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4answers
278 views

Determining the seventh chords of a key

I know that every key has a set of 7 chords by taking each note of the scale as a root. I also know that the pattern for naming these chords go as follows: Major, minor, minor,major,major,minor and ...
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3answers
78 views

Strong & weak beats in 4/4 time signature

Why are there such things as strong and weak beats? And how can we use them or consider them while composing a new music piece?
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0answers
63 views

I wrote a subject for a fugue which I wanted to write. Is it adequate? [closed]

Hi, I'm having trouble writing a fugue. I wrote this subject and also two different counter-subjects, but I'm not sure how to really introduce all the voices for the exposition. Is the subject two ...
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1answer
86 views

Why does the D# work in Pink Floyd's Mother guitar solo?

I'm curious why the D# sounds good in the guitar solo of Pink Floyd's Mother. You can check for example the tab here - the 14p13 is a pull-off from E to D#, but D# isn't in the G major scale even ...
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1answer
26 views

Timpani & Conga: Doit, Fall or is it something else and how is it performed?

I've been following and studying a particular orchestra score. I've never written for or played the Timpani or Conga before. In the image below I see a Doit (on the Timpani) and a Fall (on the Conga)....
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2answers
85 views

Melodic Criticism - Exercise 3.16G, Laitz The Complete Musician 2nd Edition

The question asks to find the weaknesses or problems (based on the general guidelines for melody writing presented in the preceding section) in the following melodic contour (tunes without rhythm or ...
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1answer
75 views

Why is the 'standard chord' on the first step of Dorian b2 (second mode melodic minor) a sus-chord for jazz?

Why is the 'standard chord' for Dorian b9 a sus chord? More specifically, a sus4. Instead of stacking triads, i often see people (most notably Rick Beato on youtube) use a sus chord on the first step ...
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3answers
74 views

How to identify voices in piano scores?

I'm confused about what's going on here. Is the descending line from E5 flat to G4 the alto voice? Is the bass the 3rds in the bass clef and the tenor and soprano double at the E flat octave? Another ...
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1answer
43 views

Help with Mozart 6 bar long chord progression?

Can someone please explain what chords progressions are happening in this 6 measures ? My guess is that the first measure is a A chord and the last one is a V going to I . My confusing is regarding ...
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2answers
54 views

Chords with different bass and non-diatonic chords inside a progression

I'm studying music by myself and I'm dealing with several doubts: one of these is, are there some criteria for using a chord with a different bass in a chord progression? And how should I use it? Also,...
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1answer
45 views

Can someone help me figure out this music theory KEY finding question

Messing around Sunday I came up with a song that has the following Chord Progression. I'm just learning music theory and am having trouble on identifying the key. The chord progression is: C7 D7 F7 ...
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3answers
59 views

Theory of finding the Mode of a key

Finding the notes of G Phrygian. The ‘Phrygian Mode, is the third mode along from the Ionian, Major - of which major scale is G the 3rd note?". The answer is E flat major. So, G Phrygian has the ...
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1answer
36 views

In Second Species Composition, how do you traverse an octave between downbeats

From what I understand you can have an octave leap from one downbeat to the next in first species as long as it rebounds with a step in the opposite direction. However, in programming second species,...
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1answer
570 views

What are all the modes (scales) based on the major scale?

I've heard that there are 7 different scales based on the major scale, like the minor scale, which is made by shifting the major scale pattern 6 to the right. What are the names of the other scales ...
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1answer
70 views

What is partimento?

Could not find a good explanation of what partimento is. I would like to know more. I only found you tube compositions. I understand it has something to do with counterpoint? Please help :-)