All Questions

163
votes
12answers
25k views

Why do minor keys sound “sad”? [closed]

Oftentimes major keys are called "happy" and minor keys are "sad". Why is this? Is it universal across cultures that use these scales? Do similar connotations exist in other scale systems? (If this ...
136
votes
12answers
35k views

Why is the guitar tuned like it is?

Why is there that funny tuning kink between the G and B string on a guitar in standard tuning? I.E. the gap (interval) between the rest of the adjoining strings is 5 frets (or a perfect fourth), but ...
107
votes
9answers
39k views

Why are there twelve notes in an octave?

I know that one scale consists of 12 half-tones. But my question is still: Why? Why not 13 or 11?
100
votes
18answers
105k views

What is good software for learning how to sight-read?

I'd like to learn how to sight-read on my own, but practicing the same song over and over again just causes me to memorize it, and filling out worksheets is boring. Is there any good software for ...
99
votes
24answers
23k views

What's the point of keys other than C and Am?

I'm VERY new to music theory, just learning. I'm reading about keys and scales right now. From what I understand major keys are all the same except for being shifted by one or more semitones (e.g. C ...
96
votes
6answers
83k views

Is there any real-world difference between time signatures such as 4/4 and 8/8?

These days I pretty much play everything by ear, but was originally trained in strathspey and reel violin so realise I should know the answer to this, but I can't remember what, if any, the practical ...
80
votes
8answers
4k views

Ten Minute Practice Techniques For Guitar?

Unfortunately, I can't play every day. However, I am trying to practice at least 5-10 minutes here and there. What are some good theory or scale techniques/practice methods I should have ready to ...
79
votes
11answers
7k views

How do professional accompanying musicians (seem to) figure out songs instantly?

Sometimes, when I'm watching any TV show which has a live hired band for accompanying and they have a musician guest, the host will ask for them to sing something on spot (that wasn't really planned), ...
75
votes
12answers
125k views

How can I significantly improve my hand independence on piano?

I started taking piano lessons about 7 years ago, and stopped about 2 years ago when my teacher (the one and only piano teacher I've had) quit. In all honesty, my piano has been severely neglected ...
73
votes
11answers
46k views

Purpose of double-sharps and double-flats?

In a few pieces of music I have read through, I have come across double-sharps and flats. To my understanding, they are two semitones above/below the note indicated. What is, then, the point of ...
72
votes
19answers
43k views

How to play a song without making mistakes?

I have played keyboard quite a while and now I'm starting to practice some classical music like Fur Elise. When I see a live performance of any musical instrument, there seem to be no errors at all. ...
69
votes
7answers
78k views

What are the most effective ear training methods?

Ear training is a very important ability for any musician to develop. From intonation when singing or playing an instrument to playing and transcribing by ear. What is the best way to improve this? ...
67
votes
21answers
40k views

How often should I replace the strings on my guitar?

When and why should you replace your guitar strings?
66
votes
17answers
26k views

Quickly flip a page of sheet music while playing

This seems like such a silly question, but! When playing the piano, I sometimes struggle to turn the pages of my music without noticeably sacrificing the sound of the piece or making the book / ...
66
votes
5answers
48k views

How do you draw a quarter rest with a pen/pencil?

It seems to me that the quarter rest we see everywhere was drawn with a calligraphy pen. I don't have one of those - I have a sharpened/mechanical pencil or a ball-point pen. So usually when I try to ...
65
votes
23answers
5k views

Ways to get out of a scalar rut?

I'm a well versed and experienced guitarist. I have a decent sense for rhythm and melody, but I have a VERY hard time with soloing. I know you've heard it all before I'm one of those guys that got ...
63
votes
21answers
67k views

Changing the strings: one by one, or by taking all strings off at one time?

The title says it all. Should I change strings one by one, or take them all at once? Does this matter at all? If I take all strings off, will it damage my neck in any way, because the pressure is ...
63
votes
7answers
33k views

How long would it take to learn to tune a piano?

I have a piano that is out of tune, and I know tuning pianos properly is complicated enough to have it's own profession. But I think it would be interesting to have a go myself, for fun. But is this ...
62
votes
24answers
168k views

Best method to learn to play barre chords?

I've been trying to learn the F chord for a while now, and I am having a very hard time playing the barre chord. I've read that pulling back slightly with your finger and using the body of the guitar ...
62
votes
9answers
46k views

How can a classical pianist learn jazz piano?

I'm a classically trained pianist. Took lessons all through my childhood. I've continued to play and read classical literature all my life. But I never learned anything about jazz piano. I also know a ...
62
votes
4answers
165k views

What is the relationship between “do re mi” and note letter names?

When the people sing the song, we use do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, si, ect, but some time I hear that the music people say A, B, C, C flat, ect. Is their relationship or are they two different things?...
61
votes
6answers
12k views

What does a conductor actually do?

Looking for the roles of the conductor during a musical performance, I mainly came across answers as the following, taken from Wikipedia: "The primary duties of the conductor are to unify ...
60
votes
22answers
41k views

How can I overcome the fear of performing in front of an audience?

I have been learning how to play Spanish guitar for more than two years and half. Every time my friends ask me to play something, I get scared and my hands start to shake. How to break this fear? I ...
60
votes
5answers
10k views

What's the difference between a G♭ and an F#?

I've heard it said that, whilst on most instruments these notes are played with the same fingerings/technique/etc there is a subtle difference. This isn't specific to this particular note combination,...
59
votes
9answers
13k views

Is there a way to measure the consonance or dissonance of a chord?

I know that if I played C and B together they would be very dissonant compared to if I played a G or C one octave up. Is there a quantitative way to describe that sort dissonance? Edit: I understand ...
59
votes
8answers
12k views

Are there any games useful for ear training?

There have been several popular music games in recent years, but they seem to be most useful for developing a sense of rhythm. Are there any games that are helpful as ear training exercises? What ...
58
votes
7answers
17k views

Why are there both sharps and flats? [duplicate]

If we can get away with just having sharps (aka black notes on a piano) then why complicate things and add flats as well? For example, if I have a C# why call it Dflat? Why not just leave it as C# and ...
58
votes
10answers
8k views

Will learning to play another instrument help me to become a better guitarist?

I am a programmer and I do this for living. As a programmer, I've noticed how much difference it makes to learn another language - the quality of your work improves greatly, just because you know how ...
58
votes
11answers
12k views

Have orchestras included any modern instrument lately?

Over the years orchestras have added various new instruments to their set and I'm thinking that there are quite many modern interesting instruments that might be included in an orchestra set. Have ...
57
votes
8answers
5k views

Why does string strummed with finger sound different from the one strummed with pick?

What is the physical reason for difference in sound when using fingers instead of pick and vice versa?
56
votes
22answers
110k views

What is the difference between a mode and a scale?

I can't seem to find a straight definition for both.
56
votes
12answers
23k views

A (440 Hz) and A (880 Hz) are completely different sounds to me. Does this mean I'm tone deaf?

A recent episode of the podcast Surprisingly Awesome about music theory featured the line: So just to be clear, pretty much every human, when they hear a 440 or an 880, it’s going to sound like the ...
56
votes
8answers
91k views

Position of white dots in guitar fretboard

I was wondering why the white dots in the fretboard are usually placed in fret numbers 3, 5, 7, 9, 12, 15, 17, 19, and 21. I know that their general purpose is for counting, but what I wonder is: Why ...
55
votes
20answers
34k views

Why Is Just Intonation Impractical?

I've read about the debate of "just intonation" vs 12-tone equal temperament. And nowhere it was clearly stated why just intonation is impractical. Here are my assumptions. Please let me know if I am ...
54
votes
10answers
21k views

Do advanced musicians still practice scales every day?

I'm wondering if you're ever "done" or do you just go practicing them forever?
54
votes
7answers
10k views

Why do Guitar chords work the way they do compared to a Piano?

I'm a Tabla (North Indian percussion instrument) player and I know just the basics of western music because I'm learning it bit by bit. I borrowed a Piano to learn music theory and it's going pretty ...
54
votes
4answers
32k views

What are some chord substitutions for a I-IV-V blues progression?

I was watching a video of SRV and one of the things that really stood out was the fact that he seemed to have a different iteration of the I-IV-V turnaround - and made it look/sound effortless. Any ...
52
votes
11answers
23k views

Why isn't there a classical composer like Beethoven, Chopin or Mozart today?

Why there aren't composers writing in a classical style today? Why don't we hear of classical composers today like we do of Beethoven, Chopin or Mozart? My question may be strange, but I am really ...
52
votes
13answers
43k views

How do you identify a good acoustic guitar?

What do you look for when going for a guitar? I own an acoustic and am looking for a better one. What should I be looking for? Wood quality, brand, strings, etc.?
52
votes
8answers
9k views

Which notes are optional in jazz chords?

I have a question on jazz chords, and what notes can be removed from the chord. My understanding is fairly superficial - mostly from what I've read in books. This is what I understand: In some chords,...
51
votes
4answers
12k views

(1/√π)/√⅔ as a time signature?

I recently found this article on wikipedia about lists of musical works in unusual time signatures and the first unusual time signature is (1/√π)/√⅔. I looked up the piece that was listed as having ...
51
votes
10answers
108k views

Is there a “standard” or “typical” drum kit layout?

I am dipping my toes in the water of getting a "real" drum kit -- by drumming standards, it's still pretty crap since it's (basically) the Alesis DM6 entry level electronic drum kit. But one thing I ...
50
votes
6answers
17k views

I accidentally composed a song that sounds like a famous song

About six months into learning guitar, I tried my hand at composing a song. Looked into some basic composing theory, picked a specific tempo, learned how to record and actually play the thing, and ...
49
votes
8answers
5k views

Guitar practice: more often but less time or once in a few days but for a few hours?

As many people, who have lots of every day responsibilities, like going to work, family and etc. I find myself struggling for the time to practice. Some days I just feel to tired to pick up a guitar ...
49
votes
9answers
23k views

Why are orchestras tuned differently?

In 1936 American Standards Association (and the International Organization for Standardization in 1955) accepted that A would be tuned at 440 Hz (or cycles per second). Yet despite the fact that a ...
48
votes
24answers
12k views

Glossary of Guitar Effects

There are numerous effects options available to the guitarist, especially the electric guitarist. This question is intended to gather and cultivate a set of answers to questions in the form of: ...
48
votes
19answers
16k views

Why are some people so paranoid about music theory?

Music theory is cool. However, I've noticed that a few genres of music tend to discourage it. I just read that learning music theory "seems like the antithesis" of being able to improvise. ...
48
votes
4answers
152k views

What Does a Compressor Pedal Do?

Quite often, when I see a pedalboard of guitarists I admire, there is a compressor pedal in the chain. How exactly does this pedal affect the sound?
47
votes
10answers
19k views

Why can't drums produce melody?

A note is a vibration at a certain frequency. A drum produces a tone with a certain pitch much like a string percussed with a mallet. Why is a drum unfit for playing a melody while a string inside a ...
47
votes
16answers
120k views

How to know what notes will go together while improvising?

This is 3 questions in one, so it might take a slightly involved answer, or some good links. Edit--- tl;dr: How can you learn which keys to hit to make the notes you hear in your head? I know what I ...

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