29 votes

What makes a piece sound like Beethoven?

I don't think I can improve on Dudley Moore's "answer" one bit: Although it is obviously a parody, and a very funny one, if you study carefully all of the ...
BobRodes's user avatar
  • 9,296
24 votes
Accepted

How can I slow down a YouTube video I'm trying to analyze or transcribe?

There are at least two options: Option 1: You can slow down the video by changing the Playback Speed setting Below are browser instructions (mobile instructions are here) Click on the Settings menu ...
Aaron's user avatar
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21 votes

How can I slow down a YouTube video I'm trying to analyze or transcribe?

I'd probably recommend starting with the built-in YouTube controls. But for the sake of completeness here's another workflow that makes use of 3rd party software called a "phrase trainer" or ...
user66401's user avatar
  • 844
20 votes

The function of Gm G♭ B♭ chord progression in "Shine On You Crazy Diamond"

The move from Gm to GbM is definitely not a standard “classical” progression, although it does start to happen more and more in the late Romantic era and in lots of Impressionist and other neo-tonal ...
Pat Muchmore's user avatar
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19 votes
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Chopin Polonaise in Ab major, op 53 change in key

You're exactly right! It's technically a motion to ♭VI, which would be F♭ major. But in order to make it easier to read, he spells it in E major (♯V). F♭ isn't in A♭ major, but it is in A♭ minor; ...
Richard's user avatar
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18 votes
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How would you identify the root of a non-standard chord / cluster?

In every case, it depends on the context in which the chord appears and how it's used. Any set of notes that appears in a non-tonal context can't be said to have a root in the first place, since ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 88.1k
17 votes
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How would this chord from "Rocket Man" be analyzed?

To answer the question of whether the C chord is "really" V of V, you need to remember one simple fact about music. When you listen to music, you hear it progressing in time. Therefore, analysing ...
guest's user avatar
  • 282
17 votes
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Jarring F natural in Bartok's "Former Friends"

There is a clue in the title: Former Friends — it's a narrative piece. The piece is given the key signature of A-minor, a minor/sad key. But it is mainly in A-dorian which evokes nostalgia, with all ...
Elements In Space's user avatar
15 votes
Accepted

Why is The Star-Spangled Banner said to be in key of F instead of C?

The first section is all tonic (F) and dominant (C) chords in the key of F. Many of the dominants are approached by a secondary dominant (G). It's slightly unusual to bring in secondary dominants ...
Laurence's user avatar
  • 93k
14 votes
Accepted

What is the purpose of the first movement in Moonlight Sonata?

The "Moonlight" Sonata is just one of many pieces with the title "Sonata". The title "sonata" is descriptive of how the music is constructed; a basic description can be ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 88.1k
14 votes

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

That note is leading to the E in the next measure, so D# creates greater tension — greater pull toward the E — than would D natural.
Aaron's user avatar
  • 88.1k
13 votes

Should I use uppercase or lowercase roman numerals in Jazz harmonic analysis?

Having looked at many analyzed scores, I find the lower case for minor and diminished and upper case for major and augmented much easier to read. The most common places I found hard to read were in ...
ttw's user avatar
  • 25.4k
12 votes

Is there a term for when a lyric is sung and then an instrument (sound) is played to mimic the lyric?

We call this text painting (or word painting), and it's a clever compositional tactic that dates back centuries. In short, text painting occurs when a composer does something in the music that is a ...
Richard's user avatar
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12 votes
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What is the utility of Schenkerian analysis?

Before I answer, we should note that Schenker himself was not the best at expressing his own theories. His treatises are at various times rambling, political, polemical, and utterly contradictory. ...
Richard's user avatar
  • 84.5k
12 votes

Secondary Dominants - is there a more appropriate term?

I would argue that this E7 is still a secondary dominant, just one that resolves deceptively. This E7 is V7/vi in the key of C, and it resolves to F, thus VI/vi. In other words, we have a V–VI ...
Richard's user avatar
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12 votes

Should I use uppercase or lowercase roman numerals in Jazz harmonic analysis?

As long as you use the two systems with the degree of specificity that you've done in your question, it ultimately won't matter, because they tell you the exact same thing. As you've mentioned, major/...
Richard's user avatar
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11 votes
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Harmonic functions of chords in "Killing Me Softly"

First of all, you're reading a very good book from which you'll learn a lot about jazz harmony. One important thing to realize when analyzing jazz progressions is that there is no right and wrong. ...
Matt L.'s user avatar
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11 votes

Features of a Coda section

Coda means tail, ending. Most pieces will (obviously) have an ending, and it's usually the point where the music comes down to its final resting place - using a cadence that indicates this. Here, ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 193k
11 votes

Why is The Star-Spangled Banner said to be in key of F instead of C?

Every B isn't natural actually. What about this one: Also if you look at the first F, that's an important note in the song. "Oh say can you see". It's a good candidate for a tonic!
Alan's user avatar
  • 1,676
11 votes

How to tell the beginning and ends of phrases when there is no significant rest in the music?

I'll focus on "written theory" concerns first, before approaching it in a different (but more helpful) way later. In this particular example, I would argue that there are two issues at play: ...
Richard's user avatar
  • 84.5k
11 votes

Is this chord from Bach's C major Prelude G+ or Cm?

This measure is called the "Schwencke measure" as it was supposedly inserted by Christian Schwencke. Modern music historians (mostly) believe that the measure was inserted incorrectly. This ...
ttw's user avatar
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11 votes
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Full bar rest at the end of piece

Analysis The idea that the piece is in ternary form comprising three eight-measure phrases is correct. It just needs to be taken further. First, note that if one counts from the anacruses to the notes ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 88.1k
11 votes

Jarring F natural in Bartok's "Former Friends"

The piece is mostly quite obviously in A Dorian. It does not feature a lot of G major in the first place. The F natural there is naught but a G dominant 7 chord, resolving to C. Harmonically this in ...
Lazy's user avatar
  • 20.5k
11 votes

Should practice be shared with the general public for the sake of sharing

I did actually debate doing this very thing with my guitar teacher once. An online practice journal. We came to the conclusion that it was going to be a lot of effort to create a series of the most ...
Neil Meyer's user avatar
  • 14.9k
10 votes

Analysis of Scarborough Fair

A short answer: Scarborough Fair is not in the minor, but is modal: Dorian (that's where the major IV chord comes from) and Aeolian (the minor iv). The modal character is underscored by the ...
Scott Wallace's user avatar
10 votes

Chord Progression "Time" - Hans Zimmer

You list G major and E minor as possible tonics, but I'm going to go a different direction: I hear this in A! As such, with one sharp in the key signature, it's really more of an A Dorian. Thus the ...
Richard's user avatar
  • 84.5k
10 votes
Accepted

Harmonic analysis of arpeggios in Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy

Wow, really terrific musical example! There are two necessary aspects to acknowledge that help us understand this section. First is that these chords alternate between something and B7 (or the B-...
Richard's user avatar
  • 84.5k
10 votes

Is this really better analyzed in G minor than in Bb?

Using the word "key" is too definite. The music progresses through lots of different tonal centers but most of them don't last long enough to be worth calling "keys". Both of you are wrong about the ...
guest's user avatar
  • 101
10 votes
Accepted

What type of modulation goes from D♭ to A?

By definition, a modulation must reach a cadence in the new key. Since there is no cadence on B♭♭ here, it's technically incorrect to call this a modulation. Instead, he's simply using a B♭♭ chord ...
Richard's user avatar
  • 84.5k
10 votes

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

Intensifying the G7 dominant with a ♯5 is a legitimate artistic decision. It resolves melodically to the E on the second beat of the following bar. Chopin uses the same device several more times in ...
Laurence's user avatar
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