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55 votes
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To get to jazz, do I just add a seventh?

Jazz is an unbelievably expansive genre with over 100 years of musical tradition; a big part of this tradition is an ever-increasing list of sub-genres that fall under the larger umbrella term of "...
Richard's user avatar
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25 votes
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What does this sign before the notes mean and how does its placement affect the notes?

That symbol is a "one sixteenth musical rest". In the notation you supplied, there is a sixteenth rest followed by three sixteenth notes. The four events all fit inside one quarter note. The ...
Brian THOMAS's user avatar
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24 votes

What is this metal thing on my guitar?

It's called a tailpiece. It's there to keep the strings' ends in their right places. Instead of the strings stopping directly behind the bridge, their ends are trapped in slots, and the tension they ...
Tim's user avatar
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24 votes
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Would you recommend a keyboard for beginners with or without lights in keys for learning?

Without. Point blank. Lights look fun to start with, but a beginner will end up watching them rather than learning to read. Note, you can usually switch them off, so you don't have to choose a ...
Tetsujin's user avatar
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23 votes
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Is it too late for me to become good at piano?

How good you will become and how soon will depend on three things - How much time you practice per day. If you practice for an hour a day you will improve almost twice as fast as if you practice for ...
Brian Towers's user avatar
  • 5,620
22 votes

Can learning music theory from "Music Theory for Guitarists Volume 1" by Bruce Arnold teach me enough to start composing?

Music theory is primarily an analytic tool rather than a synthetic one. It helps you understand better what is happening and recognize patterns and structures. But your question is akin to asking ...
user36905's user avatar
  • 221
21 votes

Would it benefit a beginner pianist to start by learning Bach's Prelude in C?

From a pedagogical standpoint, consider all of the things an "absolute beginner" would have to learn in order to perform this piece: Note names in treble clef Note names in bass clas Note values of ...
Richard's user avatar
  • 84.7k
21 votes

Retuning violin numerous times daily

Alas, string instruments notoriously lose tuning for seemingly trivial reasons, especially classical guitars and wooden bowed strings. Temperature, humidity, looking at it... so, better get used to ...
leftaroundabout's user avatar
20 votes
Accepted

Left/right hand coordination on guitar, fretting wrong strings, while playing melodies

You can absolutely look at the strings and frets until you build up the muscle memory and then learn to play without looking. I can't imagine trying to learn guitar without looking ever. Professional ...
Todd Wilcox's user avatar
  • 57.2k
19 votes

To get to jazz, do I just add a seventh?

Ninths are good too! Even thirteenths. Yes, there's more to jazz than extended chords, though you'll certainly need more than triads to play it, so start learning m7, maj7, 9, b9 etc. chords so they'...
Laurence's user avatar
  • 93.7k
18 votes

Piano: Left handed Gmaj7 chord

Try shifting your hand toward the fall board (i.e., away from your body). That will bring your thumb closer to the F#, allowing additional relaxation in the rest of your hand. So this: Rather than ...
Aaron's user avatar
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17 votes
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Learning an instrument with visual impairment

The type of music you intend to play and whether single or in ensemble/band has an influence, but in general sight is important for (in increasing order): Monitoring, what your hands do. This is a ...
guidot's user avatar
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17 votes
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Am I too old? Is it too late? Starting, Resuming, or Mastering an instrument

The consensus here on SE MP&T is... Go for it! Among the various questions and answers linked here, you'll find a wide variety of viewpoints: encouragement, pitfalls, concerns, and so forth, but ...
Aaron's user avatar
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16 votes
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Why does this version of Für Elise have d# then e both with treble clefs?

The notation reflects the voicing (if you are having two staves anyway, why write the voicing in a single staff?). But actually executing the voicing with both hands is not the worst idea: it makes ...
user31262's user avatar
  • 176
15 votes

Would you recommend a keyboard for beginners with or without lights in keys for learning?

Don't bother with lights. The player will be forever chasing them. In fact, for a few weeks I recommend not trying to read dots either. Just get used to the instrument, what it can do, and have fun. ...
Tim's user avatar
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14 votes
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What purpose do chords serve in music?

Basically what you're asking is "what is tonality." And the first disclaimer is that hasn't always been "a thing" in Western music, and isn't always in other music-cultures. Just ...
Andy Bonner's user avatar
  • 17.9k
14 votes
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Does the key a piece is written in affect playability for piano?

Certainly! Fingering is one of the most important factors involved in playing piano, so where the black/white keys get pressed is paramount. Particularly in the faster passages. One might assume that ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 194k
13 votes
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How to do Jumps while sight reading

Apart from years of practice, which will bring this sort of ability out naturally (eventually), there are a few things you can do in order to help the process along: One is learning to play scales ...
Old John's user avatar
  • 2,683
13 votes
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Piano scales and bpm

I agree with other answers that the speed to practice scales at is the speed where you can play them accurately, evenly, smoothly, and cleanly. Beyond that, when you ask what the goal should be in ...
Athanasius's user avatar
  • 12.7k
13 votes
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How to identify all sharp notes in sheet

This F# is what one would call an accidental: it is a sharp (or a flat, or a natural) which is not part of the key signature. The rule is: when an accidental is printed, it applies until the end of ...
Tom's user avatar
  • 5,127
13 votes

Do I handicap my guitar learning by deemphasizing learning to use a pick?

Let me answer another question: « Is it ok to play everything with the thumb, except parts that absolutely need a plectrum? » Now, we could start with the usual platitude that everything is “ok” in ...
leftaroundabout's user avatar
12 votes

What is the difference between Fender and Squier guitars?

The main difference is in the price and the quality. The fender guitars are more expensive and tend to be of higher quality, whereas Squier guitars are made more cheaply and have lower quality. By ...
Shevliaskovic's user avatar
12 votes

Tips on buying an electric guitar for a beginner

First, I completely disagree that beginners should start with acoustics. I'm not sure where that idea came from, it makes no sense to me. I learned on electrics and to this day I rarely play acoustic, ...
Todd Wilcox's user avatar
  • 57.2k
12 votes
Accepted

Is there a duration or rest error in the last bar here?

Yes, the last bar shown contains only three beats in the treble clef, and no, this is not okay, especially since the bass clef contains four beats. Since there's a repeat sign, sometimes you might see ...
Andy Bonner's user avatar
  • 17.9k
12 votes

Teach beginner staff notation

Intervallic approach The closest method I've seen, and which I've used successfully both for myself and for students, is Keyboard Musician for the Adult Beginner by Frances Clark. The approach teaches ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 90.1k
11 votes
Accepted

What makes the same note sound different on different strings?

The gauge and material of the strings gives the same note a different timbre on different strings. If you are hearing different pitches, then it may be a product of an untrained ear. The longer you ...
Jamerack's user avatar
  • 534

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