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Etymology of word "Octave"

It's because in music, when you're talking about intervals, you count the first note, all notes in between, as well as the final note. For example, if you play two notes that are right next to each ...
trainman261's user avatar
40 votes
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Identifying the interval from A♭ to D♯

You're correct; it should be called a fourth! But since "augmented fourth" won't be big enough for this, we kind of had to make up a term, and the world of music theory collectively decided upon ...
Richard's user avatar
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Why is a doubling of frequency called an octave?

First, let's be clear that the standard (major) musical scale divides the octave into seven parts, not eight. The word "octave" comes from eight, because a unison (two notes sounding at the same ...
Athanasius's user avatar
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If equal temperament divides an octave into 12 equal parts, why are the hertz differences not the same but 12ths of two?

The intervals between notes are "equal" not in the sense that the difference in Hz between them is the same, but the ratio a between them is the same. Let's say g is one semitone higher than f, then g ...
Sagebrush Gardener's user avatar
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Why does standard notation not preserve intervals (visually)

Why does standard notation not preserve intervals (visually) It does, but I think you are probably not accustomed to reading it, or how it was developed. Let's first make an analogy with something ...
Michael Curtis's user avatar
29 votes
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What are the interval patterns for the modes?

Modes are what we call rotations of the major scale. This means that we can start off with the major-scale interval pattern and just rotate it to begin at different places to create the other modes. ...
Richard's user avatar
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29 votes

If equal temperament divides an octave into 12 equal parts, why are the hertz differences not the same but 12ths of two?

The division of notes has to do with human perception and psychoacoustics. One description of human perception is the Weber-Fechner law, where a human will perceive equal changes in some sensory ...
hotpaw2's user avatar
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Learning intervals - the fear it will change how I hear music

Yes, it'll change how you listen to music. Anything you learn about will affect your appreciation. Watch a magic trick, and it's magic. Find out how it's done, and it's not magic any more - to you. ...
Tim's user avatar
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26 votes

Why have I never found any music written in the key of C Sharp Major?

C sharp major has seven sharps, D flat major has five flats. Out of the box, the latter is preferable. The former may be more appropriate when there is more material requiring "flattening" the key ...
user27675's user avatar
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Is B♯ to F an impossible interval?

How about "double-diminished fifth". As you noted, some-B to some-F is a fifth, but in this case it's two semitones lower than a perfect fifth. If it were one semitone lower (e.g. B-F) it would be a ...
MMazzon's user avatar
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23 votes

If someone can sing a melody, why can they not also recognize the intervals within that melody?

I think the answer boils down to what you mean by "knowing" the intervals. To do this [sing a tune back] you surely need to be able to know the intervals in the tune you have just heard and then ...
Richard's user avatar
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23 votes
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Advantage of 7-note based theory over 12-note alternative

Not all music theory is based around 7-note scales, but the 7-note diatonic scale basically 'caught on' and became popular due to a number of subjectively useful properties it has. Most of its modes ...
Нет войне's user avatar
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Why are tritones not consonant, confusion with the definition of a perfect fifth

Since intervals are ratios, they are combined by multiplication, not addition. For example, an octave is 2:1 (i.e., 2.0), two octaves is 4:1, three octaves is 8:1, etc. So to combine three single ...
Aaron's user avatar
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22 votes

Confusion regarding intervals

This somewhat confusing pedagogical device may be stated more precisely thus: every degree of the major scale (excluding the fourth, fifth, and octave, because these are perfect intervals) is a major ...
phoog's user avatar
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21 votes

Why does standard notation not preserve intervals (visually)

It DOES preserve intervals (visually). What it does NOT tell you is whether those intervals are major or minor (or augmented or diminished). The distance of a space to its adjacent line will always be ...
LSM07's user avatar
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21 votes
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Which note goes on which side of the stem?

I've always understood that the lower pitch of the harmonic second occurs on the left side: This is also true when additional pitches are added in. On beat four, the E is now on the right because the ...
Richard's user avatar
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21 votes

Mistake with Whole/Half step intervals problem

The confusion arises from the accidentals. Your answer of a whole step would absolutely be correct if those were sharps (♯), but in fact those accidentals are naturals, not sharps (♮). A note with a ...
user45266's user avatar
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What interval is from G♭ to A♯ (same octave)?

The interval from any G (flat / sharp / neutral) to any A (flat / sharp / neutral) (in the same octave) is always a second. In your case, since the G is flat and the A is sharp, you have a doubly ...
Matt L.'s user avatar
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20 votes

If equal temperament divides an octave into 12 equal parts, why are the hertz differences not the same but 12ths of two?

What happens if you go down by the same steps: 440Hz 1 step down : 403.33Hz 2 steps down : 366.67Hz 3 steps down : 330.Hz ... 11 steps down : 36.67Hz 12 steps down : 0Hz 13 steps down : -36.67Hz So,...
piiperi Reinstate Monica's user avatar
20 votes

Perfect Pitch: Are tones recognizable by themselves or only in comparison with another tone?

I don't have perfect pitch, but I've had several friends over the years who did. Are the frequencies C4 260hz and A4 440hz actually noticeably different to someone with “perfect pitch”. Yes. I ask ...
phoog's user avatar
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19 votes
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When is a note flat/sharp?

This is one of those questions that seems really obvious once you have a decent amount of experience, but can be a little challenging to explain. I'm going to try and give you a couple of approaches ...
endorph's user avatar
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19 votes
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How can a perfect fourth interval be considered either consonant or dissonant?

A perfect fourth is considered consonant when it appears as an inversion of a perfect fifth, which is itself a consonant interval. This kind of perfect fourth more or less unavoidable in any practical ...
John Wu's user avatar
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19 votes

Why can't we spell a diminished 3rd or an augmented 5th using only the notes in a major scale?

I think what I'm really confused is that, for example, A to F has 8 half steps, an augmented 5th is required to have 8 half steps, doesn't that qualify A to F as an augmented 5th? Well, obviously not;...
phoog's user avatar
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18 votes
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Guitar tuning "perfect" fourths?

In just intonation, you'd be correct. However, in order for the interval between the top and bottom strings to be exactly two octaves, some compromise needs to be made. (That is, given that the ...
Rosie F's user avatar
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17 votes

Is the inversion of a third also a third?

The confusion lies here: I also have heard that an inversion is simply in the opposite direction of the original interval. So a descending 3rd from F to D is the inversion of ascending third F to A....
Richard's user avatar
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17 votes

Etymology of word "Octave"

The term "octave" originated in the west, so it should be no surprise that it's based on features of western music. And the diatonic scale really is central in western music, as evidenced by the fact ...
Mark Foskey's user avatar
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Transcribing as music and relative pitch practice?

Transcribing music is EXCELLENT ear training practice. I like to tell students that transcribing one song to completion is like an entire semester of ear training. Don’t just listen for intervals and ...
jjmusicnotes's user avatar
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17 votes

How can a perfect fourth interval be considered either consonant or dissonant?

There is a kind of historic flow back and forth. A very long time ago during the Middle Ages - when parallel organum was way to harmonize - the perfect fourth was consonant. Later when triadic ...
Michael Curtis's user avatar
17 votes

Converting hertz to cents

The question has an underlying issue in naming the things it is converting. The formulas given in the question do NOT convert "Hertz to cents" but rather convert interval ratios to cents (and the ...
Athanasius's user avatar
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