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64

Do-re-mi-etc. is "sol-fa" or "solfege". Sol-fa represents a major scale, with Do being the first note, Re being the second, and so on. I'm sure you can sing that scale. The A-G note names are absolute names for a certain note. An 'A' is an 'A' no matter what key you are performing in. There are two variants of sol-fa. Fixed do and Movable do. Fixed do ...


48

"Modal" and "tonal" both describe works that: have one defined "home" pitch, or "tonal center," around which the melody and harmony are based; have only one tonal center at a time, though that tonal center can change throughout a piece; and use a seven-note diatonic scale as their pitch collections. The difference between modal and tonal are in the ...


46

Is it possible there is a "dim" around m. 25 or so? Often a composer (or in this case, an editor) will request that an expression marking takes place over a span of time instead of instantaneously. One such standard marking is "diminuendo," which instructs the performer to gradually get softer. It sounds like the "inuendo" is simply the latter portion of a ...


45

I think the author of that Wikipedia page has rather misinterpreted Nancarrow's title page for the Study (linked on Roland Bouman's comment to the question). (1/√π)/√⅔ refers to a tempo ratio between two voices, not a time signature. Nancarrow was rather obsessed with canons. The canon is a form where multiple voices each play the same music at some time ...


42

A riff is thematic. It serves as the main musical idea for a (section of a) song. Often it's repeated and developed, sometimes with variations, sometimes in different keys, but always recognizable as the same main musical idea. Because a riff is a main theme for a song, it often becomes inextricably associated with that song---if you heard the riff out of ...


38

It is so called because B♭ is the 7th note of the C dominant scale (also known as the Mixolydian scale). The 5th is known as the dominant, because it is the "most important" interval (among other things, it's the first harmonic other than the octave). However, try to forget the "English" meaning of the word "dominant" -- otherwise you might expect C to be ...


35

This type of modulation is sometimes jokingly called "truck driver's gear change". It's supposed to add excitement due to the rising pitch but it's been done to death so now it became just a bad cliche.


34

A "scale", technically defined, is a sequence of ascending or descending "unit pitches" that form a palette of notes that can be used to form a melody. Most scales in Western music conform to a particular "key"; that is, a sequence of notes that will be "sharp" or "flat" by default. Not all scales have keys; the chromatic scale is a scale of all possible ...


34

That is a duplet. It works like a triplet, but instead of playing three notes in the time of two, you play these two in the time of three. Another way to write this is by using dotted eights. But for example in 6/8 time, it's preferred to use duplets. It helps signifying how foreign the rhythm is in relation to the time signature you're in.


32

Rubato. This specifically means compensating for each slow-down with a speed-up. If there was a click track, you'd come out on the right beat at the end! 'Rubato' doesn't instruct you to play the slow bits soft, the fast bits loud though. If you want the more common effect of slowing down at the 'expressive' bits but never really making up the time, ...


30

This is an issue of what we call octave designation. There is actually an international standard here: called International Pitch Notation (IPN), it labels Middle C as C4. An octave above Middle C is C5, an octave below Middle C is C3, etc. In short, the C's octave range is in play until the next C changes the octave register. In other words, from C3 to B3 ...


30

Within the context of a march, this final pitch/chord is often called a stinger; it's used to punctuate the end of the entire piece. According to this Wikipedia entry: The last measure of the march sometimes contains a stinger, a I chord played in unison on the upbeat after a quarter rest. Most, but not all, marches carry a stinger. "Semper Fidelis" is a ...


29

I've studied music in both the US and the UK (piano lessons in the UK at age 14, majored in piano in the US), and bar and measure are used interchangeably in both in my experience. Jazz and blues musicians tend to say "bar" more often than "measure": 12-bar and 16-bar blues, for example. Also, you'd never hear a jazz musician say "He stepped on four of my ...


28

I feel like I've already at least partly answered this question here. But I'll endeavor to add more here. First of all, you aren't quite right in your description of the note-naming system. There are seven letters, and every one of these can be sharped or flatted: A♭, A, A♯ B♭, B, B♯ C♭, C, C♯ D♭, D, D♯ E♭, E, E♯ F♭, F, F♯ G♭, G, G♯ It's just that many of ...


28

The term "harmony" itself is what you are looking for. Being able to sing in harmony (2 or more different voices) with someone however doesn't require any more skills or theory than singing alone or in unison (same notes, only one voice) because everyone learns "his notes" as he would do singing alone. The only thing I could think of is having a good ear, ...


27

Don't get hung up on 'learning theory' or 'not learning theory'. What you want to do is gain knowledge about music, so you can use that knowledge to produce music. In the field of music, some of that knowledge tends to get packaged under the heading of 'theory', and some doesn't... but so what? what aspects of music theory should I learn first? Learning ...


26

NC (or N.C.) is short for "No Chord". It means that you should only play the indicated notes or melody, and not try to infer or add a chordal accompaniment. This is as opposed to the chord symbols that you probably find everywhere else than where the N.C. notation is. See for example http://dictionary.onmusic.org/terms/2344-no_chord (Although their example ...


26

The term you are looking for is A piacere (It.). This basically means that the piece should be played at the performers discretion with regard to tempo and rhythm. Literally, "at pleasure".


26

In common-practice theory, secondary dominant chords are chromatic harmonies used to approach a non-tonic chord with greater urgency. Let's use C major for examples: I might want to approach the V chord (G) with a secondary dominant to give greater direction or "color" to the approach. I construct the secondary dominant by going to the V chord of the V ...


26

Both are right, these marks are to denote the section you are playing and you don't play anything specifically for them. The proper name for these marks are rehearsal marks. In an sense you can look at them as practice checkpoints as they are typically where you would want to start playing if you needed more practice on that section instead of playing the ...


26

It's a tuning fork: (image taken from the Thomann website)


25

On a Fixed Do scale the A Note is assigned to La, the A was assigned because it has the precision of the frequency (440 Hz) which doesn't have decimals, so it's easier to remember. So you end up with a correspondence as follows A = La B = Si C = Do D = Re E = Mi F = Fa G = Sol Take into account that while on the english notation (A,B,C,D) you start on ...


25

Hopefully these examples of 5/4:4/4 polymeter and 5:4 polyrhythm clears it up. Polymeter Here is a simple example of 5/4 over 4/4 polymeter notated in 4/4 time. Notice how voice A's meter is five beats (the accents illustrates the starts), while voice B's meter is four beats, and they are sort of modulating over each other. After 20 beats their accented ...


25

Tempo 1 or Tempo I instructs a performer to return to the first tempo of a movement or piece of music, where there has been a different tempo marking since the first marking. The marking Tempo Primo is also used. It is the equivalent, on a larger scale, of an a tempo marking following a rit. or rall. marking.


25

Singing together but different notes is singing in harmony. Singing the same notes would be singing in unison.


24

Terminology Every sound is composed of one or more sine waves. From that group of sine waves, the one with the lowest frequency is called the fundamental, every other sine wave above that one is called an overtone. Overtones that are integer multiples of the fundamental are called harmonics. The fundamental is considered a harmonic, the first harmonic, ...


23

Tempo primo, or Tempo 1ᵒ means “at the same tempo as the piece started”.


23

Colloquially, we don't say pieces are "in the chromatic scale," no. We can say that a piece is in C major, or even just in C (not specifying major or minor), but not that something is in the chromatic scale. One reason this might be so is due to the inherent hierarchy of tonality. If a piece is in C (like your example), arguably the two most important ...


22

It is a Major triad built on the lowered 2nd scale degree. It's usually in first inversion, hence the "6th" part of the name. So if I'm in C-minor, the Neapolitan 6th (sometimes analyzed as N6 or bII6) would be a Db-major triad, probably with the F in the bass. They are chromatic harmonies, and their primary function is to go to V. EDITED TO ADD: There is a ...


21

The name for the noise you're hearing is "string noise". It is caused by the fingertips scraping across the round-wound strings of the instrument when the hand changes from one position to another.


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