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48 votes
Accepted

"inuendo" in a piano score

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. ...
Richard's user avatar
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40 votes
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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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34 votes
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Unknown indication below upper stave

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 ...
modenv's user avatar
  • 770
33 votes

Is it spelled "violincello" or "violoncello"?

... part of the violin family... Actually, as baroque violists love to point out, during the early evolution of these instruments, both violin and cello were part of the viola family. The viola was ...
Andy Bonner's user avatar
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32 votes
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What is it called to play a music with flowing tempo in piano?

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 ...
Laurence's user avatar
  • 93.5k
31 votes

How can I learn to compose?

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 ...
Нет войне's user avatar
31 votes

How do you refer to a note that is more than one octave above or below middle C?

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 ...
Richard's user avatar
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31 votes
Accepted

Why do some pianists occasionally play their hands at different times?

Aha, I've found the answer: Asynchrony! Asynchrony is a general term which is used to describe playing notes in a separated or not-quite-together fashion where they are written as if they should ...
Albrecht Hügli's user avatar
30 votes

What's the short and accented note at the very end of a song called?

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 ...
Richard's user avatar
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30 votes

To what extent is music theory just giving us a language to describe/break down music, or does it really have significant "scientific content"?

It doesn't seem... that "music theory predicts what is good music" I agree. And why would it? That's not what theories are there for at all. Like, the theory of Newtonian mechanics isn't ...
leftaroundabout's user avatar
29 votes
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What is the term when two people sing in harmony, but they aren't singing the same notes?

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 ...
Xandru's user avatar
  • 917
29 votes

How should I play two notes together on lines below the staff?

Ah, that is actually two notes: 'A' and 'C'. Whenever there are notes below the normal staff, you add those lines to notate which notes they are. The notes above and below the staff are called ledger ...
Polydynamical's user avatar
29 votes
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Is there a broader term for instruments, like the gong, whose volume briefly increases after being sounded instead of immediately decaying?

That's weird... apparently there's no English term for this exact phenomenon, but there is one in German: Einschwingvorgang (pronounced eyn-shving-fore-gung). Wikipedia wants to have it translated ...
leftaroundabout's user avatar
27 votes
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What is the preferred musicology term for "classical music"?

Heh, the problem isn't really with the choice of label, it's that the thing it labels is really hard to pin down. Most attempts wind up meaningless or controversial. But there is a colloquial usage, ...
Andy Bonner's user avatar
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26 votes
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Melody using a different scale than the bassline - what is it called?

Suppose I'm playing the piano, using my left hand to repeatedly hit the note C as a very simple bass line to give the key of my song (C major). Then I use my right hand to ... [play] the melody using ...
Нет войне's user avatar
25 votes

What’s that U shaped metal thing needed for tuning called?

It's a tuning fork: (image taken from the Thomann website)
Glorfindel's user avatar
  • 3,648
25 votes

What is the term when two people sing in harmony, but they aren't singing the same notes?

Singing together but different notes is singing in harmony. Singing the same notes would be singing in unison.
b3ko's user avatar
  • 7,110
25 votes
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Should I use British or American note value terminology?

Since most other languages use the fraction terminology instead of providing clumsy terms of its own (hemidemisemi…), you would do the international audience a favor by sticking to the American terms. ...
guidot's user avatar
  • 11.1k
24 votes
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Can a song be in the chromatic scale?

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 ...
Richard's user avatar
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23 votes
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Is there a specific term to denote playing a wide chord on a piano?

In general, chords with the notes closer together are called closed voicings, while chords with the notes farther apart are called open voicings. For simple triad chords like the ones you mentioned, a ...
jdjazz's user avatar
  • 11.2k
23 votes

Why do some pianists occasionally play their hands at different times?

A form of rubato. More specifically 'playing behind the beat'. Jazz pianist Errol Gardner did something rather similar when he '...developed a signature style that involved his right hand playing ...
Laurence's user avatar
  • 93.5k
21 votes

What are these brackets? What do they mean and what are they called?

These brackets indicate a "first and second ending." The measures under the "1" are to be played the first time through and those under the "2" are to be played the second time. It's a nice method of ...
ttw's user avatar
  • 25.6k
20 votes

Solfege versus normal note names (do, re, mi v. C, D, E)

First, beware of ethnocentrism. I disagree with your characterization of "real note names". Mi bemol is a real note name, just in a different language. Solfege is used as note names in Italian, ...
Ben I.'s user avatar
  • 1,596
20 votes

Unknown indication below upper stave

The dotted minim/half in the lower stave shows that 6 quavers/eights fit. So the "2" means "2 in the time of 3". It indicates an irregular group of notes; usually a higher number of notes have to be ...
Rosie F's user avatar
  • 5,192
20 votes

Is it spelled "violincello" or "violoncello"?

tl;dr It's violoncello. Language considerations Lots of classical music words usually have a specific language as their origins (mostly Italian), so, unless an extended literature can confirm standard ...
musicamante's user avatar
  • 6,851
20 votes
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What does "super" in title of organ pieces mean?

Super here means "on/based on" someone else's tune, as in the (English) title of Mozart's Twelve Variations on "Ah vous dirai-je, Maman" (known as "Twinkle, Twinkle" in ...
DjinTonic's user avatar
  • 1,344
20 votes
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What do you call it when someone sings a melody and simultaneously plays the exact same melody?

It's called doubling. The term is correctly used in the OP: in the intro to "Crosstown Traffic", Jimi doubles the vocal melody on guitar (or the guitar melody on voice). For example: When ...
Aaron's user avatar
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19 votes
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Why is it called the chromatic scale?

It is impossible to say for sure, since the term chromatic has had a musical meaning since at least ancient Greek times (hence the use of a Greek word). More on that in a moment, but first, its worth ...
Caleb Hines's user avatar
  • 20.8k
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
  • 9,619
19 votes

What is the formal definition of 'transpose'?

To transpose a piece of music is to change the pitch of all notes by the same interval. The intervals between adjacent notes in the piece will remain the same. Major keys can only be transposed to ...
Elements In Space's user avatar

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