Hot answers tagged

19

Most people can't do it. Absolute pitch reference [perfect pitch] is quite rare - just as rare as people who 'couldn't carry a tune in a bucket'. Pitch reference, the same as most skills, is on a bell-curve. Most people are in the middle - they can kick a ball in the general direction of a goal, or sing a song if it's not too hard... just don't ask them to ...


15

Not many people can actually sing acapella in the key required.(Without being given a start note/chord). They may well sing the tune, in a different key (maybe +/- a m3) but to actually sing in the original key - unlikely. I suppose those with absolute pitch (who can remember or know what the 'proper' key is), will be able to do it. Even those musically ...


13

Even studies on the Levitin Effect, a phenomenon that posits that people can tend to accurately recall the key of a familiar melody, discover that at least a significant minority of people cannot produce this effect (see here for an example), and this effect has been found to be hard to reproduce. So, I'd say that it's actually not that common for people to ...


12

I would say that music theory spans a range of 'types' of statements, from almost totally objective to quite subjective... You've got elements that are pretty much scientific facts, such as what the harmonic series is, or how the physics of instruments works, or how the mechanics of the ear work. Then you've got a level of stuff that is technically '...


11

...the leading tone wants to rise to the root... Basic theory says things like... the leading tone is a half step below the tonic in a proper cadence the leading tone moves to the tonic, or if in a inner voice it may move down to the dominant. ...of course that isn't a complete theoretical overview of the leading tone. A claim that theory simply says '...


10

The only really 'stable' thing in triadic tonal music is the tonic triad, which consists of the tonic, mediant, and dominant notes. The subdominant isn't one of these, therefore according to the common expectations around this kind of music, it's seen as 'wanting' to move somewhere at some point. In terms of common notions of measured/calculated dissonance, ...


10

You are asking for the well known and understood difference between "Absolute pitch" and "Relative pitch" ("słuch absolutny" and "słuch względny" in Polish). Some people's heads are wired to understand each note in a melody as a separate entity (absolute pitch), but most people's brains understand melody as a series of differences between pitches. Contrary ...


7

2/4 would probably strong-weak or a bar divided into eight notes with strong-weak-less strong-weak. It’s the first one, never the second. That’s the difference. Four beats in 4/4 is strong-weak-medium-weak, and four beats in 2/4 is strong-weak-strong-weak. One way to think of 2/4 is as a march. As in feet going left-right-left-right. So there’s a simple ...


5

The subdominant of G♯ minor is C♯ minor. The C♯ minor chord is C♯-E-G♯. The first inversion of that chord is E-G♯-C♯. So that would mean that E should be the bass note. But the question is a bit badly worded in that it asks you to put the subdominant of G♯ minor in the bass which could make you think that C♯ should be in the bass. But then it would be root ...


5

Those intervals [of chords] hold a position in a 12TET interval ranking from most consonant to most dissonant. No. The problem is making a general statement like that and then trying to make it apply to your new composition method. If the premise about chord interval tension where true, then the chords C major and G major would have exactly the same ...


5

The tension from a chord depends on context. The section on Ludmila Uhlela's book at thereelscore.com has a nice outline about the perceived tensions in various styles. Trivial example is the major-minor seventh which is a medium dissonance when used as a dominant seventh: V7-I or G7-C whereas as s German Sixth Ge6-I64-I or Ab7 (with the Gb enharmonically ...


5

If we look at a dissonance curve like this one, from William Sethares' site: We can see that the statement an interval's acoustic consonance is a function of how "simple" it is as a ratio only holds at all when are already looking at particular ratios that are already themselves reasonably far apart. For example, it's fair to say that the fifth (3:2) ...


5

Songwriting is a lot different from knowing theory. Knowing a lot of theory won't necessarily make you a good (or any sort of) songwriter. There have been many, many people who have little or no theory, but have written some brilliant songs. There have been many, many people who have vast theory knowledge who have written some awful songs. With grade V ...


4

It's more than just the scales (and their notes) that makes it so. It's the blending of those notes. As in harmony, particularly chords, mainly triads, (based on stacked thirds). The blend of those notes, giving three major chords - I, IV and V - work best in the Ionian mode - aka major tonality. I, IV and V (and/or minors) don't work as convincingly to our ...


4

Is there something else, other than a consonant tonic chord and the high 7th degree, that makes the major scale and harmonic and melodic minor scales particularly suited for tonal music - and this something is lacking in other scales? One thing is that to establish the tonic, it's useful to have the perfect fourth and perfect fifth in the scale - these are ...


4

I think it's important that you specified... ...built on the same root ...and that you acknowledge... ...This goes entirely against my intuition, especially because of their respective major and minor thirds. ...because they don't sound interchangeable to me. But, what similarity could we find? First, let's take your specific voicings. The can both ...


4

Context is really important with the subdominant role. By subdominant, I just mean the IV note, NOT a chord. I understand what you mean, but melody and harmony are inextricably linked. You can't really separate them. Importantly in tonal music, even if the music is entire a single melodic line, the tonic is a reference point and harmonic relationships ...


4

Any scale is merely a certain group of notes played in ascending/descending order. The major scale is ubiquitous. Pieces using its notes (but not necessarily in that order!) are everywhere. Simply put, the white keys on piano, starting and finishing on C, constitute the C major scale. The spaces between the notes are in a certain pattern. T T S T T T S. ...


4

(Original title:) Is the circle of fifths also a circle of consonance/dissonance? What the circle of fifths is is the sequence of pitches you get, going up by perfect fifths. That's all. It also has certain properties, such as how the key signature of each successive pitch gets one more sharp or one fewer flat; composers exploit this to modulate to a "...


4

"What would happen if I mixed X and Y when X was supposedly only supposed to go with Z?" Well, that's what you're MEANT to do, mix things up and find YOUR style :-) However: Sounds like you're OK on rudiments. You read the language. Now you look at songs. Study the 'Golden Age' American composers - Kern, Gershwin, Porter, Berlin. You shouldn't have ...


4

If you were to teach me all the music theory in the world for songwriting then what textbooks would you use? Taking the question literally - all of them! Of course the problem with that is that reading all the books won't leave you any time for writing songs... Even answering your question a bit more sensibly - I'm not aware of any single theory book ...


3

The reason that the fourth of the tonality you're working in feels unstable is because of the products of combination tones. Say I'm playing a C4 and an F4 at the same time in a song in C major. For further simplicity, assume that the C is at 240 Hz, making the F's frequency 320 Hz. Arbitrary numbers, but correct ratios, so it's fine. Now we find the ...


3

In terms of tendency note for the diatonic system, the fourth or subdominant is considered to be less stable, therefore it’s needed to resolve to the mediant. The tendency note is considered by its natural sound (Harmonic partials) in terms of the tonic chord e.g C E G and this can be noted as: C is the strongest G is the second strongest E is the third ...


3

The syllabic form is the fixed Solfège note name of its base tone, with Sib corresponding to Si bemolle or b flat. Assuming the instruments are all in the same octave, the Re corresponding to d would be the lowest. (If you have picture or length specifications, it would be the longest, which gives the deepest pitch.). I would definitely buy a standard ...


3

Three patterns come to mind: degree ^5 moves to ^4 over a dominant chord, so the double chord root moves to the chord seventh, then resolves to ^3 - the third of the tonic chord, the basic idea is the dissonant seventh can be viewed as a passing tone not an essential chord tone. the degree that is the chord seventh is a chord tone of a simple triad in the ...


3

In a sense this question rests on the same core set of assumptions as your previous question, which I tried in my answer to address, but it seems that you are essentially viewing your goal through the same framework as before. First let me say, the project of trying to understand music from theoretical, logical (even mathematical) principles is one I admire,...


3

There may be some hints of cynicism following... For possibly the most extreme opposites, Watch one of those daytime TV sensationalist documentaries, the ones where half the show is spent telling you what's going to be in the other half... with sirens & bits shot on a phone. Then watch Blue Planet. Then decide what your intended audience is & ...


3

I like to think of music as a language, and like any language, you are able to pick it up just by being in its environment and acquire it just with your ears. But just like any languages, to be able to effectively communicate with it, you’ll need to pick up the grammar and vocabulary so that you can be understood. Hence just like in language, music theory ...


3

Valid point about the subdominant to m3, but the leading note argument isn't strong. It's mainly because the B♭ in C minor doesn't push too well that the 'raised leading note' is used in far more pieces in minor keys. It's probably not that the music 'wants to move in a certain direction' but more of what the listeners prefer to happen. Music theory ...


3

Interesting question! Several of the people I play with who use 'non-chorded' instruments - trumpet, sax, clarinet and so on, have a far less interest in chords - and chord names in particular. It's most likely because although they can play broken chords - arpeggios - it's usually written down for them to read as they play. Therefore they don't see chords ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible