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45

By definition this is not possible. Just intonation ratios are rational numbers, N/M where N, M are integers. Equal temperament is based on defining the smallest ratio as the n-th root of 2, 2^(1/n). For 12TET n = 12. What you are basically asking is if an irrational number can be made to exactly match a ratio of integers. This will never be possible....


42

This is actually tr, the notation for "trill," an embellishment (or ornament) on a note where you rapidly alternate between the main pitch and an adjacent pitch. There are many different types of trills; the style of music (and perhaps editorial notes) will clarify exactly which type is intended. You can check out more in the Wikipedia article.


41

It's an artifact of Spotify's analysis. Notice that this chart shows no songs written in a flat key. Therefore, without a doubt, the chart is simply using "F♯" to mean "F♯ or G♭," "A♯" to mean "A♯ or B♭," and so forth. In particular, B♭ major (with a key signature of ♭♭ – two flats) is definitely much more common than A♯ (with a key signature of 𝄪𝄪𝄪♯♯♯♯ –...


38

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 = a f. Note Hz Ratio a to previous note, rounded to 3 decimal places A4 440.00 A#4 466.16 1.059 (466.16 / 440.0 = 1.059, and so on down the column)...


36

What we call THE pentatonic scale really wasn't created by removing the 4th and 7th notes from a major scale! It pre-dates the major scale. People have sung on pentatonic scales since they lost interest in tetratonic ones! "The five-note system was already considered archaic by the Greeks in 350 B.C. and [was] employed long before that by the Chinese." [...


36

This is because most people have a sense of relative pitch, so as you say, as long as the intervals (tone distances) are kept the same, the piece of music is recognisable. Think about how we recognise things visually for a moment. You'd recognise a computer mouse, or a car, or an apartment block whether it was to your left or right, or above you or below ...


35

Polyrhythm. It's good thing to learn to do. 4 against 3 is nice, before that you should normally try 3 against 2. Normally it's hard to do at the start. I had to break it down, splitting the beats. For 3 against 2 you need to split the pattern into 6, for 4 against 3 into 12. I made two grids to show how: It takes a bit of practice but it is very good for ...


30

First, I am curious to know what it is about music theory you find confusing and why you think there is no point to it. Also, are you taking lessons and is your teacher insisting you learn theory? Maybe you can comment on those things. In a nutshell, no one HAS to learn music theory to learn how to play an instrument. There are literally millions of people ...


28

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 input, such as sound level or sound pitch, not by absolute level or value difference, but by the ratio of the change. e.g. larger values need a proportionately ...


28

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 lines. If you want to figure out the notes that are below and above the staff, just cycle through the musical alphabet (A B C D E F G). If you are trying to ...


27

The 'add' modifier is used if a note above the 7th is added to a triad, and if the lower tensions are not part of the chord. That's why there's a difference between a C9 and a C(add9) chord. The first has a (flat) 7th, the other one doesn't: C9 = C E G Bb D C(add9) = C E G D Another usage is to add notes that would otherwise replace another note, as is ...


27

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 the G scale... If you're playing notes as found in the G major scale in the right hand, but establishing C as your home note in the bass (without further ...


25

If someone is asking about the key of the instrument, I would answer "I play in concert pitch." If when jamming, someone asks "what key are you in?" I would say, "I am playing in (name a key) concert pitch." Then everyone else will transpose appropriately. In a group with many transposing and non-transposing instruments, a discussion might be needed to find ...


25

This is a very common concept known as the Neapolitan chord. In short, the Neapolitan chord is typically a major chord built on the lowered second scale degree; you'll occasionally see/hear it called the ♭II. It's also commonly in first inversion, so you'll also occasionally hear it called the "Neapolitan six(th)," the "six" indicating the figured bass ...


25

Well spotted! This is very common. Bach often uses a brief modulation to the subdominant key near the end of his fugues, preludes and inventions (presumably other pieces, too). Sometimes this is so brief, that we feel like we are just travelling through this key, without really modulating to it. Sometimes this is over a final tonic pedal, which is really “...


24

This is called "Drone". There is a special minimalistic style for this: Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drone_music see also https://www.reddit.com/r/LetsTalkMusic/comments/5tpt81/what_are_your_favorite_pop_songs_that_incorporate/ A drone is defined as: "A harmonic or monophonic effect or accompaniment where a note or chord is continuously ...


23

It's great that you're thinking about where your line breaks should go, and putting them at natural "punctuation" points is generally a good idea. Breaking mid-measure though is pushing this too far. While it may fit the phrase better, it's a bit disrupting to read. Experienced musicians are very good at identifying phrases, especially when they're 4 or 8 ...


22

The answers so far seem to have missed the point. I think you're asking in a key where there is C♯ in the key sig., and you come across a C note with a flat sign just before it, what do you play. You'd play a C♭ note - equivalent on most instruments to sounding like a B. Reason being, any accidental changes a base note into sharp or flat, and a ...


22

Is it an important thing to consider in Orchestration? You have in fact stumbled onto the very foundation (and art) of orchestration. Orchestration is about not only knowing how each instrument sounds, but how to blend those sounds together to get the effects / textures you're looking for. Composers generally don't think about blend in terms of harmonic ...


22

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 replay it back with your voice. I don't think "knowing" these intervals in order to sing something back means you know if an interval is, e.g., a major or a ...


21

Yes absolutely. An "octave" is all about a doubling of the frequency of the note, not the letters commonly used to refer to them. The octave can be split into any number of tones, which may or may not be equally (in the logarithmic sense) spaced. We use a system of 12 equally spaced "semitones" (as we call them) in most western music, called "equal ...


21

The fourth and the seventh are the only tones that distinguish the different major and minor modes (not including locrian). The pentatonics represent the common tones in all these modes. Ionian, Lydian, and Mixolydian all have (1, 2, 3, 5, 6) in common. Only the 4th and 7th are altered. Similarly for the minor modes. Aeolian, Dorian, and Phygian all ...


21

The other answers approach this from dividing the octave and showing that equal divisions must be irrational. Another way of looking at this is to consider whether we can compose an octave by successive multiplications with a rational number. The result is of course the same: we can't. Start with the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic: every integer ...


20

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, using your "equally divided" logic, we are at zero Hz after 12 steps, and the next step beyond that is minus 37 Hz! What does that even mean? But ok, let's ...


20

While there are certainly questions about how all of this data was classified, it's not surprising to me that the most popular keys tend slightly toward the sharp side (G, D, and A), with flat keys like F and B-flat ("A-sharp") turning up with smaller percentages. I assume much of Spotify's catalog is popular music. Guitars and electric basses are rather ...


19

There is a common mnemonic for learning the 3:4 poly-rhythm. Apologies for the minor profanity, but it goes like so: Get two people, call them "3" and "4" and give them the following instructions: 3: You're watching a baseball game and your team is in the field, and you're hoping the outfielder can throw the ball to the first-baseman, so you repeat the ...


19

By very definition, the modes are created by taking the Ionian scale/mode and starting at a different point, not by rearranging those intervals at will. According to wikipedia: Modern Western modes use the same set of notes as the major scale, in the same order, but starting from one of its seven degrees in turn as a tonic, and so present a different ...


19

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 facilitate many opportunities for consonant harmony, chord building around triads, have notes that are close enough for easy melodic construction, and so on, ...


18

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 ...


18

WARNING: This got a bit out of control. Please don't be intimidated by the diagrams and the wall of text. Also please note that in the following (and in the music, generally) the word "modulation" means just a change of key. Obviously, these modulations are the most common ones. However, you can modulate from any key to any other key without much ...


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