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45

First off, for any melody that stays within a key, you have about a 1/7 chance of any random note you guess being the next note. Second, there are popular melody patterns and techniques, and sometimes the chords being played will suggest likely places for the melody to go. Depending on the chords and the harmony, you may be instinctively understanding that ...


44

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 other, the interval is a second - even though the second note is just "one note" away from the first. In fact, if you play the same note at the same time, it's ...


38

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 calling this interval a doubly augmented fourth. This just means that it's one half step larger than an augmented fourth. (As such, the augmented fourth is not ...


33

(It's going to be tough to explain all of this in a single answer. If you're interested in this, I strongly recommend finding a music theory text, either online or in hard copy. But I'll do my best to address it all here!) When it comes to major and minor keys, the best way to determine tonality, in my opinion, is to determine the location of half steps. (...


32

Traditional tonal music plays with expectations. Music can do many surprising and unexpected things, but very often music will do what is "expected" meaning that it follows certain conventions. Let's switch to a language metaphor just for a moment. If I say "hello, what is your... ", what word do you expect might be next? Do you think "name?" Certainly ...


30

Even if one can ever be too old to learn an instrument (I don't think so), then this is definitely not the case already at 22. You may not be able to make as fast progress as if you had learned it at 13, but ultimately it's up to how much effort you put in. Practive five minutes every week, and it'll probably not go anywhere. But practice half an hour every ...


30

Why does it not matter what octave you're tuning to? If you want to set a string to a certain pitch, of course it does matter what octave you adjust the string to. Setting a string to A3 (220Hz) is not the same as setting it to A4 (440 Hz). Not only will the sound be different, but you might make the string very hard to play if it is too slack, or break ...


29

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 familiar: reading English. What is the meaning of "right" versus "right?" I can read the words, but only reading the single word isn't going to tell me the ...


29

As Michael Curtis has pointed out, from the linguistic side, the study of phonetics is all about what speech sounds humans make and how they make them. Phonetics doesn't really approach things from a musical perspective, so I thought I might try to make some correlations between phonetics and musical acoustics. Phonetics divides speech sounds (phonemes) ...


27

As ggcg said, those rules are mainly the rules of western common-practice harmony, i.e. the harmony that was used in baroque, classical and early romantic music. It has, for sure, also had a lot of influence on pop music, but it also has a lot of differences. A crucial one is what I would sum up with the following statement, which may sound a bit crazy: ...


26

when I'm picking a "bass" can I choose any instrument..? Yes, you can. However, you might find that not all instruments work well to your ears as 'bass' instruments. When you see 'bass' in a synth patch name, it usually doesn't only refer to the instrument being low - because, as you say, you can usually play low notes with any sound in a synth. ...


24

Yes, but also due to the changes in piano construction. In some ways, a classical piece played on a modern piano might sound more true to the composer's original intent than the piano it was originally played on. Modern pianos are generally louder and brighter than the ones in the late 1700s and early 1800s. So loud passages, such as might be found in some ...


24

Certainly children learn more quickly than adults, particularly when it comes to languages, and to skills. (That is, "proficiency, facility, or dexterity that is acquired or developed through training or experience.") As a former US Figure Skating Basic Skills instructor, I observed this effect time and again when teaching school-age children as compared ...


23

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. WWHWWWH Ionian (equivalent to the major scale) WHWWWHW Dorian HWWWHWW Phrygian WWWHWWH Lydian WWHWWHW ...


23

No, not all songs have to be in a major or minor scale. All that it takes to prove this is to find one example that goes against the rule: This melody, which has both C♯ and C♮, cannot belong to a single major scale. (It also has both F♯ and F♮.) Most compositions, however, do have what we call a tonic. This is a pitch center, a "home base" of sorts, to ...


23

This question seems to arise from a “linear” mental model of notes. C♭ C C♯ D♭ D D♯ E♭ E E♯ F♭ F F♯ G♭ G G♯ A♭ A A♯ B♭ B B♯ C♭ C C♯ Like a piano keyboard, but somehow with 31 notes per octave instead of 12. (Building or playing such an instrument is left as an exercise for the reader.) But instead, look at the notes in Circle of Fifths ...


22

The Locrian mode does not need any reason to exist, it simply does. It would seem stranger that we would give names to all of the other note collections built from the degrees of the Major scale, yet leave the seventh degree out. The confusion here seems to be one about functional harmony. The idea of a tonic is part of functional harmony, but the idea of a ...


22

Of course it is. And most people do. And, while any piece more extended than a simple song probably does involve a 'journey' of some kind, there's no need to invent a storyline.


22

Your confusion is understandable because you have the choice of using one, or a combination, of three minor scales: the natural minor, the harmonic minor or the melodic minor. In using a D# you have strayed from the natural minor scale to the melodic minor scale, and this scale has worked for you. The natural minor scale flattens the 3rd, 6th and 7th ...


20

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 a second of some sort. This is because in part of history (which requires a discussion of Church modes and the history of notation), and partly because the ...


19

CMaj7 always has the notes C E G B regardless of the context around it. In general terms, any major 7th chord contains a root, Major 3rd, Perfect 5th, and Major 7th. It is naturally built in the C major scale by building a chord starting on C in 3rds, but it does not stop you from using it elsewhere even when the notes are not naturally found in the key/...


19

The notes in the treble clef are not dotted eighth notes, but just plain eighth notes. The dots beneath the note heads are articulation marks which mean that the notes should be played staccato. If the stems were down instead of up the dots would be probably be above the note heads in your example, but articulation marks may in general be placed either above ...


19

Chromatic mediant is the technical name https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromatic_mediant This is where the chord roots are a third apart and there is one common tone. So with Fm and Am you have: F, A flat, C A, C, E So the "C" is the common tone, and F and A chord roots are a third apart. I think part of what makes the great sound is that the two moving ...


19

how do I determine which key they are in? A) Recognise that those notes are the start of the overture to Mozart's The Marriage Of Figaro, but two semitones higher. B) Note that that piece is in D major. C) Infer that the notes in the question are therefore in E major. :-) More seriously, I don't think you can say definitively just from the notes.  They ...


19

I'm not aware of a name for this phenomenon, it's just a quick way to transpose music based on how the tonal system works out. In short, when you're in a key, look at the key signature. Take the number of accidentals in the key and replace them with the mod-7 complement of the other accidental type and you're left with a key built a half step away from the ...


18

As is so often the case in music, a label depends on how something is functioning in context. There are several possibilities for this chord, and they can resolve variously to (at least) chords on B, F, E, or B♭. Prepare for a bit of an onslaught! 1. A French Augmented-Sixth Chord in E Technically speaking, your listing of Root, major third, major second, ...


18

As other answers have pointed out, there are advantages to the player in having notes in pitch order, rather than arranged by consonance; it probably makes things easier for instrument builders too! However, the idea of placing consonant notes together isn't crazy at all. In fact there are other instrument layouts that do something like this. One example is ...


17

In addition to Tim's great answer, we can also conceptualize this as being in C Dorian. The Dorian mode is a major scale with a lowered third and seventh. C Dorian would thus have E♭ and B♭. I think this is especially important to point out because of the A♮ (not A♭!) shown in your link. Another way to conceptualize Dorian is as natural minor with a raised ...


17

There’s not much (if any) difference in the tempo they imply, but there’s a difference in character. Literally, con brio means with spirit, while con fuoco means with fire. Regarding tempo, both are traditionally taken to mean that it should be a little faster than it otherwise would be — allegro con brio/fuoco a bit faster than a typical allegro, and ...


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