Cort Ammon
  • Member for 6 years, 11 months
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Why are notes created the way they are today?
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0 votes

First off, the twelve note pattern is not the only one in existence. There are several others, and those are well documented in other questions. I wont go into them in any detail. Going further, we ...

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Why are pianists taught to play in "positions"
1 votes

I never learned "positions." I did learn fingering. I believe they serve the same purpose. They strive to teach you habits that you will need for more complex songs. At a lower level, you ...

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Simple ratios create harmonious frequencies?
3 votes

One thing I find helpful for analyzing what things sound like is to remember that human hearing is not intended to be a tool for the perfect capture of sounds like a WAV file or a phonograph. It's a ...

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Will transcribing music improve my ability to play a song by ear?
5 votes

Transcribe with the purpose of better understanding songs by ear. Transcription is a skill which can be practiced many ways. You can indeed do it in a sterile way which does not help with anything ...

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Why oughtn't conductors use and mirror both hands to indicate the beat?
2 votes

Indicating the beat with both hands is a waste of movement. It uses up your entire upper body and both hands. I would venture a guess to say that formal education discourages this approach because, ...

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Genetic limitations to learn certain instruments
Accepted answer
5 votes

There are countless examples of people who have substantially overcome major limitations, such as Manami Ito. This is conjecture, so please take it with a grain of salt, but I find epigenetic effects ...

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Can I become a good guitarist by just playing other's arrangements?
2 votes

Do what you want to do. Simple as that. As for what you need to do to be "good," that depends on your own definition of good. If I may bring in a few other instruments to create some extreme ...

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Learning intervals - the fear it will change how I hear music
7 votes

In general, I agree with the sentiments that learning music only improves appreciation of music. However, I find the best way to get over a fear is to embrace it. It makes sense to look at some ...

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When counting in, why do people often do it at two speeds? (1_2_1234)
8 votes

I think most of this is personal preference. People find that it works, so they do it. However, your question sentence about how to tell if they are giving you the "real" tempo or "half speed" tempo ...

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How come we squish everything into one octave?
2 votes

It's helpful to remember that we're not playing just fundamentals. Every time we strike a key or blow a note, we get the fundamental and a whole set of overtones. Psychoachoustically speaking, our ...

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Can music time signatures really be irrational?
21 votes

He's just showing off. There's a few major reasons why what he describes doesn't matter. First and foremost, sheet music is a guide. It's not actually the music. You are always expected to put ...

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What's in a phrase?
2 votes

Concepts like this are very difficult to analyze analytically. It's very easy to miss the forest for the trees. Take it from someone who can tell you where all the trees are, but finding the forest ...

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Why do listeners hear the lowest note of a chord most distinctly?
7 votes

It has to do with overtones and how our brain processes signals. When a source of a sound has overtones, there is a mathematical relationship between each of the frequencies of the tones. If you ...

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How to play a piece right in one take?
1 votes

I don't think you're alone. In fact, I bet there's at least one solution to this for every musician alive today. I'd even bet that most musicians have three or four ways to combat this since none of ...

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Why do people with perfect pitch perceive tunes not in 440 Hz out of tune?
3 votes

Not everyone perceives things the same. In particular, not everyone perceives the relative pitches of a song in a vacuum, only compared to each other. The human ear is a fascinating device. Utterly ...

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What effect does compression have on music?
8 votes

Compressors are interesting because part of their goal is to be subtle. The basic idea of compressors is control over volume. Many instruments pick up different colors of sound when they are played ...

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Bass line melodies
3 votes

A bass can absolutely play the melody. It's not "standard," but that doesn't mean an aspiring bassist can't do it. Rush would be an excellent source of countless examples.

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How is Middle C generally defined and located on any instrument?
2 votes

You've been asking about history on other answers, so I wanted to address this. The first historical answer that could be given would be "they didn't care." If you're just playing solo, you often ...

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Why is the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star used everywhere?
7 votes

Some of this is certainly a feedback loop: it's popular to use this melody because it's popular to use this melody. Once you start using a melody for multiple songs, it becomes more likely that that ...

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How do I know what key to write in?
2 votes

In addition to the great answers here, I did want to point out one time where key does matter. Not every key sounds the same, so composers will often gravitate towards a particular key to get a ...

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Why are some people so paranoid about music theory?
19 votes

The issue with music theory is the same issue science runs into. It is easy to presume that it defines rules for what sounds good at what does not. It is easy to think that is what it does, and if ...

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How to feel the music?
12 votes

The first and foremost way to learn to feel the music is to play music. Not "practice" not "perform," but "play." The key difference between the former two and the latter is that the former two ...

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Piano vs Guitar Strings? Tension vs length?
1 votes

Both length and tension factor into the frequency of a vibrating string, along with the mass of the string. The reasons for the differences arise from how one plays the instruments, and physics. In ...

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The practical difference between 2/2 and 2/4 time
0 votes

One way to look at the difference between 2/2 and 2/4 is to start from the assumption that someone meant something by the choice, and back out what they could have meant. After all, if it really didn'...

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Why are conductors required at orchestra performances?
5 votes

A conductor provides different things at different levels of musician skill. At the lowest level of skill, they keeps time and tempo for you. As you learn to keep your own time and tempo, they ...

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Learning to keep time
3 votes

One of the arguments I have heard is to keep time on a cycle, not a line. If you're tapping your foot, think of it as though you were moving in a circle, with a tap near the bottom (realistically ...

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When practicing on my instrument - which is more important - quantity or quality?
0 votes

Practice makes permanent - my highschool band director. Play it slow and purposeful. Take it from someone who always wanted to play it fast. The brain seems to have two approaches to getting good ...

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