Dave
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It is ok to correct wrong notes when playing piano?
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76 votes

My teacher instructed me to think of two different approaches to practice: "Stop" -- where you are trying to learn the piece, work out the fingering (or other technical aspects) etc. You're not too ...

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Why are accidentals not just indicated next to the note in sheet music to make sight reading easier?
42 votes

It is related to "chunking", once you are used to keys, it is easier to quickly understand the single chunk "This piece is in G major" instead of having to see and interpret each of the individual ...

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What is the difference between monitors and (loud)speakers in technical terms?
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32 votes

There are (at least) two types of speakers referred to as monitors, and (at least) two types of speakers referred to as loudspeakers: studio monitors -- speakers that are specifically designed to ...

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The loudest acoustic instrument
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32 votes

Under a strict definition of "instrument": pipe organ -- they'll shake your bones like a rock concert. The claim is that the Atlantic City Music Hall organ is the world's loudest instrument, with one ...

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Why do we use such complicated notation?
31 votes

We most commonly use staff notation because it is a good compromise between expressiveness and readability for a wide range of music. There are alternatives, however these alternatives are ...

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Piano music with two treble clefs, and notes between staves
26 votes

The top staff is the (vocal) melody. In principle this could be given to the vocal performer by itself for him/her to sing from in a vocalist+pianist type of situation; as the pianist, you do not ...

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With modern electronic technology is temperament unnecessary?
24 votes

In principle, the answer is yes, with software instruments it is feasible to (re-)set the tuning so that you can realize music with modulation that stays in just intonation across these changes. The ...

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What is the reason for the many manuals on a pipe organ?
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20 votes

The different manuals are assigned to different stop combinations. By pulling out different stops, different sets of pipes sound when you press a key (or pedal). Having more than two manuals allows ...

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Why is the whammy bar sometimes called a "Tremolo" arm?
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20 votes

Fender corporation is a major contributor to the confusion of the term tremolo and vibrato, at least within the world of guitars. They marketed the Stratocaster as having a "tremolo" arm, even though ...

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What kind of a guitar can I play without thumbs?
20 votes

You could transition to lap steel, or dobro; using finger picks on your right hand and a slide on one of your left fingers shouldn't require use of your thumbs. Maybe autoharp? -- not quite a guitar ...

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Why is a C7 chord named a dominant seventh chord?
20 votes

tl;dr: Early on in common practice music the V7 chord construction was frequently encountered (note I mean the dominant seventh of the current key); over time,the name "dominant seventh" came to be ...

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How can I force LilyPond to repeat a chord symbol (relates to alternate endings)?
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17 votes

Use \once \set chordChanges = ##f at the location where you want to force the chord symbol. \score { << \new ChordNames { \set chordChanges = ##t \chordmode { \...

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What does a circle before/between notes mean?
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16 votes

They indicate open-string notes (E,A,D,G,B,E); note that they are in the same position of the numbers that indicate which fingers to use to fret the notes.

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Does each note have a more specific name depending on its pitch?
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16 votes

In many computer applications referring to pitches with their MIDI number is useful. If you want to be physical about it, you could use the frequencies in Hertz. Also, scientific pitch notation ...

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What's the difference between a Flanger and a Phaser?
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16 votes

A flanger adds a delayed version of the input signal back into itself. This produces a theoretically infinite series of equally spaced notches in the spectrum of the output signal (the spacing is 1/...

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How did baroque music sound at the time?
15 votes

In many respects technological progress in music has been less about the very best sounding better than about it becoming more and more feasible to produce "good" sounds at lower and lower cost. In ...

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Approximately how many cents are in a 1-bpm shift centered around 123 bpm?
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15 votes

The way I'd derive it is to Taylor expand around central frequency (BPM is a frequency): Using 123 BPM as the central frequency yields the same result as user37549: about 14 cents for a 1 BPM change.

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What is melodic inversion and how to do it?
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15 votes

Melodic Inversion Where the original melody goes up by an interval, the inverted melody goes down by the same interval. Sometimes you do it where you keep the same number of semi-tones (sometimes ...

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The major scale - why and how?
15 votes

The major triad is closely linked to the overtone series series of a given fundamental note Taking c as the root, c' (the c one octave up) has a frequency 2x that of the root, g' has a frequency 3x ...

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Why do octaves sound equivalent?
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14 votes

There are indications of an underlying neurological (and arguably evolutionary) basis for perceiving octaves as equivalent, see for example this discussion. This phenomenon is pretty fundamental in ...

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What's the difference between overtones and harmonics?
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14 votes

In the context of acoustic analysis: Overtone: any resonant frequency above the fundamental frequency. Harmonic: resonant frequency that is an integer multiple of the fundamental frequency. For ...

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Why does this note have a stem pointing up and another pointing down?
13 votes

There are two voices in this music: the lower plays f, then e as quarter notes; Note that the downward pointing stem's don't have flags/beams -- thus they are quarter notes. the upper plays f <a ...

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Music Theory: Frequencies related to playing a note on guitar
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13 votes

When you pluck a guitar string you are always generating all of the harmonics to varying degrees. For your E2 N: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Note: E2 E3 B3 E4 G#...

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Why do thicker guitar picks result in a darker tone color?
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12 votes

Thicker picks (tend to) remain in contact with the string longer. The impulse provided to the string is of longer duration. A longer duration pulse imparts more lower frequency and less higher ...

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Meaning of diamond-shape notes on guitar staff
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12 votes

p-i-m-a indicate which finger to pluck with (thumb, index, middle and ring, the letters come from the Spanish names), and thus are guitar specific. Similarly the small numbers to the left of the ...

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Alternative ways to classify Instruments
12 votes

A Google search on "musical instrument taxonomy" yielded a reasonable picture with the key feature: It breaks the world (of musical instruments) up by the mechanism that is used to produce sound. ...

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Why some guitarists add a plastic gizmo in the guitar's sound hole?
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11 votes

I can think of two different things. First, a "sound-hole pickup", a device that allows you to mount magnetic pickups onto/into a guitar so that it can be amplified without using a microphone. ...

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What are the true frequencies of the piano keys?
11 votes

The figure in the Wikipedia article tells you what you are asking, if you're willing to tabulate the deviations by reading the green line. The vertical axis is the number of cents that the key is ...

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Difference between pre and post gain
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11 votes

Most guitar amps have two amplification stages: The pre-amp which takes the very low signal levels output by the guitar and amplifies them to a higher level, approximately like line-level. The power-...

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How do you write a continuous arpeggio in sheet music?
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11 votes

Usually this is notated with the comment "let ring" above or below the staff; optionally you can include a dashed line (similar to an 8va line) that indicates the span of music where it should be ...

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