Kilian Foth
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What is this violin ornament?
38 votes

It's not an ornament; it's a quarter rest. The Violins I are divided, and the upper half play rest + quarter note while the lower half play half notes.

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Why can't notes be tuned according to a defined frequency?
37 votes

We can tune each string/pipe to a given frequency as accurately as we need to for musical purposes. We can't do it so that they collectively satisfy several musically desirable properties, because ...

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What do you call the number written on top of the music bars?
25 votes

I'm afraid the numbers above bars are just called... "bar numbers". They serve as an index so that you can communicate about places in a score when there is no opportunity to point to them. For ...

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Why didn't more composers who composed violin concertos compose viola concertos?
Accepted answer
22 votes

Various reasons. The viola is acoustically less well-designed than the violin. It sounds a fifth below the violin and has the same proportions, so it would have to be 50% larger; but because you ...

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Why are the accidentals here written in a rather complex way, when there exists simpler notation?
19 votes

Notating this in a flat minor requires fewer accidentals, but those that it requires are more obscure. A player might well prefer well-known notes to less well-known notes. Remember that woodwind ...

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Chopin op. 28 no. 4 - bar 16 symbols
Accepted answer
19 votes

This is an Turn, an ornament consisting of four notes. The double-sharp symbol indicates that the lower note to be performed is a g double-sharp rather than a natural g, so the sequnce to be performed ...

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Do time signatures make sense?
18 votes

If you think the denominators are arbitrary, try notating a stately sarabande in 3/8 time - you'll drown in beams and flags. Next, try notating a lively tarantella in 3/1 time - you'll be overwhelmed ...

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What are "horn 5ths"?
12 votes

Horn fifths are not parallel fifths. Rather, they are the characteristic sequence of intervals that occurs when two horns play their natural scale with an offset of two notes. Since the notes of ...

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Is real organ music playable with digital piano?
12 votes

You have to distinguish between playing transcriptions of organ music and practicing for later playing of organ music on an actual organ. The first was much in vogue in the 19th and early 20th ...

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Just intonation on a trumpet
11 votes

Embouchure and valve manipulation can influence the exact pitch of a tone on all wind instruments. For proof, just listen to any jazz trumpet player! The effect is larger on some instruments than ...

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From the piano tuner's viewpoint, what needs to be done in order to achieve "equal temperament"?
11 votes

You can choose which fifths you want to sound "off", you just can't avoid all of them. Say you want to support the C major scale as well as possible. You tune all your C's to a given ...

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Why can a vuvuzela only play one pitch, while a non-valved bugle can play many?
Accepted answer
11 votes

Apparently, it is possible to play some melodies on the Vuvuzela, although not in quite the same way as on a trumpet or horn (FAQ). The difference is probably that most football fans are football fans ...

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What does a piano teacher do?
Accepted answer
10 votes

Virtually everything about piano playing is slightly less obvious than you would at first think. You just press down the appropriate keys, right? Almost certainly you already know that there's more to ...

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Name for ensemble of the same instrument
9 votes

Ensembles of equal instruments (especially viols) used to be called consorts. Later on, mixed groups became more common and a distinction was made between closed consorts (non-mixed) and open consorts ...

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Key used by clarinet
Accepted answer
9 votes

The point of transposing instruments is to be able to play different sizes of the same instrument (such as an A and a B clarinet) without learning a new set of fingerings. An A clarinet is slightly ...

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Lilypond staffs extend past end of music
Accepted answer
9 votes

The usual advice for this is \layout { \context { \Staff \RemoveEmptyStaves }}. Does that do what you want? For breaks at non-bar-line point the usual trick is to insert an invisible bar line via \...

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Are instructions on organ stop settings included in the notation of Baroque organ music?
Accepted answer
9 votes

Yes, dynamic changes are predominantly achieved by choosing different stops. No, baroque music virtually never specifies which precise stops to pull. The most you can expect is something general such ...

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Bar lines in lilypond
8 votes

The bar lines pop up wherever the time signature tells them to. If you want them in the correct places, use the right \time signature for your piece, and don't forget to use \partial if you have an ...

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When does one use an extra stave for piano music?
Accepted answer
8 votes

Elaine Gould recommends the use of additional staves "if multiple parts are otherwise hard to read" (Behind Bars, p. 332). That is clearly the case here, since with only one bass stave, chords would ...

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Italian term for returning to the original tempo, but with more energy (or slightly faster)?
8 votes

I think this makes little sense. "A tempo" specifically means to return to a previous tempo, so there's no point in qualifying it to mean "not the previous tempo". You're better off using absolute ...

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Does the rule regarding consecutive octaves/fifths actually hold any weight?
Accepted answer
8 votes

The point of avoiding certain parallels is not that it would "sound bad". On the contrary, it sounds really good - so good that for centuries, this was the only kind of polyphony anyone ever used. ...

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The major scale - why and how?
8 votes

It's quite easy to "construct" the major scale by adding perfect fifths (and adjusting octaves to keep the resulting frequencies close together). Start from C, and you get (in this order) G, D, A, E, ...

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Why are notes ordered like they are on a piano?
7 votes

One reason is for ease of play, as mentioned by the other answers. But on a mechanical keyboard instrument, the keys of various pitch correspond to strings of various lengths, and it is way easier to ...

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What difference does the direction of a stem/beam make?
7 votes

That's an easy one: It makes no difference. If there were two voices on this staff, upward and downward stems might be used to distinguish them, e.g. to show whether the two voices cross or merely ...

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What does this crossed-note notation mean?
Accepted answer
7 votes

The beam fragments drawn through stems mean that each of the 8th notes should be divided into two 16th notes. This has nothing to do with the 5/8 time, it's simply a shorthand notation to save ...

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Roman numerals below the note in violin
Accepted answer
6 votes

The sequence of Roman numerals below the score is an alternative assignment of notes to strings, i.e. you can't follow both at the same time. (The visual hint is that alternatives are often printed in ...

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Very high notes on the treble clef
6 votes

Depends. The longer your passage goes on in the highest register, the more sense it makes to switch octaves. But depending on the method of notation, adding this element to the score can be a lot more ...

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Why did Albéniz write in C♭ instead of B?
6 votes

There are many valid reasons to prefer one enharmonic variant over the other. As alephzero has pointed out, if the harmonic structure of your movement tends to modulate upward it is almost certainly ...

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Perfecting accents in Chopin's Impromptu
6 votes

There is no need to strengthen your R5 for this passage. It's not a question of force, but of control. This is a piano passage, so what you should so is reduce the energy in the three remaining notes....

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Are tonal (sharp, flat and natural) key signatures octave specific?
Accepted answer
6 votes

Accidentals in a key signature always apply to any octave you play in. The human ear hears the same note in neighbouring octaves as almost identical (in fact, many people have a hard time ...

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