59 posts tagged with musictheory.
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Does this minor chord progression (i-III-VI) have a name?

Over the past few years, I've developed a sort of obsession with this tense-sounding chord progression and have noticed it in 1980s-present popular/alternative music. I've wasted too much time trying to find its name - or do songwriters just like the way it sounds? Think "Centuries", "Handclap", and "Sunday Bloody Sunday"...(examples inside) [more inside]
posted by Seeking Direction on Jul 11, 2016 - 5 answers

Why does this sound like it does? (Guitar and music theory question)

Why is it that when staying in the same key, when the backing band / bass changes in some way, the notes that "feel right" on the guitar change? (Lots more inside) [more inside]
posted by Bugbread on Nov 13, 2015 - 11 answers

What is this new style of rapping?

It seems like lately every single hip-hop song has a particular style of rapping, but I've never seen it acknowledged anywhere, and I don't know if it has a name. I'm no good at music theory, but from my understanding: It's characterized by the rapper constantly doing triplets over a 4/4 bar, and very rarely changing it up. Or another way of looking at it might be a 3/4 verse over a 4/4 beat. Examples inside. [more inside]
posted by naju on Aug 13, 2015 - 10 answers

What's up with the F# in Elvis Costello's 'Welcome to the Working Week'?

Remedial music theory question: I've been playing along to this song (which is amazing) and the chords are E, G#m, C#m, A, B – all fairly common E major stuff. However, the song includes both an f#m and also an f#maj chord, the latter of which is not part of E major. [more inside]
posted by Cantdosleepy on Apr 10, 2015 - 8 answers

Learning Mandolin - Recommended Guide(s)?

I received a much-desired starter mandolin for Christmas and am looking for help on good guidebooks or other starting points for learning. Any recommendations? Preferences/details inside. [more inside]
posted by staccato signals of constant information on Jan 22, 2015 - 5 answers

Does this desktop fretboard mapping software exist?

I love Guitar Toolkit on my iPhone. Specifically, the scale and chord features. I want the same functionality on my desktop monitor so I can see more than 5 frets at a time. [more inside]
posted by usonian on Nov 15, 2014 - 5 answers

Addicted to Pure Heroine

I like Lorde's debut album, Pure Heroine, a lot. Is there an explanation beyond personal preference, from a musical perspective that explains why I find the entire album so compelling? Admittedly, the songs do sound sort of alike, but is there an actual, concrete, musical reason why I find this album so catchy? (I never got very far into theory.) Bonus: Do you know any similar songs or albums?
posted by Enchanting Grasshopper on Oct 20, 2014 - 5 answers

Bootstrapping Music Projects - What Tools are Out There?

Are there any other softwares similar to Hooktheory's Hookpad? [more inside]
posted by Doleful Creature on Sep 26, 2014 - 1 answer

I'm just a caveman. Your modern guitar tech frightens and confuses me.

The electric guitar switch in my brain recently flipped itself back to 'On' after 18 years of hibernation, and I'm feeling like Rip Van Winkle. Where and how do the cool kids learn how to shred these days? [more inside]
posted by usonian on Sep 6, 2014 - 6 answers

Hit me with your best music macrohistories!

Trying to find the perfect book to scratch a partner's literary itch for macrohistories related in some way to music. Details within. [more inside]
posted by Stacey on Dec 28, 2013 - 12 answers

Beautiful Music Theory

I want to adorn my walls with gorgeous music theory posters. Suggestions please. [more inside]
posted by thisclickableme on Dec 22, 2013 - 5 answers

What is the DJ trying to do?

Help me understand electronic music! [more inside]
posted by vogon_poet on Sep 28, 2013 - 9 answers

2 or more notes played at the same time that doesn't sound awful?

I've been toying with a goofy little data-mashing project. Here's the rub: I take some text, break it down into characters, give each character a musical note and then spawn an object in a 3D world with that note/letter attached. You then wander the landscape, playing sounds and 'reading' the world. Goofy. It sounds like a hot mess. More inside. [more inside]
posted by GilloD on May 5, 2013 - 11 answers

I want to understand what this musical entry on wikipedia means.

I am also looking for the easiest way to hear (or generate) these sounds online. [more inside]
posted by tangyraspberry on Feb 23, 2013 - 19 answers

Can you explain the chords and harmonies in this song

I was listening to this song by disasterpeace and I was struck by how it has a different "earfeel" than other music. I don't know how to describe it, other than that it feels fatter. There's something in the way the notes harmonize that makes them resonate or something. Can someone please explain a bit of the theory behind why this sounds the way it does?
posted by rebent on Jan 11, 2013 - 4 answers

Cloud Atlas is Chordally Dense

How difficult is it to transcribe an orchestral piece (say, a digital recording) into an accurate paper score? [more inside]
posted by polymodus on Dec 17, 2012 - 6 answers

Making (accordion) chords out of nothing at all?

I have a 24-button bass piano accordion, and I'm having trouble figuring out how to get all the chords I need out of it (maj7, dim, etc). [more inside]
posted by mckenney on Dec 12, 2012 - 4 answers

Twelve-bar blues minus the blues

I am looking for songs, or sections of songs, that use a twelve-bar blues structure without sounding bluesy. [more inside]
posted by danb on Nov 17, 2012 - 8 answers

Which books did Jerry Garcia read that helped him learn to play?

Which books did Jerry Garcia read that helped him learn to play? I'm not much of a deadhead, but I do have great respect for Jerry Garcia's playing, especially acoustically with David Grisman. In my own study of music generally and guitar specifically I've been venturing out of pentatonic scales into the major scale and associated modes, as well as trying to become a more knowledgable and lyrical improviser. I'm in a wormhole of reading tons of interviews with Jerry and he commonly refers to learning heaps about the guitar by "reading the books" that have come out since the last time he "read the books" about guitar/music. These interviews have been mid seventies to mid to late eighties. I'm wondering: What books was Jerry reading that were so valuable in helping him develop his playing? He never seems to reference them specifically. Anyone know what kind of literature was coming out and of good quality in that era? Thanks.
posted by idzyn on Sep 28, 2012 - 4 answers

Show me how music works.

Show me blogs, books, and podcasts that analyze songs and break them down using music theory. [more inside]
posted by svolix on Sep 24, 2012 - 7 answers

Seeking DJ wisdom

What criteria do you use to determine mix tape/CD/playlist order? [more inside]
posted by umbú on Feb 15, 2012 - 15 answers

Uneasy listening

Why do we sometimes enjoy dissonance in music? [more inside]
posted by liquidindian on Dec 13, 2011 - 22 answers

Can someone with a knowledge of music theory help me decipher a couple songs please?

This is a kind of random question, but I was hoping someone with a background in music theory & composition could help me figure out what's going on musically with a couple songs I like. The two songs in question are Nobukazu Takemura's Icefall (link to song) and Arthur Russell's Being It (link to song). I really like what's going on in these two songs, but I don't have enough knowledge of music to understand exactly what it is. I'm aware that I'm not giving you much to go on, but I'm having a difficult time knowing how to be more specific. I know they both seem to make copious use of echo, but aside from that, I'd just like to know a bit more about what concepts they're working with from a musical and compositional standpoint. At any rate, If someone could shed a bit of light on these two songs I'd be very appreciative. Thanks!
posted by OccamsRazor on Nov 17, 2011 - 5 answers

Ear training advice for learning intervals.

I am trying to learn intervals, by relation to songs, but need some more tips, particularly with Minor 6th, Minor 7th and Major 7th. [more inside]
posted by inbetweener on Jul 24, 2011 - 13 answers

What music theory stuff is going on here?

What music theory stuff is Yngwie Malmsteen having a hard time explaining about his composition "Arpeggios from Hell"? [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Jul 23, 2011 - 4 answers

You Got It?

Someone please explain the chord structure/key change/whatever in Roy Orbison's 'You Got It' [more inside]
posted by jimmysmits on Jun 23, 2011 - 13 answers

Chord identification

Music theory quickie: How would you name these chords? [more inside]
posted by Khalad on Jun 9, 2011 - 17 answers

I want to teach myself music theory

I'd like to teach myself music theory - what resources can you recommend? [more inside]
posted by gravelshoes on Sep 28, 2010 - 11 answers

Help teach my computer to follow a chart

Are there any machine readable music "fake books" available, free or for sale? [more inside]
posted by waxboy on Aug 12, 2010 - 6 answers

Best software for ear training + learning to sing with accompaniment?

Best software for ear training + learning to sing with accompaniment? [more inside]
posted by L'Estrange Fruit on Jul 4, 2010 - 2 answers

Guitalele. Chords are normal guitar +5 semitones?

Music Theory/Guitar; Guitalele is small guitar strung like big guitar with capo on 5th. Does that mean i take regular guitar chords and transpose +5 semitones? [more inside]
posted by priorpark17 on Jun 18, 2010 - 4 answers

Can anyone with the knowledge help me figure out what key my song is in?

Working on this dark whimsical carnival-esque song for a local compilation. Can someone help me find the key? (Tried the usual Googling until my head exploded)... Link to streaming song included in extended description. [more inside]
posted by raintheory on May 11, 2010 - 5 answers

"I like it when they play that sad note."

How do I learn to think and speak intelligently and systematically about music? [more inside]
posted by PMdixon on Apr 23, 2010 - 11 answers

Fortunately, I'm not lactose intolerant, because that last modulation was pure cheese.

CheesyModulationFilter? How can I explain the concept of a "cheesy modulation" to a non-musician? [more inside]
posted by QuantumMeruit on Mar 9, 2010 - 16 answers

Help a workaholic have a productive break.

I am working on a PhD in music theory and cognition. I hate wasting time, but sometimes my brain needs a break from reading/writing/listening/analyzing. Help me create a list of films and documentaries that relate in some way to my field so that I can stare at a screen sometimes and still feel like I'm feeding my unquenchable desire to learn about music and mind. [more inside]
posted by nosila on Nov 1, 2009 - 15 answers

How to identify intervals

How can I learn relative pitch? I can hear minor/major 2nds pretty well but 3rds are just defeating me. [more inside]
posted by Post-it Goat on Sep 25, 2009 - 18 answers

Time signatures are important, hemiolas be damned.

I am trying to locate the time signatures in the Opus or Helsinki font set (which come with Sibelius). Does anyone know where these are? [more inside]
posted by nosila on Aug 25, 2009 - 11 answers

Just a square, I guess.

Music types: help me identify exactly what it is that I dislike about these particular types of jazz! [more inside]
posted by gallusgallus on Jun 10, 2009 - 14 answers

Why do minor chords sound cold?

Why do minor chords sound cold? [more inside]
posted by dunkadunc on May 31, 2009 - 16 answers

Multiple sources of background noise "harmonizing" -- who's studied this, and what did they find?

Heard an NPR story 7(ish) years ago about a guy who measures the pitch of various sources of barely-audible workspace/home background noise (eg. harddrive spinning, refrigerator compressor running, and the flyback transformer on your television) and seeing what chords they made. He contested that different chords would affect peoples' productivity, attitudes, etc. I have some questions about this. [more inside]
posted by cadastral on Apr 9, 2009 - 14 answers

Does this piano software exist?

When I learned to touch type, I used software where the letters appeared and did not go until I had pressed the right key. I was wondering if there is any similar software for reading music but with a usb/midi keyboard. I know it wouldn't be much use for improving timing, but it would help with learning notes and possibly chords too. [more inside]
posted by jcwilliams on Feb 26, 2009 - 3 answers

How I understand music reviews better and explain it to others ?

I listen to a lot of 'contemporary' music (not classical), but how do I better understand music reviews and explain what I hear to my friends and peers ? [more inside]
posted by fizzix on Jan 23, 2009 - 11 answers

Fun Ear Training Activities?

Looking for tons of fun and challenging activities/drills/games for high school music theory and ear-training. [more inside]
posted by Alabaster on Dec 6, 2008 - 3 answers

Convert my thoughts to music.

My husband and I are working on a project together, and this part is much more his forte than mine. We're writing a song to represent each novel of the Dark Tower by Stephen King, one of my all-time favorite series. But we're quickly becoming frustrated with each other, because, simply put, I cannot wrap the creating music part of this around my head. [more inside]
posted by mitzyjalapeno on Aug 17, 2008 - 11 answers

E-F B-C, why no semitone?

I was asked the other day why there are no semitones between e-f and b-c. My answer was that it had to do with the frequencies of the notes but i'd like to be able to give a more in-depth answer as this doesn't really cover it.
posted by chelegonian on Aug 14, 2008 - 16 answers

Good beginning piano books for kids?

I'd like to start introducing my almost 6-year-old to the piano. What are some good books or new techniques that are designed to teach young children how to play the piano, basics on music theory, etc.?
posted by adverb on Jun 2, 2008 - 13 answers

Would it work to RE-learn Piano AND learn Violin?

Given that I have a somewhat substantial history playing the piano, how difficult would it be to take up lessons for the piano again after years out of practice AND start, for the first time, lessons on the Violin? How beneficial would such "cross training" be? How difficult would it be to find a teacher who could guide me on such a hybrid path? Other Thoughts? [more inside]
posted by DetonatedManiac on Apr 8, 2008 - 5 answers

Have ears, have brain, willing to learn.

Where can I learn about music history and music theory for free? [more inside]
posted by Chris4d on Jan 16, 2008 - 25 answers

Aural Skills

Where can I find non-commercial online resources for Aural Training? [more inside]
posted by occidental on Dec 13, 2007 - 4 answers

So, a keyboard is like a metaphor for...21 guitars?

How can a keyboard represent a guitar?! [more inside]
posted by evariste on Nov 22, 2007 - 25 answers

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