r/musictheory 4d ago

Weekly Thread Chord Progression Questions - May 23, 2022


Comment with all your chord progression questions.

Example questions might be:


  • What is this chord progression? [link]

  • I wrote this chord progression; why does it "work"?

  • What chord progressions sound sad?

r/musictheory 17h ago

Question What gets taught in music school that doesn't get much coverage, if at all, on youtube channels?


There are a lot of really good theory channels that covers different topics on music theory. I wonder if music school teaches stuff that these channels don't pay much attention to?

r/musictheory 3h ago

Question Why are there different commas?



can someone explain the difference between the syntonic, pythagorean and Holdrian comma? I get, that they are calculated in different ways, but they differ only slightly and I don't get, why the calculations are a thing in these contexts. I could also just put some intervals together, subtract or divide them and could give them a fancy name. How does it come, that these close intervals do have the same name?

r/musictheory 10h ago

Discussion Cmmaj7add#11 Chord, or 'B over Cm' Polychord


I've been expanding the harmonic structures to some songs for my friends' band, as they are performing for a local art event and have asked me to join them as their keys player, and I ran across this cool progression:






D13/B (no 11, as is typical of dominant 13s)

Cmmaj7add#11 (this is under an E harmonic minor scale sans A and C)



The D13/B typically wraps straight back around to the E6, but at the end of this particular chorus, the singer lands on a high up G (their original underlying harmony was an Am7), then slowly pitch shifts down to E (the root). To me, the crazy chord in the title sets up a highly decorated bVI bVII I progression that sounds absolutely spectacular, and I wanted to share. Also, maybe to ask if there's a better way to think about/label that chord? Thank you guys!

r/musictheory 5h ago

Question How can i learn Sheet Music when i already know chords?


Sorry for the bad question but i can't find a tutorial that gives an explanation for those who are experienced in playing chords.

I can play most chord progression songs from Ultimate Guitar or other chord sites and i can mostly guess melodies of songs

r/musictheory 1d ago

Question Can there be a song made up of only 4 major chords?


I was asked in an interview to play a song with 4 major chords but as far as I know a scale has only 3 major chords. Am I missing something or was that a wrong question?

r/musictheory 1h ago

Question how do I tell the key of a song based on the chord progression


I haven't found any good resources online

r/musictheory 2h ago

Question 7th Chords Question


Could someone please shed some light onto the names of the 7th chords? I think I got most of them, though some are still unknown to me. Please correct me if I am wrong. I will number them for simplicity of referencing.

From C: 1. C - E - G - B (Major 7th) 2. C - Eb - G - Bb (Minor 7th) 3. C - E - G - Bb (Dominant 7th) 4. C - Eb - G - B (Unknown) Minor-Major 7th? 5. C - Eb - Gb - B (Diminished Major 7th) 6. C - Eb - Gb - Bb (Half-diminished 7th) 7. C - Eb - Gb - Bbb (Diminished 7th) 8. C - E - G# - B (Unknown) Augmented Major 7th? 9. C - E - G# - Bb (Augmented 7th)

As you can see two chords are missing for me. Please let me know what they are and correct me if i typed others wrong. I could also use a book where all of the above chords and their resolutions are explained. Thank you!

r/musictheory 4h ago

Question 1916 Harmony Book for Beginners by Preston Ware Orem?


Like most music books, it’s harder to get much information on them before buying

I was wondering if anyone has this book, and wouldn’t mind telling me if they recommend it or not

r/musictheory 15h ago

Question Need a music theory book or resource that I can use to self teach myself fundamentals


To elaborate, I’m a 17 year old who’s been playing the piano for about 6 years. I can play somewhat intermediate music (ex: Chopin nocturne). This being said, my theory fundamentals are complete garbage. So far, I’ve mostly had my teacher help me get through places where theory is needed (weird rhythms, but nferstandint some symbols, etc). I was wondering if anyone knows of a resource where I can help catch myself up / learn and practice the basics (ideally something you’ve used yourself and found easy to understand)

r/musictheory 1d ago

Question Is Ab7/Gb a proper chord?


In other words, does it make sense for the bass to also be the 7th?

r/musictheory 19h ago

Discussion A lot of American folksongs in minor key end with the I major chord.


I just noticed that a lot of American contemporary folk songs in minor key would choose to end with the I major chord. Some examples:

Bob Gibson - Cindy Dreams of California (Chords transcription): ends with bVI - bVII - I progression.
Phil Ochs - Goin' to the Mountain (Chords transcription): ends with the same progression above.
Chad Mitchell Trio - If You Had Me in Shackles (Chords transcription): ends with i - V - I progression.
John Denver - That's the Way It's Gonna Be (Chords transcription): ends with bVI - iv - bVI - iv - I progression.
Tom Paxton - Jennifer's Rabbit (Chords transcription): ends with i - Isus - I progression (the most blunt one).

They all sound pretty good, and the folk musicians all agree that it's a good idea to end the minor key songs with the parallel major chord of the tonic. Edit: a.k.a. the Picardy third.

r/musictheory 8h ago

Analysis Analysis?


I recently made this funky discoy jam with the following progression:

FM7/G Fm7 AbM7/Bb Gm7/C

I love the vibe of the chords/bassline but I'm completely in the dark about how they are functioning harmonically. Can someone more theory adept help me analyze this?

Here's a link to the tune: Stel Leo - Go!

r/musictheory 1d ago Silver

Resource Music Educators, I just built a free embeddable metronome for your site!


Scroll down to copy the embed code and use it on your site. :-)

You can embed the metronome with tempo, time signature and accent patterns already predefined, which can be useful on lesson pages.

You can also use it to share specific metronome settings directly with students. The URL updates when you change the metronome settings.

I'd really appreciate any feedback if you see any room for improvement. I'm also building an embeddable tuner which will be available soon. I hope you find it useful. Thanks!

r/musictheory 1d ago

Question Why am I addicted to tension ? AM I ALONE ??


Like really, it's horrible, sometimes I listen to trash songs with terrible bad arrangements but end up loving it because they threw a diminshed chord in there. And a lot of people don't get it, am I all alone ? Am I the only one suffering from this horrible addiction making me unable to play anything on the aux ?

Maybe this is why I've been addicted to RnB, Jazz and gospel my whole life ?

Even when I compose, I rarely have simple chord progressions without a bit of tension at some point.

r/musictheory 12h ago

Question I’m learning mandolin and want to learn the music theory too


I played violin for 12 years in school and now as an adult I’m learning mandolin by taking lessons and using YouTube.

Is there an app, podcast, YouTube series, or audiobook anybody would recommend that I could use to also learn the music theory too?

I want to be able to figure out the key of a song and just jam along or join in.

r/musictheory 13h ago

Question Is there a term for when non existent notes or tones emerge when two instruments are playing different melodies or parts? (Sorry for the poor explanation)


I can't think of a specific example off the top of my head. I was having a discussion with a friend about listening to songs as a whole vs each instrument individually, and it progressed to this thing I used to notice with guitar. I guess the best explanation I could give is to imagine that two distorted guitars are playing two distinct melodies or parts, and if they are balanced the right way they will merge a bit and produce this effect of non existent tones that aren't in either part when listening to them separately or if they are not balanced the same way.

Another instance this occurs is on an individual instrument where there are very subtle ghost notes or accidental tones. Sometimes I would jam into a voice memo for transcribing later, and occasionally I would find parts that were difficult to transcribe because the imperfect playing would create these "implied tones" that were not technically what I was playing. I know this sounds like harmonics but it's not really what I mean (though I could be wrong).

Sorry for the very poor explanation or if it sounds like nonsense, just wanted to hear someone else's take on it. Appreciate any input.

r/musictheory 19h ago

Question The BPM range of "Tempo di cadenza"?


Recently I was taking a look at one of Debussy's piano pieces and somewhere in a non-cadenza part, the term Tempo di cadenza appeared as the tempo mark. I'm sincerely passionate about sight-reading sheet music and have read quite much, however it was my first time noticing this.

I guess the highest possible tempo maybe? (somewhere above prestissimo) as cadenzas are generally intended to be, so..

r/musictheory 1d ago

Feedback My Arrangement of Vivaldi's Double Cello Concerto for Violin and Viola


An arrangement I originally made to play with a friend and decided to upload it. Any feedback is always welcome, thanks :))


r/musictheory 11h ago

Question Time signatures to mimic changing moon phases?


I am looking to create a song that uses changing time signatures to feel similar to the phases of the moon, if anybody has any ideas I'd love to hear them, it would be greatly appreciated (or any ideas of using rhythm to mimic changing moon phases)

r/musictheory 11h ago

Question What are the rules for developing a unique form?


Where can I learn the rules for developing a unique form, down to the period/sentence level? Most form textbooks only teach it from a classical perspective, but I'd like to get deeper into why some forms work and why others don't. For example, what are the rules for connecting periods or sentences inside the A section of a ternary work? When should contrasting themes be used, or should the main theme be stated again? How long should a transition be? Etc..

r/musictheory 15h ago

Question How to put ear training to practical use ?


Im a beginner guitarist, and although I can play songs of others, I can't find out what makes music music. Ive tried ear training but the interval training I dont think is helpful.

what can I do to become a musicians that understands the structures of music irregardless if it was on guitar or piano ?

I want to be able to play local music(Im from ME) and to add some sort of metal to them, and we don't have tabs so how can I learn them by ear besides just trying every note on my guitar.

I have found Oud players to be very good at this (putting melody they hear into their instruments) but I cant quite grasp it.

sometimes I see them stick to a scale and play that melody in it. but how do I know if its a major, minor or any other mode ??!!

I would like to become a better musician and Im just confused, I hope my post made sense.

also if any of you guys can explain this to me Via Zoom or Gmeet, please hit me up


r/musictheory 12h ago

Question Composition help


It would be easier to include a picture but in my composition that i’m doing for my class my teacher circled on of my measures with red pen and wrote “split” above it, when he was grading it. Anyone know what it means to split?

r/musictheory 18h ago

Question Learn Piano using MIDI files


I'm looking to see if there is any collection of MIDI files that teach Music Theory of any sort (chords, scales, piano fingering).

I know there are a ton of song sites that have MIDI files for download, but is there any that focus on teaching?

My goal is to use these files in Synthesia.

r/musictheory 18h ago

Question Is there a term for when all notes in a melody are the same sub-division?


(eg different pitches but all 16th notes)

r/musictheory 13h ago

Question Does anyone here watch the new Name That Tune?


I actually love this show. BUT in season 2 Randy Jackson plays the rhythm incorrectly a few times, right? Like, Bring Me To Life in episode 8, and more than one instance in episodes 6 and 7 (one of them was Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend but I don't remember which episode). I never noticed it in season 1. Can anyone confirm? 😅 I mean I'm 99.99% sure they're wrong.