87 Answered Questions for the topic songwriting
Is it Acceptable to Build Chords on Accidental Notes in Classical Music?
I'm writing a clarinet solo with piano accompaniment in B minor. Is is normal to use a D minor chord (or just the first two notes) in classical music (specifically romantic)? I do have a regular... more
Why isn't there a classical composer like Beethoven, Chopin or Mozart today?
Why there aren't composers writing in a classical style today? Why don't we hear of classical composers today like we do of Beethoven, Chopin or Mozart? My question may be strange, but I am... more
is there a name in music when the melody changes the chord name or function?
I notice in some chords the melody actually starts on a note that is not in the chord itself. For example, a song in C major, the song might start on the C chord but the melody on the D (9th). Is... more
Piano Concertos: Why is Brahms 2 considered more mature than Rachmaninoff 3?
**I'm not completely satisfied with the answers so far, so more answers please! There's a nice bounty to be had!** These two titanic concertos are two of the most difficult often played concertos... more
What exactly is the difference between C Ionian and D Dorian?
Both modes have the same notes. But why do they sound different. How to approach while composing a song in a particular mode as opposed to a key. Is it the harmony or the pivoting root? I read few... more
What gives a piece of music its personality and feeling?
What makes a piece of music sound angry, dark, sad, happy, or otherwise? "La Chute" by Yann Tiersen sounds so angry to me and "A Dark Knight" from "The Dark Knight" movie sounds so dark and... more
Parallel Fifth in a Symphony Orchestral?
when writing for an orchestra can we use parallel fifth (Power Chord)? for example in game of thrones symphony for some part of string or another song for brass section because it is so powerful... more
Does a cadence cover all "punctuation marks" in a musical phrase?
If we compare it to English, then a cadence acts like a period. But what about other punctuation marks like commas, exclamation marks, questions marks, etc. Are they also called cadences?
Ritardando, Rallentando, and Allargando?
Three common musical markings for gradual slowing down are ritardando, rallentando, and allargando. How do these differ from each other in interpretation and execution? For example, I was taught... more
What is a Neapolitan 6th?
In studying music theory I have heard the term Neapolitan 6th quite a few times, but I'm not quite sure what it is. What is a Neapolitan 6th and how is it used in a composition?
What is the difference between harmony and consonance in music?
I am new to music theory and I was wondering what the difference is between harmony and consonance/dissonance. What are the reasons behind these terms and how can you apply it in practice if, for... more
What makes a Turkish March a Turkish March?
I can only find 2 pieces called Turkish March. There is the 5th movement of The Ruins of Athens by Beethoven. Then there is the infamous Rondo Alla Turka by Mozart. And when I search Turkish March... more
Is there a simple way to transpose a song from one key to another? What is the methodology?
What is a simple way to accomplish transposing a song from one key to another key? In other words if I am looking at a song written in the key of C and can't sing it in that key and I want to... more
Why did composers write atonally?
Can anyone tell me the best justifications for writing atonally by the composers who did so? Did anyone, including Schoenberg, explain what "freeing the dissonance" means? Does it imply that he... more
How to compose a Shout Chorus?
How do you compose a [Shout Chorus](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refrain#Shout_chorus)? I don´t know how to start and I need to compose one for Wine and Roses.
Understanding Time Signature: How do I identify the time signature of a song?
I have played music for years and I still don't understand what a time signature actually signifies. I understand it from a superficial sense. If given sheet music I could tell you what time... more
Accompanying a RH melody (improv/comp)?
Are there any interesting rhythms/patterns for accompanying the melody (because I can play those by ear), such as breaking chords or etc. For doing piano covers of pop music, I am able to play the... more
Is a chromatic mediant considered a modulation?
Say I go from a C major chord to an E major chord. I understand that this is a chromatic mediant. Does this change my key from C to E though? said differently, does non-functional harmony change... more
What is a parallel mode?
What is a parallel mode? How are the parallel modes used in composition and/or improvisation?
What are the methods used while writing pop music that make it so recognizably pop?
I used to think that it's the four chord structure. But in reality many genres have four chord songs (e.g. Rock and Country) and pop isn't always limited to four chords (e.g. 2U). I used to think... more
Notating Augmented Chords?
When writing an Augmented chord, which inversion of the chord should I use? The problem came up while I was composing (piano). I came to an augmented chord and couldn't think of which version to... more
Is it possible to write a song without a key?
"This song is in F Major", "That song is in A Minor", "This song is in D Minor, but modulates to F Major in the middle", etc. Can we say "This song has no key"? Are there songs that have/follow no... more
Why aren't songs with 11 beats 13 beats, common?
I wonder why haven't I heard songs that have 13 beats or 11 beats (or may be 17 beats or other complex number) per measure. Are there any songs like that and why don't people and music directors... more
How can you tell the chords of a piece of music if you can only hear bass and melody?
How can you tell the chords of a piece of music if you can only hear bass and melody? There are a lot of possibility that it can be more than a single chord..Also, would be better like this.. To... more