Talk:Music theory/Archive 2

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Something this article is coming up against is the nature of naming. We call elementary classes on harmony, counterpoint, and ear training Music Theory; this is also the name of a discipline in which people earn advanced degrees, and write books and dissertations. I don't see much of the latter end represented in this article. There could be an extended entry on Schenkerian analysis, music cognition, meter, rhythm, phenomenology, sonata theory/principle, narrative analysis/theory, neo-riemannian theory, etc. Musicology doesn't really have this problem - one's first undergraduate encounters with musicology come under the guise of "music history." Just a thought.

This article contains a list of music theory topics. It seems to me that this unecessarily duplicates List of musical topics. Does anyone see a reason for two seperate lists? Otherwise I will get rid of this, which may decimate this article.Hyacinth

Ok, I started to rewrite this article, as I said on Talk:List of musical topics#Music theory topics. It's not done -- more of a sketch, really -- but I think it's better than the big list that was there before. I didn't include everything that was on that list; most of what I left out is included below. Some, of it should probably go back in, but other things are explained elsewhere and aren't really relevant. I also changed the intro definition; it basically said, "music theory is theory about music and it can be simple or complicated", which doesn't really explain anything. -- Merphant 01:11, 31 Oct 2003 (UTC)


I'd like to help out here. Until I find out where I'd be most useful, I can take requests for making Lilypond or Sibelius notation graphics for illustrating chords, scales, arpeggios, inversions, whatever. Just ask me. --Phil Kirlin 23:05, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

There is (integrated) support for lilypond at Musicians Wiki. More info on how to use it here: --Emiel

I couldn't get to work. --Jordan

-Secounded Also unable to get it to work -- Kevin


The following sentence was just added to the intro:

In the Western tradition, the study of music theory stems from a belief that the acts of composing, performing, and listening to music are all based on traditions that may be explicated to a high degree of detail (this, as opposed to a conception of musical expression as fundamentally ineffable except in musical sounds).

Why only in Western music? Anyway, this assumption about the "beliefs" of music theorists isn't really justified. To be sure, musical skills are taught and passed down (in every culture), but that doesn't mean that every aspect of composing or performing is rule-based. Rules come afterwards. Mozart didn't know what Roman numerals he was writing. And does this sentence add anything to the reader's understanding? It seems more like a disclaimer. Does the existence of a dictionary imply a belief that the act of verbal communication is based on traditions that may be explicated to a high degree of detail, as opposed to a conception of communication which is more organic? —Wahoofive (talk) 17:31, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Western music is the default music to study in music theory. This is in part due to the fact that most music theory relies on Western notation; most schools and professors of music theory teach Western almost if not completely exclusively; and Western music greatly dominates the written music scene. Of course, there is non-Western music theory, but because that is non-traditional, it is usually labeled with the specific tradition to be studied, e.g., Chinese Classical music theory, Indonesian Gamelan music theory, Indian sittar music theory, etc. Anyway, I changed the intro for the sake of clarification. Jordan 18:40, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

Jazz theory

I'm interested in expanding the coverage of jazz theory on Wikipedia--most of the music theory pages seem to be pretty specific to classical theory. Would it be better to add a section on jazz to various sections of existing music theory pages, or should we create separate jazz theory pages for each topic? And should there be a separate "top level" jazz theory page? --Rictus 7 July 2005 18:49 (UTC)

You would probably be more in the know about jazz theory than I, but I think it's extensive enough to warrant its own article. Perhaps a heading could be added quite high up in Music theory like
==Jazz Theory== Jazz music has its own blahblahblah. Blah blah blah. See [[jazz theory]] for main article.
--bleh fu talk fu July 7, 2005 19:23 (UTC)
I've started working on a jazz theory page in my own sandbox. When it's in decent shape I'll link it from this article as you suggest.--Rictus 8 July 2005 05:43 (UTC)

I'd like to work a bit on a jazz theory page as well. I'll focus on spelling chords and on which scales correspond to those chords. Jordan 17:23, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

Maybe there could a page just for Jazz Theory... —Preceding unsigned comment added by Karljoos (talkcontribs) 01:16, 23 December 2008 (UTC)

I'm in

I'm just getting acclimated to Wikipedia, but am willing to contribute to this topic. I have a MM in Music Theory from Northwestern Univ. After I have read through all of these comments a few times and absorbed them, I'll get back.

Welcome! Keep in mind that the comments above go back years, and may refer to things that have totally changed since then.—Wahoofive (talk) 23:06, 28 July 2005 (UTC)
I'm fairly new to Wikipedia as well but I was thinking that perhaps we should explore creating a WikiProject so that we can organize what we want to do with the music theory page. It seems to me that we should be trying to create a network of articles in a hierarchical structure, starting with music theory at the top, breaking down into the various types (western theory, Asian theory, notation, etc.). I plan on doing some work on this page and if anybody is interested in organizing to do this work, please leave some feedback here or on my talk page. I'm a music major, though I haven't got a degree yet.--David R Wright 02:08, 6 August 2005 (UTC)
Might want to make it part of Wikipedia:WikiProject Music, although admittedly that's pretty out of date itself. —Wahoofive (talk) 05:19, 6 August 2005 (UTC)
Great. I think that we should go ahead and get some work done before we consider making a WikiProject out of this, and then we should join the Music WikiProject only after we've done some work in the name of the WikiProject Music Theory. I have left my e-mail address on your talk page because I would like to discuss plans with you regarding this project. Please delete it from your talk page after you've e-mailed me. If you don't, I will. Cheers! --David R Wright 06:07, 6 August 2005 (UTC)

music theory master page

There needs to be an index page outlining all the music theory-related pages on wikipedia.

Or perhaps that should appear at the top of this article ...? Tony 01:12, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

Actually this IS the index page, unless you mean just a list. See Category:Music theoryWahoofive (talk) 00:57, 13 September 2005 (UTC)

why is my exernal link removed?

I added a link to my page ( [Musicians WIki ) but it is removed with a message "link spam".
Is it not allowed to place a link? If yes, why the other links are not removed?

The purpose of external links is not to promote other websites, but to provide places for Wikipedia readers to go to for more information. So, far, your site doesn't contain any information any deeper than what Wikipedia already provides in its own articles. I'll provide a link to the relevant policy shortly. —Wahoofive (talk) 00:56, 13 September 2005 (UTC)
Ok I understand, I will ad the link when the site contains more info.
Wikipedia:External links actually discourages anyone from adding a link to their own site, on the theory that if it's notable enough to be in an encyclopedia, enough others will know about it to add it. —Wahoofive (talk) 18:09, 13 September 2005 (UTC)

Nonencyclopedic tone material moved here

Four part writing is the primary method used to grasp and manipulate most of the work involved in Music Theory. There are four voices represented on the staff, using both the Treble and Bass Clefs. The soprano and alto voices reside on the treble clef, while the tenor and bass voices are placed on the bass clef. All the notes in four part writing are based on chords, as well as the relationship between chords. Using a C major triad chord, which has no accidentals in the key signature, one uses the notes C,E, and G. However, four notes have to be represented, hence it being called four part writing. In its most basic form, the bass note must be doubled in no particular spot, whether it be in the tenor, alto, or soprano, once it is written in the bass. We tell what chord it is by looking at the bass note. With the C major triad example, a C is written on the bass clef, and must be duplicated somewhere else. Many rules are used to govern where to place the rest of these notes, and we use them to keep the piece following a certain pattern or guideline. For instance, the tenor note cannot be higher than the bass in one chord, and after switching to another chord be lower than where the bass note currently is. This is called overlapping or crossover. Another thing to avoid between chords is parallel fifths and octaves. These intervals are fine by themselves, but when used with parallel motion in two adjacent chords is unacceptable. Usually two notes written anywhere on the staff cannot be more than an octave apart, except when it comes to the bass and tenor notes. Overall, there are many uses for four part writing, but in terms of basics, it is a tool used to construct musical pieces, as well as to learn the fundamentals of the "theory" behind music theory. Furthermore: four part writting is a crucial part of Orchestration.

  • The above material seemed thoroughly non-encyclopedic so I substituted a short section referencing Fux. Ben Kidwell 06:14, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

sentence on dissonance

"Consonance can be roughly defined as harmonies whose tones complement and augment each others' resonance, dissonance as those which create more complex acoustical interactions (called 'beats')."

I have issues with what the sentence says about dissonance. The two definitions don't quite parallel each other. Moreover, I worry that defining dissonance with beats is an overly narrow definition, and not necessarily an accurate definition across the variety of musical styles, traditions and cultures.

I don't feel qualified to make the appropriate change but whoever's reading this please try to revise that sentence. Or cite a reputable source if you feel the current definition is strongly justified. 18:57, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

I'm new to Wiki and a bit timid to change an entry, but I agree that the bit on dissonance is lacking. Also, the bit on consonance is lacking. Consonance refers to harmonies that sound resolved or stable. Dissonance refers to harmonies that sound unresolved or unstable. What sounds resolved or unresolved depends on the musical context. For example, in jazz music, a chord that contains five different tones might sound consonant, whereas that same chord in classical music might sound dissonant. -Jordan

I strongly disagree with both of these positions. There is a clear difference between theoretical dissonance, and the subjective sense of instability or disorientation. One belongs in an encyclopedia article -- the other does not. Technically speaking, harmonic dissonance is the presence of beat patterns (sideband frequencies) created when two non-consonant notes interact with each other. These side-band frequencies can be detected, visually plotted, and measured easily, and there's nothing subjective about them.
Another source of musical tension, subjective disorientation, is not the same thing as harmonic dissonance, and can simply arise out of unfamiliarity with a particular style of music, or a variety of other factors. It does not belong in an encyclopedia article on music theory, except to provide a clear distinction from harmonic dissonance, so as to avoid the type of confusion experienced by and Jordan. Dilvie 21:53, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

I disagree with Dilvie. Whether or not the term "dissonance" refers to subjective perception of disorientation, people commonly think of it as such. The truth is that the common usage of language gives words meaning, not the definition, and as such, words have multiple meanings depending on who you ask and when you ask it. Dissonance means what people use it to mean. In my experience, people use it to describe subjective discord. Language evolves like that. Besides, one cannot discredit the subjective nature of music. Otherwise, this article would only be able to relate the physical properties of how frequecies interact. Granted, I think referencing an article on the physics of phase cancelation (which is central to harmonic dissonance) would be a valuable addition. Still, when I was a music student, my professor defined music as "desired noise." As such, subjectivity is central in distinguishing music from mere sound. "Subjective dissonance" is the driving force of many musical systems. This is especially true for Western music, and is typified in the "ii-V7-I" progression. With that said, I agree the above definition of dissonance is vague, and it should be clarified so that common readers... those uneducated in music... can understand and learn from it. Wikipedia should be, first and foremost, a learning tool. -Travis, aka guitarlesson

I see your point, but more often than not, attempts to define dissonance in subjective terms in music theory texts have obscured the fact that harmonic dissonance is an objectively observable phenomenon that is audible in the form of beating, and clearly visible on a time-domain plot of the soundwave. That is the primary meaning of musical dissonance, and subjective disorientation is often caused by actual harmonic dissonance, or musical situations that suggest harmonic dissonance, such as melodic dissonance (When notes that are dissonant in relation to each other are played sequentially). Any attempt to define dissonance as subjective should not obscure the fact that harmonic dissonance is objective. I wouldn't be such a stickler about it, but this is a common blunder in music theory texts - many of which do not even hint that beating is objectively observable. There's a difference between adhering to popular convention and spreading misinformation. Dilvie 20:04, 23 December 2006 (UTC)

critique: paragraph on timbre

"Every object has a resonant frequency which is determined by the object's composition. The different frequencies at which the sound producers of many instruments vibrate are given by the harmonic series. The resonators of musical instruments are designed to exploit these frequencies. Different instruments have different timbres because of variation in the size and shape of the instrument."

I'm not too happy with this paragraph. The first sentence is inaccurate and misleading, except maybe when applied to a tuning fork. As mentioned on the wikipedia article for "resonance", most objects have more than one resonance frequency, which is the main reason why you get any appreciable timbre difference at all (ie. why instruments don't all sound like tuning forks). Secondable, the phrase "determined by the object's composition" is very likely to mislead the reader into thinking that the resonant frequencies of the instrument are fixed and unchangeable, which is of course false for any instruments that are capable of sounding equally well in more than one pitch. The whole point of playing an instrument is to manipulate it physically so that the resonant frequencies change (ie. shortening the column of air being vibrated in a reed or pipe instrument), and the word "composition" does not adequately convey this.

The second sentence is roughly correct but not entirely accurate. Inharmonicity, the deviation of the harmonic frequencies from the harmonic series, is quite common in many instruments. (If I recall, the piano at the bass range is one such case.) Some instruments like bells have clearly two distinguishable pitches. And percussion instruments are highly inharmonic.

The last sentence is incomplete: size and shape are part of it, but so is the means of sound production (ie. plucking the violin string vs. bowing), the materials involved, and more. If anything, size is not really a big factor in timbre differentiation: the size of a violin and a cello are very different, and thus their pitch range is quite different, yet they have far more similar timbre as compared to, say, a violin and a trumpet, whose size are far more similar.

By the way, the section on timbre is completely missing. This also means there is not a mentioning of important musical concepts like orchestration.

Again, I am probably not the best person to introduce the serious editing required for this, but please take these comments into consideration. And given that there are so many excellent articles in Wikipedia for the individual concepts relating to timbre etc., I think the whole paragraph should be simplified to be less technical and physics-oriented anyway.

Star Wars

A sentence in the ear-training section formerly read: "For example, the Perfect Fifth interval will sound like the beginning to the Star Wars theme". However, the interval at the very beginning of the Star Wars theme is actually a perfect fourth, so I more accurately referenced "twinkle twinkle little star" instead of Star Wars. DA723 18:57, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

You must be thinking of the theme to Star Trek. The Star Wars theme certainly does start with a fifth. —Wahoofive (talk) 04:40, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
I did mean Star Wars, but I was referring to the interval between the triplets, D above middle C, (that are a pickup to the real first measure of the theme) and the downbeat, G above middle C. While I agree that the next interval after this one is a fifth, I think that the interval people think of as the very opening to Star Wars is the fourth between the pickup and the downbeat. (See this link for clarification: Anyway, I think using Tiwnkle Twinkle as the example solves the problem because it is undebateable, and probably more well-known than the Star Wars theme anyway.


Star Wars absolutely does not start with a P5. The scale degrees in the beginning of Star Wars are 5-1-5... The interval from 5 to 1 is a P4. The next interval is a P5. Twinkle Twinkle is a much better example to use.

And by the way, the opening interval to Star Trek is a m7. It starts on scale degree 5 and jumps up to 4. 17:53, 20 April 2006 (UTC)

Please Wikipedia:Sign your posts on talk pages. Thanks. Hyacinth 08:46, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

I agree with DA723. In my mind, the rebel theme in Star Wars begins at the pickup, and as such, begins with a P4. From the downbeat, however, it is a P5. In light of this ambiguity, twinkle twinkle little star is a better choice. - Travis, aka guitarlesson

Savage breast

It's "savage breast". See William Congreve (playwright). Somebody else please revert the misquotation so I don't get busted for 3RR. —Wahoofive (talk) 18:59, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

nothing on texture?

This article is missing a discussion on texture, which is a vital component of music and of music theory. Again, I'm new to Wiki and not comfortable enough to add an entry, but if I were to add one, I'd say texture refers to the integrated effect of melody and harmony.

Different types of texture include polyphony (many different musical lines sounding simultaneously), diaphony (melody + drone), heterophony (where musicians play similar but not same version of a melody simultaneously), monophony (a single line sound). I would also discuss "thin" and "thick" textures, where "thin" typically refers to sections of music with: (a) few pitches, and/or (b) music with relatively few instruments or voices sounding simultaneously, and/or (c) music with pitches far distant from each other; and "thick" typically refers to sections of music with: (a) many different pitches, and/or (b) music with relatively many instruments or voices sounding simultaneously, and/or (c) with pitches far closer to each other. If anyone is braver than I, have at it. -Jordan

I added a paragraph with bits from the texture (music) article. I left out thick and thin. Hyacinth 11:32, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Loose end

This sentence needs to be removed or explained—why are they 'hot topics' and what are these topics?

In recent years, rhythm and meter have become hot topics among music scholars. Recent work in these areas includes books by Fred Lerdahl and Ray Jackendoff, Jonathan Kramer, Christopher Hasty, William Rothstein, and Joel Lester.

It would be more logical to use 'Temporal aspects' than rhythm as the subtitle, since metre is not, strictly speaking, rhythm. Periodicity could be treated under that heading as well. Tony 01:18, 15 May 2006 (UTC)


I don't like this sentence, in the lead:

Music theory may include any statement, belief, or conception of music (Boretz, 1995).

Statement of music? Belief of music? It's all too vague anyway, so why say it at all; does it really require a reference? Tony 01:21, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

A statement is declaration, remark, or assertion. A belief is an acceptance of truth or conviction. What is vague about that? Hyacinth 03:31, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
Agree with Hyacinth. I think it might require a reference, as other people define it differently. I personally disagree with this statement, but it is not vague. If you play a 4/4 pattern with a rest on beat 4 and someone believes it's a beat in 3, that hardly makes for music theory. At least not the kind that some people go to school for 8 years to learn.--Josh Rocchio 17:11, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

Recent deletions

I noticed that Lprcycle (talkcontribs) recently deleted content without explanations; I reinstated it, since it all seemed relevant. Have I missed some discussion about this that hasn't taken place here? --RobertGtalk 15:49, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Ear Training

I added "Aural Skills" to the "Ear Training" heading. It is a more academic term. I opted not to delete "Ear Training" since it is also acceptable.Adam N 22:57, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

I disagree that either is a more "academic" term. My school called the class "ear training", others call it aural skills, they are both the same thing. I changed the heading back because it looked sloppy to me, but changed the first sentence to include both of the terms. Mak (talk) 05:21, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
Yes, ear training. Or more specifically pitch training (even more raltive and perfect pitch training).--Josh Rocchio 17:07, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

Actually, Adam was correct. Ear training is only one component of aural skills, so the topic should be called aural skills, sucka! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:53, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

The Ear training page is called just that. A heading on this page about that topic should retain the name of its main page. Binksternet (talk) 13:41, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

I would like to suggest that Aural Skilla (ear training etc) be given it's own heading as it is a seperate field of study to Music Theory. If you need clarification on what is included in Music theory you should check out either the AMEB or Royal College sylabus for music theory. - Luke —Preceding unsigned comment added by Zzlgrant (talkcontribs) 01:44, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

External Link To Google Groups

I added an external link to Usenet newsgroup on Google Groups ( I added it because I think that it can be a very beneficial resource for article readers who have further questions about music theory. If someone has a question, they can post it and someone knowledgeable will answer it. I, myself, have asked numerous questions over the years on and someone has helped me every time. So I'm sure others will benefit from it.

If anyone has a problem with it, I won't be offended if it is removed. I know Wikipedia is trying to prevent the wiki from becoming a repository for external links. Howevever, no article can be all-encompassing. If an external link is helpful and informative, I can't say that I see a problem with it, particularly if it is non-commercial. Monkeybreath 05:34, 4 August 2006 (UTC)


"Sight-singing — the ability to sing unfamiliar music without assistance"—What, without a zimmerframe? This needs to be reworded, possibly in combination with "sight-reading". Tony 07:13, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

Tony, you were able to restate my previous edit to make a lot more readable... do you have any ideas on how to say this better? I wanted to include that fact that aural skills classes generally include ear training and sight-singing, and that sight-singing is more than just sight-reading: it's vocalizing while sight-reading, in order to train students to be able to know what a musical passage should sound like without actually hearing it. --TobyRush 05:50, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Suggestion for Reorganization

I have been meaning for a while to suggest a reorganization for this page. It feels to me to be somewhat meandering through several topics, each of which should (and probably does) have it's own article anyway.

The page suffers, I think, from the same misunderstanding most non-theorists have: that everything taught in a college Music Theory course can be combined into one big discipline labelled "Music Theory." That is, however, untrue: Ear Training, for example, is not Music Theory... it is only considered as such because the Music Theory faculty are invariably the ones to teach it (often in a single class combined with theory).

I'd like to suggest a reorganization of this page to better illustrate this. Part of this may be better achieved by splitting the page into several. Here is what I'm thinking:

Fundamentals of Music

  • Pitch
  • Rhythm
  • Music Notation
  • Acoustics
  • Melody
  • Harmony
  • Form

Composition and Analysis

  • Common Practice Period Theory
    • Four-Part Writing
    • Roman Numeral Analysis
    • Melody
    • Form
    • Layer Analysis
  • Counterpoint
    • Sixteenth-Century Counterpoint
    • Species Counterpoint
  • Twentieth-Century Theory
    • Compositional Techniques
    • Set Theory
    • Jazz/Popular Theory
  • Compositional Techniques
    • Motivic Development
    • Instrumentation
    • Orchestration

Aural Skills

  • Ear Training
    • Interval & Chord Recognition
    • Dictation & Transcription
  • Sight-Singing
    • Audiation
    • Sight-Reading

Having a page called "Music Theory" is something of a challenge: should the page be about actual music theory (composition and analysis). or should it be about the curriculum of a usual Music Theory course (including information about fundamentals and aural skills)?

I am curious about what you all think of this. As a theory professor, I would love to see this become a much more robust and well-organized page. --Toby Rush ‹ | › 06:14, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

I really like this idea- although I would change around the Composition/Analysis section so it was in chronological order, starting with organum, moving to species, then CPP, then 20th, then jazz/popularAnderfreude 19:58, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
Okay, I have started a draft with the new organization here. So far I've just copied the existing sections into corresponding sections in your structure. There are many empty sections, and perhaps some topics which are too esoteric, or should be combined. Plenty of room for expansion and editing. —Wahoofive (talk) 19:08, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Fixed "notation" section discrepancy

I changed the wording of the notation section since it was backwards. Pitches are represented on the VERTICAL (up/down) axis and time progresses along the HORIZONTAL (left/right) axis. Hope nobody minds but it seemed to be backwards.! 04:31, 22 November 2006 (UTC)BB

Musicians Wiki is growing reasonably good at the moment, so I would like to make a request to all musicians here to take a look and maybe write a article/lesson. I still think that a separate wiki is better the just the articles here at wikipedia. The info here is not so well ordered as on musicianswiki. ;) -- Emiel[[1]]

Musicians Wiki seems to only have page after page of bot-generated links. I'd be happy to see how I might contribute there (in terms of articles and/or lessons), but I didn't find anything "wiki-like" there. Will check back. 20:23, 20 January 2007 (UTC) Kimberly G James

Music theorist

I found it odd that music theorist not only does't have its own article, but that it wasn't mentioned in the music theory article. While it seems obvious that one who does music theory would be a music theorist, it should be mentioned. I took the liberty of introducing it into the introduction. However, I have two thoughts: 1) Whether music theorist should get its own article, instead of just redirecting to theory, and 2) how to do so without reinforcing traditional divisions between music theorists and musicologists. Anderfreude 17:52, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Technically speaking, music theory is a branch of musicology, although many people use the word "musicology" to mean only "music history". I'm not clear why we need a separate page, or even section, about music theorists, however. I can imagine a section devoted to "historical development of music theory" which might mention various important theorists. —Wahoofive (talk) 18:50, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
I doubt the primacy of either music history or music theory to one another- we have music theorists since Ancient Greece, while musicology itself has only been around in its current state of affairs for a little more than a century. After all, people from Pythagoras to Guido of Arezzo to Rameau to Hauptmann to David Lewin have been theorists first, historians second. Music theory and musicology are indeed intertwined disciplines, and most musicologists would consider themselves to be music theorists and vice versa. But someone who is approaching a topic from a music theoretical standpoint would be doing so from a different standpoint than a musicological one, and be coming from a different traditional background. And I believe the difference in approaches warrants a separate (though careful) article.Anderfreude 22:57, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Diatonic and chromatic

The article uses the term "diatonic" without adequate explanation. This term, along with "chromatic", is the cause of serious uncertainties at several other Wikipedia articles, and in the broader literature. Some of us thought that both terms needed special coverage, so we started up a new article: Diatonic and chromatic. Why not have a look, and join the discussion? Be ready to have comfortable assumptions challenged! – Noetica♬♩Talk 22:12, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Is this article still in need of clarification? Hyacinth 04:55, 13 June 2007 (UTC)


I think it should be mentioned that the term 'music theory' is a misnomer. There is no 'theory' as the word is commonly used. FatherTree 13:54, 23 May 2007 (UTC)

How is that? Hyacinth 04:53, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

Non western music

Is there any mention of the other musical scales and methods which are not western based.

The semi-tone scale and the whole different way especially Indian music is looked at? FatherTree 13:57, 23 May 2007 (UTC)
I don't know, are there in the article? Hyacinth 04:53, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
See musical notation. What's still wanting is an article on standard music notation; standard musical symbols seems to be attempting that job for now. Sparafucil 00:55, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
This whole article should be re-labeled as relating to western music only. IMHO —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:06, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

HELP INVERSIONS Please Help with Voicing Page

Trying to get a clearer understanding of inversions.

Please sign your posts on talk pages per Wikipedia:Sign your posts on talk pages. Thanks! Hyacinth 04:54, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

Help with Chord areas

Hi all. If anyone who knows something about Chord areas could expand that article, that would be great -- I couldn't find any really good explanations on the 'Net of what they are (althoguh the external links at the bottom of that page point to what little I could find).

-- TimNelson 10:31, 23 June 2007 (UTC)

I've never heard the term, but it seems to be connected to the German school of chord classification. That article should probably just redirect to Diatonic function, where those functions are explained. —Wahoofive (talk) 15:50, 23 June 2007 (UTC)

What's a third?

In the Harmony section, a 'third' is referenced a few times without defining what a third is. Nor is it clarified in any other section here. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:18, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

For example, "Three-note chords by thirds are called "triads"" - the obvious uninformed question is, what is a three-note chord by fourths (or halves, or fifths, etc) called? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:21, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

Lack of citations/Sources? (Note, I said sourceS PLURAL)

It appears that most of the info on this page is based out of one music theory textbook. Not to sound condescending, I actually like the majority of information presented on this wikipage on music theory, I just think there should be "back-checking" on a variety of statements, such as "In Western music, the pitches of a melody are typically created with respect to scales or modes." (Sec 1.1) because that statement alone sounds like an opinion straight out of a textbook author. Without confirmation from a second source we can't really confirm such a statement. Neil the Cellist 22:25, 9 October 2007 (UTC)


I think this page needs to have each part cleaned up. Several of the sections are large, unweildly, and could be confusing to a beginner in this topic. Constrastingly, several of the sections are far to small, and explain nothing about the topic above. I will attempt to work with areas that I feel I can help with the most. For instance, I will add a short paragraph to the Set Theory/12-Tone serialism section. However, seeing as I never deal with Musical Cognition or Semiotics, I will leave it blank. I hope this thought is helpful. I will try and clean up the beginning sections (Elements of Music), but I believe they need seperate articles, and less intensive discussion on this page.SteppAN 14:27, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

I rewrote the Harmony section. It is not exceptional, but more consise and in an overview form than the previous version. Upgrades to the current state are welcome, I will definately be changing it soon. SteppAN 21:41, 15 October 2007 (UTC)

Dominant seventh chord vs Major seventh chord

Changes have been made recently contradicting each other. diff diff Are there any references to back this up? DAMurphy 17:44, 15 October 2007 (UTC) The section is "correct" as is currently stands (the only option for improvment would be to write "major-major" for further clarity). This is so prevalant that you could source any theory textbook, however I do not know the specific rules on if sources are needed if the information is THAT common. Also, as a point of reference, the chord spelled there (C, E, G, B) could never function as a dominant, so removing dominant was the correct path. Personally, I want to rewrite the section, but that will take more time than I have at the moment. Hope this helps. SteppAN 20:41, 15 October 2007 (UTC)

Tonality v. Atonality

I removed this short section. It seemed to be out of place; it definately interrupted the flow of the brief overview of Theory itself. The old information still exists in historical versions of the page, but I couldn't find a good place in this article, or others, to insert it. Also, I think if this paragraph is reinserted (here or elsewhere) the statement about tonality should probably be accredited to Hindemith. I know it serves as a central point in his book "The Craft of Musical Composition," and that there are differing theories on the origins of tonality. I am not a music historian, so please correct me if I am wrong. SteppAN 20:55, 15 October 2007 (UTC)


I'm not sure of the place it has in formal music theory but is definitely a musical composition and performance technique. Some mention of it with a reference to the main article Dynamics (music) might be in order (crescendos, accents, fortissimo/piano, etc.). -Onceler 15:02, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

Chorale Section

The chorale section is a bit long for an overview article. Not that any information is bad; there is simply too much information. My suggestion: The second paragraph is at once too limited and too wide in scope. It gives the basic overview of Roman Numeral analysis (which, although strongly tied to chorale writing, it by no means is exclusive) then going off on a tangent using Shenkerian analysis, which (again) is not exclusive to chorale writing. The third paragraph is full of information, but does not seem to appropriately elaborate on the existing material for an overview. Perhaps a new article on chorale writing? Then we could have a section demonstrating the importance of chorales, a section giving the pedagogical uses of the chorale, and perhaps a simple theoretical demonstration of the procedure of chorale writing? This would help this section from being far longer than any other section. The first paragraph could also use some editing, however it serves as an (IMHO) overview without overstaying the reader's welcome.

SteppAN (talk) 21:44, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

One Source Tag Removal

As of today (5 Jun) I have removed the "One Source" tag. I have started the process of adding in sources, but this is a long process. If others could also at the minimum add the source in the Sources section, the process of making this article improve would go leaps and bounds... Thanks

SteppAN (talk) 17:10, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

External links

External links are generally discouraged. If any links are to be restored an editor should undoubtedly justify why the link is relevant and, more importantly, why the information at that link cannot be added to the article as content. aruffo (talk) 22:28, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

Middle C = 256 Hz

I removed a sentence that mentioned middle C was once set to 256 Hz. It was in the 'Pitch' section which already has a link to the main article Pitch (music), making it unnecessary to go into detail on this page regarding pitch history. Man, middle C had a LOT of values throughout history; why would we talk about only one alternate here? Binksternet (talk) 14:44, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for moving the ref, Bill. Binksternet (talk) 14:33, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
[Moved here from user talk page.] Please don't add the 256 Hz information to the Music theory article. As I've already said at Talk:Music_theory#Middle_C_.3D_256_Hz, the information is too much detail for that article. It's also pushing a point of view: middle C has had many different values over history--why would we mention only one of them? I would like to hear your reasoning for this very lopsided addition. Feel free to discuss the matter over at the music theory talk page. Binksternet (talk) 01:15, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
That particular information on C 256, does not exist in the main article. If you want to move it there, fine. Otherwise, stop trying to destroy the information. I object the idea that destruction of pertinent information is in any way good editing. The C 256 standard is unique in that it is the only time pitch was arbitrarily assigned for mathematical convenience (as octaves of 1 Hz, corresponding exactly with the standard scientific unit of time, the second). All other pitch standards (as far as I know) have been for aesthetic reasons. This information is pertinent and cited. Treat it right. Move it or leave it alone. -- Another Stickler (talk) 01:39, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
Look again: there is indeed a bit about 256 Hz over at the Pitch (music) article. I'm not destroying information, I'm keeping this article trim and clean so that readers can pick and choose where to go next for more detail.
By the way, every pitch standard can be seen as unique for one reason or another; historic reasons include aesthetic, convenience, the establishment of a position and the bending to circumstance. Your repeated introduction of this one pitch standard founded on purely mathematical reasons is beginning to look like a crusade to have it brought forward again into the public mind. Wikipedia is not the place for such a campaign. Binksternet (talk) 01:59, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes, there's "a bit" about C 256 in the Pitch (music), but it is explained and cited better here, and that should not be lost. Wikipedia is by design a repository for reliable information. The most important thing is that the information is brought into the body of wikipedia. Slightly subordinate to that is organization of the information into the proper categories. Articles sometimes split and merge and sometimes overlap. What we have here is a case of multiple articles being proper places for a particular datum. This article is supposed to give an overview of music theory, and point to other articles where appropriate. In my opinion, in this article, two examples are good to show that there are multiple pitch standards in music theory. Any larger list belongs in Pitch. Any shorter gives the impression that there is only one standard. If your opinion is that one example suffices, fine, I don't hold that opinion strongly enough to stop you from moving one of them to Pitch. I will stop you from destroying the information however. It should not be removed from the body of wikipedia simply because you have an opinion that it belongs elsewhere but are too lazy to move it. -- Another Stickler (talk) 08:25, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
As an editor who has chosen to keep an eye on the music theory article because of persistent vandalism, my only concern is to keep this article in fighting trim. I don't have the responsibility of replacing information that is inappropriately added here—I'm not breaking any Wikipedia editing rules by not acting further to save the deleted information.
You say it's "explained and cited better here" but here we only have one sentence and the cite is malformed in that it lacks the HTML ref tags in front of the URL followed by the /ref tag after. A better reference would be to a standard music theory textbook and a better place for further explanation of the would-be standard continues to be Pitch (music). Binksternet (talk) 12:57, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

<==I just realized that the Schiller Institute is involved with a campaign to change the standard pitch notation to A=430.54 Hz and C=256 Hz. Their petition can be found here. I am removing the C=256 bit for reasons of WP:NPOV: its inclusion violates the requirement for this article to remain neutral. Binksternet (talk) 14:19, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Fascinating! Thanks for pointing that out. Appropriate mention in Pitch (music) of various legislative attempts to rule the world of music would be nice, including some background motivation for the ISO "standard" 440, but I'm in no hurry here. __Just plain Bill (talk) 00:08, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
First, there's no POV in a statement of historical fact. There's no value judgement in giving two examples. You, Binksternet, are creating the POV straw man to try to mislead the discussion away from your own laziness and irresponsible editing. Deleting information that should be moved is bad editing, plain and simple, and yes, you are responsible for the changes you make. Second, there's nothing wrong with an inline link. If there were, the interface wouldn't support it. A link to full text is better than the title of a book with no quote and no page number, or no citation at all. And a third thing, which shows you don't understand the math of tuning: C 256 is not equivalent to A 430.54. In 12-tone equal temperament, the interval between middle C and middle A is the 3/4 root of 2, an irrational number, not expressible as a decimal fraction (it would continue forever without repeating). Windows' calculator estimates C 256 as producing A 430.53896460990184603193624383141 etc. If you're going to say 430.54, you have to say "approximately". Fourth, I was not aware of any petition to lower the Italian pitch standard to that of Verdi's day, but in my opinion, it's unnecessary, since groups already have the choice to use period tunings if they wish. Fifth, in conclusion, Binksternet, you're taking this too far. You need to stop damaging the Music theory article, move the information to the Pitch article, and let go of the straw man. -- Another Stickler (talk) 21:17, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
Ah, yes... my laziness and irresponsible editing. I've written 36 articles, added thousands of words of solid text and references to other people's articles, taken a handful to GA-Class, and I typically make between 500 and 1,200 edits per month. I think I have my laziness and irresponsibility well in hand. o_O
The straw man is yours. You say I'm destroying information but it has been and still is available at the correct page: Pitch (music). There simply is no need to have a not-very-widely-used tuning concept mentioned here in this very brief summary of pitch. Binksternet (talk) 07:24, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
I've stumbled over this and feel compelled to comment. Bink's observations about the non specialness of 256Hz settle the issue. That standard tuning has been drifting higher for some centuries has little to do with music theory (save perhaps to note this fact). And there is nothing musically special (mathematical elegance to the contrary notwithstanding) about 256Hz. An article on standard pitch (or concert pitch) might be well and would be the natural place for such a point as you seem to making. Do we have either? But not here. Bink's right, and the consensus (such as it is) is against you. Your next step, should you choose to take it, might be to appeal to other editors (at the Village Pump, perhaps) in an attempt to create a new consensus. At this point, the issue is essentially settled, in my view. ww (talk) 21:34, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
See "philosophical pitch" in Pitch_(music)#19th_and_20th_century_standards. __Just plain Bill (talk) 05:01, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

Prime time signatures

I believe some Balkan and North African music traditions, among others, use prime numbers in their time "signatures." and have done since beyond memory. My own personal feeling is that it gives the music an organic feel, rather than random, as stated in this change. Need to cite some source, of course. __Just plain Bill (talk) 16:21, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Indeed and not only Balkan and North African. The mathmatical ratios 3/2, 4/3, 5/4, 6/5, etc. excist in every tuning system except the Western 12 TET. Source:[2], please revert the sentence as mentioned in the article. Good consonant sound is caused by integer ratios. (talk) 16:10, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
That too, simple integer ratios for pitch intervals, but talking about time signatures here, in relation to this diff. The rhythmic pulse of by far the bulk of Western European art music may be counted in 2, 3 or 4, or some multiple of those. __Just plain Bill (talk) 20:08, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
Oh sorry, I read it with a wrong view. Perhaps, I don't know about the time signatures. It seems a pointless sentence. (talk) 07:54, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

External Links

Would it be possible to add under external links? This is a page dedicated to the best online music theory and analysis reference materials. Thanks. Ndifrancesco (talk) 11:37, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

As far as I can see that page is merely a container for links to other sites, some of them useful. The site itself requires registration, which doesn't bode well for wide-spread approval here. There are also too many advertisements. Michael Bednarek (talk) 13:36, 22 May 2009 (UTC)
If the reference materials are so good, use them here in the article. We don't need that link. Binksternet (talk) 15:39, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

Equal Temperament

'Bach participated in these controversies with his extensive exploration of the Well Tempered Clavier which demonstrated the inevitable musical difficulties which attend any but a choice of equal temperament tuning.'

Im not sure what this is intended to mean, I don't know whether its just me but I find the wording unclear. If its saying that the Well Tempered Clavier used an equal tempered tuning system this is not correct. There are differences between Equal tuning, Well Temepered tunings and other baroque style tunings. Equal tuning refers to the tuning used on most modern pianos today where each semitone is exactly the same interval but technically all equally out of tune (except from octaves). Baroque tunings such as mean tone kept some intervals correctly in tune (I think mean tone is 3rds but im not sure!) at the expense of other intervals sounding more out of tune this means that some keys have greater colour but some keys simply do not work because of some intervals being far out of tune. Well Tempered tuning refers to a wide set of tuning systems where they are not equally tuned but there are small differences so as to make all keys accesible which is why Bach composed pieces in all keys to show off the new tuning systems which were accesible in all keys but are not equal tuning. Hope that makes some sense, and I hope most of its correct. Sorry if I misinterpreted the sentence but it just didnt seem clear if that was the intended meaning (Andrew2601 (talk) 23:31, 8 October 2009 (UTC)) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:24, 8 October 2009 (UTC)


I'm working on a new article and want to invite anyone knowledgeable about the field to add to it.

schyler (talk) 16:25, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

Organization of "Musical Elements"

I suggest some major changes here. Right now these "musical elements" are not in any logical order. I suggest moving each paragraph of description like the following: Pitch (sound occurrance); Rhythm (time); Melody (sound occurance + time); Harmony (multiple "melodies"); Allocation (the number and function melodies and/or voices), Texture (the function of allocation); Dynamics and Articulation (Expressive qualities); Form and Structure. "Consonance and dissonance" I would put somewhere else as it is not an actual element of music but is a perception. "Scales and modes" I would also put elsewhere because they describe a certain theory within the larger musical context, e.g. all different culture have developed different scales/modes/sequences.Omnibus progression (talk) 02:16, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

I have gone through and made the above changes. The next thing I would like to do is change the title, "Elements of Music" to "Fundamentals of Music". The latter is what is used the the Kostka & Payne book on the basics of music theory. I would also like to match the description of each of these "elements" or "fundamentals" to what is below, thus I would need to add timbre, which I will provide a basic definition and description of. I would also like to add Allocation, which is another fundamental that we have missed. Omnibus progression (talk) 02:42, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

I suggest changing the phrase "Pitch is a subjective sensation, reflecting generally the lowness or highness of a sound." The first part of it seems, "Pitch is a subjective sensation" I do not think is a standard view held among musicians and musicologists, (I have never that before myself, nor have I seen it written anywhere). Furthermore it is not cited. I suggest changing it to, "Pitch in music refers to the highness of lowness of sound", as defined by "Tonal Harmony" by Kostka & Payne (5th ed.) which is the most widely used textbook on music theory in colleges today. Omnibus progression (talk) 04:02, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

If you have never seen pitch defined as a subjective sensation, then I suggest you look in any standard acoustics text or, more succinctly, in the article "Pitch" by Anthony Baines and Nicholas Temperley in The Oxford Companion to Music, which begins: "A basic dimension of musical sounds, in which they are heard to be high or low. … The subjective sense of pitch is closely correlated with frequency (number of sound vibrations per second). Experiments have shown that the correlation is not exact".—Jerome Kohl (talk) 04:31, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
Note that I mentioned the standard text, "Tonal Harmony" by Kostka and Payne, where pitch as a subjective sensation is not mentioned. However, my objection is less that it is not a commonly held view, and more that it was not cited, (as are many things in this article). I would then like to bring up the question of placement. Why is it important to first know that pitch is a subjective sensation, if the term "pitch" has not been defined? I do not disagree that it should be mentioned if there are sources to back it up, but I would like to restate the sentence. It seems to me more important to communicate pitch is the "highness or lowness of sound" (which it is regardless of how people hear it) than it is to first state that "pitch is subjective". I suggest changing it to: "Pitch is the highness or lowness of sound. In addition, it should be noted that pitch is a subjective sensation. Some musicologists have noted that the subjective sense of pitch is closely correlated with frequency (the number of sound vibrations per second); however, experiments show that the correlation is not exact." (source cited.)Omnibus progression (talk) 02:53, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
I think the additions I have just made address most of your concerns. Take a look and see what you think. The problem with simply defining pith as "highness or lowness" is that it does not explain what is being used to measure this "highness or lowness". A frequency meter measures highness and lowness, but does not measure pitch (unless, of course, you accept Helmholtz's now outdated view that frequency and pitch are in an exact one-to-one correspondence). Pitch is measured by human listeners, and their judgment is therefore, by definition, subjective. Whether Kostka and Payne use the word or not, what they describe is a subjective, not an objective phenomenon. This is now formally cited in the article.
On your other point, I wholeheartedly agree that this article is woefully short on citations. It has been on my "watch" list for a long time now, but I have not devoted the amount of time to it that it deserves. Perhaps I will do so now.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 03:04, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

Grammatical Issues and Syntax

There are issues with grammar and syntax throughout the article. Refer to the second sentence in section one under "Theories of Harmonization." The following sentence is a fragment, "In the German musicology tradition referred to as functional harmony." Furthermore, there is excessive comma use throughout the first paragraph. These issues must be resolved in order to improve readability.--Jutland86 (talk) 08:00, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

"Western" vs. European

The whole article is talking about "Western" music and musical tradition, when it means about European. The concept of Dur/Mol scales (Major and minor in your "western" speak) is not property of "Western" cultures, as they were, of course, not the only one creating and categorizing music. The modi of scales ("modes") are Roman and Greek representation of specific creating/playing methods, and are not "Western", also. The system of 12 notes in a scale, with the today's standardized tonality, is a mixture between Eastern and Western European music, and thus, is not exclusively "Western". Hence, my request for this article to be rewritten using European instead of Western, without petty attempts to steal history for yourself. Thank you. MakedekaM (talk) 17:11, 11 January 2011 (UTC)

What do you think is meant by "western" in this context? __ Just plain Bill (talk) 17:28, 11 January 2011 (UTC)
Probably "western" as in western vs. eastern Europe. It is equally confusing even if the point was western = european vs. eastern = asian. MakedekaM (talk) 18:27, 11 January 2011 (UTC)
Would it help to link the word, like this?: Western. The usual synonym, "Occidental", redirects to that article. Roman and Greek culture is generally regarded as the ultimate source of the Western tradition, though in a more recent frame of reference "European" excludes the Americas, Australia, and other regions generally considered to fall within the Occidental sphere. When referring to Western Europe, is almost always necessary to include the word "European".—Jerome Kohl (talk) 19:12, 11 January 2011 (UTC)
I believe the European/Asian difference in the old world applies better here. What main points of confusion do you see with that? I agree that North African, South Asian, and Oceanian music theories, to name only a few broad categories, may be lightly represented in the article. How do you suggest improving that? There may be a path to them through the {{Music topics}} portal. __ Just plain Bill (talk) 19:25, 11 January 2011 (UTC)
@Jerome Kohl: no, it wouldn't help linking the word like that, as that excludes around 20 countries of Europe (former Yugoslav republics, Romania, Bulgaria, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, basically all the former Warsaw Pact countries) which contributed pretty significantly, if not more, to the "western" music and culture.
Also, we all know what "western" implies. Thus, taking in consideration the need to include the other belonging to the mentioned Occidental sphere, the phrase "European and American" culture would suffice.
P.S. I am sorry but I could not fully understand what exactly Just plain Bill tried to explain, can you please explain to me further? MakedekaM (talk) 19:58, 11 January 2011 (UTC)
I think Bill can explain for himself but, if you will follow his link, I think the article is reasonably plain. America and Australia did not exist in the "old world", only Asia, Africa, and Europe. The former Yugoslav republics had not yet come into existence, nor had the Warsaw Pact. I cannot say what the status of Belarus was, but I think it had not yet become part of the Kingdom of Poland, by which time most of the music-theoretical concepts under discussion had been long since established.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 20:19, 11 January 2011 (UTC)
I get your point but one cannot deny the word "western" brings about confusion, just like the article about the western world is trying to explain with the multiple definitions. Maybe an addition is need in the style of: "Western (| in the modern cultural sense])". MakedekaM (talk) 20:45, 11 January 2011 (UTC)
On reflection, I do not think the word "Western" (capitalized) brings about any particular confusion. It is perfectly common English usage, and probably less misleading than "European" would be. One of the standard English-language music-history textbooks, for example, is Donald Jay Grout's A History of Western Music, and although there are stories about bumpkins assuming its subject is Country and Western music, this has not required changing the book's title for over 50 years now. Still, I can see where some sort of caution may be desirable, for the benefit of the beginner and for those reading English as a second language. Let us see what suggestions may come from other editors reading this thread and, if none appear soon, I will have a go on my own.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 23:09, 11 January 2011 (UTC)
Music theory as described in the English-language Wikipedia may not be traceable back to any single event or culture. I believe we can agree on that. We may also be able to agree that it began forming well before the modern era, with its geographical naming styles.
Still, saying things like "without petty attempts to steal history for yourself" raises my level of POV suspicion. I will be blunt: I have seen too much of the chauvinism which infests the lands near the Aegean Sea to be patient with any such thing.
I notice that the article does not mention Babylon. Should it? __ Just plain Bill (talk) 23:28, 11 January 2011 (UTC)
POV? Of course there is a POV. Every conclusion is a POV, especially historical and political facts. Having my POV raised my concern about the usage of the word "Western" and thus raised this discussion. But I am not trying to push a POV, rather trying to make you see my POV so that the article can be made more objective. Using "Western" without explanation is confusing for readers of which English is not their primary language (like me), and in that you are right, Jerome. While European might bring more confusion, "Western", as you see, raises some, too. Maybe my last proposition is acceptable? Think about it. I am sorry about my first writing in that style, but since I had no idea what is implied by "Western" in native English language, I assumed it meant "Western European and/or U.S.A.". MakedekaM (talk) 02:24, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
Jerome Kohl's characterization of the word "Western" as "perfectly common English usage" is consistent with my own experience.
My main concern with defining or clarifying "Western" with the modern cultural sense here is that it is a modern meaning, which includes the Americas, Australia, and New Zealand. Western music theory has come to those areas, but it did not originate there. That, in part, is why I linked to "the European/Asian difference in the old world" earlier. I would be more comfortable linking the first occurrence of "Western" to Western culture, since that page starts with more appropriate emphasis on European culture as it came from the Tigris/Euphrates/Jordan fertile crescent. Linking to Western Europe is too restrictive, in my opinion. __ Just plain Bill (talk) 03:44, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
A link to Western Europe would be as inappropriate as a link to Western Ontario or Western Australia, all of which are part of the West meant here, which is OED sense C.2.a, "The western part of the world. Now commonly, Europe as distinguished from Asia". I sometimes think it would be useful if we would just append the OED sense letters/numbers to each(adj.B.I.a) word(n.A.I.1.a) we(pron.A.I.1.d) use(vII.7.a.). That would save all this trouble, wouldn't it?—Jerome Kohl (talk) 05:45, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
Reading the article of Western culture, I notice that that's exactly what I had in mind. It is a lot better to link to that than to Western world. Maybe the word "Western" will bring some additional confusion in the sense I brought up, but if someone clicks the link, will have a read of what actually is meant by the term. In search of better solution, this one is temporary acceptable, I must say. MakedekaM (talk) 13:55, 13 January 2011 (UTC)

What's all this about pitches?

I utterly disagree with the following statement.

"A melody is a series of pitches sounding in succession."

I contend that a melody is a series of notes, and not of pitches, and that the distinction is crucial to understanding music theory, which has a long history among musicians and composers, predating notions of pitches (as countable things) by ages. Pitch, in the sense which associates it with frequencies, is a modern physical concept unrelated to music theory.

The fact that the word "note" is used in an astonishing number of ways ought not deter us from speaking precisely. D021317c 01:00, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

A note is more than a simple instance of pitch. It is a transient "atom of music" with a beginning, middle, and end, sometimes represented by an ADSR envelope and may contain subtle variations of pitch, often also related to that envelope, or to similar time-dependent happenings. __Just plain Bill (talk) 07:18, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

A note is the abstract, written representation of a tone. To one reading or writing a musical score, a melody may be a succession of notes. But to the listener it is a succession of tones. I am modifying the definition of melody in the article accordingly.Valmont7 (talk) 12:52, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

Removed: Allocation

  • Allocation, or Allocation of Voice refers to the function and number of voices in any given example of music. A voice is any single melodic line. The term includes the number of voices: Solo (one voice), Duet (two voices), Trio (three voices), Quartet (Four voices), Quintet (five voices), sextet (six voices) and so on. The term also includes the function of voices: Solo (one voice), Group (two or more voices), Solo+Group, (two or more voices featuring a soloist), Group+Group or Dialogue (exchange between groups), and Call and Response (any of the former in alternating exchange with another of the former).

Covered by texture. Hyacinth (talk) 01:19, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

Additional citations

Why, what, where, and how does this article need additional citations for verification? Hyacinth (talk) 20:12, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

Tag removed. Hyacinth (talk) 01:24, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

Outline of basic music theory

I would like to notify you of this online learning book Outline of basic music theory and, although I realize that external links are generally discouraged, humbly ask your opinion about the possibility of adding this to the page, as I think no other such professional learning source is available online for free, what do you think? best regards from this longtime fellow wikimedian ;-) oscar (talk) 13:08, 14 January 2012 (UTC)