(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘music theory

“It is the special province of music to move the heart”*…

From the estimable Ted Gioia

Here’s one of the best music videos you will see this year.

Bach’s score for The Art of Fugue—perhaps his last work—does not specify the instrumentation, thus giving later musicians tremendous creative latitude. It’s based on [the motif pictured above].

This new video performance, released last week by the Netherlands Bach Society, features an impressive range of settings—starting with solo voices, and working through combinations of a dozen other instruments…

Bach– as Wagner proclaimed, “the most stupendous miracle in all music!”: The Art of the Fugue

* Johann Sebastian Bach


As we appreciate patterns, we might recall that it was on this date in 1738 that Handel, Bach’s contemporary (he, Bach, and Domenico Scarlatti were all born in 1685), finished his his oratorio Saul and starts Israel in Egypt.

Written by (Roughly) Daily

September 27, 2022 at 1:00 am

“My theory. Music can fix anything. Anything.”*…

Middle C

A rich collection of interactive music theory tools & visual references to learn music online for free…

I’m creating this site to anchor what I’m learning and as a way to bring creative and interesting ways to present music theory topics. I’m hoping the content on this site will prove helpful in your own music-making journey!…

Learn music theory: “Muted.io,” from @muted_io. You might want to start with the Cheat Sheet“…

(Image above: source)

* Asa Butterfield


As we play (with) scales, we might recall that it was on this date in 1962 that Samuel Barber’s Piano Concerto (Op. 38) premiered as part of the opening festivities for Philharmonic Hall (now David Geffen Hall) at Lincoln Center in New York, with John Browning as soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Erich Leinsdorf.

The first two movements were completed before the end of 1960 but the last movement was not completed until 15 days before the world premiere performance. According to Browning (in the liner notes for his 1991 RCA Victor recording of the Concerto with the St. Louis Symphony), the initial version of the piano part of the third movement was unplayable at performance tempo; Barber resisted reworking the piano part until Vladimir Horowitz reviewed it and also deemed it unplayable at full tempo. In the end, the work was met with great critical acclaim; it earned Barber his second Pulitzer Prize in 1963 and the Music Critics Circle Award in 1964.

Samuel Barber at the piano (source)

Written by (Roughly) Daily

September 24, 2022 at 1:00 am

So You Want To Be a Rock and Roll Star…

Hooktheory, a system for learning to write music, analyzed 1,300 popular songs for how chords were used.

First we’ll look at the relative popularity of different chords based on the frequency that they appear in the chord progressions of popular music. Then we’ll begin to look at the relationship that different chords have with one another. For example, if a chord is found in a song, what can we say about the probability for what the next chord will be that comes after it?…

It will surprise no one who has done time playing rhythm in a band that the most common chords used overall were G, F, and C.

[TotH to Flowing Data]


As we reach for the Rickenbacker, we might recall that it was on this date in 1968 that Elvis Presley took the stage for the first time in over seven years to record the NBC television special Elvis, remembered now as “the ‘68 Comeback Special.”  The King’s informal jam session, recorded that night in front of a small audience, was the inspiration for the “Unplugged” concept, later popularized by MTV.

(The chords that ran through the repertoire fit Hooktheory’s pattern precisely; c.f., “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You.”)

Elvis in his ’68 Comeback Special


Written by (Roughly) Daily

June 27, 2012 at 1:01 am

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