People who have studied Music to an advanced level, unintentionally (sometimes), make us amateurs sound like we have not searched absolutely everywhere. Here is why:

I saw a post on this Meta group once which answered that Beginner questions are not always welcome here, as a lot of these answers can be found online. I wish I could find this post to link to, but I can not, unfortunately.

This may well be very true, but it got me thinking:

I do recognise that sometimes, beginner questions can be too specific or even too easy. For instance, a six-year-old would be able to explain some of these questions.

Should we only post on here if no answer on the World Wide Web matches our question? Or do we see such a site as the leading answer in music theory and practise for it to contain errors?

In its simplest form.... Are questions with suitable evidence for or against applicable on such a forum?

  • 4
    Note that you have asked several questions that are fairly beginner-level that have received a lot of upvotes, so you yourself are doing pretty well, from what I can tell, with asking questions. Your questions with fewer votes are harder to answer. For instance, different composers almost certainly use different processes to compose, so asking what composers do isn't a question that has a good answer. There are as many ways to compose as there are composers. Again, it's not whether the question is a beginner question or not, it's sometimes how answerable it is. Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 22:31
  • there's already a very similar answer to mine, but I think I would like to put it shorter: As long as it's not google-able or if the OP show's effort of googling/searching it but ending up not getting satisfactory explanation/an explanation simple enough to understand for them: YES Commented Oct 17, 2020 at 12:23

1 Answer 1



The "research" clause in the question guidelines is really about making sure you have already searched this site for your answer. You may get a little flak for asking a question that a web search or Wikipedia page can answer, but they are not ipso facto bad questions here and should not be downvoted or discouraged.

Questions that already have an answer on this site will be closed as a duplicate, but at least you'll get your answer because there will be a link to the previous question that has the answer.

One of the primary purposes of the whole Stack Exchange system is to be near the top of the results of web searches, so we want the answers to your questions to be found here. If there isn't already the answer here, then we want your question and answer here.

All of this is assuming the question, while simple or basic, still complies with the guidelines in the help center. No question that is a matter of opinion is on topic. Neither are questions about what the best product is or what product someone should buy. Also, simple identification questions are usually off-topic, such as asking what key a song is in or what are the four chords in the bridge of a song.

It also helps a lot to indicate with your question what thinking or searching you have done, great or small, and it's also good to make it as clear as possible what you will need to know to be satisfied with an answer.

An example of a low-quality, simple question:

What's a quaver?

A better simple question:

I've been playing by ear for a few years now and decided I'd better learn to read music. I just started reading guide to music notation and right on page one it talks about playing eight "quavers" per measure. I learned what a measure was back in grade school but when I do a web search for "quaver" I get a bunch of dictionary entries not related to music. What's a "quaver"?

They are both dead simple questions, but the second one shows that you aren't just coming here and blindly asking every question that comes to mind as soon as you think of it. It's also understandable for an American (say) to be confused about "quaver" since in the USA it's called an "eighth note", so a simple as the question is, it's reasonable to ask it here.

So, simplicity alone does not make a question bad, any more than complexity alone makes it good. Do at least a little bit of searching on this site, maybe on the web in general and write a complete and detailed and on-topic question, and you should be fine. Come back to the meta if someone gives you a lot of trouble about your question(s) being overly simple or something like that when you know you've put in a bit of effort on them.

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