I noticed this music history question was closed here and redirected to music practice:

Was Guido d'Arezzo the one who invented the diatonic scale?

In my opinion, music history is on-topic here and off-topic there. Music history seems to be more of a music fan topic than a performer topic, unless it's about performing in a historical style.

  • 1
    @Brahadeesh would we accept any other question about scales on this site? Or how about the the linked question from the same user which is in a very similar vein of music history that did not make sense on this site before?
    – Dom Mod
    Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 0:43
  • It's not gotcha questions. Content matters and if this question is ok, but the previous question on a similar topic is not we need to figure out why. Both are history questions, but dip much more into practice than we typically handle.
    – Dom Mod
    Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 13:14

2 Answers 2


This questions is about scales. Scales are not a normal topic of the Music Fans site and Music SE handles questions about scales all the time.

Music SE also does have history questions and while there are some areas of overlap between the two SE this question seems a lot better fit for Music SE and there are distinct lines in the sand to be drawn between them. For example the history of a chord progress does not make sense here as it involves in depth progression knowledge and more fit for Music SE, but asking what the first instrument a musician/composer used is much more of a general Music Fan SE question and less practice and theory focused.

Our FAQ even states for history questions:

Ask about:

    - **The history of songs and musicians/bands/artists/composers/songwriters/etc.**
    - Song meanings and the origins of lyrics
    - Terminology used in the music industry
    - **Use, explanation, and history of music technology, devices, and media**
    - Information about music memorabilia and the collection of it (e.g. “How rare is X?”)

Of the two bullet points that cover history it only covers history of songs, musicians/bands/artists/composers/songwriters/etc(the people behind the music), and music technology, devices, and media. This does not touch the history music theory ideas or music practice terminology and constructs.

In the answer you can even see it has nothing to do with the person in question. This would be akin to asking if Bono came up with the idea of making charities. Yes some questions about Bono and his charity may occasionally be on topic here, but the history of charities alone is not. Scales are much closer to our core topics, but because this is a fan site and not a site for musicians I do not see it as making sense here.

As a side note, this question is not a very good starting point for this debate as the user has a history of posting Music SE question here because they are suspended on Music SE and they were suspended here due to this issue.


If music history questions of this type are currently off-topic here, I think we should change our charter to make them on-topic. I could give a long discussion of why, but really, it boils down to two points:

  1. Such questions are clearly off-topic at Music Practice. Migrating it there just means it's going to get closed.
  2. We (desperately) need questions here. I would think we'd be all glad to see something substantive that's a change from the usual "identify this YouTube soundtrack" questions.

I don't agree with the argument that all the real musicians are over on Music Practice, and therefore we should send all the real music questions there. Not only do I find it somewhat insulting, it also seems like a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I also personally don't see the big problem with letting our site be a catch-all for the music and dance related questions that are not on topic for Music Practice. Why would that be such a disaster?

  • 1
    Music history is on topic on Music practice and theory so 1 is incorrect . Also point 2 we do need a variety of questions, but scope matters. There's already a site for music practice and theory so trying to take in questions like that you'll just compete with music SE. Also as a note there are other questions than id questions that get asked, this SE is just swallowed by them. Several long time users have also tuned out the site since this has happened.
    – Dom Mod
    Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 13:00
  • Also history questions are clearly on topic as I point out in my post. One section of which is directly from the FAQ. It's just this question covers a topic in history outside of our typical scope related to history questions.
    – Dom Mod
    Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 13:15
  • @Brahadeesh we made our FAQ from the private beta. While I agree Music SE's scope does not directly matter, it already carves out a place for Musicians on SE and going along with that when this SE was made it would cater more to the fandom rather then the musicians. Take it back to this: musicfans.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/549/…. Both are history questions geared towards a more theory aspect of music.
    – Dom Mod
    Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 21:18
  • @Brahadeesh you were one of the users that was very active during that period. It was about the evolution of SATB scores over time. The FAQ is very relevant as it rebuts the claim in the question that Music history is currently off topic. The FAQ state what music history questions are on topic. The disconnect I think that is here is the "Performing music, practicing music, music theory, and music production." in the off topic section and there are some areas of music history that are completely encompassed in that.
    – Dom Mod
    Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 22:00

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