Elements of Music


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Elements of Music

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Elements of Music

  1. 1. Introduction Elements of Music 08/30/10
  2. 2. Melody: The Tune <ul><li>A single line of notes heard in succession as a coherent unit </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Breaths correspond to the ends of phrases (poetry and music). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Points of arrival/rest = cadences; like the periods in sentences. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Melodic motion --stepwise (= conjunct ) vs. leaps ( disjunct ); usually a combination of both, but one predominates. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contour --upward or downward movement or both </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Melody: The Tune <ul><li>Derived from the notes of a scale --series of notes that moves stepwise and covers a complete octave </li></ul><ul><li>Melodic Interval --distance between two notes, one after another </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Half steps --adjacent notes on the piano </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Whole steps --two notes apart on the piano (including black notes) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Tonic --beginning note of scale; most important note in scale; defines the name of the key </li></ul><ul><li>Modes -- major and minor --half steps in different places in the scale </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Major = often bright, happy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Minor = often somber, darker, less optimistic </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Melody: Acoustics <ul><li>The science of sound </li></ul><ul><li>Pitch --highness or lowness of sound; based on frequency --number of oscillations/sec. </li></ul><ul><li>Dynamics/volume --loudness or softness of sound--based on amplitude or size of sound wave </li></ul>
  5. 5. Rhythm: Ordering of Music Through Time <ul><li>Meter --underlying pattern of beats (pulses) that maintains itself consistently throughout a work </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Triple meter--beats grouped in 3’s (LONG-short-short or STRONG-weak- weak) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Duple meter--beats grouped in 2’s (LONG-short or STRONG-weak) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Measure --each unit of beats in a meter </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Number and duration of notes within each unit can vary. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Harmony: Multiple Notes Played/Sung Simultaneously <ul><li>Harmonic Interval --two notes sounding simultaneously </li></ul><ul><li>Chord --three or more notes sounding simultaneously </li></ul><ul><li>A melody can be harmonized (using chords) in more than one way. </li></ul><ul><li>When a melody is in a “key,” the first note of that scale’s key is called the tonic . Harmonies are centered on this main note. </li></ul><ul><li>Tonic --serves as a “home base.” </li></ul>
  7. 7. Texture--Number and Relationship of Musical Lines <ul><li>Monophonic --one single melodic line with no accompaniment </li></ul><ul><li>Homophonic --a single melodic line with accompaniment; melody stands out above accompaniment, which is supportive </li></ul><ul><li>Polyphonic --multiple melodies of equal importance performed simultaneously </li></ul>
  8. 8. Timbre: The Color of Music <ul><li>Timbre is what makes instruments/voices sound different, even when they perform the same notes. </li></ul><ul><li>Created by the fundamental and spectral content of the overtones/partials in the sound wave. </li></ul><ul><li>Frequency remains the same, but wave form is different. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Dynamics: Volume of Sound <ul><li>Ranges from very soft to very loud. </li></ul><ul><li>Composers often use Italian terms/abbreviations to designate volume. </li></ul><ul><li>pp (pianissimo) = very soft </li></ul><ul><li>p (piano) = soft </li></ul><ul><li>mp (mezzo piano) = medium soft </li></ul><ul><li>mf (mezzo forte) = medium loud </li></ul><ul><li>f (forte) = loud </li></ul><ul><li>ff (fortissimo) = very loud </li></ul>
  10. 10. Form: Structure of Musical Work <ul><li>Way in which individual units are put together </li></ul><ul><li>Based on three strategies: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Repetition --the same music over again </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Variation --the same music over again but slightly different in some way </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contrast --different music </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Form: Structure of Musical Work <ul><li>Subunits of Form are designated using letters. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>First section = A </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Second section = A, if the same (repetition), A’ if slightly different (variation), B if different (contrast) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Subsequent sections, if different from A or B, are named C, D, etc. </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Word/Music Relationships <ul><li>In songs, how does the music relate to the words? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Word painting --using musical elements to “describe” a word or phrase </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Often the structure of the poetry matches the form of the work; the poetry (lyrics) dictates the form. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Repetitions/variations/contrasts in the poetry may lead to repetitions/variations/contrasts in the music. </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Genre: Category of a Work <ul><li>Determined by combination of performance medium (solo voices, choir, orchestra, string quartet, band, etc.) and social function. </li></ul><ul><li>Sets up expectations in the listener--a symphony is different from a song. </li></ul>