ELEMENTS OF MUSIC

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ELEMENTS OF MUSIC. There are several key elements of music. When combined and used correctly they express emotion and provide us with “singable”, enjoyable pieces that can represent time, place and even become what we use to describe who we are and what we represent. Rhythm.
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ELEMENTS OF MUSIC There are several key elements of music. When combined and used correctly they express emotion and provide us with “singable”, enjoyable pieces that can represent time, place and even become what we use to describe who we are and what we represent. Rhythm
  • Definition: The patterns of long and short sounds and silences in music.
  • To create a rhythm combine any variety of notes and rests together (see your note and rest value chart).
  • Rhythms can and are performed throughout any piece of music by any instrument, however, we can mostly recognize a rhythm when it is performed on a percussion instrument.
  • Beat
  • Definition: A steady pulse contained in music.
  • Music is organized with time signatures that indicate how many beats are found within one measure of music.
  • The top number of the time signature indicates how many beats will appear in one measure/bar of music. 2 3 4 6 6 over 8 means 6 beats per bar 4 4 4 8 4 over 4 means 4 beats per bar
  • The bottom number of the time signature indicates what type of note receives one beat. The 8 in 6/8 time means an eighth note receives one beat 2 3 4 6 4 4 4 8 The 4 in 4/4 time means a quarter notes receives one beat
  • The time signature appears at the beginning of the music after the clef (treble or bass).
  • It does not appear in any other measure unless there is a time change throughout the piece.
  • Tempo after the clef (treble or bass).
  • Definition: The pace or speed at which a piece of music is performed.
  • Tempo markings are traditionally given in Italian and the words that refer to tempo can be categorized in the following ways:
  • SLOW after the clef (treble or bass).
  • Grave – extremely slow and solemn
  • Adagio – very slow
  • Lento – slow
  • Largo – slow and broad
  • Larghetto – less slow than largo
  • MEDIUM after the clef (treble or bass).
  • Andante – rather slow, at a moderate walking pace
  • Andantino – a little faster than andante
  • Moderato – at a moderate pace
  • Allegretto – fairly quick, slightly slower than allegro
  • FAST after the clef (treble or bass).
  • Con moto – with movement, or a certain quickness
  • Allegro – lively, rather quick
  • Vivace – quick and lively
  • Veloce – with velocity
  • Rapido – rapid
  • Presto – very quick
  • Prestissimo – as quick as possible
  • Other words that refer to Tempo after the clef (treble or bass).
  • Accelerando – gradually getting quicker
  • Meno mosso – less movement, slower
  • Ritardando – gradually getting slower
  • Rallentando – gradually getting slower
  • Tempo rubato – robbed time
  • DYNAMICS after the clef (treble or bass).
  • Definition: The volume of the sound, as well as the style in which the performer plays the instrument/music.
  • It is important to not confuse how loud or soft something is on a recorded performance. It is easy to turn up (or down) the volume using an electronic device.
  • Dynamics after the clef (treble or bass).
  • When dynamics are discussed in regards to orchestration we are referring to how loud or soft each instrument can perform on its own, the stylistic elements that support that sound and finally what dynamics they can create when combining and performing as an ensemble or orchestra.
  • Italian Terminology after the clef (treble or bass). Variations in Volume after the clef (treble or bass). Terminology referring to “style” of playing after the clef (treble or bass). TIMBRE after the clef (treble or bass).
  • Definition: The unique quality or qualities inherent in sounds that allow us to distinguish between them.
  • Timber (TAMBOUR – as in “tambourine”) has also been referred to as the tone colouring of an instrument.
  • The distinct tone quality of an instrument can be represented by the colour that matches the sound.
  • Let us consider the Flute. What colour(s) would you think best represents the sound quality of this instrument?
  • It is also important to consider how the instrument is being played.
  • Quickly review in your notes some of the Italian terminology that is used to describe the styles of how one can perform on their instrument...
  • At this point, depending on the style in which the instrument is being played, specific colours and/or descriptive words could be used to best interpret the sounds you hear!
  • There are major differences between the families of instruments and how they sound.
  • There are also differences that occur within each family. For example Flute vs. Bassoon (both Woodwind), however very different tone qualities.
  • PITCH instruments and how they sound.
  • Definition: The degree of highness or lowness of a sound.
  • The Staff instruments and how they sound.
  • Music is written on a STAFF of five lines and the four spaces between 5 4 3 2 1 It is important to remember to count from the bottom up!
  • Music Notation instruments and how they sound.
  • Music notes are oval shaped symbols that are placed on the lines and in the spaces. They represent musical sounds, called PITCHES.
  • If the notes appear higher on the staff they sound higher in pitch.
  • If the notes appear lower on the staff they sound lower in pitch.
  • Organizing Musical Sounds pitch.
  • Musical notes are named after the first seven letters of the alphabet:
  • A B C D E F GA B C D E F G A B C ... they keep repeating over and over and by their position on the staff they can represent the entire range of musical sound.
  • Clefs in Music Notation pitch.
  • Clef signs help to organize the staff so notes can easily be read.
  • Treble Clef pitch.
  • The treble clef is used for notes in the higher pitch ranges. The treble clef (or G clef) has evolved from a stylized letter G into the present:
  • The curl of the treble clef circles the line on which the note G is placed. This G is above middle C (The C nearest the middle of the keyboard).
  • Note naming patterns – drawing and naming notes! note G is placed. This G is above middle C (The C nearest the middle of the keyboard).
  • Take out a pencil and on a new sheet of paper create the following – a blank staff:
  • Use a ruler if you have one to ensure they are straight and even!
  • Now draw the treble clef and create 5 notes, one on each line (leave some space between each note so that they do not stack on top of each other). Somewhat like this...
  • Do not colour them in and only draw them on the five lines!
  • Now let’s name the five line notes that appear in the treble clef...
  • Note naming patterns treble clef...
  • In the treble staff the names of the line notes from bottom to top are: E G B D F 
  • This order can be memorized with the saying: Every, Good, Boy, Deserves, Fudge Or...
  • Now recreate a new staff (including the treble clef) and fill in the four spaces using whole notes...
  • Get ready to name them... fill in the four spaces using whole notes...
  • The names of notes in the spaces spell the word: fill in the four spaces using whole notes... F A C E
  • The Bass Clef fill in the four spaces using whole notes...
  • The Bass clef (pronounced “base”) is used for notes in the lower pitch ranges. The bass clef (or F clef) has evolved from the stylized letter f into:
  • The two dots of the bass clef surround the fourth line, the line on which the note F is played.
  • For a third time create a staff on your paper only this time practice drawing the bass clef – try to place the two dots directly in the 3rd and 4th space surrounding that fourth line.
  • It is very important to indicate the dots in those exact spaces or you are not drawing the symbol correctly!
  • Now draw on the 5 line notes leaving room in between (no “snowman” or stacking!)
  • Let’s name these notes... “snowman” or stacking!)
  • In the bass staff the names of the notes on the lines from bottom to top are: G B D F A
  • The phrase that can help you memorize this order is: Good, Boys, Do, Fine, Always Or...
  • Finally, one last time create a staff (including the bass clef) and draw on the four space notes
  • Unfortunately the space note names do not combine to make a word.
  • Do you know a phrase that can be used as a way to identify the notes of the bass clef?
  • The space notes appear from bottom to top as: word. A C E G
  • The phrase that can help you memorize this order is: All, Cows, Eat, Grass Or...
  • MELODY word.
  • Definition: A series of pitches that move forward (the sing-able part) within a piece of music.
  • Types of Melody word.
  • There are two types of Melody.
  • CONJUNCT word.
  • A conjunct melody is a melody that moves in stepwise motion.
  • DISJUNCT word.
  • A Disjunct melody is one that moves with more leaps (jumps) than steps.
  • HARMONY word.
  • Definition: Combinations of pitches sounding simultaneously.
  • Consider two performers presenting a piece to an audience. If one instrument is performing on whole notes while the other is playing the main melody there will be harmony.
  • Instruments that have strings (violin, harp) or tuned percussion (piano, xylophone) can play harmony on their own.
  • However, instruments like Flute, Clarinet, or Trumpet, need to have other performers playing with them for the harmony to occur.
  • FORM percussion (piano, xylophone) can play harmony on their own.
  • Definition: The structure of a piece of music, the way a piece of music is organized.
  • There are many forms in music, but the main elements you need to consider when defining a piece of music is the repetition and contrast that occurs in the melody.
  • Forms have been categorized based on letter names, for example A B form is known as BINARY Form
  • ABA form is known as TERNARY Form where there is a repeat of an entire section – the A section of the melody.
  • In Modern or 20 example A B form is known as BINARY Formth Century music sections or musical ideas have been categorized using the terms “Chorus” (or Refrain) and “Verse”.
  • There may even be a “Bridge” which is sometimes a completely different idea within the melody that often occurs near the end of the song.
  • Example: example A B form is known as BINARY Form Verse1 Chorus Verse2 Chorus Bridge Chorus Chorus
  • The text of most Modern music can easily organize the sections of the melody as we can (almost always) understand the language and therefore identify where the repetition of the melody occurs.
  • TEXTURE example A B form is known as BINARY Form
  • Definition: The fabric or layering of sound created by melody, harmony and tone colouring (timbre).
  • Consider all of the instrumentation that can be combined to create a single piece of music.
  • Each instrument is responsible for a melodic and/or rhythmic line.
  • When each instrument combines together with the ensemble (orchestra) the texture is specific to what and how they are performing.
  • Different Textures line.
  • Homophonic: A soloist performing a melody.
  • Monophonic: A soloist performing a melody with accompaniment (for example Flute with Piano).
  • Polyphonic: Many musicians performing/combining rhythmic and melodic patterns together.
  • Resources for images: line.
  • world-of-songwriting.com
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