From the Syllabus Course Content: Outline for the Elements of Music (from your textbook): 1. Melody (The Tune): The main idea in a piece of music. Melody is the single line of notes heard in succession as a coherent unit. A melody has a shape moving up or down in ways that capture and hold our attention over a span of time. A melody is like a story: it has a beginning, middle, and an end. 2. Rhythm (The Time): The organization of beats or pulses in time. Rhythm is the ordering of music through time.
Not all music has a melody, but all music has rhythm. A drum solo, for example, makes its effect primarily through rhythm. Rhythm can operate on many levels, from a repetitive, underlying pulse or beat to rapidly changing patterns of longer and shorter periods. 3. Harmony (Supporting the Melody): The chords or pitches that are sounded simultaneously. Harmony is the sound created by multiple voices playing or singing together. Harmony enriches the melody by creating a fuller sound than can be produced by a single voice. 4.
Texture (Thick and Thin): The basic fabric of a piece of music made up of various elements used by the composer. Texture is based on the number and general relationship of musical lines or voices. Every work of music has a texture from thick: (many voices) to thin (a single voice). Sometimes one line or voice is more important; at other times all the lines or voices are of equal importance. 5. Timbre (The Color of Music): The characteristic of musical sounds. The same melody sounds very different when performed by a violin, a clarinet, a guitar, or a human voice.
These sources can all produce the same pitch, but what makes the same melody sound different is the timbre of each one. 6. Dynamics (Loud to Soft): The degrees of volume. The same music can be performed at many degrees of volume, from very soft to very loud. Dynamics determine the volume of a given work or passage in a work of music. 7. Form (The Architecture of Music): The overall layout of a piece of music. A single melody is usually too short to constitute a complete work of music. Typically a melody is repeated, varied, or contrasted with a different melody.
The way in which all these subunits are put together – The structure of the whole – is musical form. Form is based on repetition (AAA), variation (AAA’), contrast (AS), or some combination of these Music App. Notes By swallowtails The origin and vocabulary of music terminology. If there is text to be sung, we must consider the relationship of the words to the music. How does the music capture the meaning and spirit of its text? And even if there is not a text to be sung, many works have titles that suggest how we might hear them.
Titles like Winter, Rodeo, and The Rite of Spring strongly influence the way in which we hear these works. Some composers have even written detailed descriptions of what a particular work is about in what we call “program music. ” 9. Genre (Great Expectations): The particular style of a piece of music. When we get into a car, we imagine what kind of trip we are about to take and where we are going: business, pleasure, across town, across state. When we listen too work of music, we have similar expectations. Symphony, opera, and song are all examples of genres.