ELEMENTS OF MUSIC

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Music is what feelings sound like.
~Author Unknown
Music is an art form consisting
of sound and silence expressed
through time.
* Opening Activity: John Cage’s “4’33”
The elements of
music are
sometimes referred
to as the
ingredients of a
composition.
Melody
Harmony
Texture
Composition
Notation
Rhythm
Tone Colour
Form
Tempo
Pitch
Dynamics
All styles of music, including rock, jazz, country,
hip-hop, use the same basic elements of music.
The reason each style sounds different is that
every style combines the basic musical elements
in a different way.
The second thing that sets them apart is the
musical instruments used. Classical music sounds
the way it does because it uses violins, cellos,
woodwinds. Rock sounds the way it does because
it uses distorted electric guitars.
The basic musical elements for each style remain
the same.
Creating a composition is the act of creating music,
either on paper or in sound.
Creating the music on paper is called notation.
Notation is the written expression of music notes
using symbols.
When music is written down, the composer may also
include instructions on how the music should be
played. For example, dynamics are how loudly or
softly the music is played. Italian terms are used in
music: forte, mezzo forte, piano forte.
Forte: loud (tallest)
Mezzo forte : medium loud(slouching)
Piano: quiet (shortest)
Crescendo: becoming stronger (rising up)
Diminuendo: becoming softer (sinking down)
* Activity 1) Beethoven’s fifth symphony
A melody is an organized group of
tones. It is often the part of music we
remember the most
Melody is often referred to as the
“tune” or the “theme” and is form
many people the essence of music.
SONG 1 * Activity 2) Beethoven’s Fur Elise
Have you heard this before?
Where have you heard it.
What style of music is it?
SONG 2 * Nas’ I can
What style of music?
Is there anything you recognize in this song?
If so, why do you think the artist chose to use
Beethoven in his song?
What does it have to do, if anything, with his theme?
Harmony is a group of notes played
behind, beneath, and around the
melody. Harmony supports the
melody and gives a piece of music
texture or mood.
Texture can be the relationship
between melody and harmony. Often
texture consists of thick and thin notes
played at the same time.
*How music works 3
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gTR_Lg59Jc&fe
ature=related
Rhythm involves patterns of sound and
silence. The combinations of long and
short, even and uneven sounds that
convey a sense of movement.
Beat is like your pulse! Your heart keeps
the beat for the rest of your body!
Tempo is the pace at which music moves,
based on the speed of the underlying beat.
It is how fast or slow music is played or
performed. Tempo is described using
Italian terms such as: allegro (quick), lento
(slowly), presto (very fast).
How music works
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_jEkNi
YFNc&feature=related
Listen to the ways rhythm, beat and tempo
are used * Activity 3) Stomp
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zu15O
u-jKM0
Create (with a partner or on your own) a
composition using rhythm, beat and tempo.
You can clap your hands, stomp your feet or
tap your desk. You must use one of the tempo
terms: allegro (quick), lento (slow), presto
(very fast)
Timbre is the distinctive quality or
tone of a sound.
Tone Colour is the unique quality in
the sound of an instrument or voice
that helps us to readily identify them.
The different instruments of an orchestra
or a band all have very unique sound
characteristics that make them
identifiable.
As do the voices of your classmates
Activity 4) Test your tone and timbre
skills.
Form refers to the overall structure or
plan of a piece of music, and it
describes the layout of a composition
as divided into sections.
Musical form may include: chorus,
verse, pre-chorus, bridge
Chorus
The element of the song that repeats at
least once and conveys the main
message or theme of the song.
Normally the most memorable element
of the song for listeners.
Verse
When two or more sections of the song
have basically identical music and
different lyrics each section is
considered one verse.
Pitch refers to high and low musical
tones. The frequency of the sound is
lower or higher depending on where it
falls on the musical scale.
For instance, the pitch changes as a you
press the keys from one end of a piano
to the other.

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