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CONCEPTS OF MUSIC

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by

Grace Best

on 28 September 2014

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Transcript of CONCEPTS OF MUSIC

CONCEPTS OF MUSIC
Tonality
Tonality is also an important part of pitch. A piece of music can be either tonal [strong tendency for the melody to be drawn to the tonic note] or atonal [absence of this tendency - feels unpredictable]. there are many different, specific types of tonality including:
major tonality
minor tonality
blues tonality
chromatic tonality
modal tonality
pentatonic tonality
ethnic tonality [non-Western cultures]
To maintain musical interest, some composers use polytonality or changing tonality [modulation] in their music such as Tierce de Picarie [change of tonality used in the Baroque period which entails a minor piece ending in a major chord]. Some pieces use a cadence at the end of phrases e.g. perfect [V-I], plagal [IV-I], imperfect [?-V], interrupted [V-vi].
Other Types of Layer Relationships
Dominant & Subordinate - often one prevalent layer supported by other accompanying strands
Active & Inactive - the dominant layer may not always be the busiest
Solo & Unison - used to control density - changing between the two creates textual variety
Counterpoint - when two or more layers are having a 'conversation' (one 'speaks' and is the only busy layer while the others 'listen')
Call and Response - call is sung/played by a solo vocalist or instrument and the response is a unison repetition
Rhythmic Unison - creates cohesion and unity through the shared rhythm
Imitation - the repetition of a melodic or rhythmic idea of one layer in another (can be done without variation or fragments [motifs] may be imitated)
Fills - usually occurs at the end of phrases when the dominant layer takes a 'musical breath'
Parallel Harmonies - when each note of the original melody is harmonised at a constant distance in another layer
Staggered Entry/Exit - the density of the piece thickens as layers are gradually added and thins out as layers are taken out
Stabs - abrupt bursts of subordinate layers alter the density suddenly and creates textual contrast (also called hits)
TEXTURE
When addressing texture you should always identify:



DURATION
The arrangement of the sounds in relation to time
DYNAMICS & EXPRESSIVE TECHNIQUES
A piece of music may be imbued with character, mood and expression using various techniques. Dynamics is one of these techniques. This concept is dependent upon your interpretation of the music.
TONE COLOUR
how the music is orchestrated
the layers of sound and how they relate to each other
Layer I.D. - describe individual layers by referring to the sound source
Layer Role - describe the role of each layer
Layer Density - describe how thick or thin each layer is
MAIN TYPES of LAYER RELATIONSHIPS
As well as identifying and describing each layer, you need to explore the connections between the different strands.
only a single feature layer
a single feature layer
accompanied by harmonic layers
single feature layer
independently embellished interpretation of main melody
layers are nearly in unison
more than one feature layer
each layer has an independent melody and rhythm
PITCH
the arrangement of sounds in terms of their frequency
Melody:
pitch placement - can be played in high, medium or low register relative to the instrument
contour - the melodic shape e.g.
articulation - different ways a melody can be played e.g.
phrases - the notes between 'breaths' - can be balanced, or asymmetrical [imbalance used to create tension]
intervals - distance between notes of a melody overall - can be either: repeated pitch, steps, skips, or leaps
range - can be small, moderate or large between the lowest and highest notes of the melody
creativity - whether a melody is improvised or previously composed
ornamentation - includes: tremolo [variance of volume], vibrato [variance in pitch], trill, mordent [upper and lower], grace notes, turn, glissando, portamento, pitch bending, arpeggio, melisma, acciacatura, appoggiatura
repetition - various different types: single pitch, whole melody, phrase beginnings, sequence, motif, ostinato [called riff in jazz and rock music]
STATIC CONTOUR
SMOOTH CONTOUR
ANGULAR CONTOUR
SOSTENUTO
the notes overlap each other
LEGATO
smooth and well connected
STACCATO
short and detached
MEZZO STACCATO
slightly detached
the combined melodic and harmonic 'flavour'
major medieval
Scottish/Celtic
Spanish/Middle East
Simpsons - tension
blues
minor medieval
'devil' music
White noise is the simultaneous playing of all the audible frequencies of sound
Definite/Indefinite:
single frequency notes, sounds that can be hummed, are definite pitch - can produce a melody or harmony
multiple frequencies, sounds that cannot be humed, are indefinite pitch - cannot produce a melody or harmony
the sound of definite or indefinite pitch depends on the type of instrument and the way it is played
Harmony:
when two or more notes are sounded together
consonant or dissonant - pleasant and harmonious or jarring and harsh
how chords are played - can be in block, arpeggiated, broken, Alberti bass [1 -5 - 3 - 5 repeated] etc.
harmonic rhythm - progression can be fast, slow or a drone
patterns - harmonic ostinati [repeated chord patterns]
bass - many different types of bass techniques such as:
root-notes - foundation note of chord is played
alternating bass - foundation note and 5th note is played
broken chords - each note of the chord is played
walking bass - scale notes and/or broken chords are played on each beat
riff - short melodic ostinato based on the chord is played repetitively
pedal bass - bass part remains the same whilst the chords change [uses static contour]
The time may be divided up into beats or may be continual. If you cannot tap your feet to a piece of music, there is no steady pulse as it is in free time [sounds either erratic or aimless]. If you can tap your foot to the music, the time has been divided into beats giving the music a beat foundation.
Tempo - the speed of the beat
grave [very slow]
largo or lento [slow]
adagio [moderately slow]
andante [walking tempo]
allegro [fast]
vivace [lively]
presto [very fast]
prestissimo [very very fast]

The tempo may change in a piece of music
accelerando - gradually accelerates
rallentando - gradually slows down
a tempo - music returns to original tempo
rubato - tempo subtly increases and decreases
fermata - tempo momentarily pauses
allegretto [a little slower than allegro]
larghetto [a little faster than largo]
andantino [a little faster than andante]
Metre - the pattern of the beast' accents
simple - a beat can be divided by two
complex - a beat can be divided by three
duple - 2 beats in a bar
triple - 3 beats in a bar
quadruple - 4 beats in a bar
/4 - crotchet beats
/8 - quaver beats
/2 - minim beats
/16 - semiquaver beats
This is then used to create the time signature of the piece of music.
Rhythm - the organisation of the sounds and silences
note length - rhythm may be made up of short, long or a combination
rhythmic cells - short patterns of rhythm
syncopation - the expected emphasis is disturbed [similar to tripping when marching] - can be created using rests, accents and ties
ostinato - repeated pattern
anacrusis - the note/notes before the first complete bar of a phrase [taken from the last bar]
polyrhythm - when two or more different rhythms are played simultaneously
irregular divisions - triplet [3 notes played in the time of 2] in simple metre and duplet in complex metre [2 notes played in the time of 3]
cross rhythms - the simultaneous playing of contrasting divisions [pulses in 2s and pulses in 3s]
augmentation - proportionally lengthened rhythm
diminution - proportionally shortens a rhythm
composite metres - combination of dotted and dotless beats e.g. 5/8 & 7/8
hemiola - regrouping of 6 notes into 3 groups of 2 or 2 groups of 3 [illusion of change in tempo]
Hemiola - "Jack Sparrow Theme" by Hans ZImmer
An example of an interesting metre
An example of polyrhythm
Identify each instrument and/or ensemble type and its role
string orchestra
Contra-bassoon
Church choir
Agogo bells
Barbershop quartet
Cabasa
Chamber ensemble
Cor Anglais
Double bass
Electric guitar
Mbira
Shakuhachi
Triangle
Latin band
Mention the register, playing techniques and any use of electronic modification
CLASSIFICATION
Another way of describing the sound sources is to classify them according to their sound production methods. The sections include:
Cordophones: sound generated by the vibration of stretched strings [cords
Aerophones: sound is produced by the vibration of air
Membranophones: sound source is a streched vibrating membrane
Idiophones: all instruments whose own vibrating material is the sound source e.g. cymbals, guiro
Electrophones: sound is generated by means of electricity e.g. keyboards, synthesiser
The tone colour of an instrument may change when played in a lower register when compared to the sound of a higher register on the same instrument
Varies from instrument to instrument. May include:
muting
flutter-tonguing
pitch bends
glissando
using the mouthpiece alone
breathing into the instrument
multiphonics [producing two or more notes simultaneously]
arco [bowing on stringed instrument]
sul ponticello [bowing near the bridge]
tremolo [rapid bowing]
col legno [using the back of the bow]
spiccato [bouncing the bow]
martellato [heavy staccato bowing
pizzicato
'slapping' the strings
rim shot
rubbing the drum skin
use of brushes or mallets etc.
Electronic effects include:
distortion [harsh and abrasive]
wah wah [controls the frequencies that are heard]
chorus [another, slightly altered sound, is added on top]
phaser [swishing, howling wind effect]
reverb [reflected sound]
delay [echoes]
played backwards
layered over itself
looped
Describe the timbre
usually based on the sonic lustre and can therefore be:
bright [trebly, clear, sparkling, shimmering, glistening, luscious, swishing, hissing, rustling, nasal, reedy, tinny, metallic, shrill, piercing, squeling, squeaking, shrieking]
mellow [smooth, warm, rich, pleasant, soothing, gentle, hollow, velvety]
dull [bassy, deep, dark, murky, bleak, muddy, washy, wooffy]
may be based on dynamics:
loud [blaring, explosive, crashing, thunderous, clamorous, raucous, strident, rowdy, forceful, sonorous, robust, powerful]
soft [ quiet, gentle, faint, muted, subtle, muffled, whispered, stifled, subdues, hushed, weak, brittle]
could be based on duration:
long [resonant, booming, ringing, clanging, echoing, reverberating, resounding]
short [thudding, clunking, knocking, smashing, thumping, whacking, pounding, cracking, snapping, clacking, popping, ticking, clicking, crunching]
rapidly repeated [guttural, hoarse, husky, buzzing, grating, raspy, scratchy, roaring, crackling, jangling, rumbling, bubbling, fluttering, purring, murmuring, abrasive, rough, raw, harsh, trembling, quivering, wavering]
A capella choir
STRUCTURE
the sectional design of the music
When you refer to the structure of a piece of music, you examine the occurrence and organisation of sections and sub-sections within the music. These include:
OVERALL STRUCTURES
SECTIONS
SUB-SECTIONS
Binary Form
Ternary Form
Rondo Form
Theme & Variations
Additive Form
Strophic Form
Verse-Chorus Form
Continuous Structure
A
B
A
B
A
A
A
A
B
C
A
A
1
A
2
A
B
C
D
- same section with different lyrics
- the music constantly advances
- used in many pop songs
Introduction
A, B & C Sections
Verse
Pre-chorus
Chorus
Bridge
Solo/Instrumental
Coda
any musical devices which divide sections into subsections are called structural devices
these devices form patterns by creating regular divisions
always try to state their length
aspects of the other concepts that contribute to the music's character or mood
MOOD
DYNAMICS
&
A piece of music will often have aspects of unity [repeating musical idaeas] and contrast [introducing new material] created through its structure.
EXCITEMENT
ENERGY
STRENGTH
EMOTIONAL STATES
FEROCITY
MAJESTY
ELEGANCE
tranquil
calm
serene
relaxed
peaceful
exciting
exhilirating
electrifying
thrilling
glorious
regal
grand
stately
noble
joyful
contented
carefree
cheerful
happy
blissful
ecstatic
fierce
menacing
ominous
violent
aggressive
angry
brutal
weak
frail
fragile
flimsy
brittle
powerful
forceful
strong
clumsy
awkward
lumbering
cumbersome
graceful
supple
refined
poised
lethargic
lazy
sluggish
tired
leisurely
relaxed
laid-back
energetic
lively
vigorous
vivacious
vibrant
spirited
Dynamics refers to the level of volume of the music. The volume varies as a result of the intensity of the playing and the ensemble size.
Extremely loud/powerful =
fff
= forte fortissimo
Very loud/powerful =
ff
= fortissimo
Loud/strong =
f
= forte
Moderately loud/strong =
mf
= mezzo forte
Moderately soft/gentle =
mp
= mezzo piano
Soft/gentle =
p
= piano
Very soft/gentle =
pp
= pianissimo
Extremely soft/gentle =
ppp
= piano pianissimo
Becoming louder/stronger = crescendo
Becoming softer/gentler = decrescendo or diminuendo
Sudden accent/power =
sfz
= sforzando
Loud/strong the abruptly soft/gentle =
fp
= forte-piano
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