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MU 100 - Unit 02

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Adam Torres

on 3 February 2016

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Transcript of MU 100 - Unit 02

Music is such an expansive field, covering thousands of years of history in hundreds of countries with a variety of functions and purposes.
Because human nature seeks categorical opportunities, music over the years tends to be grouped into different categories, or “genres”

– a broad style or category of music. This can be defined as a rather specific type of music (hip hop) or a style that is rather broad (country).
The Infinite Varieties of Music
“Understanding the web that connects all music is integral to understanding how musical genres are constructed and influenced. For example, the blues influenced jazz. Gospel music influenced 1960s American folk music and rhythm and blues evolved into rock ‘n roll.
If we use historically important and early examples of prominent musical styles, we can trace the influences through to current musical trends.”

Music Appreciation: Listening for Success in All Music
. Dr. Michelle Stanley. Chapter 1 excerpt.
Genres as evolution
Function/Social Intent
“Overall sound”
Cultural/Regional Similarities

Two Examples of Country Music:
Try to assimilate:
What’s the same about these recordings?
What’s different?
How do we create a genre?
How we categorize music
Musical Genres and Subgenres
Keep in mind, your personal musical tastes are very narrow in scope with respect to a broader context:
Your Likes/Dislikes are not necessarily indicative of musical artistry or integrity. They are a summation of your current archetypal, cultural, and academic standards (Unit 01).
Learning to understand musical elements will help expand your musical palettes across all genres. Examples of musical elements:
melody, harmony, rhythm, dynamics, texture, tempo, and musical form (architecture)
Genres as evolution
If Dance is a large "umbrella" genre:
Techno, a subset
Electronica, a subset
Pop, a subset
House, a subset
The two Jazz videos from earlier can be divided further:
Big Band (large groups)
Jazz Combo (small groups)
Subgenres, another example
Think back to the Dvorak and Beethoven orchestral excerpts from earlier….We can further or more specifically categorize each work as such:
Dvorak: 1893.
Late Romantic Era
Beethoven: 1808.
Early Romantic Era

So while these do share a similar umbrella
genre of "classical", they are really quite
different when you start delving into the
subgenres of each work.
Also, within a genre, there are infinite possibilities for subtlety.
Think of the Kingdom-Phylum-Class-Order-Family-Genus-Species model.
Subsets within larger sets.

Musically, for example………
“Lady Gagarin” , created by FAROFF
Also, categorizing artists or songs isn’t always so simple….Fusion groups, for instance. Or this example: what genre would this fall under - what happens when pop artist Lada Gaga meets the Klezmer, a traditional Jewish Dance??
Speaking of complicating things…
“The Lighthouse’s Tale”, Nickel Creek
Sometimes categorizing artists isn’t so simple….Fusion groups, for instance.
Speaking of complicating things…
“It’s All So Quiet”, Björk
“All is Full of Love”,
Björk (1:30)
Often, a musical artist’s wealth of contributions fall under the same large scale genre
Consider one of your favorite musical artists. Are most of his/her/their songs similar to one another in format?
Experimental artists often are excluded from this generalization

Listen to these two diverse examples:
How do we create a genre?
Again, as we discern how we categorize music, listen to similarities and differences:
Instruments used
Speed (Tempo)
Date of Performance
Appeals to…?
How do we create a genre?
Listen for similarities/differences
Instruments used
Speed (Tempo)
Date of Performance/Cultural Context
Function/Purpose of the music
Similar Themes/Text
Appeals to…?
In the following two examples, consider the meaning of the two songs. Are the songs REALLY about the world ending and clocks, or do they share a common theme with a more sexual implication? What's similar with instruments used? Are the tempos (speed) similar or drastically different? Try to answer the above bullet points as you listen to these examples of
music from the pop genre.
How do we create a genre?
Sometimes it’s easy to group categories together.

Both of these excerpts could be considered "classical", most people would agree.
How do we create a genre?
“Shield for Your Eyes”, by Japanese Band Melt Banana
Contemporary Music
Heavy Metal
Subgenres, another example
A melody is horizontal (single "line" of music)
Harmony is vertical (how do simultaneously sounding musical pitches line up together?)
Harmonic progressions are combinations of chords that are strung together overtime. Often, especially in popular music, these progressions are repetitive, and will be used, over, adn over, and over...
Many songs embody similar harmonic progressions. Here's a great example of D-A-bm-f#m-G-D-G-A:

and another:

Composers can create variety by changing a melody or harmonic progression.
Theme and Variations will often utilize a harmonic progression, hints of an original melody, but the soloist (or composer) will "spice up" the solo line to show technical prowress and mastery.
Harmonic/Chord Progression
Harmony provides color underneath a melody. People often describe major chords as "happier" or "brighter", and minor chords as "darker" or "sadder".
Expect a mixture of major, minor, and other chords to all be used when listening to a musical work.

Chords are a vertical stack of pitches. A musical work can have an “overall feeling” of major or minor (for starters), even though it incorporates a variety of chord types. A single chord is a single instance of major/minor/other, but it is the progression of chords over time that create an overall feeling of major and minor. Listen to this famous example, in a minor key, and when the performer deliberately changes the overall feeling to major to inform the listener of what the piece would sound like with the same melody but in a major key.
Key areas
There are only seven notes in the Musical Alphabet. When ascending in pitch, pitches step up letter by letter, then repeat:
A B C D E F G (A B C…)
When descending in pitch, we can step backwards (G F E D C B A G, etc...). Each "white key" on a piano is a letter
Each of these notes can be adjusted to go slightly higher or
lower (sharps/flats, aka "the black keys"). For MU 100
purposes, a theoretical understanding of this is sufficient.

With regards to harmony, Western Music is mostly based off triads, or chords.
Please note this is a generalization, but it does apply to a majority of the music you probably listen to on a regular basis!
The Musical Alphabet
“The concurrent use of multiple pitches to create chords that support the melody” (Stanley, Chapter 2).
If a melody is horizontal, harmony is vertical.
Let’s dive deeper…..

DISCLAIMER: Please note the following slides are a simplification of chord construction for a theoretical understanding for MU100 purposes. You do not need to memorize the following material. A theoretical and basic understanding of how harmony is conceived in Western civilization is perfectly sufficient.
At its simplest, a melody is “how the song goes”. It's what you sing along to in the shower, at karaoke, in the car, etc.
In popular music, this is easy to identify, as the melody is generally given to the lead singer. A well balanced musical ensemble is extremely sensitive that the "melody" is at the forefront of the musical texture.
A brief aside: When writing about music, the term "song" refers to music specifically with lyrics. Don’t refer to instrumental music as “songs”. Use terms such as "piece", "work", etc.
In “classical” music, art songs, generally written for solo voice and piano, are easy to identify melody as well.

“Melody – a series of pitches that make up a recognizable
line” (Stanley, chapter 2).
Are derivatives of pitch….What is pitch?
Higher/Lower auditory perception, more or less related to specific frequencies
Orchestras tune at an “A” 440 Hz, meaning the sine wave cycles 440 times a second to produce an exact note. The next highest “A” will vibrate at 880 Hz.
If a pitch remains steady, the cycles per second (Herz) remains constant
As you go “higher”, the cycles per second increases
As you go “lower”, the cycles per second decrease
Melody and Harmony….
Genres and Subgenres
Melody and Harmony
Tempo and Rhythm
Meter, Dynamics, Articulation

Elements in Western Music
Major chords (three pitches) - the "tonic" chord is the chord that feels like we've arrived "home". If the arrival/home chord is major, we are in a major key.
Minor chords (The difference is in the middle voice, or the "third" above fundamental root).
Diminished/Augmented/Seventh chords (etc. - we won't worry about these)

These BY NO MEANS are an exhaustive list. They are just a small sample size as an example of types of basic harmony. See RamCT Unit 2 folder for more guided information.
Common Chord Types
Mozart – Piano Sonata No. 16 in C Major, K. 545, First Movement.
First Melody (“Theme” A) 0:00
Second Melody (“Theme” B) 0:28
notice a change in character as well
Then repeats @0:58
Just like popular Verse/Chorus, but without words
Most musical works have more than one melodic section, or "theme area"
In popular music:
Verses – same melody, but different text each verse…”Strophic”)
Chorus – new melody from the verse, same melody and text for subsequent choruses
Bridge - a separate musical section with a unique melody and unique lyrics (transition)
Interlude - Often Instrumental only, serve as transitions between musical sections
Coda - a "tag" ending at the end of a song
“The Great Escape” – Boys Like Girls
Introduction – Verse – Chorus + tag [coda] – Verse – Chorus – Bridge – Instrumental Interlude – Chorus x3 + tag [coda]
Most musical works use melody in “sections”
Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1, first movement
Melody begins in the Strings
Then it transfers over (slightly modified) to the piano
Notice the character change of the melody.
With the strings, it is connected, flowing, beautiful. It is silky and song-like.
With the piano, the modified melody has more crispness, it is more rhythmic and flashy. This is to show off the skills of the pianist.
Notice at 1:35, there are fragments of the melody that seem to occur, but the melody is not complete. More on this later!
Melodies don’t need words
Instruments can also have melodies
“Fly me to the Moon”, as performed by Frank Sinatra
Excerpt #1 – Sinatra sings (verse) @0:08
Excerpt #2 – Jazz Band plays melody @1:12
First Trumpets
Then Saxophones
Does the flute play the “melody” @1:33? Not quite.
It is melodic, but not the main melody.
We call this a countermelody.
Melodies don’t need words
Even outside of popular music, sometimes it’s very easy to hear the melody.
“Der Jüngling an der Quelle”, Franz Schubert, D.300 (Art Song)
Piano imitates flowing water (youth by the spring)

“Un bel di, vedremo” from Madama Butterfly, Giacomo Puccini (Opera)
If you listen carefully, the melody is also played by certain members of the orchestra
Easy melodies to identify
“I Want to Hold Your Hand” from
Across the Universe
Bass isn’t a melody (stagnant) – singer begins melody at verse after introduction

“One Song Glory” from
Guitar has melody in introduction, then singer at verse
Easy Melodies to Identify
What is pitch?...ctd.
Any frequency is a pitch. 442, 29.3, etc.
Throughout Western History, we have narrowed down the infinite possibility of pitches into a finite category that we use in our music.
7 letter names (A,B,C,D,E,F,G) and 12 pitch classes
Repeated at higher or lower "octaves" (that is, the exact 2:1 frequency ratio higher, and higher, and higher. A piano ranges from 27.5 Hz (lowest "A") to over 4100 Hz (highest "C")!
Melody and Harmony….
The Musical Alphabet
A chord is a series of at least three [implied] pitches, a skip away/at every other note
(e.g. C-E-G, or F-A-C).

A B C D E F G A B C…

For Western music, triads are the basis for harmony. We will listen to some very common examples that occur and then look at harmony in context.
Dynamics are RELATIVE to the instrumentation and context of the musical work. They are not representative of a raw decibel level, but are comparative terms within any given piece.
For example, a single banjo forte (loud) has a much smaller decibel level than a full symphony orchestra playing piano (soft).
One can go farther to say that a Mozart piano (soft) yields different expectations than a John Williams (of
Star Wars
fame) piano
Dynamics are a color or effect, moreso than a raw decibel level, and are another example of musical contrast
Dynamics – some thoughts
5/4 Time
Less fluid (feels like an extra beat)
A famous example of 5/4 time is in “Mars, the Bringer of War” from
The Planets
1-la-le 2 3 4 -& 5

Other Meters
There are a wide variety of meters in existence outside of these. Sometimes, composers will compose pieces with NO meter. Sometimes composers will compose pieces with meters that change throughout the work (mixed meter).

In popular music, 4/4 is the most common time signature. 4 beat
groupings provides a symmetry that works well with common rhyme
schemes and is an established part of our cultural heritage.
Examples of Meter
Density is a measure of mass in a given volume.
Assuming mass size remains the same, as volume increases, density decreases.
Similarly, as volume decreases, density increases.
Assuming volume remains the same, as mass increases, density increases.
Similarly, as mass decreases, density decreases.
This is a direct parallel with rhythm. Because rhythmic activity is a measure of density, we must have parameters from which to define density.
Constraining Rhythm - Tempo
Rhythm, Tempo, Dynamics and Articulation
Western Musical Components
Articulation is musical inflection. Just as dynamics help shape contour of sections of music, articulations offer shape to musical melodies, countermelodies, and so on.
Some examples of articulations:
Staccato – separated (not short)
Legato – connected
Accented – emphasized
Per our discussions with genres, keep in mind these are generalizations. There are infinite varieties within articulation (think subgenres within genres).
Contrast of Inflection - Articulation
Dynamics as a state of being (nouns)
Represent a character or mood which remains stagnant
Pianissimo, piano, mezzo-piano, mezzo-forte, forte, and fortissimo are all examples of “noun” dynamics.
Dynamics as motion (verbs). This is where the volume changes!
Crescendo: to get louder (builds momentum)
Decrescendo: to get softer
Terraced Dynamics: Sudden changes of dynamic volume
Technically this a “noun” with regards to grammar, but it does imply an action or change of dynamic. In that spirit, we group terraced dynamics with action dynamics.
Static Dynamics (nouns) and Active Dynamics (verbs)
One obvious way to provide contrast in a musical work is by differentiating volumes. The technical term for this is “dynamics”, which is a character of sound.

“Dynamics –the volume of music” (Stanley, Chapter 2).
Contrast of Volume - Dynamics

Now that we have explored pitch (melody, harmony) and motion (rhythm, tempo, and meter), let’s look at a few more elements that offer contrast in music.
Pitch, Motion, and Contrast
Meter provides consistency (or inconsistency) for a musical work. Western traditional notation dictates meter as such:
If you listen closely, over time, you will start to notice that beats are often grouped together. The most common grouping in popular music are in groups of 4, and the second most popular grouping are in sets of three. There is often an emphasis on the first beat in every group, much like spoken text:

Strawberry, Blueberry, Pineapple - emphasis in three
Student Council, Music Classes, Colorado - emphasis in fours

Hearing these beat groupings helps you categorize tempo into
Rhythm and Tempo: Meter

4 beats

2 beats

1 beat

1/2 beat

1/4 beat

1/8 beat
The Rhythm Tree
A “metronome” can be used for tempo reference.
Smart phones often have free metronome apps available where you can tap the beat to get a relative tempo speed. USEFUL FOR CONCERT REVIEWS!
Measuring Tempo
Tempo refers to an overall feeling of a musical idea or section. If you are hearing drastic tempo changes every second or so, you are probably hearing rhythm.
With that said…
Sometimes tempo DOES intentionally fluctuate…..
Ritardando – to gradually get slower
Accelerando – to gradually get faster.


Does the excerpt above acclerando or ritardando? Notice that musical time seems to freeze at :48. This is another device, known as a fermata (the beat is temporarily frozen/held in time until it is released by an artist).
Stationary Tempo and Tempo Fluctuation
Tempo is relative, and measured in beats per minute (bpm). A list of common musical tempos follows:
“Rhythm – the flow of music through time” (Stanley, Chapter 2).
Composite collection of definite and/or indefinite pitches
Definite pitch – has a discernible frequency to our ears
Melodic-based instruments (e.g. piano, violin, guitar, etc.)
Indefinite pitch –
Many percussive sounds (e.g. bass drum, snare drum, etc.)
Every time a sound is articulated, it is a different note. If you clapped along with every sound heard, this is the rhythm.
Motion, Part 1: Rhythm
Duration of sound/silence
How long does each pitch last?
How fast is the overall speed of a musical work?
How loud or soft is each pitch?
Is there inflection, as with speech?
So we have a pitch……What next?
Other academic/cultural expectations that help define music?
Speed (Tempo)
Loud/Soft (Dynamics)
Length/Emphasis (Articulation)
Pitch is only part one of the musical equation in musical construction…..
There are a variety of meters. Here are a few examples:

3/4 time (3 beats per measure, quarter note is the beat)
Boom-Chuck-Chuck (For example, almost ALL waltzes)

6/8 time sounds an awful lot like 3/4 time, because it is 2 big beats (and each beat is divided into 3).
Examples of Meter
In Western Music, the tempo sets the pulse. From there, musical pitches can last longer (or shorter than) the beat.
Some notes get one beat (the exact tempo). "We will, We will" from the "We Will Rock You" chorus is an example of this. http://adamatorres.net/MU100/Week02/Queen2.mp3
You could divide the beat into two notes per beat. The words "Rock You" from the chorus above is an example of this.
You could divide the beat into three notes per beat.
You could play a note every two beats.
For MU 100 purposes, here is an oversimplified example of rhythmic notation:
Rhythm within Tempo
Just like melodies, countermelodies, and harmony, rhythm can be superimposed; rhythms are generally multi-layered, resulting in complex music.
“Everytime We Touch”, performed by Cascada
Bass and Lead Singer: two different rhythms
Bass, steady rhythm, stagnant in Verse
Lead singer rhythm is sparse
Then drums come in, also very sparse


At Chorus, rhythmic activity becomes more complex. (Sectional Contrast, just like different melodic sections!)
Bass Drum very active, pushes song forward with drums
More Rhythmic activity from the lead singer as well!

Rhythm, continued
Tap along with this familiar rhythm, here with indefinite pitched drums.
short-short-LONG, short-short-LONG

Now tapping along to the rhythm of the words of the chorus (lyrics: "We Will, We Will, Rock You")

Notice the first rhythm continues in the background. You should be tapping LONG – LONG – LONG – LONG – short-short (space) -
Switch back to the Background Rhythm
short-short LONG short-short LONG
Rhythmic Example
Just like pitch, which is measured in frequency Hz (cycles per second), tempo can be accurately measured as well.
A tempo, or steady beat, is generally measured in beats per minute.
A tempo that changes beats every second
has a measured tempo of 60 bpm.
Measuring Tempo
“Tempo – the speed of music” (Stanley, chapter 2).
Tempo is pacing over time. It is what defines rhythm, which fluctuates within a steady tempo. Think of tempo as a steady time interval loop. Most often, it is steady.
Listen to the overall speed of the previous song and clap with the “beat”. Your clapping should be steady.
| | | | - | | | | - | | | |
Note that the song didn’t become “faster” at the chorus because the tempo (the volume) remained the same.
When you listen to the totality of several layers of rhythm, the overall combination is known as the "composite rhythm". When talking about rhythm, try to think of rhythm as a type of density. Sometimes, a rhythm can be sparse.

0:00 and 3:00

Sometimes, rhythm density can be dense and complicated. In the second example, the composite rhythm of an entire band is overly saturated. Start at 11:50 (about 70% through, where the marching ensemble enters).
Rhythm, continued
4/4 time is the most common “time signature”. The pulse is grouped into 4 beat groups.
Let’s go back to Cascada. The lyrics reinforce this notion of 4/4 time: listen for emphasis of strong beats (first beats of every grouping), then count to see the meter. cause every time we
, I get this
ing, and every time we
, I swear I could
. Can't you hear my
beat fast, I
this to last.
you by my side...


And now back to Queen. Also 4/4 Time (not a surprise, most pop music is in 4/4). In this example, I have used | to differentiate beat groupings.
We will, we will | ROCK YOU. | We will, we will | ROCK YOU.
L L L L | S S (rest) | L L L L | S S (rest)
Examples of Meter
"Corner Pocket", performed
by the Count Basie Band
"How High the Moon", performed
by Charlie Parker
4th Movement of Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 in e minor, New World
4th movement of Symphony No. 5 in c minor, Ludwig van Beethoven.
There are infinite possibilities for classification.
As subgenres become more focused, musical works become more stylized and similar to other pieces in the same level of classification
Again, the idea is to organize infinite possibilities of music into categories.We can then try to impose our perceptions of musical function in our overall understanding of the musical idiom.
For more information about "pitch", please visit http://library.thinkquest.org/27110/noframes/theory/lesson2.html
The difference between major and minor can be difficult to hear at times, and it is often difficult to discern a single major/minor chord versus an overall harmonic mode of major/minor, as chords are used interchangibly in a functional manner to create an overall sense of tonality. For every pitch class (ABCDEFG, plus the "sharp/flat" notes, or every key on the piano), there is a set major and minor "key". This is why we say a piece is in a minor "key" or major "key". You will often read art music labeled by key area. Review this presentation for several examples of this.
A few thoughts:
Notice the proportional relationships. Rhythm is simply the use of these proportional relationships with regards to the overall tempo (musical beat).
Because meter is an expression of strong beat emphasis and groupings, 6/8 is different than 3/4. Mathematically, these fractions are the same, and can be juxtaposed in a cool way. The second example of 6/8 meters shows an introduction in 6/8 time. At :47, Greensleves is incorporated. Greensleeves relies on 3 big beats in subdivisions of 2 (as opposed to 2 big beats in subdivisions of 3).
The Venture Bros Likes 5/4 also!
What makes musical artists or composers great? It's simple, really. The ability to manipulate musical elements (whether notated or "interpreted" by a performer) into a way that provides emphasis or context to a work's meaning is a
sign of true artistry. As you begin to listen over
the semester, try to figure out how performers
are incorporating these elements.
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