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The 8 Elements

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on 13 January 2015

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Transcript of The 8 Elements

The 8 Elements
of Music

Melody is a single line of notes heard in succession as a coherent unit. A melody has shape, moving up or down in ways that capture and hold our attention
over a span of time.
The time
Rhythm is the ordering of music through time.
Not all music has a melody, but all music has rhythm. Rhythm can operate at many levels, from a repetitive, underlying pulse or beat to rapidly changing patterns of longer and shorter sounds.
Supporting the Melody
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.
Thick and Thin
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).
The Color of Music
Timbre is the character of a sound. The same melody sounds very different when performed by different instruments.
Loud and Soft
The same music can be performed at varying degrees of volume, from very soft to very loud.
Dynamics determine the volume of a given
work or passage in a work of music.
The Architecture of Music
A melody is usually too short to constitute a complete work of music. Melodies can be repeated, varied, or contrasted with a different melody. The way in which these subunits are put together - the structure of the whole -
is musical form.
Word-Music Relationships
How Words Shape What We Hear
Consider the relationship of the words to the music. How does the music capture the spirit and meaning of the text?
The Tune
one single melodic line with no accompaniment

A single melodic line with accompaniment
Melody stands out above accompaniment

Multiple melodies of equal importance

Chord/Triad: three or more notes sounding simultaneously

A melody can be harmonized (using chords) in more than one way

Meter is the underlying pattern of beats. It can be duple or triple, meaning the beats are organized into groups of either two or three beats.

To help you determine the meter, tap your foot and determine how far apart the strong beats are spaced. Are they two, three, or four counts apart?

The Star Spangled Banner is written in triple meter.
Here's a version in duple meter (a march!)
Long and short notes add variety, but still work within the framework
of the underlying meter.

Melody: a single line of notes heard in succession
as a unit

Phrases: music often mimics speech, with incomplete and complete sentences

Cadences are points of arrival, where the melody comes to rest. Cadences often correspond with where a speaker would pause to take a breath.

Contour: upward or downward movement, or both

Conjunct vs. disjunct motion
Timbre is what makes instruments and voices sound different from one another.
Name that Timbre: 3 videos exploring the timbres of various orchestral instruments
We use Italian terms to refer to dynamics in music

pp - p - mp - mf - f - ff
crescendo, decrescendo
We describe the form of a piece using letters: A, B, C, D, etc., with a letter for each new section

Common forms: ABA, AABB, ABACADAEA
We mostly use this category when we listen to music with words. Do certain words shape the sound of the music?

Word painting (or text painting):
Full transcript