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Musicology Lecture 3: How The Elements Of Music Impact Form

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Paul Carr

on 15 February 2011

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Transcript of Musicology Lecture 3: How The Elements Of Music Impact Form

Examples of Regular Form How Do The Elements Of Music Impact Form? Irregular Sections The vast majority of popular music has a specific structure.
Common terminologies we use in popular music include Introduction, Verse, Chorus, and Middle Section/Bridge.
Most popular music consists of 2 or 4 bar phrases, so the sections are often divided into 8 or 16 bars. For Example:
Listen out for music that does not fit with this structure. For Example Sections usually contrast with one another melodically to sustain interest, but also harmonically, texturally, lyrically, dynamically and rhythmically (or any other ‘element’).
Listen to this example. How do these factors change? How Rhythm Can Delineate Form? Look for changes of harmony between sections. Although most use different harmonies between verse and chorus, others use the same. For example:
How Can Melody Determine Form? How Instrumentation/Texture Can Determine Form? Note how the last example consists of only one section, so variety of texture is vital)
Some General Points: Discussing Texture/Timbre Specifically Listen closely for the relationships between instruments in terms of:
Frequency (High – Low)
Depth/Distance (amount of ambience)
Stereo Spectrum (Left – Right). Does it change? Do these changes help evoke the mood of the music?
General Volume
Is there any double tracking?
Use of effects) (compression, delay, chorus, etc)
Use of EQ?
Is the texture homophonic or Polyphonic?
How does the texture relate to the lyrics and the emotion of the piece (Texture can be ‘physical’ and ‘rhetorical’)?
How do the individual parts relate to the whole mix? Example of Texture Relating to the Lyrics and/or Title Specific sounds can immediately inform the listener of who an artist is, and or what a style or tradition is.
Try and examine the nature of the individual sound.
For example with distortion:
What type of distortion is it?
How is it manufactured?
How does this relate to the style and authenticity of the artist? Ask how sounds can relate to a change of style Or a specific time or place. For example How can sounds allude to other styles (what Tagg calls a ‘Genre Synecdoche’)
For example:
Distortion in Jazz
Violin in Rock
Harpsichord in Rock (The Beatles)
Electric instruments in Jazz or Folk
Polyrhythm General (Somewhat Obvious) Points About Sections Introduction: content usually used somewhere else in the song. Not always incorporated, but always introduces the song.
Verse: Recurrent harmonic pattern, but different text and texture etc. Usually occurs after the introduction, but sometimes chorus can occur before it (Example “I Shot the Sheriff”, “Rock and Roll Music”)
Chorus: Usually a recurrent harmonic and lyrical pattern.
Refrain: Not a distinct section, but part of a verse or chorus.
Can end or start a section. Consists of a repeated subsection, often with same lyrics. For Example:
“I Saw Her Standing There”: The Beatles (After Verse)
God Only Knows: The Beach Boys: (note how refrain repeats at end)
Bridge: Connects two other sections.Normally occurs once, if twice, usually has same text.Sometimes called the ‘Middle 8’.
Bridges can be instrumental: “Nights in White Satin”
Outro: Content usually derives from elsewhere in the song. Always ends song. How Can Metre Determine Form?
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