The Basic Elements of Music

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The Basic Elements of Music

  1. 3. Combining time and pitch
    1. 3.3 An Introduction to Counterpoint
    2. 3.7 Form in Music
      1. Some Common Forms
        1. Common forms
        2. Common forms
        3. Common forms
      2. 3.7.2 Describing Form
        1. Figure 3.8: Some familiar forms (part 1)
        2. Exercise 3.7.1 and 3.7.2
          1. Listen for:
          2. Solution to Exercise 3.7.1
          3. Figure 3.9
          4. Exercise 3.7.2
        3. 3.7.2.2 Naming Forms
        4. 3.7.2.1 Labelling Form With Letters
        5. Other kinds of music are also so likely to follow a particular overall plan that they have become associated with a particular form. You can hear musicians talk about something being concerto form or sonata form, for example (even if the piece is not technically a concerto or sonata). Particular dances (a minuet, for example), besides having a set tempo and time signature, will sometimes have a set form that suits the dance steps. And many marches are similar enough in form that there are names for the expected sections (first strain, second strain, trio, break strain).
        6. Figure 3.8: Some familiar forms (part2)
      3. 3.6 Music Form Activities
        1. 3.6.3 Activity 2: Refrains
          1. Materials and Preparation
          2. Procedure
        2. 3.6.5 General Discussion of Form in the Arts
        3. 3.6.4 Further Practice With Form
        4. 3.6.2 Activity 1: Verses
          1. Procedure
          2. Materials and Preparation
    3. 3.1 The Textures of Music
      1. 3.2 A Musical Textures Activity
        1. Goals and Assessment
        2. Procedure
        3. .
        4. Figure 3.1 (part 1)
        5. Figure 3.1 (part 2)
        6. Materials and Preparation
        7. 3.2.1 Suggested Music
          1. Homophony
          2. Heterophony
          3. Polyphony
          4. Monophony
      2. 3.1.2 Terms that Describe Texture
        1. 3.1.2.2 Homophonic
        2. 3.1.2.4 Heterophonic
        3. 3.1.2.3 Polyphonic
        4. 3.1.2.1 Monophonic
    4. Counterpoint Activities
      1. 3.4 Counterpoint Activities: Listening and Discussion
        1. Goals and Requirements
        2. Suggestions: Music that is not Contrapuntal
        3. Materials and Preparation
        4. Procedure
      2. 3.5 Counterpoint Activities: Singing Rounds
        1. 3.5.2 Rounds
        2. Procedure
        3. Goals and Requirements
  2. 2. Pitch element
    1. 2.1 Timbre
      1. 2.1.1
      2. 2.1.2 Timbre Activities
        1. 2.1.2.3 Adaptations and Extensions
        2. 2.1.2.1 Class Discussion and Demonstration of Color
          1. Materials and Preparation
          2. Procedure
        3. 2.1.2.4 Other Suggestions for Exploring Color
        4. 2.1.2.2 Color Activities
          1. Activities
          2. Materials and Preparation
      3. The human ear and brain are capable of hearing and appreciating very small variations in timbre. A listener can hear not only the difference between an oboe and a flute, but also the difference between two different oboes. The general sound that one would expect of a type of instrument - a trombone for example - is usually called its timbre or color. Variations in timbre between specific instruments - two different trombones, for example, or two different trombone players, or the same trombone player using different types of sound in different pieces - may be called differences in timbre or color, or may be called differences in tone or in tone quality. Tone quality may refer specifically to "quality", as when a young trombonist is encouraged to have a "fuller" or "more focused" tone quality, or it can refer neutrally to differences in sound, as when an orchestral trombonist is asked to play with a "brassy" tone quality in one passage and a "mellow" tone quality in another.
      4. Describing Timbre
    2. 2.3 Harmony
      1. 2.3.5 Independent Harmonies
        1. Independent harmonies are not quite counterpoint. In order to be considered true counterpoint or polyphony, the different parts must be not only independent, they must also sound like equally important melodies. Is there always a very clear line between independent harmony and counterpoint? No! Remember that all of the rules and definitions in music theory ("counterpoint", "harmony", "minor keys") were all made up to describe what good composers were already doing; they do not define what a composer is allowed to do. If the composer - or performer - likes, an independent line can easily drift back and forth between being a background, harmony part, and being so important that it becomes a countermelody.
        2. 2.3.5.2 Activities
          1. Procedure
          2. Figure 2.19
          3. Suggested Listening List
          4. .
        3. But in much classical and popular music, there is one line that is clearly the melody. The harmonies or accompaniment parts are all clearly "background", but they still follow most of the important rules of counterpoint. The most important rule of counterpoint is that two lines should not move in parallel. In other words, when the melody goes down one step, the harmony should do something other than going down one step; it can go down by a different interval 117 , or stay the same, but it is best if it goes up. When the melody goes up a perfect fourth, the harmony should do anything other than go up a perfect fourth. Independent harmonies also follow this rule.
      2. 2.3.1 Definitions
        1. Harmonic Analysis
        2. Harmony Textures
        3. Accompaniment
        4. Chords
      3. 2.3.4 Parallel Harmonies
        1. 2.3.4.2 Activities
          1. Performance Notes for "Get on Board"
            1. Figure 2.17 (part 1)
            2. Figure 2.18 (part 1)
            3. Figure 2.17 (part 2)
            4. Figure 2.18 (part 2)
          2. Procedure
          3. Materials and Preparation
          4. Performance Notes for "Rio Grand"
            1. Figure 2.15 (part 2)
            2. Figure 2.16 (part 2)
            3. Figure 2.16 (part 1)
            4. Figure 2.15 (part 1)
          5. 2.3.4.3 Listening Suggestions
      4. 2.3.3 Simple Chordal Harmony
        1. Figure 2.14 (a)
        2. Procedure
        3. 2.3.3.3 Listening Suggestions
        4. 2.3.3.2 Activities
        5. Figure 2.14 (b)
      5. 2.3.2 Harmony with Drones
        1. Performance Notes for "Get on Board"
          1. Figure 2.10 (part 1)
          2. Figure 2.11 (part 1)
          3. Figure 2.10 (part 2)
          4. Figure 2.11 (part 2)
        2. Materials and Preparation
        3. Goals and Standards
        4. Procedure
        5. Performance Notes for "Rio Grand"
          1. Figure 2.12 (part 1)
          2. Figure 2.13 (part 1)
          3. Figure 2.12 (part 2)
          4. Figure 2.13 (part 2)
    3. 2.2 Melody
      1. 2.2.1.4 Melodic Phrases
        1. The Riddle Song
        2. 2.2.4 Melodic Phrases Activities
          1. 2.2.4.3 Parallels Between Language and Musical Phrasing
            1. Materials and Preparation
            2. Procedure
          2. 2.2.4.1 Phrases in Songs
            1. Materials and Preparation
            2. Figure 2.3: The Riddle Song
            3. Procedure
          3. 2.2.4.4 Suggested Music
          4. 2.2.4.2 Phrases in Instrumental Music
            1. Procedure
            2. Materials and Preparation
        3. The Easy Winners
        4. Auld Lang Syne
      2. 2.2.1.3 Melodic Motion
      3. 2.2.1.2 The Shape or Contour of a Melody
        1. Materials and Preparation
        2. Goals and Assessment
        3. 2.2.3 The Shape of a Melody Activity
        4. Figure 2.8
        5. Extend
          1. Dance
          2. Language arts
          3. Visual Arts
        6. Procedure
        7. Figure 2.9: Melodic Shape Example
      4. 2.2.1.5 Motif
        1. 2.2.5 Theme and Motif in Music
          1. 2.2.5.1 Motifs
            1. Materials and Preparation
            2. Some Easy-to-Find Music Based on Motives
            3. Procedure
          2. 2.2.5.3 Opera Motifs
            1. Materials and Preparation
            2. Procedure
          3. 2.2.5.2 Melodic Themes and Movies
            1. Procedure
            2. Materials and Preparation
          4. 2.2.5.4 Composing and Improvising using Motifs
            1. Materials and Preparation
            2. Procedure
        2. Leitmotif
      5. 2.2.1.7 Themes
      6. 2.2.1.6 Melodies in Counterpoint
        1. 2.2.2 A Melody Activity
        2. Materials and Preparation
        3. Procedure
  3. 1. Time elements
    1. 1.1 Rhythm
      1. Beat
      2. Syncopation
      3. Rhythm Section
      4. Rhythm
      5. Measure or bar
      6. 1.2 Simple Rhythm Activities
        1. Goals and Standards
        2. 1.2.3 Activity 3: No Karaoke Percussion
          1. Materials and Preparation
          2. Procedure
        3. 1.2.1 Activity 1: Rhythm Imitations
          1. Variations
          2. Procedure
          3. Materials and Preparation
        4. 1.2.2 Activity 2: Karaoke Percussion
          1. Procedure
          2. Materials and Preparation
    2. 1.7.2 Accents
      1. 1.9 A Musical Accent Activity
        1. Figure 1.7 (part 1)
        2. Materials and Preparation
        3. Goals and Evaluation
          1. .
        4. Procedure
        5. Figure 1.7 (part 2)
    3. 1.7.1 Dynamics
      1. Typical Dynamic Markings
      2. Gradual Dynamic Markings
      3. When a composer writes a forte into a part, followed by a piano, the intent is for the music to be loud, and then suddenly quiet. If the composer wants the change from one dynamic level to another to be gradual, different markings are added. A crescendo (pronounced "cresh-EN-doe") means "gradually get louder"; a decrescendo or diminuendo means "gradually get quieter".
      4. 1.8 A Musical Dynamics Activity
        1. Procedure
        2. Goals and Standards
        3. .
        4. Materials and Preparation
    4. 1.3 Meter
      1. Figure 1.1
      2. 1.4 Musical Meter Activities
        1. 1.4.4 Dance with Meter
          1. Materials and Preparation
          2. Procedure
        2. 1.4.2 Listen for Meter
          1. Materials and Preparation
          2. Procedure
        3. 1.4.5 Recognize Meter in Time Signatures
          1. Procedure
        4. 1.4.3 Sing with Meter
          1. Procedure
          2. Suggested Simple Songs to Sing
          3. Materials and Preparation
      3. 1.3.3 Recognizing Meters
      4. 1.3.2 Classifying Meters
    5. 1.5 Tempo
      1. 1.5.1 Metronome Markings
      2. 1.5.3 Gradual Tempo Changes
        1. Gradual Tempo Changes
      3. 1.5.2 Tempo Terms
        1. Some Common Tempo Markings
        2. Some Common Tempo Markings
        3. Some Common Tempo Markings
        4. More useful Italian
        5. Exercise 1.5.1
          1. Solution to Exercise 1.5.1
      4. 1.6 A Tempo Activity
        1. Materials and Preparation
        2. Activity Extensions for Advanced Students
        3. Procedure
        4. .
  4. The Basic Elements of Music
  5. How to navigate this document
by Olga K
About this document
Explanations of the basic elements of music, with suggested activities for introducing each concept to children at early elementary school level. The course may be used by instructors not trained in music; all necessary definitions are included.
Published on 4 Nov 2015
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