Introduction to music/Temporary

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Introduction to music[edit | edit source]

What is music? Humans have been making music since the Dawn of Time. Some of our strongest emotions may be brought on by listening to a piece of music. In this modern age, We hear music around us almost all of our waking hours, in one form or another. Most of us listen to recorded music or go to performances regularly, and some of us play a musical instrument. Prior to modern audio recording technology, music was available only in the presence of a musician, or to those who play an instrument or sing.

Musical concepts[edit | edit source]

A basic definition of what music really is (in the Western World), is the chronological organisation of sounds, that is, making certain sounds at certain times, which for the composer (writer) make sense.

The first, most basic concept, is keeping the sounds "in time". This leads us to some of the first few musical concepts; beat, rhythm and duration.

Duration is the length of a note or sound.

Rhythm is a combination of different durations.

If one duration is repeated (as with a ticking clock), the continuous repetition is known as the beat.

Music is also the relationship between sound and silence. Duration and rhythm apply to silence in the same manner as they apply to sound.

We perceive music as horizontal and vertical patterns. We hear melodies as a horizontal pattern. The notes (and silences) are heard one after the other over a period of time.

We hear chords (groups of notes played simultaneously) in a vertical pattern. A mixture of one or all of these: melody, rhythm, chords, and silence form musical patterns.

Rhythm[edit | edit source]

Rhythm is the most basic concept of music. In all cultures worldwide, the most simple and basic forms of music are purely rhythms. A rhythm is a pulse; a repetition of sounds in a pattern. Simple rhythms can be recognised straight away. Tapping rhythmically at a drum constitutes tapping it at timed intervals in a pattern. The most common rhythmic pattern in modern-day Western music is time (pronounced four-four time). This is where four pulses come one after the other, with the first of each four being given emphasis (known as an accent). Try this exercise:

  • Say the words "one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four..." etc. continously, and at even time intervals.
  • Now each time you say "one", say it slightly louder: "one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four..." etc.
  • You have just been saying the words "one", "two", "three" and "four" in time.

Melody[edit | edit source]

In music, pitch is used to describe how high or low a note sounds. Anyone would know the difference between a high-pitched scratching of fingernails across a blackboard, and the low, rumbling growl of thunder. When Maria tells the children in The Sound Of Music that "the first few notes just happen to re mi", she was referring to pitch. Using pitch, together with rhythm, we can start to construct melodies. Without rhythm, notes would just be long, sustained sounds. Without pitch, each sound would be the same (for example, the beating of a single drum).

Dynamics[edit | edit source]

In music, we use the word dynamics to describe how loudly or softly a note is played. Dynamics falls under the wider category of expressive techniques, which are instructions for the performer to play loudly of softly, smoothly or detached, and many other effects.

Timbre (tone colour)[edit | edit source]

In music, the "colour" of a sound being produced is referred to as timbre, or tone colour. Timbre is the difference between the harsh, scratchy sound of an electric guitar with distortion; the glassy, rounded sound of a piano; and the bird-like whispering sound of a flute. All these instruments could play exactly the same note, yet anyone would be able to recognise instantly an electric guitar from a piano from a flute.

Structure[edit | edit source]

Musical structure is usually defined by several things including scales and/or arpeggios , rhythm, key signature, melodic patterns, variations Etc. To keep this particular paragraph concise, all or some of the elements of music theory can be used in the structure of a musical piece. Many composers that listen to Bach are fascinated by the palindromes, variations and inversions of patterns contained in its compositional structure, most of which will never be noticed unless you plan on going through the [[[w:Musical_notation|notation]]] with a magnifying glass.

--Subnote, Colhsh: Musical Structure also refers to the overall layout of a musical work as a whole, these come in several forms the simplest form is Binary form, in which there is one section of music "A" which is then juxtaposed against a contrasting "B" section which finishes it, giving the piece an "A-B" structure. An expansion on this is ternary form which is the same as binary, except that the "A" section is repeated, making the overall structure "A-B-A"

Another musical form that was popular during the classical era is that of the Rondo form, in which there is an "A" section that is repeated throughout the work, but is interrupted by contrasting episodes, making any work in rondo form typically have the structure of "A-B-A-C-A-D-Etc."

Larger structures include "Sonata form," which was developed in the Classical Period. The "Sonata form" often is the structure of the first movement of a Sonata, Symphony, and Concerto. The Sonata form is comprised of four sections.

  • Exposition - Introduces a main theme in the tonic key, and a subordinate theme in a related key - often the dominant, or if in a minor key - the relative major.
  • Development - Develops and elaborates the themes and explores new and exciting key centers.
  • Recapitulation - Returns to the tonic key and states the main theme and subordinate theme. The subordinate theme is often reworked to stay in the tonic.
  • Coda - Concludes the piece.

Texture[edit | edit source]

Texture refers to the layering of sounds on top of each other. For example, someone might be playing chords on the guitar, while singing a song over the top. Someone else might be playing the drums. Here we can observe three "layers of sound"; the melody (the voice), the accompaniment (the guitar chords) and rhycompaniment (the drum kit).