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Unformatted text preview: 1 CHAPTER 1 THE ELEMENTS OF MUSIC You are embarking on an adventure through musical time, and this journey will be more pleasurable if you first become familiar with some basic musical concepts. Keep in mind that most new experiences require some initial adjustment and insight. The process is similar to visiting a distant country for the first time: You are instantly immersed in a different culture and surrounded by people who speak an unusual language or follow unfamiliar customs. This new experience could be either very exciting—or quite unbearable—depending on your perspective. If you were not prepared for this journey, your naive responses and actions might bring you embarrassment or instill the anger of others. Worst of all, you would get very little from a potentially rewarding experience. These new ideas will be introduced gradually, systematically and actively, so for now, focus on learning the fundamental elements of music and their related terms Listen carefully for these aspects in the music you hear, and—in time—you will attain a heightened understanding that will open your ears, mind and soul to the deeper levels of musical thought. ELEMENT Basic Related Terms Rhythm : (beat, meter, tempo, syncopation) Dynamics : (forte, piano, [etc.], crescendo, decrescendo) Melody : (pitch, theme, conjunct, disjunct) Harmony : (chord, progression, consonance, dissonance, key, tonality, atonality) Tone color : (register, range, instrumentation) Texture : (monophonic, homophonic, polyphonic, imitation, counterpoint) Form : (binary, ternary, strophic, through-composed) CHAPTER 1: The Elements of Music 2 RHYTHM Rhythm is the element of "TIME" in music. When you tap your foot to the music, you are "keeping the beat " or following the structural rhythmic pulse of the music. There are several important aspects of rhythm: • DURATION : how long a sound (or silence) lasts. • TEMPO : the speed of the BEAT. (Note: Tempo indications are often designated by Italian terms): Largo = "large" or labored (slow) Adagio = slow Andante = steady "walking" tempo Moderato = moderate Allegro = fast ("happy") Presto = very fast <——————————SLOWER FASTER——————————> Largo Adagio Andante Moderato Allegro Presto Beats per minute 40-65 66-75 76-107 108-119 120-167 168-208 NOTE: These tempos are not specific—but RELATIVE to each other. • METER : Beats organized into recognizable/recurring accent patterns. Meter can be seen/felt through the standard patterns used by conductors. Other basic terms relating to Rhythm are: Syncopation : an "off-the-beat" accent (between the counted numbers) Ritardando : gradually SLOWING DOWN the tempo Accelerando : gradually SPEEDING UP the tempo Rubato : freely and expressively making subtle changes in the tempo....
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- Spring '08
- Music, Georg Frederic Handel