Music in Society Review Sheet
Acoustics- the science of sound and the physical basis of music.
Elements of music:
All sounds have pitch, duration, loudness, and tone quality- combining these
elements can result in the musical characteristics of melody, harmony, and
Music can be characterized by its texture and form.
Pitch- a single perceived note.
Register- an area of the sound spectrum- high, middle, or low; e.g.: we can’t
perceive the pitch of a triangle; we can perceive its register.
Although we identify the frequency of vibrations as fast or slow, we identify
pitches as well as pitch areas (registers) as high or low: the faster the frequency,
the higher the pitch; the slower the frequency, the lower the pitch.
White sound/ white noise- the entire range of frequencies sounding at once; e.g.:
static on a radio, waterfall, etc.
Duple meter- 2 beats; STRONG, weak, STRONG, weak.
Triple meter- STRONG, weak, weak, STRONG, weak, weak.
Nonmetric music- music without a pulse, with a weak pulse, or an irregular pulse.
Mixed meter- music that has a clear pulse, but the strong beats occur in different
patterns; e.g.: STRONG, weak, STRONG, weak, weak, STRONG, weak.
Downbeat- the 1
beat of each bar.
Dynamics- the loudness or softness of music.
Accent- achieved by increasing the intensity (increased stress or emphasis) on a
single note or chord, “>” above a number represents an accented tone.
Tempo- rate of speed.
Timbre- distinctive tone qualities of all sound-producing devices; e.g.: a flute
sounds different sounds different than a clarinet, a man sounds different than a
Idiophone- instruments whose basic material of construction is the sound-producing
agent (e.g.: rattles, metal or wooden bells and gongs, shells, log drums, clay pot drums,
xylophones, and mbiras).
Membranophone- drums with head of stretched skin; different shapes/ sizes- skin can be
on both ends, if there’s only skin on 1 end, the opposite end can either be open or closed,
etc.; played with sticks, hands, or a combination of the 2; common technique involves
manipulation and alteration of fingers, thumbs, and heel of the hands.
Chordophone- stringed instruments; various shapes and sizes; most African stringed
instruments are plucked rather than bowed; includes lutes, zithers, harps, and fiddles.
Aerophone- wind instruments; made of wood, ivory, or animal horn; usually no finger
holes or valves; includes natural horns, trumpets, vertical and horizontal flutes, and reed