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chapter7 - Physics 1240 Hall Chapter 7 Notes 1 Focus...

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Physics 1240 Hall Chapter 7 Notes 1 Focus questions and learning goals Chapter 7 focus questions: 1. What is the language of music? 2. How is musical language related to the physical characteristics of sound? Chapter 7 learning goals. After studying this chapter, you should be able to: 1. Read music at a basic level: (a) Read notes on a musical staff (treble clef) and determine the note letter names and frequencies shown. (b) Start with note letter names and/or frequencies and write the corresponding notes on a musical staff. 2. Define and distinguish meter, rhythm, and tempo. 3. Define and distinguish melody and harmony. 4. Define and distinguish a tone, semitone, interval, and scale. 5. Explain what an octave is. 6. Define a harmonic series by frequency ratios and relate it to musical scales. 7. Explain the mathematical relationships between different note intervals (for equal tempering). 2 Rhythm, meter, and tempo Now it is time to bring together the physics of sound that we have been delving into all semester with the elements of music. The first part of this chapter deals with how we break music up and organize it in time. Although music may speed up and slow down slightly to give atmosphere, usually there is a fairly well defined tempo or speed at which it is played. Written music is broken up into meters or bars , each representing a certain number of beats of the musical piece. Note: the term “beats” here has nothing at all to do with the beats we talked about earlier (involving the superposition of two slightly out-of-tune waves in time). Here the beats are like the heart-beat of music, the “steady pulse”. One of the reasons for arranging music like this is that each bar tends to have a certain rhythm. A rhythm is just a pattern of strong and weak notes. A simple example is a “waltz”, a dance where the pattern is strong-weak-weak, and then again strong-weak-weak, and so on. When notes are played off of the strong beats, a very interesting effect occurs known as synco- pation. This rhythmic device is very common in all kinds of music, classical, jazz, etc. 1
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The notes of music are represented by symbols such as dots, filled or unfilled, with or without tails, on a musical staff. The staff is just a set of five lines drawn across the page. Notes higher up the musical staff correspond to notes of higher frequency. The type of symbol used, e.g., a filled in dot with a tail, tells you how long the note is to be held. It is all very organized and with a bit of practice can be read and played in real time as the music is performed.
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