Introduction to the Elements of Music

Element Definition Descriptions Melody A series of pitches in succession that make up a musical sentence Simple or complicated? (could you easily sing the melody back after hearing it once?Conjunct (moving by small steps) or Disjunct (moving by large steps)?Shape? (ascending, descending, wavelike or static)Range? (high, low, or medium) Rhythm The measure of music through time Simple or complicated? (could you easily clap back the rhythm after hearing it once?)Steady beat or Changing?Tempo? (Fast, medium, slow, changing)Time Signature? Harmony The vertical relationship of combined notes Major or Minor Key?Dissonant (sounds and chord that are unpleasant/unstable sounding) or Consonant (sounds and chords that are pleasant/stable)? Texture The interweaving of melody (horizontal) and harmony (vertical) in music Thick or Thin (how full/busy the music is)Monophonic (single line of melody without accompaniment) or Homophonic (one line of melody accompanied by chords) or Polyphonic (two or more melodies combine at the same time) Form The structure of the music; the use of repetition and contrast Write out the form by using letters to indicate each section (usually at least 16 bars long). When the same or similar melody returns, use the same letter. Here is an example:

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This would be a common popular music

form with the A representing the chorus,

the B representing the verse, and the C

representing the bridge. In classical art

music this form is called “rondo”.

Dynamics Degrees of loudness and softness Mostly pianoMostly forteUse of Crescendo or DiminuendoSubito (sudden) changes Timbre The tone quality of the sound; often refers to the instruments used List the instruments that you hear. Remember to include: Strings, Woodwinds, Brass, Percussion, Vocals, Keyboards, Electronics.

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