A Glimpse of the Musical Elements


Phase 1:  The first element of music is Tone. Tone is one of  the elements we hear. One way it is studied is by learning the letter names of different tones (notes) and being able to identify them on paper. Concepts include treble clef, Bass clef, Middle C, reading music, listening.

Phase 2:   The second element of music is Rhythm. Rhythm creates order in all musical compositions. It is important that this element is clearly  understood, because rhythm is the time accounting method for musical pieces. Concepts include time signatures, (2/4  3/4  4/4 etc.) meter, tempo, syncopation, reading music and extensive listening.

Phase 3:    The third element of music is Melody. The melody is the focal point of most musical compositions. A person does not need to be trained to recognize this element. However melody is one of the first elements needed to learn how to play by “ear”. Concepts include playing by ear, the circle of fifths, basic intervals, and ear training.

Phase 4:   The forth element of music is Harmony. Harmony is the arrangement of two or more notes played at the same time. This element is the support system for the melodic structure of the song or musical piece. Concepts include, chromatic intervals, chord construction, leading tones, closed chords, open chords.

Phase 5:    The fifth element of music is Texture. Texture helps reflect the emotional impact of the music. It encompasses dynamic range. Anything from a  whisper to a full orchestra. It embodies expression and quality of sound. Concepts include, monophonic, homophonic, polyphonic, timbre, non melodic, arrangements, orchestration, style, history.

Phase 6:     The sixth element of music is Dynamics. Dynamics create the expressive nature of music. It takes all of the elements and uses them to create a mood. Concepts include, volume, intensity, presence, separation, properties of sound, masking, direction, intuition.

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