MUS 121 Chapter 1 Notes
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kate Steiner on Thursday January 28, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Mus 121 at a university taught by Benjamin Crofut in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 190 views.
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Date Created: 01/28/16
1/20/16 Chapter One—Sound “Music is an art based on the organization of sounds in time” Sound is the result of physical vibrations. Through the use of an instrument, created pressure differences become a wave of vibration, which vibrates through the air, and eventually vibrates your eardrum. Definite and steady vibrations produce a “Tone” or “Note: Inconsistent and irregular vibrations produce “Noise.” Musical Notes o Like “tones” (definite and steady) o Defined by frequency of vibrations o Fast = high pitch o slow = low pitch o Maximum distance between the lowest note and the highest note of an instrument is called its “Pitch Range” or simply “Range.” Intervals The distance or space between two pitches, within the range of an instrument is called an “Interval.” Intervals are trandtirdalth thdethd th: Unison, 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , Octave Octave: two pitches played together in which the higher pitch is exactly doubling the vibrations of the lower pitch. Dynamics Defined as the volume or power of a musical sound “Piano” vs. “Forte,” =Soft vs. Loud = Gentle vs. Strong “…issimo” vs. “Mezzo…” Extremely vs. Moderately Pianissimo, Piano, Mezzo Piano, Mezzo Forte, Forte, Fortissimo” o Pp, p, mp, mf, f, ff “Crescendo:” Gradual increase in dynamic over time “Decrescendo/Diminuendo”: Gradual decrease in dynamic over time Timbre The sound quality of a particular instrument “Timbre = Tone Color” Rhythm “The ordered flow of music through time.” The experience of time as artistic, meaningful and ordered. Fundamental to the creation of all sound, because the frequency of a sound wave must be defined within the context of time. Beats “The regular, recurrent pulsation in music.” “Downbeat:” The first, and generally heaviest, beat within a group of beats. Characteristically plain and obvious. (Think of Headbangers) “Upbeat:” the beat that precedes the downbeat. Possesses character of direction and suspense (what goes up must come down) Meter The organization of beats into regular groupings. “Measure:” A notational marking, in written music, used to indicate a unit of grouped beats. The downbeat is always the first beat of measure, the upbeat is always the last. Downbeat + Upbeat + number of other Beats in a measure = Meter o Types of Meter: “Duple meter:” meter containing two beats/measure. Ex. Mary Had a Little Lamb 1 2 1 2 “Triple meter.” Meter containing three beats/measure Ex. America: My Country Tis’ of Thee 1 2 3 1 2 3 “Quadruple meter:” Meter containing four beats/measure. Ex. Handel’s ‘Comfort Ye:’ Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the lord. He has” 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Syncopation “When a performer stresses a note that is placed between beats, rather than directly on the beat.” (Think snapping your fingers to Jazz music, or the theme to the Andy Griffith Show) In a 4 beat measure the syncopated beats would be 2 and 4 1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4 Syncopation generates a feeling of forward direction and energy Tempo The speed of the beat Fast tempi generally creates character of high energy and lightness, whereas slow tempi create character of solemnity and heft. Tempo indicators are communicated in Italian language, as they were the most famous composers during the period (17 century) in which tempo markings first became commonplace in sheet music. o Common Tempo Markings (in order of slowest to fastest): Largo (broad), Grave (solemn), Lento (slow), Adagio (easily), Andante (walking pace), Moderato (moderately), Allegretto (brisk), Allegro (cheerfully), Vivace (vivacious), Presto (very quick), Prestissimo (as fast as possible) Tempo Qualifiers Molto vs. Meno = More vs. Less Poco vs. Ma non troppo = A little vs. Not too much “Fermata:” a symbol indicating that the tempo should be temporarily suspended on a specific note Accelerando: Gradual increase in tempo over time Ritardando: Gradual decrease in tempo over time Rubato: Freedom to alter tempo A tempo: Return to original tempo Melody “A series of notes that add up to a recognizable whole.” Defined by motion through horizontal space, Melody is the progression of individual pitches over time. The intervallic relationship between notes, and groups of notes, indicate the meaning of a melody. This is a very subjective process, but generally larger interval leaps indicate greater expression that small interval steps. A melody that serves as the starting point/initial idea for an extended work is called a “Theme.” Melodic Articulations Legato: A quality of melody in which the motion between note intervals is so smooth (legahto) Vs. Staccato: opposite motion between Elements of form in Melody: “Form:” organization of musical ideas in time “Phrase:” A short section of music that presents a single idea. “Cadence:” A resting point at the end of a phrase. “Sequence:” A melodic pattern repeated at a different pitch level/when the intervals of a melodic pattern move uniformly up or down. “Climax:” The melodic high point of a song or piece.” o Ex Three Blind Mice Harmony Character and motion created when two or more notes are played simultaneously “Defined by motion in vertical space.” Harmonies takes place in a singular instant The group of notes that make up a harmonic unit is called a “Chord.” Chords “Chord progression:” a series of individual chords. “Consonance:” A combination of notes that is considered stable and without tension. (open, smooth, easy) Vs. “Dissonance:” A chord that sounds unstable and tense. (crunchy, harsh, upsetting) “Resolution:” The act of a dissonant chord moving to a consonant one. Chord Structure “Tonic:” The first note of a scale, the central pitch around which a specific musical piece is organized. “Triad:” A chord composed of three notes. The fundamental chord structure for all western music. “Arpeggio:” A chord broken up so that notes are played one at a time instead of together. 1/27/16 Chapter 2—Elements Key = tonality: the structuring (pitch choices) of harmony and melody around a specific musical note, called the tonic Tonic: the central/root/base note around which a musical composition is organized. Different notes indicate a different quality of character. o Ex. D is an exuberant and bright key, Eflat is a warm and lush key, C#minor is a hard and demented key Tonic Chord: A harmonic chord composed of tonic as its base note, and either a raised note to indicate a major key, or lowered note to indicate a minor key Types of Keys o Major Key: Composed with raised (sharp) notes, its major scale and character have an obvious quality of being positive and happy o Minor Key: Composed with lowered (flat) notes, its minor scale and character have a quality of being troubled and sad o Chromatic Key: Composed with a combination of raised and lowered notes in order to create the effect of minimal change. It’s character can be one of searching, ambiguity, falling or rising Tools for the Listener and Performer o Modulation: a shift from one key to another within a composition. Generally pieces will modulate in the middle to explore or accentuate a specific idea, and then modulate back to the tonic key to conclude. o Key Signature: A notation in written music that dictates the uniform raising or lowering of specific notes for the entirety of a piece. Helps performers anticipate whether a piece is in Major or Minor. Texture o Describes the relationships between layers of melody, harmony, and rhythm, which form a total soundexperience. o There are three separate types of texture in music, each defined by how it supports the main musical line (the main voice). o These three types are (in order of general appearance in music): Monophony, Polyphony, and Homophony o Monophony: A solo musical line. Multiple kinds of instruments may simultaneously play the musical line (multiple voices), but they must be in unison. o Polyphony: Counterpoint: A texture combining two or more independent voices, heard simultaneously Imitation: the repetition of a musical idea by another voice or voices o Homophony: A solo voice with accompanying elements. Can also be two solo voices sharing an identical rhythm, thus creating broad chords called a homorhythmic texture (think church hymns). Effectively used at cadences and concluding material. Form o The organization of musical ideas o Theme and Variations: A piece, based on an original theme, which explores variations on that theme o Binary vs. Ternary Form: AB vs. ABA, “A” representing a section of music, and “B” representing a contrasting section
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