Rhythm Melody (pitch) Harmony Timbre (sound) Dynamics Texture Form (shape) Basic Elements of Music
Dynamics are the relative volume of sound and are measured in decibels. Dynamics go from the threshold of sensation (softest sound we can hear) to the threshold of pain. Experts agree that continued exposure to noise above 85 decibels, over time, will cause hearing loss. Noise levels above 140 decibels can cause damage to hearing after just one exposure. Dynamics
Common sounds measured in decibels 0 softest sound a person can hear 10 normal breathing 20 whispering at 5 feet 30 soft whisper 50 rainfall 60 normal conversation 75-85 flush toilet 112 CD player or car stereo on high 120 rock concert Dynamics
When applied to music, dynamics are referred to by the abbreviations of the Italian terms for loud and soft— Abbr. Italian term Dynamic pp pianissimo-- very soft p piano-- soft mp mezzo piano-- medium soft mf mezzo forte-- medium loud f forte-- loud ff fortissimo-- very loud Dynamics
The tone quality of a sound, also called tone color, which distinguishes two instruments or voices or groups of instruments or voices. Terms such as bright, dark, thin, mellow, brilliant, nasal, etc. are used to describe timbre. Blended Timbre Like-Instrument Ensemble (all flutes, for example) Diverse Timbre Many Different Instruments and Voices (symphony orchestra, for example) Timbre (tam-ber)
< Monophonic < Homophonic < Polyphonic < Heterophonic < Homorhythmic < Polyrhythmic Texture Types (Refer back to Intro to Intro Powerpoint)
Single Melody Line Can have more than one performer but everyone plays or sings the same thing. Examples v singing Happy Birthday v violin section playing a solo Monophonic Texture
Predominant Melody with Subordinate Accompaniment Examples Dave Matthew's singing while his band plays the accompaniment Flute solo with piano accompaniment Homophonic Texture
Two or More musical lines of equal importance Example Row, Row, Row Your Boat Polyphonic Texture
A Texture in which each performer presents his/her own Variation of the melody at the same time. There are very few examples of heterophony in Western music. And there is no Western genre that relies on heterophony. Heterophonic Texture
A texture with several different parts with the same or nearly identical rhythm. Homorhythmic Texture
A texture with an organizing factor [usually too rapid to be perceived as a beat] that unifies several different rhythms [often contrasting] that are played together Polyrhythmic Texture
Have grown in size over the years 17th––18th Century 15-30 players 19th-21st Century 30-120 players
Romantic Era (1820-1900) Widespread acceptance and increase in popularity of Public Concerts Concerts moved to larger halls Composers experimented with larger forces Valves developed ca. 1815 for brass instruments
Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) Britten’s most famous piece of music is Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra: Variations and a Fugue on a Theme of Henry Purcell. Britten wrote the piece for the film The Instruments of the Orchestra. It normally includes a narration which has been recorded by many actors over the years.
Sections (Families) of the Orchestra Strings— violins, violas, cellos, string basses, etc. Woodwinds— clarinets, oboes, flutes, bassoons, etc. Brass— trumpets, French horns, trombones, tubas, etc. Percussion— snare drums, tympani, bells, tambourines, cymbals, etc.