Module 1 Lecture Notes
Basic Properties of Sound (Prelude) – a lot of terms and definitions not used til later in
course…most important terms in this lecture, become part of listening responses
(describe music, what you hear, what stands out to you….point out what is distinct (do
not list everything, whether you like piece and why)
Elements of Music
Elements are the building blocks that exist in all aspects of piece of music and are used in
combination to create music.
Tone/Pitch/Note -- interchangeable
The most basic element of musical sound. Music is built on one of these and another one
of these. Basic building blocks of music.
A “Tone” is a specific single sound that vibrates at a specific rate so the ear hears it
different from other tones. (ex: la…higher and lower tones)
“Pitch” refers to how high or low we hear the vibration of sound.
A “Note” is the musical symbol that is written to tell the musician to play/sing a specific
tone/pitch. (written version of a tone or a pitch)
Rhythm – basic way to organize notes and tones is time
The arrangement of long and short sounds/notes and silences, i.e. the time
relationships in music between tones and silences.
Our musical notation system uses symbols to show the duration of each sound or silence.
The feel of music often has a pulse, typically called the “beats,” and tones and silences
are described as how many beats they get. [here is the pulse – 4 beats… holding it out
how many beats it is 1 2… 3 4]
Rhythm: Meter and Tempo
When the pulse of a song is felt, there is typically a stronger first beat, and we call that
stronger beat “one” (1! 2 3)
How many weaker beats exist after beat one determines a felt sense of “Meter”
2 kinds of meter that describe music:
Duple Meter: When only one beat is felt after beat one, giving the sense of pattern of two
beats (1, 2…1, 2)…quadruple = 1, 2, 3, 4
Triple Meter: When two beats are felt after beat one (1, 2, 3…)
Duple and Triple are the most basic meters and all others are combinations of these.
Tempo is what we call the rate of speed at which rhythms are played. Melody
In the same way that a sentence is a meaningful succession of words, melody is a
meaningful succession of tones at various levels of pitches. (add lengths to them and call
it a melody – i.e. Happy Birthday to You)
Melody is thought of as the “tune