Melody: Single line of notes heard in succession as a coherent unit.
A Note: Is the smallest of music, the building block of which larger structures are
Phrases: The musical ‘sentences’ before the ending breath. Can be long or short and end
with a ‘ musical completeness’.
Cadence: A cadence is like a period in a sentence. It signals the end of a unit or phrase
that can stand on its own. A brief stopping point at which the music pauses
THE SCIENCE OF MELODY
Types of melodic motion
- Conjunct Motion> the notes move smoothly and in a stepwise fashion in
which the notes are very close together.
- Disjunct Motion> uses large leaps from note to note.
Acoustics- The science of sound, how it is produced, transmitted and perceived.
Determines the vibration in motion by these actions determine the pitch and
volume of the sound.
Pitch- The position of the sound on a range from very low (bass register) to very
high (the soprano register).
Sound wave- (amplitude, wavelength and frequency)
Wavelength- The distance between the peaks of each wave.
Frequency- The number of known wavelengths in one second.
(The higher the frequency the higher the pitch and vice versa)
Dynamics- The volume of sound. What makes the sound louder or softer?
Amplitude- The size of each wave. (Determines dynamics)
The Major Mode- corresponds to the scale of solfege. Melodies using these
notes are happier and brighter.
The Minor Mode- Sounds darker, more somber and less optimistic. The third and
sixth notes (Mi, Lah) are slightly lower making this sound.
The notes of any given melody typically derive from the notes of a scale. (Doh, re,)
- Octave> in a scale a series of notes that move stepwise and cover a complete
span (8 notes) is called an Octave. OR The interval between two notes with
the same name (High c, Low c)
- Interval> The distance between each note. (Whole steps and Half Steps)
Rhythm – The ordering of music through time.
Meter – Underlying pattern of beats that maintains itself consistently throughout
Triple Meter – One accented (strong) beat followed by two unaccented (weaker)
beats. Ex. LONG short short.
Measure – Singular rhythmic values. (The first note of each measure is usually
Duple Meter – Two beats in each measure (1-2| 1-2| 1-2) HARMONY
Harmony – The sound created by multiple notes played or sung simultaneously.
The melody would stay the same it is the notes above or below that create the
Harmony is normally based of the primary key, the tonic, and the harmony
would usually come back down (or up) to the tonic in order to create a sense
Chord – three or more notes played at the same moment. A melodic line can
be accompanied by a number of chords that change as the melody
Texture – A function of the number and general relationship of musical lines
to one another and can range from thick to thin.
Monophonic – A single melody line with no accompaniment. (Mono-Single)
Homophonic – The melody is played with a supporting accompaniment.
(Most common from of accompaniment). Sounding the same.
Polyphonic – Multiple melodies that hold equal importance. (Poly- many)
Furthermore they can be different together but sound pleasingly to the ear.
Timbre – The color of the music and the character of the sound. The range of
timbres is enormous and varies from instrument to instrument and voice to
Dynamics – A term used to indicate the volume of sound, ranging from very
soft to very loud.
Dynamics can change very suddenly or very gradually. Volume is a relative quality:
what seems loud to one may be barley audible to another and vice versa.
Judging Volume; Musical terms
Pianissimo (pp) –Very Soft
Piano (p) – Soft
Mezzo Piano (mp) – Medium Soft
Mezzo Forte (mf) – Medium Loud
Forte (f) – Loud
Fortissimo (ff) – Very Loud
Form – The structure of music. The ways in which music’s individual units are
Three Strategies for Form
- Repetition> saying things the exact same way
- Variation> saying the same thing in a different way
- Contrast> saying a completely different thing EX. AA AB AABC AABC ABAC (musical phrases)
Genre is the category of a given work( symphony, sonata, song) determined by a
combination of it’s social function and it’s performance.
THE MIDDLE AGES
- Covered almost a thousand years from 476CE to the beginning of the early
fifteenth century during the beginning of the Renaissance era.
- The music of this time reflected many social functions both sacred and
secular. Its purpose was to serve God.
- The church dominated the cultural life during this time.
- Gregorian Chant (plainchant) consisted of monophonic melodies sung by a
single voice or a choir in unison.
- Like all music and arts of the time plainchant projected the words of the
liturgy in a manner that was both clear and moving.
- Polyphony became increasingly popular in godly music from the tenth century
MUSIC FOR SACRED PLACES
- Sacred music had the purpose of enhancing texts being sung and inspire t