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Music Appreciation Course Introduction Elements of Music Course Objective To produce an educated patron of music Listening Selected topics Historical evolution Objectives Live performance—special excitement Evaluating music performances Music History Western European & American music

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Music appreciation course introduction elements of music l.jpg
Music AppreciationCourse IntroductionElements of Music

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Course Objective

  • To produce an educated patron of music

    • Listening

    • Selected topics

      • Historical evolution

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Live performance—special excitement

Evaluating music performances

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Music HistoryWestern European & American music

  • Historical style periods

  • Selected great composers

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Performing Media

Music Notation




Part I: “Elements of Music”

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Music is the organization of sounds in time

Properties of musical sounds:

  • Dynamics

  • Tone color

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  • Highness or lowness of sound

  • A definite pitch is a tone

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Italian terms used to indicate dynamics

  • Extremes: ppp, pppp, fff, ffff

  • Crescendo: gradually louder

  • Decrescendo (diminuendo): gradually softer

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Tone Color

Also called timbre: quality of a sound

  • Can be bright, dark, mellow, etc.

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Performing Media: The Singing Voice

Grouped by gender

2 main groupings:

  • Female

  • Male

  • Soprano (high)

  • Mezzo Soprano (medium high)

  • Alto (low)

  • Tenor (high)

  • Baritone (medium high)

  • Bass (low)

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Musical Instruments

Instruments made in different sizes (for range)

Western instruments: 6 broad categories

Orchestral groups: Non Orchestral:

  • String

  • Woodwind

  • Brass

  • Percussion

  • Keyboard

  • Electronic

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Homework Listening Assignment

  • Britten: Young Person’s Guide to the OrchestraTwo Options:Kamien disc 1 (pg 30 in text), orKamien cd rom/Instruments/Young Persons Guide…

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String Instruments

  • Longer string = lower pitch

Sound produced by vibrating a tight cable

Orchestral instruments

  • Violin

  • Viola

  • Cello (violoncello)

  • Bass (double bass)

Symphonic music uses bow

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Woodwind Instruments

  • In 20th Century, metal & plastic became common

Traditionally, woodwinds made of wood

  • The longer the tube, the lower the pitch

  • Covering holes along instrument serves to lengthen the tube

Main orchestral woodwinds and ranges:

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Brass Instruments

  • Trumpet

  • French horn

  • Trombone

  • Tuba

Orchestral brasses (in order of range):

(Cornet, baritone horn, & euphonium used mainly in concert and marching bands)

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Percussion Instruments

Sound (generally) produced by striking, shaking, or rubbing the instrument

  • Some instruments of definite pitch produce tones

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Percussion Instruments

  • Instruments of indefinite pitch produce noise-like sounds

  • Membranes, plates, or bars vibrate

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Keyboard InstrumentsPictured on pages 26 & 27



Pipe Organ

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Electronic Instruments

  • Produce or amplify sound using electricity

  • Synthesizer – an instrument and/or a modifier of musical instruments

  • Can order sounds in time through electronic means

    Frankenstein the Edgar Winter Band

    • May 1973 Billboard no. 1

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Electronic Instruments

MIDI (1983) allowed connection of devices

Modern composers connect these devices, use software, and create and write new types of music

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- Organizes movement in time

- Recurring patterns

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  • Recurrent pulsation

    • Divides music into equal units of time

  • Grouping of beats into measures

  • Downbeat

  • Syncopation

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The speed of the beat, the pace

Indicated by Italian terms at beginning of piece

  • accelerando, ritardando

Metronome—indicates exact tempo

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Notating Rhythm

Music notation indicates length of tone in relation to other tones in the piece

  • How note looks indicates duration

  • Note head & stem

  • Flag

  • Beam

  • Dotted note

  • Tie

Notating Silence

Rests indicate notated silence

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Notating Meter

Time signature indicates the meter of a piece of music



  • Top number: how many beats in measure



  • Bottom number: what type note counts 1 beat

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Music Notation

Written music stores information

Notating Pitch

Letter names for notes: A B C D E F G


Clef signs

  • Treble

  • Bass

Grand staff

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Notating Pitch

Keyboard note naming

Keyboard note naming with notation

  • Sharp, flat, & natural notes

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  • Includes music for every instrument of the orchestra on one sheet

    • Can include 20+ lines of music atonce

      • See example p. 39

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Direction and motion



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Definition & example




Tension & release



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Homework Listening Example

Prelude in E minor for Piano,

Op. 28, No. 4(1839)

by Frederic Chopin

Listening Outline: p. 46

Brief set, CD 1:36

Listen for: Pulsating chords & monotonous melody

Dissonant chords underlying melody

Climax with faster rhythm & crescendo

Near end, dissonant chord, silence, resolution at cadence

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Organization of Musical Sounds

  • Key Tonality

    • The central tone is the keynote, or tonic

    • Scale

      • Chromatic Scale

      • Major Scale

      • Minor scale

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The Major Scale

The Formula

Drawn from the 12 chromatic semitones (half steps)

Whole step

, half step

Formula: W W H W W W H

  • Bright, happy sound

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The Minor Scale

Whole steps and half steps occur in another predetermined order

Formula: W H W W H W W

  • Dark, sad sound

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The Key Signature

Sharp and flat symbolsat thebeginning ofthe music

Number of sharps or flatsplayed determines scale and key

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Modulation: Change of Key

Atemporary shift in tonal gravity

Provides contrast

Tonic Key – the main key

Modulations away usually return to the tonic key

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Musical Texture

  • Definition:

    • Monophonic Texture

    • Polyphonic Texture

    • Homophonic Texture

  • Changes of Texture

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Homework Listening Example

Farandole from L’Arlesienne

Suite No. 2 (1879)

by Georges Bizet

Listening Outline: page 52

Brief Set, CD 1:37

Note contrasting textures

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Musical Form - Architecture

  • Techniques that Create Musical Form

    • Repetition

    • Contrast

    • Variation

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Types of Musical Form

  • Three-Part (Ternary) Form: A B A

    • Simple A B A

    • Subdivided aba cdc aba

      Dance of the Reed Pipes

      from Nutcracker Suite (1892)

      by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

      Listening Outline: p. 56

      Brief Set, CD 1:42

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Types of Musical Form

Two-Part (Binary) Form: A B

  • A B

  • A A B

  • A B B

  • A A B B

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Listening ExerciseWrite down your observations of Performing Instruments, Rhythm, Melody, and Harmony

Contradance No. 7 in Eb Major

from Twelve Contradances for Orchestra (1892)

by Ludwig van Beethoven

Listening Outline: p. 57

Brief Set, CD 1:45

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Other types of form

  • Through-Composed: reflects a poems continual changing mood, a musical journey

  • Strophic: repeating the same music for each verse of text

  • Theme & Variation: used in popular and jazz frequently where variations of the theme are used repeatedly and often improvised