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So far, we have discussed ways to talk about music : Sound Pitch Dynamics Tone Color Rhythm Performing Media. What is left for us to consider is:. Music Notation Melody Harmony Key Musical Texture Form. In Review.

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in review

So far, we have discussed ways to talk about music:




Tone Color


Performing Media

What is left for us to consider is:

Music Notation




Musical Texture


In Review

From Brahms to Bernstein MU-104 O&H

musical notation

Notation is the system of writing music so that specific rhythms and pitches can be communicated.

  • We have already discussed several of these elements in previous lectures.
  • We will review and expand on this conversation.
Musical Notation
musical notation pitch

Cancels out the operation of a flat or sharp or represents a key modulation

Raises a pitch by a pitch ½ step

Lowers pitch by a pitch ½ step

Musical Notation - Pitch
musical notation2

Notating Meter

Top number represents number of beats per measure

Three-Four Time (Triple Meter)

Bottom number represents the division of

The beat

Musical Notation
musical notation score

musical score - a written form of a musical composition; parts for different instruments appear on separate staves on large pages

Musical Notation - Score

Melodies often consist of one or more musical phrases, motifs, and are usually repeated throughout a song or piece in various forms.

  • They can consist a series of steps or leaps - “Mary had a little lamb” (step-wise); “Home on the Range” (skips or leaps)
  • Melody may also be described by their melodic motion or the pitches or the intervals between pitches (predominantly conjunct or disjunct or with further restrictions), pitch, range, tension and release, continuity and coherence, cadence and shape.
what is melody

Melody can best be understood as the horizontal expression of sound and results where there are interacting patterns of changing events occurring in time either rhythmically or harmonically expressed.

What is Melody?
what is harmony

Harmony can best be understood as the vertical expression of the sonic event as it occurs within a continuum of time and more specifically refers to the way chords are constructed and how they follow each other.

A chord is a combination of three or more tones sounded at once.

Consonance refers to a tone combination that is stable.

Dissonance refers to a tone combination that is unstable.

A Dissonance has resolution when it resolves to a consonance.

A triad is the simplest of chords and consists of three tones.

What is Harmony?
harmony triads

Triad are made up of three components:

  • Root
  • Third (whose interval is a major third or minor third above the root)
  • Fifth (whose interval is a major or minor third above the third, and a diminished, perfect, or augmented fifth above the root).
  • The function of a given triad is determined primarily by its root tone and the degree of the scale it corresponds to, but also by the quality of the chord (the exact third and fifth).
  • There are four basic tertian triads: major, minor, diminished and augmented. All but the augmented triad can be derived from the Major (or diatonic) scale. Triads (and all other larger tertian chords) are built by combining or stacking every other tone the scale above each individual degree (or scale-tone) of the given seven-tone scale. The four triads are built of the following intervals:
Harmony - Triads

Primary triads of a diatonic key (major or minor) include the tonic, subdominant, and dominant degree chords, otherwise symbolized: I, IV, and V respectively.

harmony triads1

Major triads contain a major third and perfect fifth interval

Minor triads contain a minor third, and perfect fifth

Diminished triads contain a minor third, and diminished fifth

Augmented triads contain a major third, and augmented fifth

Harmony - Triads
harmony cadences

A cadence (Latin cadentia, "a falling") is a particular series of intervals or chords that ends a phrase section, or piece of music. Cadences give phrases a distinctive ending, that can, for example, indicate to the listener whether the piece is to be continued or concluded.

Harmony - Cadences
harmony broken chords

In music, an arpeggio is a broken chord where the notes are played or sung in succession rather than simultaneously. The word, like many other musical terms, originates from Italian, in which it means "in the manner of the harp."

  • Any instrument may employ arpeggiation, but the following instruments use arpeggios most often:
  • String instruments
  • Guitars
  • Synthesizers
  • Keyboards (pianos, organs, accordions, etc.)
Harmony – Broken Chords
harmony music example

Prelude No. 4 is one of the most famous pieces Chopin wrote. It was played at his funeral and is relatively easy, with a slow melody in the right hand and repeated block chords in the left hand.

Frederic Chopin

Harmony – Music Example

Prelude in E Minor for Piano,

Op. 28,No. 4 (1839)


The key identifies the tonic triad the chord, major or minor, which represents the final point of rest for a piece, or the focal point of a section.

  • Although the key of a piece may be named in the title (e.g. Symphony in C), or inferred from the key signature, the establishment of key is brought about via functional harmony, a sequence of chords leading to one or more cadences.
  • A key may be major or minor; music can be described as being in the Dorian mode, or Phrygian, et cetera, and as such are usually considered to be in a specific mode rather than a key.
  • When a particular key is not being described in the English language different key naming systems may be used.
  • Although many musicians confuse key with scale - a scale is an ordered set of notes typically used in a key, while the key is the center of gravity, established by particular chord progressions.
key minor scale

Pure minor

Harmonic minor

Melodic minor

Key – Minor Scale
key chromatic scale

The chromatic scale is a musical scalewith twelve pitches, each a semitone or half step apart.

The term chromatic derives from the Greek word chroma, meaning color. Chromatic notes are traditionally understood as harmonically inessential embellishments, shadings, or inflections of diatonic notes.

Key Chromatic Scale
key modulation

Modulation is most commonly the act or process of changing from one key (tonic, or tonal center) to another. This may or may not be accompanied by a change in key signature . Modulations articulate or create the structure or form of many pieces, as well as add interest. In other words, “a modulation is like a shift in gravity.” This is not to be confused with Key Change even though these terms are sometimes used synonymously. A Key Change requires a change of key. A modulation can work by use of accidentals in temporary shifts of key.

Key Modulation
key tonic

Tonic or Home Key is the basic key in which a piece of music is written.

The tonic is the first note of a musical scale, and in the tonal method of musical composition it is extremely important. The triad formed on the tonic note, the tonic chord, is thus the most important chord. More generally, the tonic is the pitch upon which all other pitches of a piece are hierarchically referenced. The tonic is often confused with the root, which is the reference note of a chord, rather than that of the scale.

Key - Tonic
musical texture

Monophony is the simplest of textures, consisting of melody without accompanying harmony or in other words, music in which all the notes are sung are in unison is called monophonic. This can be doubled at the octave (ex. When men and women sing the same melody together.

Homophony is a texture in which two or more parts move together in harmony, the relationship between them creating chords.

Polyphony is a texture consisting of two or more independent melodic voices

Musical Texture
musical example texture

Musical Example:

Farandole from L’Arlesienne

Suite No. 3(1879),

by George Bizet

Refer to page 64, Kamien

Musical Example: Texture
musical form

The term musical form refers to two related concepts:


  • the type of composition (for example, a musical work can have the form of a symphony, a concerto, or other generic type


  • the structure of a particular piece (for example, a piece can be written in binary form, sonata form, as a fugue, etc.
Musical Form
musical form vs musical genre

There is some overlap between musical form and musical genre. The latter term is more likely to be used when referring to particular styles of music (such as classical music or rock music) as determined by things such as harmonic language, typical rhythms, types of musical instrument used, and geographical origin.

  • The phrase musical form is typically used when talking about a particular type or structure within those genres. For example, the twelve bar blues is a specific form often found in the genres of blues, rock and roll and jazz music.
Musical Form vs. Musical genre
musical form repetition

Musical repetition appeals to the pleasure we get in recognizing andremembering something.

  • In a play, a scene or act is rarely repeated, but in music the repetition of melodies or extended sections is a technique widely used for binding a composition together.
  • Through repetition, a melody is engraved in the memory.
  • The passage of time in music, as in life, influences the way we react to events.
  • When a musical idea returns during a piece, the effect produced is not duplication but balance and symmetry.
Musical Form- Repetition

Forward action, motion conflict, and change of mood all come from contrast

  • Opposition – of loud and soft, strings and woodwinds, fast and slow, major and minor – propels and develops musical ideas
  • Sometimes the opposing ideas will have a common element that establishes a sense of continuity
  • At other times the contract will be complete (Example: The contrast between Black and White is different from the contrast between black and grey).

Musical Form- CONTRAST

musical form variation

In the variation of a musical idea, some of its features will be retained while others are changed.

  • The melody might be reinstated with a different accompaniment or the pitches of a melody might stay the same while its rhythmic pattern is changed
  • A whole composition can be created from a series of variations on a single musical idea.
Musical Form - VARIATION
musical form binary form

Binary form is a way of structuring a piece of music in two related sections, both of which are usually repeated. Binary is also a structure used to choreograph dance.


Musical Form- BINARY FORM
musical example two part binary form ab

Beethoven, Contra dance, No. 7 in E Flat Major for Orchestra


Two Part (Binary) A A B B


Sextuple meter 2/4, Eb major


2 clarinets, two french horns, 1st violins, 2nd violins, cellos, basses

Musical Example: Two part (Binary form) AB
musical example two part binary form ab1

The very brief contra dance in duple meter and in E-flat major is in the two-part binary form and is outlined AA BB. Because each part is repeated. A and B are exactly 8 bars each.

The first violins present the melody, while the other strings, clarinets and French horns provide mostly a staccato accompaniment.

Part A ends up with an incomplete cadence, and part B ends conclusively with a complete cadence.

Part a consists of a soft lilting melodic phrase beginning with the repeated rhythm short-long, short-long.

In contrast, part B begins energetically, with a rapid upward unaccompanied scale that leads to three loud repeated chords. A quieter repetition of the rapid upward scale introduces a soft, expectant sustained chord.

Part B concludes with an a new lilting phrase also based on the repeated rhythm short-long, short-long.

Musical Example: Two part (Binary form) AB
musical form ternary form

Ternary form is a structuring mechanism of a piece of music. Along with several other musical forms, ternary form can also be applied to dance choreography. Ternary form is a three-part structure, often notated A-B-A. The first and third parts (A) are musically identical, or very nearly so, while the second part (B) contrasts sharply with it.


Musical Form- TERNARY FORM
musical example of 3 part ternary form


Dance of the Reed Pipes from Nutcracker Suite



Moderato assai (very moderate)

duple meter D Major


3 flutes, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, 4 French Horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, cymbals, violins, violas, cellos, double basses

Musical Example of 3 part Ternary form
musical example of 3 part ternary form1

A section –

a. Low pizzicato strings, p, introduce

b. 3 flutes, staccato melody in major pizzicato strings accompany. Melody repeated

  • English horn melody, legato, flutes, accompany staccato
  • 3 flutes, staccato melody, pizzicato strings, accompany. Melody repeated. Cadence.

B section –

  • Trumpet melody in minor, brasses and cymbals accompany
  • Strings repeat trumpet melody. Flutes lead back to

A1 section

a. 3 flutes, staccato melody in major, strings accompany. Melody repeated. Cadence

Musical Example of 3 part Ternary form