Understanding Basic Elements of Music

Topics: Music, Chord, Harmony Pages: 2 (515 words) Published: September 22, 2013
Analyzing the elements of music is very important in order to play the music with feeling and understanding. The first element is melody. In the first seven bars of the Hallelujah Chorus, the melody is in the soprano with the notes D A B A. From 4'33", There was not exactly a melody in this piece, but since everybody is silent, you could hear many sounds that you do not normally focus on. On the recording I listened to, I heard a melody of the audience coughing, sniffing, whispering, and shifting in their seats.

The second element, harmony is heard in Hallelujah a lot. For example, half of the first measure of the music is a D major chord (tonic), and it is followed by a dominant chord, then resolving back to the tonic, which creates an effect of building up tension, then letting it go. In 4'33", there is harmony when two people either shuffle, giggle, or make noise at the same time. Maybe they will cough in harmony.

Rhythm is very important in the Hallelujah. For example, on the fourth bar of the SATB chorus, there is a dotted quarter note, then three eighth notes, followed by rest to create suspense. The rhythm of 4'33" is slightly harder to determine. There is not exactly any written rhythm, but the definition of rhythm is "The lengths of sounds and silences and their arrangements." I guess, then the rhythm must be four minutes thirty three seconds of rest.

They next element is dynamics. For example, "Hallelujah" in the first few bars are very loud and strong. Later on, "He shall reign for ever and ever" is very soft and gets louder and louder so that the climax can be reached. 4'33" is a very different piece and is silent It is not exactly exciting because of the absence of climaxes. There are only subtle noises heard, such as soft shifting of seats, louder coughing, etc.

The fifth element is tone colour, or timbre. Hallelujah uses SATB chorus, the string orchestra, continuo, oboes, bassoons, trumpets, and timpani. There are a few brass solos...
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