You are on page 1of 16

Introduction to the Elements of

Music
Year 10 IGCSE
What are they?
All music can be described in relation to the elements of
music, which are different _______________ of music.

These include:
Dynamics
Rhythm/Metre
Pitch/Melody/Harmony
Instrumentation/Timbre
Texture
Tempo
Structure/Form
Context


Easy Way to Remember These
D R. P I T T S C
Dynamics
Change in volume, musical expression,
determining partly the mood of the piece.
This indicates the loudness/softness of a
piece of music, and the way to attack
certain notes (ie. Accents)

These are notated using abbreviations or
symbols.
Some Common Dynamic Markings
ppp - pianissinissimo
pp pianissimo (softer than piano)
p piano (soft)
mp mezzo piano (stronger than piano, but still soft)
mf mezzo forte (medium strong)
f forte (strong/loud)
ff fortissimo (stronger than forte)
ARTICULATIONS
< - accent
- - sustain (sustenuto)
. = staccato (short note)
Some Common Dynamic Markings
< = Crescendo (cresc.) getting louder
>= decresceno (decresc.) getting softer
Sfz = surprise! suddenly loud
Rhythm/Metre
Your definition: The arrangement of musical
time. Music is arranged in beats grouped
into measures. Meter is the grouping of
strong and weak beats. Rhythm is the
arrangement of note lengths in a piece of
music.

Rhythm is shaped by metre
Pitch/Melody/Harmony/Tonality
PITCH
Music is produced through VIBRATIONS.
The frequency of these vibrations produce
sounds of varying lowness or highness.

Slowly vibrations/bigger objects:
Faster vibrations/smaller objects:
Pitch/Melody/Harmony/Tonality
MELODY

This is the arrangement of series pitches in
musical time. This can be considered the
recognizable tune of the piece.

This is the HORIZONTAL aspect of music
Pitch/Melody/Harmony/Tonality
HARMONY

This is a group of notes (chords) played together
and the relationship between a series of chords.

This usually supports the melody, played
simultaneously or as broken chords, giving
music its TEXTURE.

This is the vertical aspect of music.

Pitch/Melody/Harmony/Tonality
TONALITY
Also known as the key. A piece can be
centered around a certain set of pitches
(major and minor scales), where there is a
sense of completion when the CHORDS
return to the TONIC, from the DOMINANT
(Key of C: returning from G to C)
Instrumentation/Timbre
What is producing the music. This
describes what instruments [or voices] are
heard. This will greatly affect the mood of
the piece.

Timbre is also known as TONE COLOR,
which is the quality of sound that is used
to distinguish between instruments
Texture
This describes the layers in music and how
they relate to each other. This is also
related to the VERTICAL aspect of music.

THICK/THIN
MONOPHONIC
POLYPHONIC
HOMOPHONIC
Tempo
How fast or slow music is played. This is usually
marked using with symbols or italian terms

Some Common Tempo Markings
Largo
Andante
Allegro
Allegretto
Structure/Form
This explains how music is organized into sections. The
structure of the piece is an overall picture of how the
piece progresses (in sections, using repetition, phrase
structure etc).
Some common musical forms:
- Binary
- Ternary
- Rondo
- Through-Composed
- Strophic
- Sonata Allegro
- Theme and Variation
Context
This allows you to appreciate music for where it was
originally created, and for the purpose it was created.
This adds meaning to the music you hear, and will give
explanations for why certain elements of music are used
in distinct ways.

Ie. How can you tell the difference between a piece by
piano Bach and a piece by Chopin?

Ie. How can you tell the difference between a piece from
Korea and a piece from Spain?