is an expressive language or art form, if you will, that uses and to create an aesthetic experience. It can be composed for various instruments and voices and can be performed live or recorded. Different cultures and historical periods have produced their own unique styles of music. Music can be used for entertainment, religious or ceremonial purposes, or as a form of expression.
, as mentioned, is the perceived highness or lowness of a musical note or sound. It is determined by the frequency of the sound wave, with higher frequencies producing higher pitches and lower frequencies producing lower pitches. Pitch is typically measured in hertz (Hz) and is an important aspect of , , and overall musical or structure. It is also used in tuning instruments and in determining andin different musical styles and traditions.
is one of the most important elements of music and can be defined as the sequence of pitches that make up a musical line. A melody is often the first thing that listeners will notice and remember about a piece of music, and it is often the element that carries the main theme or tune of a song.
Melodies can be simple or complex, and they can be made up of different types of such as whole steps, half steps, and more complex intervals. Melodies can also be diatonic, meaning they use only the notes of a specific , or chromatic, meaning they use notes outside of a specific scale.
can be composed using different techniques such as stepwise motion, where the melody moves by small , or skips, where the melody jumps by larger intervals. They can also be composed using motives, which are short, repeated musical phrases.
In addition, , , and are elements that are often used to support and develop the melody and can convey various emotions and ideas, and they can also be used to create different musical styles such as folk, pop, classical, and more.
is the combination of different pitches played or sung at the same time to create a chord. It is an essential element of music that provides richness and depth to a piece. Harmony can be used to create tension and release, and to provide a sense of direction or movement in a piece of music.
In Western music, are typically built by stacking of thirds on top of a root note. For example, a C major chord is made up of the notes C, E, and G. These chords can be arranged in a progression to create a harmonic structure in a piece of music. Chord progressions can be simple, such as I-IV-V, or more complex, and they can be used to create different feelings and emotions.
can also be used to create dissonance and consonance. Consonant chords are pleasing to the ear, while dissonant chords create a sense of tension and instability.
In addition to chords, harmony can also include counterpoint, which is the technique of combining different melodies in a piece of music. This is often used in classical music and can add complexity and interest to a piece.
Overall, is an essential element of music that can be used to create a wide range of expressive strategies, and it’s an essential element that helps to create the or structure and the emotional impact of a piece of music.
in music is a system of musical organization and composition that uses a specific key as its central element. This key provides a point of reference around which harmonic and melodic elements are organized. Tonality in music can be used to create a sense of movement, to establish a mood, or to express a particular emotion. The tonality of a piece of music is often determined by the key it is written in, but it can also be influenced by the melody, harmony, and rhythm of the piece.
The , in the context of this book, is a unit of time that creates the underlying pulse of the music. It is the regular pattern of strong and weak musical accents that gives a piece of music its sense of movement. Although the beat is often established by the drums or percussion instruments in a piece of music, it can also be provided by other instruments such as the bass guitar or piano.
The is often considered the foundation of a song, and is used by listeners to move or dance to the music. In some cases, the beat is emphasized more than the melody, such as in electronic dance music, while in other types of music, such as classical, the beat may be less prominent.
Musicians use to structure their compositions, with each bar of music having a fixed number of beats. The time signature indicates the number of beats per bar, for example 4/4 or 3/4. The main beats are either downbeats and upbeats. The combination of all the elements and how they relate to the beat gives the music its unique feeling.
is the combination of long and short beats, as well as the pattern of beats and the timing of the music. It is an essential element of music that provides a sense of movement and structure to a piece. The rhythm can be simple or complex, and it can be used to create different artistic purposes.
is often created using a steady beat, or pulse, that is established by the drums or other percussion instruments. The rhythm is usually divided into smaller units, such as beats and measures, which are organized into a rhythmic pattern.
The can be further divided into different levels such as the macro rhythm, which is the overall pattern of a piece, and the micro rhythm, which is the rhythm within a single measure or phrase.
can be used to create different styles of music, such as the steady beat of rock and roll or the complex rhythms of African music.
In addition to the steady pulse, rhythm can also include , which is the displacement of the strong beats, and , which is the use of multiple conflicting rhythms at the same time.
Overall, is an essential element of music that helps to create the structure and the emotional impact of a piece of music and it’s the element that gives music its sense of movement and groove.
is the speed of a piece of music and is measured in beats per minute (BPM). It is typically indicated with an Italian word such as Allegro (fast), Adagio (slowly), or Moderato (moderately). The tempo of a piece of music can affect the mood and feel of the piece. A slow tempo can create a peaceful, relaxed atmosphere, while a faster tempo can be used to create energy and excitement.
The of a piece can have a significant impact on its overall character and can convey a range of emotions and moods. For example, a slow tempo can create a contemplative or serene atmosphere, while a fast tempo can convey excitement or energy.
in music is the way in which are organized and grouped in a measure. Meter is usually indicated by a time signature, which is written as a fraction that shows the number of beats in a measure and which note type (quarter note, eighth note, etc.) receives one beat. There are a variety of meters and time signatures in Western music, including simple meters (2/4, 3/4, 4/4) and compound meters (6/8, 9/8, 12/8). It also refers to the regular pattern of strong and weak beats that gives a sense of structure and organization to a piece of music. It is often indicated by a time signature, which is a symbol at the beginning of a piece of sheet music that indicates the number of beats in a measure and the type of note that gets one beat.
The most common meters in Western music are duple meter, where there are two beats in a measure, and quadruple meter, where there are four beats in a measure. For example, common time (also known as 4/4 time) is a quadruple meter, with four quarter-note beats per measure.
In addition, there are compound meters, typical of many non-Western music practices, where the beats are grouped into threes and simple meters where the beats are grouped into twos.
can play an important role in shaping the overall feel and character of a piece of music and can also be used to create a sense of tension or release, or to convey a particular mood or atmosphere.
It is important to note that is not the same thing as , which is the pace or speed at which a piece of music is performed. Tempo and meter can interact and affect each other, but they are separate elements of music.
Pitch in African Music
in African music can vary greatly depending on the specific cultural and musical tradition. In some traditional African music styles, melody is not as prominent as and is often subordinate to other musical elements. However, in other African music styles, melody is more prominent and is used as the focus of the music.
African melodies can be characterized by their use of , which have five notes per octave, instead of the seven notes used in Western music. This can give African melodies a distinctive sound, with a limited range of notes that can create a sense of tension and release. African melodies often use a lot of ornamentation, such as slides, trills, and vibrato, and can feature elaborate vocal techniques like yodeling, falsetto and glissando.
In some traditional African music, is created using patterns, where a lead vocalist sings a phrase and is then echoed by a chorus. This creates a sense of community and participation in the music, and allows for improvisation and spontaneity within the melody.
In summary, African can be complex, ornate, and often is intertwined with and vocalization.
in African music is often characterized by its use of complex (multiple melodies played at the same time). In some traditional African music, harmony is created through the use of patterns, where a lead vocalist sings a phrase and is then echoed by a chorus. Additionally, African often incorporates the use of , or pitches that fall between the standard Western notes of a scale. These microtones can give African music a unique and distinctive sound.
The use of and modes in African music is diverse and varies between different cultures and traditions. However, some common features and practices can be identified.
African traditional music often features modal structures, as opposed to Western tonal structures. This means that the music does not rely on a central “tonic” note or chord, and instead features a series of repeating patterns or modes that can be used to create different melodies and harmonies. This allows for a greater degree of improvisation and flexibility in the music.
One of the most common scales in African music is the scale, which is a five-note scale that is found in many traditional music cultures around the world. Many African traditional music also uses heptatonic scales, which are seven-note scales.
A good example of the use of modes in African music is the West African music, where musicians use a variety of modes, such as the Dorian and Mixolydian mode, in their melodies and harmonies.
In addition, a lot of African traditional music is based on a system of , which uses notes that fall between the traditional Western semitones. This allows for a wider range of pitch variation and can create intricate and nuanced melodies.
Overall, the use of modes and scales in African music is a complex and diverse subject, influenced by a range of cultural and historical factors, and continues to evolve and change over time.
Beat in African Music
RHYTHM AND POLYRYTHMS
is a central element in African music and plays a vital role in many traditional African music styles. African rhythms are often complex, with multiple layers of beats and rhythms played simultaneously. The use of drums is prevalent in African music, and they are often used to create a steady pulse or beat that serves as the foundation for the music. In addition to drums, other percussion instruments such as , , and bells are also commonly used to create intricate rhythms. African rhythms often have a strong sense of syncopation and , where multiple rhythms are played at the same time, creating a layered and dynamic sound. African rhythms can also be intertwined with dance and movement and are often used in ceremonial and ritual contexts.
are a defining characteristic of African music, and refer to the use of multiple, interlocking rhythms in a single musical performance. This creates a complex and layered musical texture that is unique to African music.
are created by layering different rhythms on top of each other, with each rhythm being played at a different tempo or meter. This creates a sense of tension and release, as the different rhythms interact and clash against each other.
In traditional African music, are often created using drums and other percussion instruments, but they can also be found in other types of instruments such as the , and in singing, and dancing.
The use of is widespread in Africa and can be found in music from many different regions and cultures. Some of the most well-known polyrhythmic traditions include the drumming of the Yoruba people of Nigeria, the music of the Akan people of Ghana, and the music of the Shona people of Zimbabwe.
It is important to note that are not only present in traditional music but also in contemporary music genres developed in Africa and in the diaspora such as , , and many more.
It is considered that the use of is a way to reflect the complexity and diversity of the African societies, and also is a way to express the oral tradition, where the music is used as a tool for transmitting knowledge and history.
Watch this video to review what you learned about polyrhythms:
Pitch in Arab Music
In Arabic music, scales and melodies are based on a system of modes called . The maqam system is an integral part of Arabic music, and different maqamat are used to create different moods and emotions in the music.
Some of the most commonly used in Arabic music include:
- Hijaz: characterized by its use of a raised fourth scale degree and a lowered seventh scale degree, this maqam is often used in religious and spiritual music.
- Rast: characterized by its use of a natural fourth and seventh scale degrees and a neutral third scale degree, this maqam is considered to be the most basic and fundamental maqam in Arabic music and is often used in folk and popular music.
- Bayati: characterized by its use of a lowered second scale degree and a raised fourth scale degree, this maqam is considered to be one of the most popular and widely-used in Arabic music and is often used in romantic and melancholic music.
- Saba: characterized by its use of a neutral third scale degree, a lowered sixth scale degree, and a raised seventh scale degree, this maqam is often used in music that is meant to convey a sense of longing or nostalgia.
- Nahawand: characterized by its use of a lowered third scale degree, a lowered sixth scale degree, and a lowered seventh scale degree, this maqam is often used in music that is meant to convey a sense of sadness or sorrow.
- Kurd: characterized by its use of a neutral third scale degree, a raised fourth scale degree, and a raised sixth scale degree, this maqam is often used in music that is meant to convey a sense of joy and celebration.
These are just a few examples of the many different maqamat used in Arabic music. Each maqam has its own unique characteristics and is used to create a specific emotional or musical effect.
, as mentioned, is a system of melodic modes used in traditional Arabic music. Each maqam has its own set of melodic rules and characteristics, and musicians use them as the basis for improvisation and composition. The maqam system is like the Western concept of a key or mode, but it has many more variations and subtleties. It is an important element of Arabic music and is used in various genres such as classical Arabic music, pop and .
are important elements in Arabic music, and they refer to the use of notes that fall between the traditional Western semitones.
In Arabic music, the traditional system of tuning includes 24 quarter tones or , which are used to create a wider range of pitch than the Western 12-note system. This allows for the expression of different emotions and moods, and it adds to the overall richness and complexity of Arabic music.
The use of is particularly important in traditional Arabic vocal music, where it is used to create the complex and emotive melodies associated with Arabic music. For example, in classical Arabic music, maqam, the use of microtones and quarter tones is essential to the expression of the different modes or scales.
Instrumental music also makes use of , particularly in traditional instruments like the , , and . These instruments are constructed and tuned to produce , which is an essential aspect of the Arabic music.
The use of microtones and quarter tones in Arabic music varies depending on the region, the genre, and the artist. Some contemporary Arabic music may not use them as extensively as traditional music does, but they are still an important aspect of Arabic music and are widely used in traditional forms.
Pitch and Beat in Indian Music: Ragas & Talas
Indian classical music is based on the concept of , which are melodies that evoke certain emotions in the listener. Some of the most popular ragas used in Indian music include Bhairav, Yaman, Malkauns, Todi, Bhupali, Marwa, and Darbari. Each raga has a distinct melodic structure and is associated with a particular time of day, season, or mood.
are rhythmic cycles used in Indian classical music. They are composed of a specific number of and can be used to structure improvisations, compositions and performances. Talas are divided into three parts: thekhādī, the vibhāg and the laggī. Thekhadi is the cyclical pattern of beats, the vibhag divides the cycle into two halves and the laggi is the part of the cycle which is improvised. Each has its own unique character, which is determined by the number of beats and the way in which they are grouped together. Talas are an essential part of Indian classical music, and are used to create a sense of structure, repetition and form in the music.
Like the system in Arab music, in Indian classical music, a is a melodic mode or framework that serves as the foundation for a composition or improvisation. It is characterized by a specific set of melodic rules and guidelines, including the use of certain notes, the order of the notes, and the way they are ornamented.
Each has a specific mood or emotion associated with it and is meant to be performed during certain times of the day or in specific seasons.
are classified into various types such as Janaka, Janya, and Upanga.
- Janaka ragas are the “parent” ragas from which many other ragas are derived.
- Janya ragas are derived from Janaka ragas and are its “children”
- Upanga ragas are Janya ragas that have been modified or adapted in some way.
In music there are ten thaats and in music seventy-two Melakartha ragas.
are also accompanied by , which is the rhythmic pattern that serves as the foundation for the composition or improvisation. Each is characterized by a specific number of beats and a specific time-cycle.
In Indian classical music, a is a rhythmic cycle that serves as the foundation for a composition or improvisation. It is characterized by a specific number of beats and a specific time-cycle and is usually indicated by a specific hand or finger gesture called a “kriya” that is used by the percussionist to signal the start of each cycle.
Tala is an integral part of Indian classical music and is used in both and music traditions. The use of tala creates a structure for the improvisation and composition by providing a framework for the musicians to build their improvisations around.
In music, talas are classified into four main categories: Trital, Dhamar, Ek tal, and Jhaptal.
In music, talas are classified into three main categories: Tisra, Chatusra, and Misra.
Each has its own specific name, such as Dadra, Jhaptal, and Rupak in Hindustani music and Adi, Rupaka, and Triputa in music.
The use of requires a high level of skill and practice to master, as the musician must be able to keep a steady beat while also improvising and adapting to the other musicians in the ensemble.
, also known as a microtone, is a musical interval that is equal to one-fourth of a semitone. In Indian music, quarter tones are used to express subtle inflections in melody and are an integral part of the melodic system. These subtle melodic nuances are often used to create a sense of tension and release and to create a feeling of improvisation. Quarter tones are also used to create a more complex texture in ragas, or melodic forms, by adding additional notes to a particular phrase. Quarter tones and microtones are used extensively in Northern Indian classical music, where a raga is composed with precise intonation and intricate ornamentation.
Microtones are tones that fall between the standard twelve-note chromatic scale. In Indian music, microtones are used to create a more subtle and nuanced sound. They are important in making (melodies) and (rhythmic cycles) more expressive.
can be used to make a note sound higher or lower than it would on the standard twelve-note chromatic scale, which can result in a more complex and emotive sound. Indian music also makes use of vibrato, which is a slight fluctuation in pitch. This creates a more complex sound and can be used to add expression and emphasis to a performance.
Pitch in Chinese Music
Chinese traditional music is based on a which is a five-note scale. The most used pentatonic scale in Chinese music is the gong hexatonic scale, which consists of the notes C, D, E, G, A, and C. This scale is often used in solo instrumental and vocal music.
In addition to the pentatonic scale, Chinese music also uses various modes, which are similar to Western modes such as major and minor. Some of the most common modes used in Chinese music include the Zhi mode, the Yu mode, and the Shang mode. Each of these modes has its own unique characteristics and is used in different types of music.
The Zhi mode is often used in and has a bright and lively character. The Yu mode is used in slower, more contemplative music and is often associated with sadness and longing. The Shang mode is used in more formal and ceremonial music and has a more serious and dignified character.
Overall, the scales and modes used in Chinese music are an integral part of its unique character and help to create the diverse range of emotions and feelings expressed in the music.
An expressive language or art form, if you will, that uses and to create an aesthetic experience.
The highness or lowness of a sound.
A unit of time, the underlying pulse.
The sequence of pitches that make up a musical line.
The combination of different pitches played or sung at the same time to create a chord.
The structure of a musical composition.
Pitches sounding simultaneously.
Set of musical pitches.
The distance between two or more sounds.
The combination of long and short beats.
A system of musical organization and composition that uses a specific key as its central element.
The displacement of the strong beats or downbeats.
A defining characteristic of African music, and refer to the use of multiple, interlocking rhythms in a single musical performance.
The speed of a piece of music.
The way in which beats are organized and grouped in a measure.
A five-note scale.
A common element in African music, where a leader sings or plays a phrase and the rest of the group responds with a similar phrase.
Multiple melodies played at the same time.
The pitches that fall between the standard Western twelve-note chromatic scale.
A West African musician, storyteller, and oral historian.
An instrument that consists of a series of wooden bars that are struck with mallets to produce sound.
A musical instrument made of wooden bars that are struck by mallets.
A family of instruments, traditional to the Shona people of Zimbabwe, consisting of a wooden board with attached staggered metal tines.
Originated in the Congo, it is a style of dance music that features a strong bassline and a mix of African and Western influences.
Originated in Ghana and Nigeria in the early 20th century; it is a fusion of African rhythms and Western brass band music.
Originated in Nigeria, it is a style of music that combines elements of hip-hop, R&B, and traditional African rhythms.
A system of modes in Arab music; Maqam system.
Also known as traditional Arabic music, is a genre of Arabic music that has its roots in the traditional culture and customs of the Arab people.
A pear-shaped stringed instrument that is the national instrument of several Arab countries.
A plucked string instrument that is like a zither or dulcimer. It has many strings stretched over a trapezoidal soundboard and is played with small plectrums attached to the fingers.
A cylindrical flute made from reed or bamboo.
A melodic mode or framework that serves as the foundation for a composition or improvisation. It is characterized by a specific set of melodic rules and guidelines, including the use of certain notes, the order of the notes, and the way they are ornamented.
Rhythmic cycles used in Indian classical music.
Classical music from the northern regions of India characterized by its use of improvisation and the influence of devotional and Sufi music.
Classical music commonly associated with South India.
Tones that fall between the standard twelve-note chromatic scale.
The traditional music of the country's ethnic minorities and Han Chinese people.