|Online Musical Encyclopedia:
“Music is the universal language”
During man’s history, music has been played in many ways. Music is considered a type of art today. However, music has been used (and still is used) to communicate, entertain and even provide background support at events, parties and movies. Music can be sung, played (through an instrument) and today, played through an electronic device such as computers. Each culture, time period, race and age has developed it’s own distinct style of music. From the prehistoric to the preliterate to the more civilized people of today, music has changed drastically in style.
What then, distinguishes music from noise? The main difference between noise and music is that music contains four basic, organized elements that noise lacks: rhythm, harmony, melody, and form.
Rhythm involves time - the duration,
This means that the piece should be played at a rate of 96 quarter notes per minute. Essential to rhythm is pulsation. Pulsation in a musical sense means keeping a steady beat or pulse. Patterns of stressed and unstressed beats or pulses are repeated over and over. For example, a waltz rhythm is something like this: ONE-two-three, ONE-two-three, etc. To learn more about rhythm, beats, time signatures in a more detailed and interactive way, please go over the Online Piano Lessons.
Harmony is the building of chords and tones played together. Music is derived from the various different types of scales (i.e. C Major scale, A# Minor scale, etc). Sometimes, harmony may be tense or unusual to our ears. This is present in such musical compositions as Haydn’s . In this piano concerto, Haydn creates tension with a melody and chords that are in disagreement with one another. In Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, the initial melody is a monotone tune, with almost no variation, but the harmony shifts to add color, tension and release to the composition.
Mentioned above, melody involves pitch, the arrangement of pitch, the highness or lowness or tone. Melody is probably the derivative from the inflections of the human voice. Melody is different in some way between different pieces. Melodies, however, can and does influence the composition of future music.
Form is the combination of rhythm, melody and harmony in some distinct way. The simplest form is produced by varying and repeating the melody. In many pop music today, the so-called chorus to continually repeated through the song. In such compositions as “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”, the tune is stated, varied and restated. Listen toe “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” here.
Another example is Mozart’s Eien Klien Natmusik, the tune is stated and in a responsive way, an opposition to the tune is stated in reply. Moreover, variations of the main theme is repeated throughout the piece.