Pitch: highness or lowness of sound. We use a staff (5 lines) to notate pitch.
Dynamics: loudness or softness of sound (volume). Indicated by dynamic markings:
ff – fortissimo – very loud
f – forte – loud
mf – mezzo forte – medium loud
mp – mezzo piano – medium soft
p – piano – soft
pp – pianissimo – very soft
Tempo: the speed of the music, how fast or slow it is. Indicated by tempo markings:
Grave – very, very slow
Lento – very slow
Andante – walking tempo
Moderato – medium tempo
Allegro – fast
Presto – very fast
Tone color or Timbre: different instruments or voices.
Rhythm/Duration: the flow of music in time. We use different note values and rests to specify duration of the notes:
- Beat: regular, recurrent pulsation found in music.
- Meter: pattern of strong and weak beats. Most music is either in 2, 3 or 4.
Melody: succession of notes that are perceived as a whole. Usually have a beginning, climax and ending.
Harmony: several notes played at the same time. (chords). Functions as an accompaniment to a melody.
Form: the structure of the music, similar, contrasting, repeated sections, etc.
Texture: the different layers of sound machine up the music. There are different types of textures:
- Monophonic – only one melody. (Sung/played by either one or many singers/instruments)
- Polyphonic – several different and independent melodies sounding at the same time.
- Homophonic – a main melody and accompaniment.
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