Analyses show that out of 100, there are only 3-5 people around the world who do not like listening to music. To understand the basic elements of music, you need not be a musician. As on what I think, everyone must know the basics of music like the elements of music, the basic beats and basics about some instruments. This not only enhances our knowledge but also does it help us in selecting the best music for us.
Anyone who appreciates the core music takes an effort to learn the basic components of music. This is because when we like something, we always try to dig a bit more into it. That is where I initially started from. I had spent years loving music and listening to it. Then I wanted to learn more and am still learning. It has such a large pool of things to learn from. You will find a number of things on this blog that you can learn and move forward with.
While we learn about music, the first thing from where we start from is the components of it. Like to grow a tree, we start from roots, to learn music; we start from the roots of music, the components of it. So, what are the components of music? There are 7 elements of music basically, for different theorists; the number might differ, but the core remains the same. These seven elements of music composing are all the necessary components.
What are the 7 Elements of Music and What do they Mean?
Most definitions around the world about music include a reference to sound and this sound’s perception is following the elements of music. There are distinct types of music; there is melody, timbre, pop and many more. These 7 elements of music can take you long way in understanding any kind of music. Let’s look at each of the elements and their meaning.
Tempo is the speed at which any piece of music is played. There is slow, moderate or fast speed at which music is played. Each type of composition has its own name like slow pace composition is called ‘Largo’, moderate pace composition is called ‘Moderato’, and the fast pace one is called ‘Presto’. Along with speed, Tempo can also indicate how much emphasis needs to be given to a particular part of the composition.
As there are number of compositions that start with a slow paced beginning, then move to a Moderato pace, then the core of the composition has Presto pace, later as it moves towards the end, it goes in reverse and again end with Largo pace. So, while you change the speed in the same composition, you inform the fellow musicians about the same. Like when you want to lower the speed, then you indicate Ritenuto to them by which they understand your next move.
All these things come under Tempo. It is very essential to manage the Tempo of your composition. This will enhance the quality of the smallest beat of the music in it.
Dynamics means the volume at which the performance is to be delivered. It is indicated by the symbols that signify the intensity of the passage or the part to be played or sung. You must have seen notes written by the performer, these written notes includes certain symbols that direct them in terms of intensity in which a note has to be played. These symbols can be in the form of punctuations like some number of dotes ‘….’ indicating to stretch that bit of music for a little long.
Pitch is the sound which is based on the frequency of vibration. Before you learn any kind of music, you need to understand one thing that every sound is a reaction of vibration. When the vibration is slow and is coming out of a bigger object, then the sound or the pitch of the music is low. Visa viz, when the vibration is loud and the object it is coming out from is small then the sound or the pitch will be high.
For example, the pitch of double bass is lower than that of a violin as it is quite a bigger object than a violin as the double bass has longer strings that make lower vibrations. Although every sound is a vibration, the pitch for each vibration are different and so, it is identifiable as to which instrument is playing and how much vibrations occur at what level of sound.
As most of us know that rhythm is the pattern or the flow at which the music is played. Playing any kind of music requires a pattern and so, placement of every piece needs to be done with precision to get a continuous flow when it is played. Rhythm is defined as an arrangement of note lengths in a piece of music by the book ‘Music: An Appreciation’.
Melody is a combination of Pitch and Rhythm where you create a tune by playing a succession of notes at a particular frequency so as to get a single or multiple melody. A composition might have a single melody that runs once through the entire piece and there also can be multiple melodies in a composition that is arranged in a verse-chorus form. You can find multiple melodies in a rock ‘n’ roll kind of music. You can create these multiple melodies using DAW software like Studio one or FL studio as a beginner.
When you hear a music, you easily identify different musical instruments playing at the same time. This identification becomes easy because of the tone color i.e. timbre. It refers to the quality of sound that distinguishes one voice from that of another. Timbre differs for each composition as it ranges from dark to bright or from dull to lush tones depending upon the requirement of the piece of that composition.
For example, while you play an instrument with slow melody and tempo in a monotone at a lowest register than that would be a dull timbre. But, if you play the same instrument at an up-tempo melody and in the upper register, it can be described as bright timbre. Do not worry, you will understand all of this more in the further articles.
Texture is super easy to understand. It refers to the number of layers you use in a composition and how each of these layers are inter-related. You may have a single layer which is known as monophonic or have two or more melodic lines known as polyphonic and when the melody is accompanied by chords, it is known as homophonic. Different layers might have different melodies. And for a monophonic composition, melody is generally a single one.
When two or more chords are played at the same time, it is called harmony. It supports the melody and gives the texture to the music. You can describe these harmonic chords in minor, major, augmented or diminished chords depending on the notes you play. Harmony is referred as a vertical structure of music by many theorists. It fills the gap between each rhythm or melody and gives the composition a flow.
Also Read: How to Play Banjo
Aren’t the seven elements of music interesting? All these 7 elements of music help you in analyzing any music or even help you compose a music piece. If even one of these elements are missing, then you might find gaps in the composition. When you also club the bonus element, you get an even better result with your composition. These elements are common for playing any kind of music on any type of instrument. They are extremely important and most basic ones to remember while you compose a piece of music. Learn about the importance of music to a society with us.