Elements of Music

The Elements of Music


1. Rhythm

            Rhythm is the connection between music and time. Music, like a movie or          sporting event, develops over time. All music has a certain pace to it. You can often “feel” the rhythm of music. You may unknowingly keep rhythm with a foot stomp or hand clap.


Click on the link below. Read about melody and then click on the houses to play with rhythm.




            Tempo: the speed of a song.


Click on the link below. Read about tempo and then click on the metronome to play with tempo.




2. Melody

            When a guitar string, drum cymbal or voice box vibrates it causes the air to

            vibrate. These vibrations are converted by the ear into sound. When 2 or mote pitches are put in a row, you have amelody. When you whistle a tune, that’s a melody.


Listen “Old Fishing Hole (The Andy Griffith Theme)” to hear a simple example of a basic melody.


            The faster the object  is vibrating, the higher the pitch of the sound will  be. A  low pitch sound is like a fog-horn, Barry Williams, or the bass. A high pitch  sound would be a whistle or someone stepping on a cat.


Click on the link below. Read about pitch and then click on the keyboard to play with pitch.



3. Harmony:

             The combination of musical notes simultaneously creates harmony. If a friend  sings 1 note and you join in to sing with him, that is harmonizing.


Click on the link below. Read about harmony and then click on the SFS Harmonizer to play with harmony.




4. Texture:

            Texture is the way in which musical lines function with each other


            - Monophony: a solo or 1 line of music with no accompaniment

                        - example a singer with no band or a violin solo.


Listen to the song “Taps” to hear an example of Monophony.


            - Homophony: 1 dominant line of music with supporting background lines

                        - example a singer with a supporting band


Listen to “Redemption Song” by Bob Marley and “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” by The Dropkick Murphys. Note that while there are more than 2 instruments, there is only 1 melody. Most rock songs are homophony.


            - Polyphony: 2 or more individual lines at the same time

Watch the video for J.S. Bach’s “Little Fugue in G Minor”. Listen to the entire song and notice that there exists more than 1 main melody playing and developing at the same time.


5. Volume:

            - Loud or soft?


            Dynamics: refers to the changes in volume



 Elements of Music

 Answer the following questions on a separate piece of paper and turn in.

1. Arrange the following songs based on tempo. Explain how you determined the order.


“Give It All” by Rise Against


“The Weight” by the Band


“10 AM Automatic” by The Black Keys



2. Arrange the following songs based on the pitch of the lead singer’s voice. Explain how you determined the order.


“The Underdog” by Spoon


“Y Control” by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs


“Back Door Man” by Howlin’ Wolf


3. Circle the Beatles songs that contain vocal harmonies. 


“Yesterday”     “She Loves You”     “Paperback Writer”    


 “The Ballad of John and Yoko”        “Yellow Submarine”


4. Listen to the entire following song. It contains 2 different song textures. What are those textures?



“Green Sleeves” by Unknown



5. Listen to the two following songs. Explain what type of music texture they contain and why.


“Heroes and Villains” by the Beach Boys


“God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys (pay special attention to the final 40 seconds)


“God Only Knows- VOCALS ONLY”  by the Beach Boys (pay special attention to the final 40 seconds)

6. Listen to the entire song and explain how it uses tempo and what effect it has on the song. 


“One” by Metallica (be sure to listen to entire song. Think of what the song is about and what the rhythm is mimicking)




7. Explain how the use of dynamics is used in the 2 songs. How is it different? What different effect does it create?


“$100” by Manchester Orchestra


 “Roulette Dares (This is the Haunt)” by The Mars Volta