What is Music?

One of the first questions our students ask: WHAT IS MUSIC?

Music is an art form which the medium is sound. The basic elements of music are melody, harmony and rhythm. The word “Music” originated from Greek word “mousike”, meaning art of the Muses (goddesses in Greek mythology who inspire the creation of literature and art).

Music can be classified as performing art, fine art, and auditory art. Music has many different elements such as pitch, beat or pulse, rhythm, melody, harmony, texture, allocation of voices, timbre or color, expressive qualities (dynamics and articulation), and form or structure.

Western music theory generally divides the octave into a series of 12 notes that might be included in a piece of music.

Pitch is a subjective sensation, reflecting generally the lowness or highness of a sound.

Rhythm is the timing of sounds and silences.

A melody is a series of notes sounding in succession. The notes of a melody are typically created with respect to pitch systems, scales or modes. Music that uses the system of major-minor scale calls tonal music (all Classical music are tonal music), music that base on mode is model music (Medieval music). The key of a piece determines the scale used.

Harmony is the accompaniment in music, also describe as vertical sonorities in music, the relationships between pitches that occur together (intervals and chords).

Music texture is the overall sound of a piece of music commonly described according to the number of and relationship between parts or lines of music like monophony, heterophony, polyphony, and homophony.

Timbre, also called “Color” or “Tone Color”, it is the quality or sound of a voice or instrument. This is “Expressive Qualities” of music that is related to dynamics and Articulation.

Form can be described as the concept of musical syntax, on a local and global level. Examples of common forms of Western music include fugue, invention, sonata-allegro, canon, strophic, rondo, binary, ternary.

Tags: , , , ,