Music Information

3 Secrets To Understanding What Makes Music Tick


It's no secret that virtually everyone loves music in some form or other. After all, music is the universal language. In one way or another we all participate in it from our cradle song to our wedding song to our funeral song, with thousands of other s stops along the way.

The country-western fan may not like jazz, but he or she sure loves the sound of pickin' & grinnin'.

And that's as it should be. If we all liked the same kind of music, there just wouldn't be the variety that is available to us now. We can choose from musical styles ranging from heavy classical and opera to rock to children's songs to Broadway musicals to gospel music to the blues.

Each has its place, and each seems on the surface to be drastically different than another form of music. The key word is "on the surface." But beneath the surface of all music is a commonality that is organic to all forms and styles of music.

So what does all music have in common? What makes music tick?

At least 3 things - sometimes more, but never less:

1. Melody

2. Rhythm

3. Harmony

The melody is the part of a song or composition that you whistle or hum - in other words, the tune of the song. In one sense, it is the most visible of the 3 elements, because melody is what identifies a song. Without melody, it would be difficult to even conceive of a song or piece.

In musical notation, the melody is almost always written in the treble clef - also known as the treble staff. It consists of a horizontal line of notes that move up and down on the clef as the tune moves higher or lower.

Rhythm is the beat - the swing - the throb of the music. It happens in repeating patterns, depending upon the type of music. It is like a horizontal line of beats which occur at regular or semi-regular intervals. A waltz, for example, basically consists of a heavy beat followed by two lighter beats. So we say that a waltz is in triple meter - one strong beat followed by two weak beats, then repeated.

A march, on the other hand, generally consists of a heavy beat followed by a light beat, then another heavy beat followed by another light beat. (I'm simplifying, of course - there are many varieties?) So a march is in duple meter - as you might expect since we have two feet and we march in left-right-left-right patterns.

All rhythms are some combination of triple meter and/or duple meter, and the possibilities are endless - from boogie to R&B to mambos and sambas and bossa novas and?.on and on.

Harmony, the 3rd aspect of music, is the musical background of a song - the chords, or intervals "behind" the melody. Without harmony, a song sounds empty - like a vocalist singing without an accompanist - or accapella. Music doesn't HAVE to have harmony to function, but in actual practice it almost always does, even if it is just the interplay of two melodies, as in counterpoint.

You could spend a lifetime learning all the nuances of music, but it its most basic form, it is these 3 elements combined together; melody, rhythm, and harmony that comprise music.

Duane Shinn is the author of over 500 music books and music educational materials such as DVD's, CD's, musical games for kids, chord charts, musical software, and piano lesson instructional courses for both children & adults. His book & DVD course titled "How To Dress Up 'Naked Music' On The Piano!" is used by adults around the world. He holds advanced degrees from Southern Oregon University and was the founder of Piano University in Southern Oregon. He is the author of the popular free 101-week online e-mail newsletter titled "Amazing Secrets Of Exciting Piano Chords & Sizzling Chord Progressions" with over 59,700 current subscribers.


MORE RESOURCES:

New York Times

World Music Institute Expands for Next Concert Season
New York Times
The World Music Institute will bring acclaimed musicians from across the globe to New York for more than 40 performances next season. This nonprofit organization's new programming includes mini-festivals dedicated to music from Mali and India, and from ...

and more »


Salt Lake City Weekly (blog)

Music Monday for July 24
Salt Lake City Weekly (blog)
The towering towhead with ice-blue eyes could've crushed my skull with one swat, but he was soft-spoken and gentle, resembling a huge kindergartener. And his music, while odd, was a revelation. Jonassen's guitar playing could seem clumsy and random, ...



ESPN

Big Ten media days: Best dressed players, country music talk and more
ESPN
A cast of ESPN reporters are in Chicago for Big Ten media days, where Monday's biggest stories include a couple Ohio State players making their case for best dressed and Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany addressing the state of the conference. Iowa's ...

and more »


Business Insider

Christopher Nolan explains the 'audio illusion' that created the unique music in 'Dunkirk'
Business Insider
“There's an audio illusion, if you will, in music called a 'Shepard tone' and with my composer David Julyan on 'The Prestige' we explored that, and based a lot of the score around that,” Nolan said. “It's an illusion where there's a continuing ...

and more »


New York Post

Spotify close to signing a crucial deal with Warner Music
New York Post
The parties are positive a deal could be signed by September as major issues, such as granting the money-losing music streamer Spotify a more favorable revenue split in return for making some new albums accessible only to its paying subscribers for a ...
Spotify and Warner Music Close to Signing Deal That Would Restrict Some Releases to Premium UsersMac Rumors
Spotify and Warner are ready to make a deal on music royaltiesEngadget

all 16 news articles »


The Guardian

BBC to fill Glastonbury gap with own music event across UK
The Guardian
The BBC is aiming to fill the void left by Glastonbury festival's gap year in 2018 by holding its own music event at venues in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The corporation will hold the Biggest Weekend at four sites across the UK with ...
BBC to replace Glastonbury Festival 2018 with new, four-nation music eventTelegraph.co.uk
BBC Music announce massive festival to replace Glastonbury next yearNME.com
BBC Music Announces Major Festival Weekend in 2018Billboard
BBC News
all 42 news articles »


Billboard

Music Pushes to Innovate Beyond Streaming, But Investors Play It Safe: Analysis
Billboard
If you're confused about how exactly music tech is doing in 2017, I don't blame you. On one hand, some previously dominant music-tech stars are falling prey to money troubles, suggesting financial success in the sector is tough. Jawbone, the award ...



Pitchfork

Passion Pit's Michael Angelakos Not Done With Music, But Says the Industry “Nearly Killed” Him
Pitchfork
Passion Pit's Michael Angelakos sent a series of tweets last night where he seemed to be announcing a hiatus from music. “Until it is safer and healthier for us to be advocates, to be a writers, producers, and performers, I simply cannot continue ...
Passion Pit going on hiatus from music for mental health reasonsBrooklyn Vegan (blog)

all 10 news articles »


Forbes

Linkin Park Music Floods Chart, Sales Surge 5300% After Chester Bennington's Death
Forbes
Linkin Park's music is flooding back intoarts worldwide after the tragic death of singer Chester Bennington. In the latest evidence of sales spiking, nine of the band's albums are featured in the U.K.'s Official Chart Update just released. U.S. sales ...
Linkin Park's Chester Bennington Filmed Carpool Karaoke Episode For Apple Music Just Days Before His DeathMac Rumors

all 542 news articles »


NPR

A New Canon: In Pop Music, Women Belong At The Center Of The ...
NPR
Why make a list of the greatest albums by women? To start a new conversation, where musicians who have too long been marginalized are now at the center.

and more »

Google News

home | site map
© 2006