Elements of music
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Music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General include common elements such as (which governs and ), (and its associated concepts , , and ...

Music
can be analysed by considering a variety of its elements, or parts (aspects, characteristics, features), individually or together. A commonly used list of the main elements includes
pitch Pitch may refer to: Acoustic frequency * Pitch (music), the perceived frequency of sound including "definite pitch" and "indefinite pitch" ** Absolute pitch or "perfect pitch" ** Pitch class, a set of all pitches that are a whole number of octaves ...
,
timbre In music, timbre ( ), also known as tone color or tone quality (from ), is the perceived sound quality of a , sound or . Timbre distinguishes different types of sound production, such as choir voices and musical instruments. It also enables li ...

timbre
,
texture Texture may refer to: Science and technology * Surface texture, the texture means smoothness, roughness, or bumpiness of the surface of an object * Texture (roads), road surface characteristics with waves shorter than road roughness * Texture (co ...
,
volume Volume is a expressing the of enclosed by a . For example, the space that a substance (, , , or ) or occupies or contains. Volume is often quantified numerically using the , the . The volume of a container is generally understood to be the ...
,
duration Duration may refer to: * The amount of Time#Terminology, time elapsed between two events * Duration (music) – an amount of time or a particular time interval, often cited as one of the fundamental aspects of music * Duration (philosophy) – a th ...
, and
form Form is the shape A shape or figure is the form of an object or its external boundary, outline, or external Surface (mathematics), surface, as opposed to other properties such as color, Surface texture, texture, or material type. A plane shape, ...
. The elements of music may be compared to the
elements of artElements of art are stylistic features that are included within an art piece to help the artist communicate. The seven most common elements include line, shape, texture, form, space, colour and value, with the additions of mark making, and materialit ...

elements of art
or
design A design is a plan or specification for the construction of an object or system or for the implementation of an activity or process, or the result of that plan or specification in the form of a , product or . The verb ''to design'' expresses the ...
.


Selection of elements

According to
Howard Howard is an English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the Worl ...

Howard
, there is little dispute about the principal constituent elements of music, though experts differ on their precise definitions. Harold Owen bases his list on the qualities of sound: pitch, timbre, intensity, and duration while John Castellini excludes duration. Gordon C. Bruner II follows the line of temporal-based deductions in association with musical composition, denoting music's primary components as "time, pitch, and texture." Most definitions of music include a reference to sound and sound perception can be divided into six cognitive processes. They are:
pitch Pitch may refer to: Acoustic frequency * Pitch (music), the perceived frequency of sound including "definite pitch" and "indefinite pitch" ** Absolute pitch or "perfect pitch" ** Pitch class, a set of all pitches that are a whole number of octaves ...
,
duration Duration may refer to: * The amount of Time#Terminology, time elapsed between two events * Duration (music) – an amount of time or a particular time interval, often cited as one of the fundamental aspects of music * Duration (philosophy) – a th ...
,
loudness 400px, The horizontal axis shows '' Hz'' In acoustics, loudness is the subjectivity, subjective perception of sound pressure. More formally, it is defined as, "That attribute of auditory sensation in terms of which sounds can be ordered on a scal ...
,
timbre In music, timbre ( ), also known as tone color or tone quality (from ), is the perceived sound quality of a , sound or . Timbre distinguishes different types of sound production, such as choir voices and musical instruments. It also enables li ...

timbre
, sonic texture and
spatial location In geography, location or place are used to denote a region (geometry), regions (point, line, or area) on the earth's surface or elsewhere. The term ''location'' generally implies a higher degree of certainty than ''place'', the latter often indica ...
. A 'parameter' is any element that can be manipulated ( composed) separately from other elements or focused on separately in an educational context. Leonard B. Meyer compares distinguishing parameters within a culture by their different constraints to distinguishing independent parameters within music, such as melody, harmony, timbre, "etc." The first person to apply the term ''
parameter A parameter (), generally, is any characteristic that can help in defining or classifying a particular system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whol ...

parameter
'' to music may have been
Joseph Schillinger Joseph Moiseyevich Schillinger (Russian: Иосиф Моисеевич Шиллингер, (other sources: ) – 23 March 1943) was a composer, music theorist, and composition teacher who originated the Schillinger System of Musical Composition ...
, though its relative popularity may be due to
Werner Meyer-Eppler Werner Meyer-Eppler (30 April 1913 – 8 July 1960), was a Belgian-born German physicist, experimental acoustician, phoneticist and information theorist. Meyer-Eppler was born in Antwerp Antwerp (; nl, Antwerpen ; french: Anvers ...
. ''Gradation'' is gradual change within one parameter, or an overlapping of two blocks of sound. Meyer lists melody, rhythm, timbre, harmony, "and the like" as principal elements of music, while Narmour lists melody, harmony, rhythm, dynamics, tessitura, timbre, tempo, meter, texture, "and perhaps others". According to McClellan, two things should be considered, the quality or state of an element and its change over time. Alan P. Merriam proposed a theoretical research model that assumes three aspects are always present in musical activity: concept, behaviour, and sound.
Virgil Thomson Virgil Thomson (November 25, 1896 – September 30, 1989) was an American composer and critic A critic is a professional who communicates an assessment and an opinion of various forms of creative works such as Art criticism, art, Literary ...

Virgil Thomson
lists the "raw materials" of music in order of their supposed discovery: rhythm, melody, and harmony; including
counterpoint In music, counterpoint is the relationship between two or more musical lines (or voices) which are harmonically interdependent yet independent in rhythm Rhythm (from Greek , ''rhythmos'', "any regular recurring motion, symmetry"—) ge ...

counterpoint
and
orchestration Orchestration is the study or practice of writing music for an orchestra (or, more loosely, for any musical ensemble, such as a concert band) or of adapting music composed for another medium for an orchestra. Also called "instrumentation", orches ...
. Near the end of the twentieth century music scholarship began to give more attention to social and physical elements of music. For example:
performance A performance is an act of staging or presenting a play, concert, or other form of entertainment. It is also defined as the action or process of carrying out or accomplishing an action, task, or function. Management science In the work place, ...

performance
,
social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involuntary. Etymology The word "Social" derives fr ...
, women in music, gender, dance, and musical theatre, theatre.


Definition of music

Does the definition of music determine its aspects, or does the combination of certain aspects determine the definition of music? For example, intensional definitions list aspects or elements that make up their subject. Some definitions refer to music as a score, or a composition:) music can be read as well as heard, and a piece of music written but never played is a piece of music notwithstanding. According to Edward E. Gordon the process of sight-reading, reading music, at least for trained musicians, involves a process, called "inner hearing" or "audiation", where the music is heard in the mind as if it were being played. This suggests that while sound is often considered a required aspect of music, it might not be. Jean Molino points out that "any element belonging to the total musical fact can be isolated, or taken as a strategic variable of musical production." Nattiez gives as examples Mauricio Kagel's ''Con Voce'' [with voice], where a masked trio silently mimes playing instruments. In this example sound, a common element, is excluded, while gesture, a less common element, is given primacy. However Nattiez goes on to say that despite special cases where sound is not immediately obvious (because it is heard in the mind): "sound is a minimal condition of the musical fact".


Universal aspect

There is disagreement about whether some aspects of music are Universality (philosophy), universal, as well as whether the concept of music is universal. This debate often hinges on definitions. For instance, the fairly common assertion that "tonality" is a universal of all music may necessarily require an expansive definition of tonality. A pulse (music), pulse is sometimes taken as a universal, yet there exist solo vocal and instrumental genres with free and improvisational rhythms no regular pulse, one example being the alap section of an Indian classical music performance. Harwood questions whether a "cross-cultural musical universal" may be found in the music or in the making of music, including performance, hearing, conception, and education. One aspect that is important to bear in mind when examining multi-cultural associations, is that an English-language word (i.e. the word "music"), not a universal concept, is the object of scrutiny. For this reason it is important to approach apparently equivalent words in other languages with caution. Based on the many disparate definitions that can be found just in English language dictionaries,) it seems there is no agreement on what the word "Music" means in English, let alone determining a potentially equivalent word from another culture. Kenneth Gourlay describes how, since different cultures include different elements in their definitions of music, dance, and related concepts, translation of the words for these activities may split or combine them, citing Nigerian musicologist Chinyere Nwachukwu's definition of the Igbo term "nkwa" as an activity combining and/or requiring singing, playing musical instruments, and dancing. He then concludes that there exists "nonuniversality of music and the universality of nonmusic".


Other terms

Other terms used to discuss particular pieces include: * Musical note, Note—an abstraction that refers to either a specific pitch or rhythm, or the written symbol *chord (music), Chord—a wikt:simultaneity, simultaneity of notes heard as some sort of unit *Chord progression—a succession of chords (simultaneity succession) For a more comprehensive list of terms see: Outline of music


See also

*Combinatoriality *New musicology *Noise in music *Permutation (music) *Philosophy of music *Process music *Serialism *Set (music) *Sound art


References

Sources * * * * * * * * * Cited in and , p. 78. * * Cited in . * * * * * * * Cited in . * * * * * * * *


Further reading

*Martin Agricola, Agricola, Martin (1991). ''The Rudiments of Music'', new edition, translated from the Latin edition of 1539 by John Trowell. Aberystwyth: Boethius Press. * American National Standards Institute, "American National Psychoacoustical Terminology". [N.p.]: American Standards Association *Macpherson, Stewart, and Anthony Payne (1970). ''The Rudiments of Music'', revised edition, with a new chapter by Anthony Payne. London: Stainer & Bell; New York: Galliard. . *Ottman, Robert W., and Frank D. Mainous (2000). ''Rudiments of Music'', second edition. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. . * White, John D. (1976). ''The Analysis of Music''. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall. .


External links

*
The Elements of Music
{{Music theory Elements of music, Musical analysis Musical composition Philosophy of music Serialism de:Universalien der Musikwahrnehmung