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The Elements of


Music is made up of many different things called elements. They are the building bricks of music. When you compose a piece of music you use the elements of music to build it, just like a builder uses bricks to build a house. Using these elements correctly helps each piece of music to sound unique and interesting. You can also think of the elements like colours in a picture. What are the elements of music?
Pitch means the highness or lo$ness of a sound. !n music, e%ery pitch is named after letters of the alphabet, from A to G. &ll pieces of music use a range and %ariety of different pitches to create melody and harmony. itches mo%e in only ' $ays( by step, by leap or by repetition. Dynamics means the loudness or quietness of the music. +ometimes this is called the olume. Music often changes %olume gradually, becoming quieter or louder. )ynamics can also change suddenly. !n music, a system of letters is used to describe the dynamics( p ,quiet-. mp or mf ,medium quiet or loud-. f ,loud-. $empo means the fastness or slo$ness of the music. +ometimes this is called the speed or pace. & piece of music can be at any speed and may e%en change, becoming faster or slo$er to create different effects. The beat of the music can be compared to the heart beat or pulse of the human body. !t is almost al$ays e en or steady. The beat keeps the music ali%e and can also help us find the tempo of a piece. You can find the beat of the music by tapping your foot. Duration means the length of each sound. !n music, the sounds are $ritten as notes. +ome notes are long and some are short. "omposers often combine different lengths of sounds for %arious effects. &ilence is as important as sound in music. !t is $ritten do$n as rests. !t gi%es us the spaces bet$een each note and can also be used for dramatic effects. *hythms are the patterns created by different lengths of notes and rests. 2hythm is not the same as beat or tempo. & fast piece can ha%e slo$ rhythms just as a slo$ piece can ha%e fast rhythms. Te5ture is created through the combinations of different musical instruments or %oices. !f only one sound or instrument is heard the te+ture is thin. !f there are many sounds the te+ture $ould be thick. The te5ture often changes, becoming thinner or thicker, during a piece of music. Attack and decay describes the $ay sounds start and stop. +ome sounds can ha%e a hard or soft beginning, surprising you or seeming to creep up on you. +ounds can also stop suddenly or die a$ay gradually. /%ery instrument, %oice or sound has its o$n timbre or tone colour. )ifferences in timbre are often caused by the materials from $hich instruments are made, their si8es, ho$ the sound is produced or the speed of the %ibration that you can hear ,the pitch-.




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