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Directions: In order to listen to music one needs to understand the

elements used to create music.
Study the chart below which illustrates the elements of music described
in Part 1. Then submit the critical thinking question stated at the
bottom of the word picture.

Fundamentals for Listening

Elements of Music


Melody Form

Harmony Timbre

Critical Thinking Question: How does the composer use

these elements to create change and interest in a piece of
music? Define the terms and give an example from each

Created by by Michelle
Michelle Bauman

o The orderly flow of music through time
o A composer can use rhythm to create change and interest in a piece of music by
making different sections of a piece have different rhythms. For example: making
the first section of a piece have a slow tempo, but speeding up the tempo in the
next section and/or changing the meter to create an interesting contrast.
o A series of pitches that forms a cohesive entity
o Melody can be used to make a piece more satisfying by creating different layers-
often 3 or more melody lines in more complicated classical music- that create a
very diverse and complicated piece.
o The vertical line with sounds occurring at the same time
o A composer can use harmony by using a scale or set of chords in a unique
manner. Or by using dissonance to consonance patterns to create tension in a
piece. Or by modulating the music or changing into major/minor keys.
o Tone quality
o If composing a piece with several instruments, the composer can use timbre by
having two or three different instruments have a duet or trio in the middle of the
song and matching the instruments whose timbres complement each other.
o A general plan for organizing music
o A composer can use form by generally sticking to the three-part pattern that has
been found to be the most pleasing to the listener. Also a composer can use
contrast, repetition, and variation to make the parts contrast each other.
o The volume of the sound in a piece
o Dynamics can be used to create texture in a piece and to make the notes flow
better by using crescendos and decrescendos, contrasting the louds and softs, etc.