The Six Elements of Music and its theory.

Last Revised: Thursday, November 22, 2012


Understanding the basic component of music:

It is important to study them when you want to convey your thoughts and show your appreciation toward music. Especially when you are writing a music critique these are the six elements that you would want to know. Most Music Critics don't touch on the playing techniques unless he/she is a professional player in that instrument.

Or perhaps if you compose, these basic elements are essential to look at in order to create a specific genre of music.

The Six Primary Elements of Music:

There are various combinations out there but I will be covering on these Six. You are probably familiar with the top 3 (melody, rhythm and harmony) as they are the most common out of all the elements listed. I had come up with this Fish Analogy so that you can appreciate them better.

Melody (fish bone)

Melody is simply the backbone of the music. Made up by series of pitches. It is also commonly referred to as the tune. It is the main gist of the piece. Therefore the idea for coming up a catchy tune often rely on how well the melody is structured.

Harmony (fish meat)

Backing up the melody is the harmony, they are the muscles and meat of the music. Their main purpose is to support the bone structure. Doesn't this sounds like anatomy studies? haha. They are often known as the accompaniment. If you do play piano you will notice that the right hand often does the melody whereas the left plays the harmony.
Harmony are made up of chords, like the muscles fibres they need to work together. A chord is basically two or more pitches that sound right when heard simultaneously.      

Rhythm (heart beats)

When we talk about beats we know that it has to deal with some form of time measurements. The flow of time. In simple context, the beat is the time measurements of the music. Different types of notes have different beats which will determine how long the notes will have to hold.

Below are some of the notes and their respective beats.
whole = 4 beats
half     = 2 beats
quarter= 1 beat
eight   = 1/2 beat
sixtheen=1/4 beat

Not to mix up with tempo. Tempo determines the speed at which the beats progress.

Texture (fish scales)

When we look at the different species of fish we will noticed that the scales are arranged in orderly rows differently, some are densely compacted and some are spread out. Texture describes they way on how the musical lines are woven.

There are mainly 3 kinds of textures:
  1. Monophnic
    As you can see the prefix "Mono" it means single or one. It is the simplest from of texture, consist of only one single line without any accompaniment.
  2. Polyphonic
    Polyphonic on the other hand consist of two or more lines. The lines are independent of each other. They do not "sing" in unison each go their separate ways.
  3. Homophonic
    As for homophonic is different form polyphonic because the lines are interdependent. They move and change relatively to each other. Often the main melody move in unison with the accompany.

Colour (colour!)

So what is this colour? Just like the colours on the fish. It helps to beautify the fish, if not they will look dull and uninteresting. Colour in music represents the tone quality of sound  produce by an instrument. Different instruments produce different colours.

Form (pattens of the fish)

The arrangement of shapes you can see on the fish. Like our Cute Nemo here with the repetitive stripes all over his body.
In music the composer creates the from by sculpturing the order of events happening. In simple term it is how the composer arrange the music.
Durian Opened by Simon Ooh

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