Elements of Music

Elements of music are ready to be explored at your piano lessons. To give you a head start, they are listed below on this website page.

Have you sometimes wondered what it is in music that has the power to enhance and often change our moods? Let's look at what makes music that we hear and see have such a great effect on us.



Click on each basic music element:

"MELODY"

"HARMONY"

"RHYTHM"

"METER"

"FORM"

"INSTRUMENTATION"

"EXPRESSIVE ELEMENTS"

Think of each element and see what part it plays in the music we learn at the piano. Can you identify the elements that you see in the following example by Mozart? Can we play one element without another? Why or why not? Think about it. See if it works to eliminate some elements and still continue to play others. Which ones can be played without having to use other ones?

There is another type of music that originated as an experiment. It started in Europe before coming to the United States called:

MINIMALISM

Minimalist music became an American genre of experimental music based mostly in patterns of sound, motifs or cells that remained constant by playing these segments over and over again. Continual repetition in this type of composition began in San Francisco in the early 1960's. Young composers wanted to see if they could come up with this new style by reducing music to minimal elements. It spread to New York to become the most popular experimental music style of the late 20th century.

The movement originally involved dozens of composers, although only five: Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, John Adams and La Monte Young become publicly associated with it in this country. Listen to their pieces on CD or in concert halls in your city. What do you like or dislike about them? What elements of music are used in these composer's pieces?

If you would like to return to How To Write a Song click here on Songwriting

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