It’s clear that practically everybody likes music in some form or other. After all, it is the universal language, and all of us participate in it to some degree from the cradle to the grave. It starts with our Mothers’ lullaby, ends with our funeral tune, with a zillion other stops along the way.
What is music, anyhow? What makes it tick? All of us like some kind of it and do not like other kinds of it.
The country-western fan might not like jazz, however he or she sure enjoys the sound of pickin’ & grinnin’. And the jazz fan feels just the opposite.
Which’s as it should be. If all of us liked the very same type of music, there simply wouldn’t be the range that is readily available to us now. We can pick from musical designs varying from heavy classical and opera to rock to kids’s tunes to Broadway musicals to gospel music to the blues.
Each has its place, and each seems on the surface to be significantly various than another form of music. The key word is “on the surface area.” Below the surface of all music is a commonality that is organic to all kinds and styles of music.
So what does all music have in common?
A minimum of 3 things– sometimes more, but never less:
The tune is the part of a song or structure that you whistle or hum– in other words, the tune of the tune. In one sense, it is the most noticeable of the 3 components, because melody is what determines a song. Without melody, it would be difficult to even conceive of a tune or piece.
In musical notation, the melody is often composed in the treble clef– also referred to as the treble staff. It consists of a horizontal line of notes that go up and down on the clef as the tune moves greater or lower.
Rhythm is the beat– the swing– the throb of the music. It takes place in duplicating patterns, depending upon the type of music.
A march, on the other hand, usually consists of a heavy beat followed by a light beat, then another heavy beat followed by another light beat. (I’m simplifying, of course– there are many varieties …) So a march remains in duple meter– as you might expect given that we have two feet and we march in left-right-left-right patterns.
All rhythms are some mix of triple meter and/or duple meter, and the possibilities are limitless– from boogie to R&B to mambos and sambas and bossa novas and … on and on.
Harmony, the 3rd element of music, is the musical background of a tune– the chords, or intervals “behind” the tune. Without consistency, a tune sounds empty– like a vocalist singing without an accompanist– or accapella. Music does not HAVE to have harmony to operate, but in real practice it generally does, even if it is just the interplay of 2 tunes, as in counterpoint.
You might invest a life time learning all the subtleties of music, however it its a lot of standard type, it is these 3 components integrated together; rhythm, melody, and harmony.
We can select from musical designs ranging from heavy classical and opera to rock to kids’s songs to Broadway musicals to gospel music to the blues.
Underneath the surface area of all music is a commonality that is organic to all types and designs of music.
Rhythm is the beat– the swing– the throb of the music. Harmony, the 3rd aspect of music, is the musical background of a song– the chords, or intervals “behind” the tune. Music doesn’t HAVE to have consistency to function, but in real practice it practically always does, even if it is simply the interaction of two tunes, as in counterpoint.