Music is the fine art of arranging musical sounds in harmony through the components of rhythm, melody, tonal harmony, and timing. It’s one of the most universal aesthetic aspects of all human cultures. However, music is often misunderstood by many people as being subjective and abstract. In fact, music is a precise and highly organized system of communication which permits us to express and receive meaning in a language that cannot be expressed or received in any other way.
Musical structure can be broken down into two main categories: major and minor. Major key patterns include the use of the tonic (a sharp or flat tone) and the tonal harmony (a conjunction of tones). Major music is characterized by the use of an open fifth, a major tone on the highest string, accompanied by a parallel string or a scale. Minor key patterns differ slightly; the seventh note in a minor scale, for example, will never replace the fifth or the third, but may be used to emphasize a bass note or a treble note.
Tempo is defined as the rate at which a musician’s hand moves over the fretboard. The definition of tempo is not absolute since there are various ways of measuring the tempo. For instance, some music teachers differentiate between rapid tempos, gradual tempos, casual tempos, and formal tempos.
Rhythm is defined by the variations in pitch between two repeated beats. The most popular types of rhythmic patterns are rock ‘n roll, rap, folk, country, and classical. The western culture greatly influenced the definition of rhythm, most notably with the blues, which was eventually absorbed into western music. Today, the beat remains one of the fundamental factors in defining tempo.
A melody is any piece of music that provides an underlying level of harmony and melodic development. A melody has no beginning, middle, or end and repeats throughout the duration of the music. Although it can be expressed numerically, the melody does not have a specified time frame. In music notation, the melody is written down in staccato (notated as sharps and flats), which are the fingerings of the left and right hands. It is important to remember that regardless of the fingering pattern used, sharps and flats are always placed adjacent to each other. This makes it easier for students to learn the basic concepts of dynamics and timing.
Musical timbre is defined as the quality of a voice as a whole, including pitch and intensity. Musical timbre is also related to tonal balance, but tonal balance refers to how much of one or more tones are dominant in a melody. The pitch and intensity of a voice can be perceived on the same scale. For instance, if an E-minor scale is played, then the timbre of the E-minor melody will be E-tone. If the E-minor scale is played as an E-natural, then the timbre will be G-note. The timbre of a musical piece can be considered the pulse of the music and it has a profound effect on listeners.