Chapter 3: Color, Texture, and Form Dynamics

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Transcript Chapter 3: Color, Texture, and Form Dynamics

Chapter 3: Color, Texture, and Form
How loud or soft the music is
• Dynamics influence our reaction to music
• Terminology in Italian
Musical Symbol
Very loud
Mezzo forte
Moderately loud
Mezzo piano
Moderately soft
Very soft
• Changes in dynamics can be sudden and abrupt or
• Color : the unique character or quality of a
musical tone; also called Timbre
• Voice: Classified by range into 4 parts
– Soprano, (Mezzo soprano), Alto, Tenor, (Baritone),
– Each individual voice has a distinct timbre due to
our uniquely constructed vocal cords
– When many voices join together, they form a chorus
Musical Instruments
• Why do they sound the way they do?
– More than one sound is produced when an
instrument is sounded
• Fundamental: the basic sound or pitch of an
• Overtone: faintly-heard pitches, created by
fractional vibrations when a notes is played on an
– Each type of instrument creates a distinctive
pattern of overtones
• Instrument families have the same basic shape and
are made of the same materials
– Strings, woodwinds, brasses, percussion, keyboard
• Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass
– Core of the Western symphony orchestra
– Different string playing techniques
• Vibrato: A controlled wobble in the pitch
• Pizzicato: Plucking the strings rather than bowing
• Tremolo: Rapidly repeating the same pitch to create a
musical tremor
• Trill: Rapidly alternating between two neighboring pitches
• Harp: adds a distinctive color to the orchestra
– Originally a folk instrument
– Special effects
• Glissando: A rapid run up and down the strings
• Arpeggio: playing the notes of a triad in quick
• Flute: Lovely, silvery tone
– Piccolo: “little flute,” plays higher notes than the flute
• Clarinet: Single reed instrument; open, hollow sound
• Oboe: Double reed; nasal, slightly exotic sound
– English horn: larger, lower sounding version of the oboe
• Bassoon: Double reed; has similar role as the cello
– Contrabassoon: The lowest instrument of the orchestra
• Saxophone: Single reed instrument; featured in jazz
• All use a cup-shaped mouthpiece
• Trumpet: High, bright sound
– Mute: A plug placed in the bell of the instrument to
lessen the sound
• Trombone: Uses a slide to change pitch
• French horn: Mellow sound; comes from hunting
• Tuba: largest and lowest brass instrument
• Resonating objects that sound when hit or scraped
• Some percussion instruments are pitched
– Timpani: percussion instrument most often heard in classical
• Non-pitched percussion instruments:
– Snare Drum, Bass drum, Cymbals
Keyboard Instruments
• Pipe organ: Sound produced by air rushing through a
• Origins trace back to ancient Greece
– Stop: Changes the sound, creating a distinctive timbre
– “Pulling out all the stops” – creates the most colorful,
forceful sound
• Has several keyboards, including one for the feet
Keyboard Instruments
• Most popular during the
Baroque Era
• Strings are plucked, creating
a bright, jangling sound
• Plays only one dynamic
• Invented around 1700
• Strings hit by hammers
• Dynamics determined by
how hard or how softly you
press the keys
The Symphony Orchestra
• The largest and most colorful ensemble
• Originated during the seventeenth century
• Early 18th century: 15-25 musicians
• Late 18th century: 25-80 musicians
• 19th century: around 100 musicians
• Around 1800, a conductor became necessary as
ensembles expanded and pieces became more complex
– Orchestral score: a composite of all the parts of a piece of
• Listening Cue: Practice identifying instruments of the
orchestra on CourseMate Listening Cue 5, 6, 7 and 8.
• Texture: the density and arrangement of musical elements
• Look at Vincent Van Gogh’s Branch of an Almond Tree in
Blossom (1890)
• Van Gogh uses lines and spaces to create a texture heavy
at the bottom but light at the top
• Use of different textures add contrast and interest
Three Primary Textures in Music
• Monophony: A single line of music, no
– Example: Singing “Happy Birthday” with our friends
– Unison: a group sounding the same pitches together,
including doubling at the octave
• Homophony: Melody and accompaniment
– All voices move at roughly the same time
– Draws attention to the melody
– Example: Hymns, Christmas carols, folk songs, etc.
• Polyphony: Two or more simultaneously
sounding lines
– Counterpoint: Harmonious opposition of independent
musical lines
– “Contrapuntal texture” and “Polyphonic Texture”
mean the same thing
– Example: Singing “Are You Sleeping” in a round
• Form: Purposeful organization of music
– Musical Architecture
• Use of statement, repetition, contrast, and variation
• Statement: Presentation of an important musical
• Repetition: Validates the statement by repeating it
• Contrast: Provides variety and conflict
• Variation: Midway between repetition and contrast
– Music is familiar but altered
Five Favorite Musical Forms
• Strophic Form: Song form where basic unit (A) is
continually repeated: AA
– Most familiar musical form; music repeats for each
stanza of text
• Theme and Variations: One musical idea continually
returns but is varied in some fashion: A A1 A2 A3 A4
• Binary Form: Two contrasting units - A B
– Variety introduced in the B section
• Ternary Form: Most prevalent form in classical
music: A B A
– Musical journey home - away – home
• Rondo Form: A refrain (A) alternates with contrasting
– Usually two contrasting sections in rondo (B) and (C)