0115 966 7955 Today's Opening Times 10:30 - 17:00 (BST)
Banner ad for Viper plagiarism checker

Music theory

Published:

Disclaimer: This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers. You can view samples of our professional work here.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UK Essays.

ABSTRACT

MUSIC THEORY:-

Music theory is the field of study that deals with how music works. It examines the language and notation of music. It identifies patterns that govern composers' techniques. In a grand sense, music theory distills and analyzes the parameters or elements of music – rhythm, harmony (harmonic function), melody, structure, form, and texture. Broadly, music theory may include any statement, belief, or conception of or about music. People who study these properties are known as music theorists. Some have applied acoustics, human physiology, and psychology to the explanation of how and why music is perceived.

The Four elements of music:-

  • Melody
  • Harmony
  • Rhythm
  • Dynamics

AESTHETICS:-

Aesthetics (also spelled esthetics or esthetics) is a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of beauty, art, and taste, and with the creation and appreciation of beauty. It is more scientifically defined as the study of sensory or sensori-emotional values, sometimes called judgments of sentiment and taste. More broadly, scholars in the field define aesthetics as "critical reflection on art, culture and nature." Aesthetics is a subdiscipline of axiology, a branch of philosophy, and is closely associated with the philosophy of art. Aesthetics studies new ways of seeing and of perceiving the world.

AESTHETICS OF MUSIC:-

Traditionally, the aesthetics of music or musical aesthetics concentrated on the quality and study of the beauty and enjoyment (plaisir and jouissance) of music. Aesthetics is a sub-discipline of philosophy. However, many musicians, music critics, and other non-philosophers have contributed to the aesthetics of music. In recent decades philosophers have tended to emphasize issues besides beauty and enjoyment.

It is often thought that music has the ability to affect our emotions, intellect, and psychology; lyrics can assuage our loneliness or incite our passions. For this reason, the philosopher Plato proposed that music is a dangerous entertainment that should be closely regulated by the state.

It is commonly believed that human responses to music are culturally influenced. For example, musical passages in Beethoven that sounded highly dissonant to his contemporaries do not sound dissonant to listeners today. As such, music's aesthetic appeal seems highly dependent upon the culture in which it is practiced. However, there is a physical background which defines sound being proper or improper. Proper sound is perceived as gentle sound while improper sound is more or less considered nice sounding depending on what the listener is used to listen to. Harry Partch and some other musicologists like for instance Kyle Gann therefore have studied and tried to popularize microtonal music and the usage of alternate musical scales. Also many modern composers like Lamonte Young, Rhys Chatham and Glenn Branca paid much attention to a scale called just intonation.

Some of the aesthetic elements expressed in music include lyricism, harmony, hypnotism, emotiveness, temporal dynamics, resonance, playfulness, and color (see also musical development). However, there has been a strong tendency in the aesthetics of music to emphasize musical structure as the most important (or even only) aesthetic element that is important in the experience of music.

RHYTHM:-

Rhythm is the heartbeat of music. As music passes in time, it is divided into perceptible sections, and each section subdivided further.

Rhythm is the arrangement of sounds and silences in time. Meter animates time in regular pulse groupings, called measures or bars. The time signature or meter signature specifies how many beats are in a measure, and which value of written note is counted and felt as a single beat. Through increased stress and attack (and subtle variations in duration), particular tones may be accented. There are conventions in most musical traditions for a regular and hierarchical accentuation of beats to reinforce the meter. Syncopated rhythms are rhythms that accent unexpected parts of the beat. Playing simultaneous rhythms in more than one time signature is called polymeter. See also polyrhythm.

Rhythm is, by its simplest definition, musical time. The origin of the word is Greek, meaning "flow." Rhythm is indeed the embodiment of timely flow. As meter regulates and pulsates a poem, rhythm organizes music in much the same way. The regular pulsations of the music are called the beat. Stronger beats are referred to as "accented" beats. Measures of music divide a piece into time-counted segments. Strong beats occur in patterns. For instance, in 4/4 time, the conductor would beat a strong beat on the first beat of every measure and another accented beat - although not as strong - on the third count of the measure. Because the conductor's arms move downward on strong beats, especially those that begin a measure, accented beats are also referred to as "downbeats."

In recent years, rhythm and meter have become an important area of research among music scholars. Recent work in these areas includes books by Bengt-Olov Palmqvist, Fred Lerdahl and Ray Jackendoff, Jonathan Kramer, Christopher Hasty, William Rothstein, and Joel Lester.

Rhythm either means tempo literally, or it's percussion within tempo. Like instead of just 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4. you might Get a groove like:

1-+-+-2-+-+-3-+-+-4-+-+-1-+-2-+-.

Rhythm is the variation of the length and accentuation of a series of sounds or other events.

RHYTHM IN LINGUISTICS:-

The study of rhythm, stress, and pitch in speech is called prosody; it is a topic in linguistics. Narmour (1980, p.147–53) describes three categories of prosodic rules which create rhythmic successions which are additive (same duration repeated), cumulative (short-long), or countercumulative (long-short). Cumulation is associated with closure or relaxation, countercumulation with openness or tension, while additive rhythms are open-ended and repetitive. Richard Middleton points out this method cannot account for syncopation and suggests the concept of transformation.

A rhythmic unit is a durational pattern which occupies a period of time equivalent to a pulse or pulses on an underlying metric level, as opposed to a rhythmic gesture which does not (DeLone et al. (Eds.), 1975

ORIGINS OF HUMAN APPERCIATION OF RHYTHM:-

In his series How Music Works, Howard Goodall presents theories that rhythm recalls how we walk and the heartbeat we heard in the womb. More likely is that a simple pulse or di-dah beat recalls the footsteps of another person. Our sympathetic urge to dance is designed to boost our energy levels in order to cope with someone, or some animal chasing us – a fight or flight response. From a less darwinist perspective, perceiving rhythm is the ability to master the otherwise invisible dimension, time. Rhythm is possibly also rooted in courtship ritual.

Neurologist Oliver Sacks posits that human affinity for rhythm is fundamental, so much that a person's sense of rhythm cannot be lost in the way that music and language can (e.g. by stroke). In addition, he states that chimpanzees and other animals show no similar appreciation for rhythm.

RYHTM NOTATION AND THE ORAL TRADITION:-

Worldwide there are many different approaches to passing on rhythmic phrases and patterns, as they exist in traditional music, from generation to generation.

African music

In the Griot tradition of Africa everything related to music has been passed on orally. Babatunde Olatunji (1927–2003), a Nigerian drummer who lived and worked in the United States, developed a simple series of spoken sounds for teaching the rhythms of the hand drum. He used six vocal sounds: Goon Doon Go Do Pa Ta. There are three basic sounds on the drum, but each can be played with either the left or the right hand. This simple system is now used worldwide, particularly by Djembe players.

Indian music

Indian music has also been passed on orally. Tabla players would learn to speak complex rhythm patterns and phrases before attempting to play them. Sheila Chandra, an English pop singer of Indian descent, made performances based around her singing these patterns. In Indian Classical music, the Tala of a composition is the rhythmic pattern over which the whole piece is structured.

Western music

Standard music notation contains all rhythmic information and is adapted specifically for drums and percussion instruments. The drums are generally used to keep other instruments in 'time'. They do this by supplying beats/strikes in time at a certain pace, i.e. 70 beats per minute (bpm). In Rock music, a drum beat is used to keep a bass/guitar line in time.

TYPES

In Western music, rhythms are usually arranged with respect to a time signature, partially signifying a meter. The speed of the underlying pulse is sometimes called the beat. The tempo is a measure of how quickly the pulse repeats. The tempo is usually measured in 'beats per minute' (bpm); 60 bpm means a speed of one beat per second. The length of the meter, or metric unit (usually corresponding with measure length), is usually grouped into either two or three beats, being called duple meter and triple meter, respectively. If each beat is divided by two or four, it is simple meter, if by three (or six) compound meter. According to Pierre Boulez, beat structures beyond four are "simply not natural". His reference is to western European music.

Syncopated rhythms are rhythms that accent parts of the beat not already stressed by counting. Playing simultaneous rhythms in more than one time signature is called polymeter. See also polyrhythm. In recent years, rhythm and meter have become an important area of research among music scholars. Recent work in these areas includes books by Maury Yeston, Fred Lerdahl and Ray Jackendoff, Jonathan Kramer, Christopher Hasty, William Rothstein, and Joel Lester.

Syncopated rhythms are rhythms that accent parts of the beat not already stressed by counting. Playing simultaneous rhythms in more than one time signature is called polymeter. See also polyrhythm. In recent years, rhythm and meter have become an important area of research among music scholars. Recent work in these areas includes books by Maury Yeston, Fred Lerdahl and Ray Jackendoff, Jonathan Kramer, Christopher Hasty, William Rothstein, and Joel Lester.

Some genres of music make different use of rhythm than others. Most Western music is based on subdivision, while non-Western music uses more additive rhythm. African music makes heavy use of polyrhythms, and Indian music uses complex cycles such as 7 and 13, while Balinese music often uses complex interlocking rhythms. By comparison, a lot of Western classical music is fairly rhythmically (or metrically) simple; it stays in a simple meter such as 4/4 or 3/4 and makes little use of syncopation.
Clave is a common underlying rhythm in African, Cuban music, and Brazilian music.

In the 20th century, composers like Igor Stravinsky, Bela Bartok, Philip Glass, and Steve Reich wrote more rhythmically complex music using odd meters, and techniques such as phasing and additive rhythm. At the same time, modernists such as Olivier Messiaen and his pupils used increased complexity to disrupt the sense of a regular beat, leading eventually to the widespread use of irrational rhythms in New Complexity. This use may be explained by a comment of John Cage's where he notes that regular rhythms cause sounds to be heard as a group rather than individually; the irregular rhythms highlight the rapidly changing pitch relationships that would otherwise be subsumed into irrelevant rhythmic groupings (Sandow 2004, p.257). LaMonte Young also wrote music in which the sense of a regular beat is absent because the music consists only of long sustained tones (drones). In the 1930s, Henry Cowell wrote music involving multiple simultaneous periodic rhythms and collaborated with Léon Thérémin to invent the Rhythmicon, the first electronic rhythm machine, in order to perform them. Similarly, Conlon Nancarrow wrote for the player piano.


To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Request Removal

If you are the original writer of this essay and no longer wish to have the essay published on the UK Essays website then please click on the link below to request removal:


More from UK Essays

We can help with your essay
Find out more