PowerPoint Lecture Slides

Chapter 3
How Music Works
Part I: Rhythm
The Four Basic Properties of Tones
Duration - how long or short a tone is.
Frequency - how high or low a tone is.
Amplitude - how loud or soft tones are.
Timbre - analogous to the actual sound quality or ‘tone
color’ of tones, to what they sound like.
See also Figures 3.1 and 3.2, page 35
Insights and
Mozart and
“The Alphabet Song,” 35
The beat is the steady, underlying pulse that occurs in
much music.
It provides the foundation for all rhythmic aspects of the
musical organization.
See also Figure 3.3, page 36.
Subdivision - when a beat is divided into smaller
rhythmic units.
Duple subdivision occurs with two evenly spaced notes,
like “a, b, c, d” in “The Alphabet Song.” Quadruple
subdivision is twice as fast - “l, m, n, o.”
Triple subdivision occurs when three equal notes fill a
beat. An example is in “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”:
“Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily...”
See also Figure 3.4, 3.5 and 3.6, pages 36-37.
A measure is a grouping of beats into a larger unit. The
number of beats in a measure determines the meter.
Beats within the measure receive different emphasis: strong,
medium, and weak.
Star-Spangled Banner (triple meter): (S - w - w)
Alphabet Song (quadruple meter): (S - w - M - w)
See also Figures 3.7, 3.8, 3.9 and 3.10 and corresponding
CD examples, pages 38-39.
Insights and
Clap on 2 and 4: Backbeats, 39
CD ex. #1-19
In styles like rock, blues, funk, and hip-hop, more
emphasis is given to the second and fourth beats of fourbeat measures. (These beats are called backbeats in
such contexts.)
This changes the groove or feeling of the rhythm
CD ex. #1-19 features Charles Atkins’ “A Funny Way
of Asking,” which emphasizes the backbeats.
Insights and
Three Beats or Seven?, 40
CD ex. #1-21
Eastern European countries like Bulgaria and Romania
frequently feature music with meters of 5, 7, 11, or 13
Westerners would describe CD ex. #1-21 as having
seven beats per measure (2 + 2 + 3). The Romanian
artists would describe it as a triple meter, with two
‘short’ beats followed by a ‘long’ beat in each measure.
This is an example of different perceptions of music
held by cultural insiders and cultural outsiders.
Accent and
Accents are notes of rhythms that get special emphasis usually played louder than the surrounding notes.
Syncopation describes accented notes that fall between
beats. West African music is often described as
syncopated, but West Africans themselves usually do
not think of it way.
For corresponding CD examples, see page 41.
Tempo is Italian for “time” and refers to the rate at
which the beats pass in music.
Tempos may be constant (unchanging) or variable
(sudden or gradual accelerations or decelerations).
CD ex. #1-23
Free Rhythm
Music with a discernible beat (and usually meter,
tempo) is called metric.
Unmeasured music is described as nonmetric, or in free
rhythm. It tends to ‘float’ across time, rather than
march along to it.
CD ex. #1-24