Dr. Steve's Musical Terms and Concepts

TED 387 Music Methods
music: Organized sound, consisting of melody, rhythm, harmony, and timbre.
melody: A succession of musical pitches arranged in a rhythmic pattern. Melody is the “tune” of
the song. It is the part that we usually sing. This is the linear aspect of music.
rhythm: Refers to the position of musical events in time, when individual notes begin and how
long they last.
harmony: The simultaneous playing of more than one musical tone (sound). This is the vertical
aspect of music.
timbre: Pronounced “tam-br” (not timber). The character or quality of a sound that distinguishes
one instrument, voice, or other sound source from another. For example, a trumpet has a
different timbre than a flute.
pitch: The “highness” or “lowness” of a musical sound. For example, a girl’s voice may be
higher in pitch than a boy’s voice.
tonality: The “key” a song or musical composition is said to be written in (e.g., a song written in
the key of C). Gives the listener a harmonic center, and thus provides context. All of the pitches
in the composition center around this tonal center (also called tonic).
treble/bass: Treble refers to higher pitches. Bass refers to lower pitches.
major/minor: The “coloring” of music. Major sounds generally bright and happy. Minor sounds
generally dark and sad.
staff: A set of five horizontal lines (including 4 spaces) on which note symbols are placed to
indicate pitch and rhythm.
treble (G) clef: Placed at the beginning of a staff to indicate treble register.
bass (F) clef: Placed at the beginning of a staff to indicate bass register.
sharp:  Raises a note’s pitch by a half step higher.
flat:  Lowers a note’s pitch by a half step lower.
 Used after a sharp or flat, returns the note to its original pitch (not sharp or flat).
Notes and Rests and Their Rhythmic Values
whole = 4 beats
dotted half = 3 beats
half = 2 beats
quarter = 1 beat
eighth = 1/2 beat
sixteenth = 1/4 beat
Lines and Spaces of the Treble Staff
____________________________ F _________________________________
________________________ D _____________________
____________________ B ______________________
________________ G _______________________
_____________ E _______________________
Lines Mnemonic:
Every Good Boy Does Fine. OR Every Good Bird Does Fly.
Spaces Mnemonic: