Thursday, September 02, 2004

Cadence.....That's all Folks!!!

A cadence is a set of chords that tell when a peice is finished. There are many types of cadences that happen in music. And Thats all folks

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Yarn...opps I mean string quintet

The string quintet consists of five members which play chamber music. The quintet is less common than the quartet, but none the less a great chamber group. Important quintet composers include Mozart, Beethoven, Dvorak, Bruckner, and Brahms. The quintet is very similar to the quartet with 2 violins, viola and cello but with an added viola. Sometimes a quintet will have 2 violins, viola, cello and a double bass.

Thanks to The New Harvard Dictionary of Music editor Don Randal, 4th ed., "Quintet."

Duple Meter

Duple meter is defined as two beats per measure. These beats within the measure serve as “the framework within which rhythm is established and perceived” according to Grove Music Online. Accents (strong-weak) determine the meter of the piece. Because of this variance in the accents groups, some pieces that have four beats can also be interpreted as duple meter. These accents that determine the meter may be stated explicitly be implied through the music.
Most marches and dances, such as bourees and gavottes, are in duple meter due to the fact that most people have two feet. Also, popular music tends to be in duple or quadruple meter. Within duple meter, there are two more categories: simple duple and compound duple. Most marches that you listen to are good examples of simple duple, such as Pomp and Circumstance. Pieces that are simple duple are usually in 2/2, 2/4, or 4/4. An example of compound double would be “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” If you listen, it should sound like two large beats subdivided into three smaller parts. Pieces in 6/8 are usually considered to be compound duple.

Tonal Harmony, Fifth Ed., Steven Kostka and Dorothy Payne, McGraw Hill


A tremolo is a “quick and continuous reiteration of a single pitch” (The New Harvard Dictionary of Music, 4th ed., 905). For string instruments, this effect is created by quick up and down strokes of their bows. This effect was first used in the early 17th century and it remains in use today. Also, another type of tremolo is utilized by string players called the slurred tremolo. This is similar to the regular tremolo except the player does not change the direction of the bow, which created a more connected sound. Also, string players can use fingered tremolos, which is created by moving the fingers quickly across the fingerboard. The yet another type of string tremolo is the undulating tremolo. This is created by fingering the same pitch on two strings and then oscillating between them with the bow. The term tremolo was also meant vibrato in the 18th century and it can also mean trill.

For pianists, it is the quick repetition of a single pitch. In Liszt’s La Campanella, it occurs in repeated octaves. This creates an effect much like that of a string tremolo.

For organists, tremolo is used in the context of a tremulant stop. A tremulant stop affects the wind supply to the organs to cause fluctuations in the pressures to the wind-chests, which produces and effect much like a vibrato (905).

For singers, a tremolo usually refers to the excessive amount of vibrato. It was widely used in the 17th century, but is rarely used now. In fact, it was disparagingly called a goat’s trill in the 18th century (905).


In Western music, the tonic is the main note of the scale and it is the pitch after which the key is named. For example, in C major or minor, C is both they name of the key and the tonic. Also, tonic can be defined as the first scale degree in a particular key. For example, Ab is the first degree in the key of Ab major or ab minor, followed by the supertonic which in this case would be Bb. Also, the word tonic can be used when talking about a tonic triad. A tonic triad is rooted in the first-scale degree and is usually the final chord in a piece of music according to Grove Music Online. The tonic is generally thought of as the root for the rest of the melody and harmony in Western music. In the 20th century, atonal music has gained a following with music that does not feel that it has a particular tonic pitch as other tonal music does.

Piano Trio

A piano trio is a chamber ensemble consisting of a piano and two other instruments, most commonly violin and cello. Other combinations are piano with flute and cello, clarinet and viola, clarinet and cello, and violin and horn. Throughout the 18th century, trios experienced a shift in the importance of the strings to the piano.
Some of the most well-known trios are the Beaux Arts Trio and the trio consisting of Emanuel Ax, Young Uck Kim, and Yo-Yo Ma according to Some well-known composers of piano trio music are Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Hummel, Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich and Dvorak. The form of piano trios is often in the overall form of a sonata. Sonatas usually consists of four movements: a fast movement in sonata form , a slower movement, a minuet/trio or a scherzo, and finally a quick movement often in rondo form.

Piano quintet

A piano quintet is a chamber ensemble consisting of a piano and four other instruments. After about 1800, these other instruments have tended to be a string quartet. The piano quintet trend grew out of accompanied piano sonatas, divertimentos, and concertos in the second half of the 18th century.
Although there was usually a distinction between the repertoire of piano quintets and concertos, some quintets often resemble concertos in the predominant piano scoring and in their instrumentation throughout the late 18th century. J.C. Bach called for flute and oboe in one work, oboe and viola da gamba in another. Many used strings, but some such as Mozart and Beethoven used only winds. Also, the majority of the composers during the 1770s to 80s were accomplished pianists and scored heavily for piano.
By the middle of the 19th century, works by Schumann, Spohr and Berwald wrote for the conventional instrumentation and extended passages for piano were more rare. These 19th century composers include Brahms, Rimsky-Korsakov, Dvorak, Anton Rubinstein, Saint-Saens, Sibelius, and Granados.

Piano quartet

Piano quartet: A piano quartet is a small ensemble whose instrumentation is piano and three other instruments, usually violin, viola, and cello according to New Grove Online. The trend grew out of the accompanied piano concertos and divertimentos of the 1750s to 80s that were scored for piano, two violins, and cello.
The scoring and instrumentation has gone through a great deal of change as piano quartets started to become more popular. After about 1780 a shift towards violin, viola, and cello as the popular instrumentation for piano quartets. After about 1800, wind instruments also started to become a more popular in the piano quartet setting.
During the 1780s and 90s, the quartet scene grew immensely. Mozart was the most known at this time, but Haydn and Beethoven were also well known composers. Also during this time, the all of the instruments started to play an equal role in the quartet. For example, Mendelssohn and Brahms both deemphasized the piano in their quartets.
Composers have written for more varied groups in the 20th century. Anton Webern wrote a quartet for piano, violin, clarinet, and tenor sax and Olivier Messiaen wrote for piano, violin, cello and clarinet.

String Cheese...opps I mean String Trio

A string trio is usually made up of a violin, a viola, and cello, or two violins and cello. Originated in Baroque period, and evolved throughout. Important composers include Haydn, Stamitz, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert. In the mid-18th-century a string trio of two violins and bass came about. This was called an orchestral trio. By the 19th century interest was lost in the string trio, but restored in the 20th by composers such as Hindemith, Webern, Rossel, Schoenberg, and Milhaud.
Famous trios include the Leopold trio and the Exotia trio.
Information was complied for this blog from The New Harvard Dictionary of Music editor Don Randal, 4th ed., "Trio." Eugene K. Wolf.

String beans...opps I meant string quartet

A string quartet is a piece of music typically composed for two violins, viola, and cello. String quartet's usually have 4+ movements. String quartet's are in the chamber music genre.
The string quartet has been a very influential group/genre of chamber music. In the classical era it led to the formation of the string trio and quintet. Joseph Haydn is associated with the composition of the first string quartets. Austria, Paris and London were important cities in the birth of the string quartet. In the Romantic period, interest was lost in the chamber-music genre, so quartets of this time are extremely virtuosic. There was a rebirth in interest around the later part of the 19th century, and music for quartet's changed with the times.
Famous quartet's include the Amadeus, Allegri, Kodaly, Takacs, Peterson, and Hart House Quartets.
The information for this blog was provided by The New Harvard Dictionary of Music editor Don Randal, 4th ed., "String quartet." Eugene K. Wolf.

Not duple, not triple, but QUADRUPLE meter

A meter consisting of recurring groups of four pulses is called quadruple meter, according to The Harvard Dictionary of Music Fourth Edition edited by Don Randel.
It is often difficult to tell duple and quadruple meters apart, however, quadruple usually has a broader feeling. Quadruple meter is a four-beat measure which the beats are strong-weak-less-strong-weak.

For more information on the difference between duple, triple. and quadruple meters visit this.

UPDATE: Listen to Beethoven's 'Ode to Joy' and you will find it is in quadruple in 4 with'll be fun!

Polyrhythms= "many" rhythms

According to The Harvard Dictionary of Music Fourth Edition edited by Don Randel, polyrhythm is the use of two or more rhythms simultaneously, which are not of the same meter. The listener is made aware of two or more contrasting rhythmic streams in a polyrhythmic piece.
Picture two people taking two different step sizes to get from on point to another; the distance traveled is the same, but the people only make perfectly overlapping steps once that set distance has been covered. This is the case with polyrhythm, the same distance is traveled with the notes, but the rhythms are different.
Polyrhythm is common in twentieth-century music and in certain African songs.

Oral Transmission...

To understand oral transmission, I will first tell you what the two words mean seperate. Oral means an examination conducted by word of mouth. Transmission is simply the act of sending a mesage. Oral transmission is any of the ways that music is perserved over time. A distinction has traditionally been made between oral and written transmission. In many cultures and repertories, transmission is almost exclusively oral, without the aid of musical notation. In many cultures and repertories, transmission is almost exclusively oral or without the aid of musical notation. In my words, oral transmission is teaching people or someone music without any of it written down. If I were going to teach someone one a piano song, there would be no music involved and I would teach them by ear. Meaning I would play it and then they would copy or imitate me.
(The Harvard Dictionary of Music: Randel, Don)

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Sequences are so sparkly..........

So a sequence is pretty much a melodic or harmonic idea at different pitch levels either raising or lowering by the same or similar intervals. This is the modern day explanation. Back in the day though a sequence had to do with a type of music. Sequences were actually Mass chants. So when you see the term sequence in any writings, it may either be speaking about the Mass chants or the melodic/harmonic idea.

Thanks to Professor Engelsdorfer for helping me out with this definition and The New Harvard Dictionary of Music!!!!!!!!

Disjunct Melody...

Disjunct Melody is a type of melodic motion. Disjunct motion proceeds by leap from one scale degree to the next by intervals larger than a second. Opposite of that, conjunct motion proceeds by step from one scale degree to the next by intervals of a second. Tetrachords in the music of ancient greece and the middle ages are conjunct if the last pitch of one is the first pitch of the other, and otherwise disjunct. In other words, Disjuct melody is a melody that moves in skips (skips notes) because its intervals are larger than seconds, meaning larger than a half step or whole step.
(The Harvard Dictionary of Music: Randel, Don)


Homophonic music refers to music of a largely chordal style in which there is no independence of voice parts, but rather a simple harmonization of a melody.* An easier way to understand homophony is it is the melodic interest which is concentrated in one voice part and is often known as chordal music. Whereas monophony is a horizontal dimension of music, homophony is a vertical dimension of music.

*Hyer, Brian. “Homophony”. Grove Music Online. 30 august 2004.

NON-METRIC and yes i found it!!!!

Nonmetric, which you would think should be in every musical dictionary along with "meter" actually turned out to quite an adventure to track down. (ok not really, all I did was search for it at and found like... 3 or so sites that actually had what I was looking for) Nonmetric is the exact definition of what you would expect also. Taking the definition of "meter," add "not" and you get get nonmetrical. Hence, nonmetrical is defined as "with a veiled pulse." Also, "no sense of underlying pulse," and "without any strong sense of beat." This music usually occurs in non-Western cultures and "lacks a strong sense of beat or meter." That about sums it up.


Many Gregorian chants are very nonmetric sounding. This is because much of the choral music from those times was written in fact with no meter!

Peace, Love, and HARMONY

In the Middle Ages the concept of harmony referred to two notes, and in the Renaissance to three notes, sounding simultaneously. To sum up pages 379 to 382 in The Harvard Dictionary of Music Fourth Edition edited by Don Randel, harmony is the relationship between two or more pitches that when played simultaneously create chords or chord progressions. Harmonic motion is made up of chords in succession. A chord is a harmonic unit with at least three different tones sounding simultaneously.

Whereas harmonic tones are the chord tones: root, third, or fifth, nonharmonic tones are dissonant and create intervals of a second, fourth, or seventh. Diminished or augmented intervals are also considered dissonant. Passing tones, escape tones, and suspensions are a few examples of nonharmonic tones.


Phrase is by analogy with language, a unit of musical syntax, usually forming part of a larger, more complete unit sometimes termed a period. A phrase is the product, in varying degrees, of melody, harmony, and rhythm and concludes with a moment of relative tonal and/or rhythimic tablility such as is produced by a cadence. Phrases may also be defined by the repetition of a rhythmic pattern or melodic contour. A term I recently defined, ostinato, is actually a musical phrase repeated over and over in a piece or composition. When a phrase is made to need a response or resolution by a following phrase, the two are said to be antecedent and consequent phrases. A way I think of a phrase in music is like a sentence when we write words. In a sentence it is a group of words towards the same idea, ended with a period. Then a new sentence starts. In a musical phrase you have the melody or group of notes played in a certain pattern, or same idea, and soon you end it and start a new one. Another way to put it is that a phrase is a short musical passage, and it can vary in length but is usually two to four messure.

(The Harvard Dictionary of Music : Randel, Don)

Don't kiss me...I've got MONOphonic

Monophonic music is one of the simplest forms of music. It is a melody line
without harmony, or a written accompaniment. Non-Western folk music is commonly considered monophonic, even if there is an improvised accompaniment or a drone accompaniment.
According to Grove Music Online “The term [monophony] is contrasted with Polyphony (music in two or more independent parts), Heterophony (the simultaneous sounding of a melody or line and a variation of it) and Homophony (which implies rhythmic similarity in a number of parts).”
Monophonic music is a single line of music, without other voices.
Examples of monophonic music include Plainsong, Trouvere, Troubadour, Minnesinger, Meistersinger, Cantiga, and Lauda.
The word comes from the Greek monos which means single and phone which means voice.
Thanks to The New Harvard Dictionary of Music editor Don Randal, 4th ed. “Monophonic,” for helping me with the definition of this term.


Tonality is the center of a piece. Tonality is what gives a song its sense of order and balance. Tonality is derived from the use of the triads of one of the 12 major or 12 minor scales (especially the use of the tonic triad and cadential points). A piece that is diatonic has a definite emphasis on the tonic triad and those triads that point towards the tonic triad. A piece that leads away from the tonic center often employs weaker cadences, chromatic chords, and dissonant pitches. Tonality remained the dominant trend up until its rejection by 20th century composers for the use of atonality. Interestingly enough, popular music and jazz maintain the tonic system that has been employed for hundreds of years while classical composers have generally rejected it. In conclusion tonality is the cement that holds a piece of music together.

Source: The New Harvard Musical Dictionary, 4th ed. Editor: Don Randel Article: Tonality

Imitative counterpoint

Imitative counterpoint is a composition technique that states an idea and then repeats it within other voices possibly in other keys. Imitative counterpoint consists of at least 2 voices but may use far more. Usually the restatement occurs at even intervals only at a different pitch level. One common sequence is a statement of the theme at normal level and then a fifth above or a fourth below. Some forms of imitative counterpoint are the canon and the fugue. A canon restates the theme again and again exactly as it was initially stated while a fugue may use one idea for an entire song but the idea may grow and change as the composer alters the initial idea. Fugues are generally freer than canons. One particular famous composer who used this technique was Bach.

Sources: The New Harvard Musical Dictionary, 4th ed. Editor: Don Randel Article: Imitative counterpoint

"Just wing it!"

Improvisation is in the purest sense composing music while performing. However, there are a wide variety of improvisation techniques. In some songs (especially the vocal genre) musicians are allowed to add certain ornaments, alter high notes, or even improvise a cadenza (an ornament played or sung while the accompaniment rests or sustains a chord). Improvisation is seen especially in the medieval use of oral transmission. Until the 1960s improvisation always had a loose model or starting point to guide the musician through the improvisation. This usually came in the form of guiding harmonies. Improvisation has always been secondary in western music to the "finer" art of composition, but in many other cultures of the world, it is the primary ability of a musician. In conclusion improvisation can be as small as a simple ornament or as large as an entire performance.

Source: The New Harvard Musical Dictionary, 4th ed. Editor: Don Randel Article: Improvisation

Monday, August 30, 2004

First hit me hard...Metric accent

Don't be misled, a metric accent is not louder or attacked sharper like normal accents. A metric accent is the phenomena which occurs when the first beat is noticeably a stronger beat. In the time signature 4/4 the first beat is naturally the strongest, the third beat is the next strongest and two and four are considered weak. Syncopation occurs when increased dynamics, accents, or rhythm force two and four to become the strong beats. The downbeat, or first beat is naturally strongest in all time signatures.

This information was complied from The New Harvard Dictionary of Music editor Don Randal, 4th ed. "Accent" and "Meter."


Contrapuntal, according to The Harvard Dictionary of Music, means: with respect to musical texture, exhibiting counterpoint, a degree of independence among the lines or parts making up the texture; in this sense roughly synonymous with polyphonic, as distinct from homophonic. Another way of explaining this is to say that a certain melody is played on top of another part of the song. An example of this could be when playing the piano, you could be playing one melody with your right hand while the left hand is playing something different. Then later in the piece it could switch and the left hand could be playing the melody, while the right hand is playing something different. The certain melody has to kind of hold its own, while the rest of the music is being played. An example of this, which I will be demonstrating in class tomorrow, would be a Bach fugue.

Consonance-the beautiful ones

Consonance is generally used to describe the stable intervals. Consonant intervals are those that for whatever reason are most pleasing to the human ear. Criteria for choosing which intervals are consonant and which aren't (dissonant or unstable) have changed greatly over the centuries of musical thought and theory. During ancient Greek times, only the P5, P8, P5+P8, P4, and double octave were considered consonant. In the mid thirteenth century, the major and minor third were added to the group of consonant intervals. A swap occurred during the 14th century that changed P4s to dissonances and major and minor 6ths into consonances. A problem that emerged with this classification system is that it only worked with two voices. During the 17th and 18th century another revolution occurred: seconds and sevenths were added to the consonant intervals. During the 19th century, composers such as Wagner began to explore other chords once considered dissonan, and today many of those intervals once considered dissonances are essential to composition. Every culture and music style has its own definition of what is consonant and what is dissonant. In my opinion it is up to the listener.

Source: The New Harvard Musical Dictionary, 4th ed. Editor: Don Randel Article: Consonance

Antecedent/Consequent=Cause and effect

Musical phrases usually are interrelated, and one such relationship is antecedent/consequent phrases. Antecedent/Consequent phrases always come in groups of two. The first phrase states a musical idea which the second one then resolves. These types of phrases often contain similar rhythmns or harmonies. One example is the famous Fur Elise by Beethoven. The first two phrases of this song are very similar with only minor adjustments. This is an excellent example of an antecedent/consequent phrase.

Source: The New Harvard Musical Dictionary, 4th ed. Editor: Tom Randel Article: Antecedent, Consequence

"I've got rhythmn, I've got music'

What would music be without rhythmn? Pretty boring. Rhythmn is the space between two notes and the duration of those notes. Rhythmn is one of the fundamental building blocks of music. The term rhythmn comes from the greek word rhythmus and it was once thought to mean flow, but experts later decided that it probably actually meant to uphold or maintain. To better understand rhythmn it is helpful to know the meanings of meter and tempo. Tempo is the speed of a song while meter is the pattern in which rhythmns are organized. Rhythmn can also be referred to in a more general sense as it relates to melody and harmony. Some examples of rhythmn are two against three, a run of sixteenth notes. (For more just crack open a piece of music and see for yourself)

Source: The New Harvard Musical Dictionary 4 ed. Editor: Don Randel Article: Rhythmn

The musical thief

Rubato is a term used in music to indicate a freer tempo. Rubato literally means in Italian " to rob." So what is stolen? The Harvard music dictionary indicates that rubato is a change in the underlying pulse to make it more flexible and that rubato has long been used as an expressive device. There are two types of rubato. One was used during the 18th century by composers such as C.P.E Bach and Mozart. This form of rubato involves maintaining a steady pulse with the accompaniment while the melody is slightly freer. The second type of rubato is more typical of present day music. This type of rubato involves changes in tempo and rhythmn without any compensation and was used by many 19th century musicians and composers including Liszt. So in other words, rubato is a robbery of rhythmn.

Source: The New Harvard Musical Dictionary, 4th ed. Editor: Don Randal Article: Rubato

Conjunct Melody

I should begin by explaining a melody. A melody is the "rhythmis succession of pitches" according to the Schmirer Audio Dictionary of Music Online. In layman's terms melody is "the tune" that we hear and remember. Conjunct and disjunct melodies are the two ways a melody can "move." A conjunct melody occurs when the notes are played in a scale- like or "stepwise" motion. The notes can move in whole steps OR half steps and can go up or down (ascend/descend) the scale. A disjunct melody is exactly the opposite. Whenever the interval between notes is more than a second, the melody is disjunct.

Source: Schmirer Audio Dictionary of Music
I give up with the darn "click here"s. I've wasted enough time trying to figure the darn things out.

And you've been calling it an upbeat....

More commonly known as an upbeat or pick-up, anacrusis comes from the Greek terms ana, meaning ‘up towards’, and krousis, meaning ‘to strike’. The term anacrusis is borrowed from poetry where it refers to one or more unstressed extrametrical syllables at the beginning of a line.* At first I was unsure of the difference between anacrusis and an upbeat, but Grove Music Online states that “the most fundamental characteristic of anacrusis is the forward rhythmic impulse it generates towards the accent.”

*Dogantan, Mine. “Upbeat”. Grove Music Online. 30 August 2004.

Sunday, August 29, 2004


Harmonics in terms of timbre and string technique is not an easy thing to define. So, let's just start at the beginning. Harmony is the combining of notes simultaneously to create chords and eventually create chord progressions. Timbre describes the tone quality of a sound; for example a clarinet and an oboe playing the same note at the same loudness are said to have different timbres. I interpret harmonics, in terms of timbre and strings, as different sounding strings in harmony with each other. In other words, like a cello and a violin playing notes at different harmony. Or a cello and a cello playing together...they have the same timbre but they are still in harmony with one another. You can have many different variations of instruments and timbres. Does that make any sense? It kind of does to me but if you have anything else that would help explain this better please comment. Thanks.

Source: The New Harvard Dictionary of Music

Simple meter is rather simple to explain just by singing two different songs first sing "Stars and Stripes Forever" for just the introduction................................................................ okay now sing "When Johnny Comes Marching Home".....................................................................okay now when you sang Stars and Stripes you in simple meter 1+2+3+4+ but when you were singing Johnny comes marching home you were in compound meter 123456 123456. And that is simple meter:)

You've never heard of hemiola??

The Harvard Dictionary of Music Fourth Edition edited by Don Randel describes hemiola as the ratio 3:2. This ratio can be used to describe rhythm or pitch. When referring to rhythm, hemiola refers to the use of three notes of equal value in the time normally occupied by two notes of equal value. This rhythm was commonly used in the music of 15th century composers, French Baroque, African and Mid-eastern music, and the music of Brahms and Schumann. In terms of pitch, hemiola is the ratio of the lengths of two strings, when played together, sound like a perfect fifth.

Woodwind Quintet

A woodwind quintet is a group of five performers playing reeded instruments. It's just that simple!

HA...I bet you thought I was going to stop there huh? Well, of course not!

Obviously as the name suggests, a wind instrument usually consists of clarinets, oboes, bassoons, etc. Only now this group is no longer made up of only wood bodied instruments. Flutes, piccolos, and saxophones have also been added to this group. Although early wood bodied instruments like the cornett and the serpent, are not regarded as woodwinds anymore because they are lip vibrated. All however vary their pitch by the same method: all have side holes that can be covered or left open to vary the effective length of the tube.

Source: The New Harvard Dictionary of Music, 4th ed.

Binary Form(Not a science term)

When I first saw the term binary form I was very confused. I thought it had something to do with the biology of music or something weird like that, but the I looked up the definition and saw that it had to do with two sections of music that relate to one another. So my definition of binary form is that there are two sections of music that both repeat. The first section(A*) doesn't actually resolve until the second section(B*). When I say resolve, I mean that A* doesn't go back to the tonic until B*. Example: A* starts off in the key of D Major but ends in the key of A Major through modulation, thus it has not resolved yet. But B* starts off in the key A* ended with and finishes with what A* began with. This can bee seen in a lot in the Baroque Period of music.

UPDATE!!!!!!!!According to Tonal Harmony, in music binary form is one that consists of two approximately equvilent section, although they may be of unequal length.

What about telephones?

There are four classifications of instruments, aerophones, idiophones, membranophones and chordophones. According to The Harvard Dictionary of Music Fourth Edition edited by Don Randel, aerophones are instruments in which a column of air is the primary vibrating system. Flutes, accordions, and shengs are a few examples of aerophones. I found it interesting that various scholars, have suggested adding electrophones to the classification system, but it has not yet been formally introduced.

For more information on membranophones, visit Membranophones.
For more information on chordophones, visit chordophones.

Triple Meter

Triple meter may sound confusing but's not. When you look at a piece of music you often see the numbers/fractions at the beginning like 3/4 or 6/8. Well triple meter just simply means 3 beats to each measure. The denominator (bottom number) of the fraction indicates the basic note-value of the pattern, and the numerator (top number) indicates the number of such note values making up the pattern. Therefore a measure that has a 3/4 meter has three quarter notes or the equivalent of that.
Once you start getting into the bigger numbers like 9/'s still considered a triple meter but it's now a compound triple meter because it consists of three groups of three eighth notes. (Remember an eighth note is half of a quarter note. A quarter note=1 beat.)

Source: The New Harvard Dictionary of Music, 4th ed.

Octaves. WOO

An octave is an interval (8th) in which the two pitches played/heard are exactly the same. An octave is "the most fundamental interval in music" ( Notes that are an octave apart sound essentially the same to a human ear. "For this reason, notes an octave apart are given the same note name in the Western system of notation." Also, in the diatonic scale, the first and last notes are an octave apart. In sheet music, you might see "8va" notated. This means to play the selection an octave about what it is written.


Ternary Form

Ternary form is the way of structuring a piece of music in which there are three parts. The first and third parts are almost identical and the middle section sharply contrasts the other two. Because the sections are set up this way, ternary form is often represented ABA. Other than being found in classical music, ternary form also appears in marches, where the middle section becomes more flowing before returning to the march, in baroque opera arias, and in the minuet and trio. Then, the difference between compound ternary form and simple ternary form must be expressed. Compound ternary form occurs when each large section divides itself further such as A- ABA, B- CDC, A- ABA. Thus the form overall is still ABA but when broken down is ABACDCABA. Simple ternary form is when the larger sections have no further structure.
Sources: The Harvard Dictionary of Music, 4th Edition. Don Randel.
Ternary Form: Fact-Index


Ostinato is a short musical pattern that is repeated many times throughout a performance or composition or a section of one. Repetition of this type is found in the music of cultures throughout the world and is especially a characteristic of the music of Africa, hence its presence in much folk and popular music elsewhere and in some 20th century Western art music.
Melodic ostinatos, usually very short patterns, are found in a single voice, most often the tenor, of 13th century motets. I think of ostinato as the kind of theme that goes on through the piece, however, not the very most important one. Its kind of the backround melody that goes on many times throughout the piece. An ostinato provides unifying repetition.

(The Harvard Dictionary of Music, Randel, Don)

Membranophone what???

The term membranophone comes from the idea of vibrating 'membrane' which produces a sound. According to The New Harvard Dictionary of Music editor Don Randal, 4th ed. , "Membranophone." these instruments were traditionally made with a stretched animal skin, "though now often a synthetic material." Membranophone's are mostly drums, however some are mirlitons. According to Grove Music Online "Membranophones are subdivided into those which are struck, those which are sounded by friction and those which resonate in sympathy with some other sound [mirlitons]. "
The Western-style classification of instruments was devised by E.M. von Hornbostel and C. Sachs in 1914 in their book Zeitschrift für Ethnologie. This system included idiophones, membranophones, chordophones, and aerophones.


Dissonance: Dissonance is a sounding together of two or more notes perceived as having “roughness” or “tonal tension” according to the Grove Music Online. Dissonance can also be defined as those intervals that are generally considered “secondary and unstable” (The Harvard Dictionary of Music 4th ed., 209). Those that are excluded from the dissonance category are referred to as consonant. For example, suspensions are usually dissonant notes that resolve to form a more consonant interval, such as 7-6 suspensions. Perhaps the most applicable display of dissonance for all of us maybe that of the dissonance game.
As time has evolved, so has the acceptance, and therefore the classification, of dissonant intervals. The Babylonians considered everything to be dissonant other than the octave, fifth, octave-plus-fifth, fourth, and the double octave. By 1400, the list of dissonant intervals included seconds, fourths, sevenths, augmented/diminished intervals, and their compounds. Only 300 years later, theorist Schoenberg rejected any absolute distinction between consonance and dissonance.
The use of triads created the need to classify these chords also within the context of dissonance and consonance. Theorists concluded that diminished triads in root position and major, minor, and diminished triads in second inversion are dissonant.
For thousands of years, theorists have attempted to master the “correct” categorization of dissonance and consonance. Pythagoras believed that dissonances were made by the ratios of the string lengths. Others believe that it is defined by the properties of the overtone series and yet others believe it should simply be left for the audience to decide (209-210). To me, it obvious that society’s reaction to dissonance is constantly changing (Ravel and Debussy were the norm at one time and now Eminem rules…and that is just 100 years ago) and that no equation or “general feeling” regarding music that will ever completely catagorize it.

Am I seeing, it is just a Double Stop

Double Stop: Double stop is the playing of two pitches at the same time to create the effect that the two notes are being played at the same time. This stopping, a.k.a. fingering, of the notes allows the two notes to sound simultaneously despite the fact that the curve of the instrument forces the performer to play the notes in succession. To correctly create this effect, the performer must play the lowest string first before moving the bow to the other strings. Also, this can be performed with more than two notes, then called multiple stops. This double stopping technique was described in Ganassi’s Regola rubetina (The New Harvard Dictionary of Music, 253), written in 1532 as the first important tutor for the viola da gamba according to Patricie Connelly.
Sixteenth and seventeenth century composers Marini and Biber use double stops extensively in their works, however the most celebrated works with double stops are the violin and cello works by Bach written in the 18th century. In 19th century music, the technique is also used frequently by Paganini.