6 – Western Music Systems – An example of a piece of music
I have created (or tried to create!) a piece of music to explain the terms above (and also introducing new terms!).
[I created this music using the program MuseScore 3. Once you choose the notes, the program plays the song for you. Very neat, eh?]
The two main elements of a piece of music are how notes are ordered vertically (played at the same time), called harmony, and how notes are ordered horizontally (played at different times), called melody.
I chose C major as the key of the music. This means I could use the notes C, D, E, F, G, A and B (of any octave) in both my ascending and descending sections. Since it is in the C major chord, it begins and ends in C4.
I chose the tempo of the music as presto (around 180 bpm). The time signature (or metre signature) is 3 4. The 3 means that in each measure (between two bars) there are three beats. The 4 means that each beat is a quarter note long. So, in a bar, we can have 3 quarter notes, or a half-note and a quarter note, or equivalent rests. The first beat of the measure is the downbeat (since I have not used any other instrument, including drums, I am not able to show the down beat. If I had a rhythm guitar as accompaniment, normally the chord changes of the guitar would happen at the downbeat).
I have used come chords of the C major scale (Am chord, G chord etc.) to show how three notes are played together to create harmony. (Normally harmony is created with many instruments playing together). As part of the melody, in bar 4, I played a three-quarter B note to create a longing to resolve to C, which I do in bar 5.
Visit the following pages for notes on particular elements of music.