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Music-opaedia: The 7 Basic Elements That Comprise Music

The Elements of Music
Music is a highly versatile art that originates in nature, and has been taken up by mankind as a way of expression and also as an art. On this day, I wish you many choral years of celebrating World Music Day. A quick glance at what goes on behind the headphones and speakers into the making of a song.
Scholasticus K
Last Updated: Feb 16, 2018
Music and its elements were initially taken up by man from sounds in nature, like the chirping of birds or blowing of the wind. Today, music has become an inclusive aspect. There exist countless numbers of genres and sub-genres that are unraveled frequently. But what doesn't change is the elements of music around which all the genres revolve. For a dramatic description, imagine, will you, that the elements of music are the Sun, whilst the planets are the genres orbiting around it. Ain't that a pretty picture? A close look at these elements and more follows.
Form/Musical Form
musical terms
The musical form is identification of the overall layout of music, and defines the genre of the physical characteristic it resonates. Sometimes, the format of lyrics is also used to classify the form of music. For example, a ballad is a narrative poem. The form of music can be divided in accordance to its genres and the frequencies that it emanates. The form differs according to the beats, lyrical expressions, and the notes.
The frequencies known as formants are classified into 3 tones, ranging in ascending order, recognized as f1, f2 and f3. The famous song 'Nothing Else Matters' by Metallica is often classified as a ballad, because of its narrative lyrics. The form of the music can be defined by genres like jazz, psychedelic rock, heavy metal, blues, progressive trance, lounge, carnatic, and so on.
musical terms
Timbre is a abstract concept involving the differentiation and identification of notations played on different instruments at the same time. For example, a piano and a flute are playing the same note at the same pitch, an individual with experience in music can distinguish the difference in the characteristics of sound. This difference is 'Timbre'. The differentiation between the sounds of these notations is commonly termed as Timbre. It is also often defined as a distinctive and complex note.
musical terms
A melody is often defined as a set of linear notations in the form of tunes, vocals, or even chords or grooves. The melody essentially forms the basic framework of a song, a combination of the rhythm and pitch. Melodies are synchronized and exclusive musical samples forming from either instruments or vocals. It amalgamates with the background and distinctly supplements the other elements. It must be noted that melody is often divided into different phrases.
The specialty of a melody is that it can be written down with the help of staff and quote notations. For example, most rock songs can be divided into verses and chorus. It is said to be the horizontal aspect of music, with a spread of variations to it, resulting in multiple tones. To insert a melody requires the study of patterns in the song, and is introduced at regular and irregular intervals. A good example is the track 'Levels' by Avicii, with asymmetrical patterns of build-up and drops.
A texture is a set of rhythms and notations played together. It is often termed as a progression. Some of the common textures are monophonic (where only one melodic voice is used) or polyphonic (where multiple and independent voices are used). A micro-polyphony is a modern texture that was first composed by the famous Austrian composer Gy├Ârgy Ligeti. The texture is defined by the tempo, melody or all the characters in the making.
There are alternate versions to textures. An example would be the track 'Stereo Love' by the Romanian musician Edward Maya, which turned out to be a rage, and is an apt description of the homophonic texture where, the melody prominently stands out in the background, accompanied by the vocals. Different textures are blended with different elements of instruments, and are often measured in thickness and quality of sound. They act as metrics of judging the aspects of a particular song.
guitar amplifier
The volume of the notation is known as the dynamics of the music. Nowadays, due to technical advancements in music, instruments like the electric guitar have electronic controls for volume. However, while playing the traditional instruments, musicians had to control the volume manually while playing the notations.
The term dynamics is more valid and applicable for written notations, and marks the changing patterns of the song. Commonly recognized dynamics include:
p = soft
f = loud
mp = moderately soft
mf = moderately loud
pp = very soft
ff = very loud

Impromptu changes introduced with forceful notes leaving the vocals intact and irregular patterns vice-versa are known as the 'Sforzando'. The prefix is termed 'Subito' (Italian), and together are referred to as 'sfz', the 'subito forzando' notations.
The dynamics of the song feature plenty of phrases resonating to change like 'calmando: becoming calm', and 'crescendo: becoming strong'. An example of changing scales is the track 'Spanish Sahara' by the band Foals.
Harmony coordinates the synchronization between progression of all chords. In most music, the chords often result at a point of 'tension'. Tension arises when dissonant chords are struck with the bassline. This is settled by tuning the chord and its frequency, resolving it into a consonant. Harmony, balances the unsteady parts of music. Electric guitarists tune the distortion and compress its frequencies to produce fuzzy and punk tones. An example would be 'Houses of the Holy' by Led Zeppelin.
music notes
A rhythm is a set of sequential, synchronized and uniform beats and notations. The concept of a 'pulse' or a repetitive beat is a very important element. Texture and rhythm, when put together, form a 'bar', which is a set of rhythm that is accompanied by specific notations played in a uniform tempo. Repetition and variation of sounds and silences compromise the rhythm of the track, and we feel the pulse of the track in a sequence of upbeats, downbeats or vocals.
From a psychological perspective, rhythm is what entrains an anticipation of the beats and fosters it to our liking. It forms our reception and perception of the particular track, often expressed by tapping the feet or bobbing the head in rhythm to the beat. For tracks ranging at 150 b.p.m. and above, the body becomes a drone to the successive beats, or what is known as 'tripping'. Psychedelic trance emerges from this state. An example of this would be the track 'Rearranged' by Vibe Tribe. However, slow and powerful chants with indefinite beats also exude a steady sense of rhythm, like the track 'Come in No.51' by Pink Floyd, and other variations of synchronized heavy progressive tempo like 'Laghima - Tattva and Psymind'. The ones mentioned above are examples of variations in rhythm, and these variations also exist in various genres of music.
All these elements carefully brewed together concoct the fine recipe of what we know as music. Understanding the elements of music is often conceived for pertaining to classical music only. This is not true at all. Even for DJs and electronic artists, understanding these elements is obligatory. Sure, you've got software like FL Studio today, to study the dynamics of music, but , if you have the knowledge of any musical instrument, be it the guitar, piano or flute, understanding these notes, and blending it in with different frequencies comes naturally to you and goes a long way. Nostrovia!
Guitar Lead
Music background