Saturday, August 27, 2005

Brass Quintet

A Brass Quintet is a chamber music group consisting of two trumpets, horn, trombone and bass trombone or tuba. The American Brass Quintet is an exmaple of such a performing group. "Brass Quintet" also commonly refers to a piece of music written for such instrumentation.

Embouchure

Embouchure refers to a wind or brass player's way of holding his lips and facial muscles in order to play his insturment. Proper technique concerning the embouchure is essential to wind or brass player's ability to produce all desired notes and tones on his insturment. This is a website explaining basic embouchure technique.

Imitative Counterpoint

The use of the same themed material in all the parts of a piece of music. There are three main types of imitative counterpoint: canon - imitation of an entire voice-part; fugue - imitation throughout the piece on an initial subject; and motet - imitation of several subjects, each one being used for one point of imitation. The preludes in Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier offer many interesting examples.

Consonance

A relative term that refers to how well two or more pitches "fit together". Unlike its antonym dissonance, consonance has a pleasing sound. Major chords are good examples of consonance.

Piano Quartet

A piano quartet is a musical ensemble consisting of a piano and three other instruments, or a piece written for such a group. In classical music, those other instruments are usually a string trio, that is a violin, viola and cello. There have been a number of piano quartets written for the classical arrangement of piano, violin, viola, and cello: two by Mozart, four by Beethoven, three by Brahms, two by Dvorak, two by Faure, one by Chausson, and one by Copland, to name a few. Here are some piano quartet examples.

Triple Meter

Meter based on three beats, or a multiple of three, in a measure. Here are examples of triple meter.

Friday, August 26, 2005

anacrusis

one or more notes preceding the first beat of a phrase; also known as an upbeat or pickup note

pitch

the quality of a sound as it is distinguished from others. Quality can destribe the sound quality or the timbre. Each individual pitch sounds differently to the ears. It is chiefly a function of the sound's frequency.

string trio

an ensemble made up of 3 solo string instruments, generally a violin, viola, and cello although instrumentation can vary.

Simple Meter

Meter in which each beat is divided into two parts. For example, a time signature of 3/4 is divided into three parts of two eighth notes each, making it simple meter.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Ostinato

A clearly defined phrase, of either melodic, rhythmic, or harmonic pattern, which is repeated throughout the entire composition.

Scale

A collection of pitches in an ascending or descending order of the next adjacent pitch, with a begining and an end in the same pitch class, that correspond with the musical alphabet in order to lay out the notes in that particular key. The musical alphabet consists of letters A-G that corresponds with the notes. A pitch class refers to all notes with the same name.

Homophonic

A music style when the melody is the focus which is backed up by a choir or by other instruments, however, they all move together in the same rhythms creating chords, not to be confused with polyphonic.

Motif

A motif is a melody or fragement of a melody that reccures and is developed throughout a piece of music. An example of this is in the well known first movement of Beethoven's 5th symphony. The opening of the first movement introduces a famous rhythmic pattern that is repeated throughout not only the movement but the symphony. Wikipedia has a great in depth explanation.

Ternary Form

A basic musical form in which its three main section, A, B, and A, respectively, are each distinct musical units. Typically, all the key signatures in the piece are the same, except for the B section's key. Unlike the binary form, the ternary form's sections are each complete and whole themselves; they do not need each other for finality or resolution. Often in ternary form, the middle section contrasts from the other two.

Binary Form

A basic musical form in which its two repeated sections, A and B, respectively, are part of a musical whole that uses similar musical materials throughout the piece. The second section musically completes the first, giving the whole work finality and resolution. Therefore, the binary form is continous in its musical structure.

Duple Meter

A rhythm of two beats (counts) to a measure, a musical unit of measurement marked by a bar (line) at its beginning and bar at its end. As in all meters, there are various ways for the notes within the measure to be divided. For example, the quarter note could receive the value of the beat, or a half note or eighth note could receive the value of the beat.

Polyrhythm

The simultaneous playing of two or more significantly contrasting rhythms in the music. Each of the rhythms is independant, meaning that it can function on its own as a sole rhythm. Therefore, the layered rhythms are not meant to interplay and interact with each other, but rather to create a type of rhythmic clashing. An example of a polyrhythm would be a continuous pulse contrasted against even thirds of a pulse (triplets).

Monophonic

Music featuring only the melody, without accompaniment or harmonizations. This is the earliest and most basic form of music; before instrumental accompaniment was conceived or even vocal harmonization was performed, the melody, or melodic line, was played or sung. In monophonic music, there will only be one note of a letter name played at a time.