What is music?
- Melody : a melody is the tune of a song. It's the part you can usually sing and recognize. Sometimes there are words set to a melody. Sometimes the melody of a piece of music is played by an instrument. Melodies usually come from the scale around which a piece of music is based.
- Harmony : harmony is the foundation on which a melody rests. Usually, harmony means 3 or more notes taken from a scale, set into a chord.
- Rhythm : rhythm is how we accent musical ideas over time.
- Idea : this is the most important idea in music; what idea do you want to express? Everyone has musical ideas and expression...even if they have not had musical training!
What is improvisation?
Improvisation is what happens when people come together to play music spontaneously. Sometimes, people extemporize (expand and improvise) on known music. Sometimes, they invent music on the spot. When improvisers meet, they usually have some common musical language which allows them to communicate ideas and create music together.
- Notes : notes are tones that have been given names. We use the English alphabet to name the notes.
- Scales and Modes : a scale is any series of notes grouped together. Today, we will speak mostly about the white notes on a piano.
I II III IV V VI VII I
C: Ionian (Major scale) : C D E F G A B C
If we play the same notes, but start on a different degree of the scale, we have a mode of that scale. Each mode has a different tonal flavour.
II III IV V VI VII I II
D: Dorian : D E F G A B C D
III IV V VI VII I II III
E: Phrygian : E F G A B C D E
IV V VI VII I II III IV
F: Lydian: F G A B C D E F
V VI VII I II III IV V
G: Mixolydian : G A B C D E F G
VI VII I II III IV V VI
A: Aeolian (minor scale) : A B C D E F G A
VII I II III IV V VI VII
B: Locrian : B C D E F G A B
- Chords : Chords are notes played together. A chord usually has at least three notes. Here is an example:
B = VII
G = V
E = III
(Lowest note) C = I
This is a C Major 7 chord, because it has the I,III,V,VII notes from the C Major scale.
- Harmony : Harmony is the chords you chose to support your melody
- Rhythm : Rhythm is the pulse in music, the way time is divided
- Tempo : Tempo is the speed at which a piece of music is played