• Michelle Ostrove


Music plays a vital role in everyone’s lives and there are 10 elements that are used no matter what genre you sing, play or listen to. These aspects of a song guide you as you play the song on the piano or sing the song as a lead (or background) vocalist. These fundamental ingredients put together create a beautiful song.

Let’s start with the Melody which is an arrangement of musical sounds which is sung by a vocalist or played by an instrument. It is what most people remember after listening to a song. Kenny G plays the melody of his songs with the saxophone. The second element is the Pitch of a note, which refers to the high or lowness on a music scale. It is in reference to everything that deals with melody, harmony, scales and chords; they all start with pitch. The third element is Duration referencing to how long the note will last. How long will a singer or pianist hold the note, is it a quarter, half, whole note, etc. The fourth element is Dynamics which is the loudness or softness of a note that is played or sung. Element number five is Tempo which is the speed or pace of a song. You can sometimes see bpm (beats per minute) at the beginning of a piece of music, for example 100 or 120 bpm tells you how fast or slow you will play the song. The sixth element is Timbre which is the tone or color of the sound. For instance, if you played the same note from a piano, violin or had a vocalist sing the note, all three will have different timbre. They all have different sounds but they are playing the same note. The seventh element is Texture which is adding different layers of a song, playing different notes at the same time, yet they all blend together. For instance, an orchestra will have much more texture playing a song than a three-piece band. Each instrument has their own part to play in a song. Vocal harmonies, male vs. female voices, all add a lot of texture to a song. A choir will have much more texture than a single vocalist. The eighth element is the Structure or the form of a song; it is the architecture of the song. The structure will vary from song to song but they all have structure (sections like intro, verse, chorus, hook, bridge, ect.). The ninth & tenth elements are Rhythm and Beats, which is how the time is observed and controlled in a song. This includes how beats are organized into weak and strong beats. Also, the duration of notes as well as the slowing down or speeding up how fast or slow a song is sung and played.

All of these elements are required building blocks for music. Think of these facets of music like crucial elements of an automobile. A car needs its wheels, engine, doors, brakes, steering wheel, etc. to make a car. Without them there would be no car. Music needs all of these building in the arrangement to create a song.


What's big and grey with horns? A. An elephant marching band!

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