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#390422 - 07/28/04 12:27 PM The four components  
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Mike Dunbar Offline
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There are four components to music.

1. Pitch. The note, high, low, or indefineable. Is it an A, a Bb, A G#? Is it a drum hit or a turntable scratch?

2. Volume. Is it loud or soft?

3. Duration. Is it long or short? What is the rhythm?

4. Tone. This is also called "timbre." Does it sound like a muted trumpet or a saxaphone? Is it a Fender or a Gibson? Is the voice nasal or throaty?

These are the four. There has been an argument for a fifth, sonance, which is simply the accompanying sound: breathiness, scratchiness, chiff. I agree with the argument that says these are part of tone.

Do you feel any of these aspects are more important? Which of these are your best, or favorite? Do you have trouble with any?

All the Best,
Mike

------------------
Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#390423 - 07/28/04 02:16 PM Re: The four components  
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Jean Larson Offline
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I think of music differently. I look at music as having 3 components:

melody
rhythm
harmony (or chords)

--Jean

#390424 - 07/28/04 02:29 PM Re: The four components  
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Tom Tracy Offline
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Which could be all condensed down to TWO components:
1. Make it (requires skills or talent, but that's often debatable)
2. Listen to it (requires hearing)

Some are better at one that the other. Some only do one.

#390425 - 07/28/04 03:27 PM Re: The four components  
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Mike Dunbar Offline
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Jean,

Respectfully, it's not a matter of how one looks at it, there are four components of music: Pitch, Duration, Volume, Tone, and, arguably, a fifth, Sonance. You are describing aspects, not components, of music. Pitch and duration make melody. Rhythm is created by the duration of the pitch. Multiple pitches played concurrently make harmony. Any pitch has, by nature, a tone and a level of volume.

Any aspect at all of music contains all four of the components. There is no single note that can be played without pitch (whether definite or indefinite), duration (except for God's note which has no beginning or end), volume (either it vibrates at some intensity, or it doesn't), or tone (even generated so-called "pure" notes have tonal quality).

Tom,

You can make a car or you can drive it. Neither are components of the car. To make music you manipulate the four components, to listen to music you receive said components.

All the Best,
Mike

------------------
Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#390426 - 07/28/04 03:44 PM Re: The four components  
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John Scott Offline
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Whoa!!! Tough question. What's most important? Hmmmm...the proper blending of all 4?... (cop out I know)...

As predominantly a singer who plays a little guitar, I guess I would have to say I've worked on either pitch or tone the most.

As a relatively new songwriter, my 4 year old daughter has given me a new perspective about what might be most important in a song. Duration. We were driving one day and listening to Toby Keith - Shock'n Y'all and the song "If I Was Jesus" came on. She was back there bobbing head around like a maniac. She said, "I like this song Daddy." Being curious I asked her what she liked about it. She said, "The Rythmn." Out of the mouth of babes...

See, I don't think her perspective of music, even at 4, is a whole lot different than the typical music listener. "It's got a good beat and I can dance to it" still holds a lot of water to the majority of the population.

Then there are us songwriting wierdos that like to tear everything apart and analyze it 9 ways to Sunday...

[Linked Image]

Hmmm...did I even come close to answering the original question?

[Linked Image]

------------------
John

http://www.johnkscott.com

#390427 - 07/28/04 04:19 PM Re: The four components  
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Jean Larson Offline
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Mike--

I guess you are describing a note and I am describing a piece of music, like a song....?? I don't know.

Sorry, I guess I don't really understand your descriptions. I'm used to a different set of "elements of music."

Maybe I'm just used to different names:

Pitch is about melody
Duration is about rhythm
Volume is about dynamics (I've seen dynamics listed as one of the four basic elements of music)
I don't have tone on my list, and you don't have harmony listed

Just trying to understand what you're talking about, but maybe I should give up.

Just FYI, I didn't pull those three basic elements of music out of the air. I was repeating what I was taught in music theory, and what makes sense to me. I did a little internet search, and I see my list of basic elements of music all over the place.

Your list is hard for me to understand. Maybe you could explain to me the difference between a "component" of music and an "aspect" of music. Or I'll just drop out of this discussion since I'm getting confused! --Jean

#390428 - 07/28/04 05:48 PM Re: The four components  
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Jean Larson Offline
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Mike--

Sorry if I'm the problem student in the back of the class, or the obnoxious one in the front row! [Linked Image] --Jean

#390429 - 07/28/04 06:04 PM Re: The four components  
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TrumanCoyote Offline
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Not to nitpick, but I think it is more accurate to say that music is composed of CHANGES in pitch, duration, tone, and volume.

To my mind, it is pitch and duration that form the melody. As for volume, tone, and sonance (certainly), I would call them "nuance."

Pitch and duration make it a melody. Add nuance and something magical happens...you have music.

This brings me in mind of those cheezy-sounding ring-tone melodies on cell phones. The have pitch and duration. And one tone, utterly lacking in musical charm. One must admit it is a melody, but due to lack of nuance, it is not very muscial at all.

#390430 - 07/28/04 08:16 PM Re: The four components  
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I kinda appreciate what John said... the combination of the four parts seem to be the strongest of importance... and with that--- how you effectively alter the various parts is essentially what makes (or breaks) the artist and the music... Eh?

Vocally... I'd definitely say I have a pitch problem. It's one thing to not have the ability to realize you are hitting a note poorly, but it's frustrating when you hear it plain as day!
Lord help us... the non-singers...LOL

-gary

#390431 - 07/28/04 08:29 PM Re: The four components  
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Bob Young (D) Offline
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Oh, for Chrissakes..

Mikes position is not only correct, but inarguable, if just by the weight of agreement.

You will not find a music professor, or any member of the academia who will disagree with the premise Mike puts forth.

If you don't get it....read a freakin' book !

Let's make it simple....think one of anything...one note on a clarinet..one strike of a drum....whatever...

Now...describe it...you will use those four elements...that's all...

Jeez !

Let's discuss whether or not it's morning when the sun comes up !

Bob Young

#390432 - 07/28/04 10:32 PM Re: The four components  
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Mike Dunbar Offline
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Wow, I didn't mean to start a problem (laughing) but this is the way I learned it in college. There are the only four or, arguably, five components of what we call "music." By "component" I mean those things from which music is made, without which, it ceases to be. By aspect, I mean those things which the components may form. And yes, these things must change, or the pickers don't go home at night, they keep playing the bagpipes, only God can make music without changing those four components (even James Brown has to stop the E9 chord to take Maceo to the bridge).

These are even more intrinsic than the color spectrum. You can't have a sound that does not contain these four, arguably five, components. All other aspects are made up of these four, arguably five, components. Even a single burst or cycle, in the real world, reverberates in its environment creating all four (arguably five, and in my opinion, sonance is part of timbre).

But hey, maybe I'm just riffing here. Prove me wrong.

All the Best,
Mike

------------------
Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#390433 - 07/29/04 04:24 AM Re: The four components  
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Jean Larson Offline
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So...you are describing the 4 components of sound...??? --Jean

#390434 - 07/29/04 05:08 AM Re: The four components  
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Bob Young (D) Offline
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Jean...

Do me a favor...

Define music without sound

Bob

#390435 - 07/29/04 05:39 AM Re: The four components  
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Jean Larson Offline
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I can't, Bob. (That was a weird question.) Music is made of sound. I think that's pretty obvious, don't you?

But, to describe music as pitch, duration, volume, and tone...well, that describes a lot of sounds that are not music, right? Based on that list of components, the beeper on my microwave qualifies as music. That doesn't make sense to me.

I studied music in college, too, plus I got some theory along with my assigned pieces while studying piano, and always the "basic elements of music" that were told to me were:

melody
rhythm
harmony
and sometimes dynamics as a fourth one

The list Mike uses seems like a description of the components of sound, and I think it's clear that music is more than just sound.

I was not familiar with the list Mike posted, and I didn't quite understand it, so I thought I'd throw in the one I am familiar with and see how it fits into the picture. The one I posted is not my personal list. It's in a lot of books--and all over the internet for that matter. I didn't expect Mike to tell me I'm totally wrong and he's right, and that there's only one list of components of music. That was a weird statement. I was just trying to participate in the discussion and make sense of what Mike posted. I'm eager to learn new things, but I like it to make sense.

--Jean

[This message has been edited by JL (edited 07-29-2004).]

#390436 - 07/29/04 10:03 AM Re: The four components  
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Bob Young (D) Offline
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Oy !

#390437 - 07/29/04 11:38 AM Re: The four components  
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Jean Larson Offline
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Moving on....

I don't have trouble with any of those four. I pay attention to them all the time, but it's more or less second-nature.

I guess I used to concentrate really hard on all of them. I used to sing really quietly and had to learn to project. I also learned to make sure that, when I broke into vibrato, I let the lower pitch stay on the note and the higher pitch go above the note. If the upper pitch is on the note and the lower one hangs below, it gives the impression of being flat; if lower of the two pitches is right in the center of the note, and the higher pitch goes above it, it just makes the note sound alive. Stuff like that I really worked on for quite a few years, but now I don't really have to think about it.

The one thing I do have trouble with has to do with tempo. I tend to speed up a little bit during a song, so I end up a little faster than I started. It happens more when I'm playing something with a lot of energy in it, or when I'm improvising a lot. Just one more reason I like to play with one of my drummers--they keep me steady. Also, I don't enunciate like I should sometimes. I have to remind myself once in a while to give them every consonant loud and clear--somehow that makes the vowels sound better, too.

--Jean

#390438 - 07/29/04 12:01 PM Re: The four components  
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Bob Young (D) Offline
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OY !

ok..the original premise was pretty plain to me...we are dealing with the basics of music..not composition.

Anyway..I think it's hard to make a hard and fast rule that any of the four components are at once more inportant.

Sometimes a note can be played perectly in tune..the tone is fabulous..it's held for precisely the right amount of time and the arranger has assigned said note to precisely the right instrument.

BUT...the note gets played too LOUD !

Or..everything is perfect including the volume but the arranger hass asigned the note to tuba instead of chhek flute !

Then..timbre is the most important by virtue of the violation.

Now...does anybody want to carry THAT into a sea of semantic whooshy?

Bob

[This message has been edited by bob young (edited 07-29-2004).]

#390439 - 07/29/04 01:38 PM Re: The four components  
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Mike Dunbar Offline
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Music is made up of sound. Any sound. There can be music without melody, as in Edgar Varese's "Ionization," or in some of today's rap. There is also music without harmony, as in any a capella solo (every day people make music without harmony when they sing the Star Spangled Banner. Some even make it without melody.) There can be music without rhythm, put on a New Age station for a while and you'll hear some (Arguably, however, even one chord played for two minutes has a rhythm, it's a beat two minutes long. I am, however, working on a piece to be performed by God. It will be called "God's Note." It consists of one note on the saxaphone [God has a marvelous tone, similar to King Curtis, and contrary to popular belief, He uses a Rico Reed, not a Ralph Reed.] It will have no beginning and no end, it will just be...as a matter of fact it will just be Bb. This will be the only music that has no rhythm.)

Yes, these components of music describe sound. Sound is that of which music is made. We, the composers, organize this sound to taste.

Most music uses definite pitch, a great deal of which organizes the pitches to mimic the harmonic overtone series God has given us (And I wouldn't doubt that He will perfectly harmonize my composition at least as well and, if He wishes, better than Duke Ellington.)

Most music has a rhythm that is organized in relation to even pulses, usually mimicking heartbeat, which are then grouped in twos or threes. We call that meter.

Most music harmonizes, this slightly incorrect term means that it is polyphonic (more than one note at a time) with the pitches using the harmonic overtones to create consonance and dissonance for tension and release.

All music presents sound on purpose for entertainment.

Of the four components, I have the most trouble with pitch. I can hear pitch fairly well, in sessions I'm, as often as not, the first one to catch something out of tune. When I sing, however, I'll flat those darn thirds and sixths. Maybe I'm rebelling against the tempered scale, but I'm always punching in four or five notes and they're nearly always a third or sixth. I also hear myself out of tune, but when we check with the autotune, I'm in. That drives me even nuttier. I'd rather be out of tune and fix it than hear myself out of tune and have it unfixable...this, since the invention of autotune, is what leads me to believe that a lot of my problem is trying to sing the natural, rather than the tempered, third.

Well that's my problem...one of many, but I discuss the others on other websites under an assumed name. What's in your wallet?

All the Best,
Mike

------------------
Mike Dunbar Music

[This message has been edited by Mike Dunbar (edited 07-29-2004).]


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#390440 - 07/29/04 02:25 PM Re: The four components  
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Jean Bullock Offline
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Mike, you want to define the question a little bit more.

Do you mean this in the context of performing a composition? In composing? In reading and playing notation? In identifying what you hear?
In singing? Playing an instrument?

Or any of the above?

JeanB

[This message has been edited by AKA JeanB (edited 07-29-2004).]


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#390441 - 07/29/04 04:00 PM Re: The four components  
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Mike Dunbar Offline
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Jean,

Any of those and any other possible considerations are welcome.

Upon what, of the four components I've stated, does anyone wish to comment? Would someone like to discuss the possibility of the fifth component? Does anyone disagree with these as being the only components? Does anyone disagree with my definitions of the components?

Does anyone disagree with bob? Does anyone not? Ever?

All the Best,
Mike

------------------
Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#390442 - 07/29/04 07:07 PM Re: The four components  
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Quote
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Mike Dunbar:
I am, however, working on a piece to be performed by God. It will be called "God's Note." It consists of one note on the saxaphone

All the Best,
Mike

</font>


Ummmm..... Oy! --Jean

#390443 - 07/29/04 09:50 PM Re: The four components  
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I was referring to the questions in Mike's original topic before everyone went tangent hopping.

Mike asked:

Do you feel any of these aspects are more important? Which of these are your best, or favorite? Do you have trouble with any?

And I wanted to know:

Do you mean this in the context of performing a composition? In composing? In reading and playing notation? In identifying what you hear?
In singing? Playing an instrument?

Or any of the above?

To which Mike answered : Oh for pity's sake, just choose one, will ya?

To which I answered:

Well OK then. [Linked Image]


OK.

The component which challenges me the most is duration. The activity in which it occurs is notation and playing while sight reading.

In sight reading and playing, I am OK with simple rhythmic combinations ,(16th and larger notes whether, tied, dotted or not are not a problem) but I have to slow down and count when it comes to things like complex triplets (when there is a rest within them) dotted thirty second and smaller notes tied to something and so forth. To improve, it's probably just a case of playing them more often. I just don't encounter them too often in my normal work.

To me, it's harder to notate the music than it is to read it. With practice I am getting better and faster but it is a challenge.

JeanB



[This message has been edited by AKA JeanB (edited 07-29-2004).]


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#390444 - 07/29/04 10:45 PM Re: The four components  
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OK, fine. I'll argue that harmony is the missing "component". Further, saying that harmony is just more than one instance of the "true" components taking place simultaneously, misses the point.

Think of Schubert's "Ave Maria". Even as a vocal solo an harmonic "language" is implied by the sequence of individual notes. A series of chords is "outlined", and discernable by listeners, even those who aren't aware or knowledgable enough to describe the phenomonon. The most moving music I've ever experienced contains this type of harmonic structure, most of all when sung by a single voice.

Sure, Jazz players will spend infinity toying with alternative harmonic structures in support of well known melodies, but that only reinforces the point. Harmony may be "in the ear of the beholder", but after all, we're the ones who are carrying on this discussion, no? Try describing music without hearing.

Harmony is always there, staring at you like the horse at the top of the stairway. Even a single note contains harmony, within its own overtone series. Melodies are built on modes and scales, inescapably. Even the simplest indigenous music and can be recognized easily as bearing major or minor characteristics. Harmony is always there, even when its not.

Timbre itself is largely defined by the presence of overtones, which while less noticeable than a fundamental pitch, color the sound uniquely.

Oh, and re. that little problem with the tempered vs. natural scale. Isn't it ironic that fretted instruments and keyboards are at once the most versatile and the least capable of rendering a true scale, harmony, etc.? That little "gotcha" has caused me endless anguish trying to get (and keep) an intrinsically untunable instrument "in tune", but at least I understand why . . .

Just my $.02,
Emmit Sycamore
sixstringsnsongs@yahoo.com

#390445 - 07/30/04 01:41 AM Re: The four components  
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I was going to say something about harmony/chords/scales/modes being a silent implied structure even when someone is singing a capella, but decided I've already said too much...so thanks for bringing that up, Emmitt.

And I understood your post! Yay!! [Linked Image] --Jean

#390446 - 07/30/04 10:02 AM Re: The four components  
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Hi Mike!
Somehow I just knew this post would come alive (insert a really big grin here), so I added my 2 cents early.

I'm with ya..

#390447 - 07/30/04 11:05 AM Re: The four components  
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Hi again,

I just skimmed this whole thread again, and am now certain that the premise is off base, and the discussion about the distinction between sound and music is spot on. Mike's list is a good summation of properties, attributes, (insert your favorite term here) of sound. Those features don't remotely explain why some sounds are musical, and others are not.

Music is made of sound, and silence. Music is patterns of sound, not the individual sounds. More important than all of that, music is what we experience when the atmosphere around us vibrates in a special way.

To make this discussion meaningful, lets talk about what music is, rather than what it is "made of". Music has deeper virtues than those perceived in random noise.

For me, melody, harmony, and rythm make a much better list than one that defines all sounds but doesn't begin to approach the reality of music.

Maybe I'm up to $.04 now,
Emmit Sycamore
sixstringsnsongs@yahoo.com

#390448 - 07/30/04 12:33 PM Re: The four components  
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Harmony comes from the harmonic overtone series, not the other way around. The word "harmony" is misleading, because you can have a harmony that is consonant and a harmony that is dissonant. The consonant one sets into the harmonic overtone series, the dissonant one clashes. In modern music, fewer and fewer "harmonies" are harmonic. If modern music were an internal combustion engine, it would shake apart, the harmonic balancer wouldn't be working correctly.

When a vibrating column exists, it gives a fundamental tone, then it has "overtones" above it. Guitar players use this when they play "harmonics" and wind players use this when they overblow an octave or a high fifth.

Melodies don't really imply harmonies, melodies and harmonies both imply the overtone series, with the important notes being what we call "chordal tones." When you map out the overtone series you get a natural scale, do re me and etc., with the perfect intervals in tune (What, pray tell are these? You tell me.), and the imperfect ones a little flat from what a piano would play.

The overtone series is an aspect of the component of pitch. A good pitch is one that gets a cut (songwriter joke)

All the Best,
Mike

------------------
Mike Dunbar Music



[This message has been edited by Mike Dunbar (edited 07-30-2004).]


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#390449 - 07/30/04 12:47 PM Re: The four components  
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By the way, the components of music come from nature, the aspects of it come from manipulation of the components. Even birds don't sing in harmony, except accidentally. It's like color in art. The components come from the color spectrum, the aspects include shocking pink and electric blue, colors not found in nature.

But again, I might be pulling this out of my aspect. Show the flaw in my thinking (concerning this thread only, please, or it would be an easy task).

Mike

------------------
Mike Dunbar Music

[This message has been edited by Mike Dunbar (edited 07-30-2004).]


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#390450 - 07/30/04 02:00 PM Re: The four components  
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Emmitt,

Good stuff. I would submit that music is the manipulation of sound for entertainment.

Most music uses the harmonic system, some, however, does not. The existence of any music which does not include the harmonic system (here, once again, I direct the reader to Edgar Varese's "Ionization," a piece recognized and lauded by critics, educators, and practitioners of music, which uses only percussion and has no definite pitches, scales, or harmonies), proves that the harmonic system is not a component (that which cannot be removed, e.g. hydrogen and oxygen are compmonents of water) but an aspect (a phase or position, using the water analogy, ice or steam is an aspect...freeze water, it's not steam, but it is still water [well not necessarily STILL water, which runs deep, but I digress] ).

I do subscribe to the idea that harmony and melody are two of the most important things in music, however they are not definitive.

Of course, once again, I may be making all of this up (ending a sentence with a preposition, when a sentence should be logically ended with an appeal).

All the Best,
Mike



------------------
Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#390451 - 07/30/04 02:26 PM Re: The four components  
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When Mike said components, I believe he is referring to the basic building blocks. The things that must be present for music to occur.

Pitch = frequency
duration- length of frequency
volume= there must be volume for the frequency to be heard
tone/timber something has to make the frequency and whatever makes the frequency has a tone or timber

Melody cannot exist without them
Harmony cannot exist without them
rhythmic patterns cannot be present without them

The first two are the most important, the third comes in very close, the last (imo) is the least important but you still need it right. (Although some people's singing may present an argument for it being number one.)

JeanB


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#390452 - 07/30/04 02:34 PM Re: The four components  
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And percussion does have pitch. --Jean

#390453 - 07/30/04 03:11 PM Re: The four components  
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Jean,

Percussion does have pitch. Some percussion, pianos for instance, have definite pitch. Some percussion, maracas for instance, have indefinite pitch. I direct you to my song on CDBaby, you can reach through the link below, Christmas in Chicago. For percussion I am using two seedpods from some kind of South American tree. Their pitch is relatively mid to high, but indefinite (if not indefinite, then what is the note?).

I'm all for changing the subject, but the thread was about the four components. I'll start another thread and maybe we'll go 'round some more...I love it. JPFers are smart and love to go 'round.

All the Best,
Mike

------------------
Mike Dunbar Music

[This message has been edited by Mike Dunbar (edited 07-30-2004).]


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#390454 - 07/30/04 04:40 PM Re: The four components  
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Quote
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Mike Dunbar:
Harmony comes from the harmonic overtone series, not the other way around.

Melodies don't really imply harmonies, melodies and harmonies both imply the overtone series . . .

The overtone series is an aspect of the component of pitch.
</font>


The harmonic overtone series is made up of a "fundamental" pitch, and regular multiples of the frequency of that pitch, 2x, 3x, etc. These multiples result from divisions of the vibrating instrument which are set in motion by the fundamental vibration. For example, while the entire length a guitar string is vibrating, it is also vibrating in segments, 1/2 it's length, 1/4, etc. These "overtones" are not very obvious, since they sound at a much lower volume thatn the fundamental. Having said all that, let's move on to causality, which is often turned on its head with regard to this subject.

From the top: "Harmony comes from the harmonic overtone series, not the other way around."

This reminds of the time an engineer told me that, "Music is based on mathematics."
It's a safe bet that folks were chanting and banging sticks a long time before they could calculate "cycles per second". Frets appeared on the ancient lute long before anyone could cypher the 12th root of 2.

Mathematical measurements of sonic vibrations can be helpful in understanding how and why certain notes are harmonious, and others not. That doesn't define the causality of the experience of harmony. In other words, the fact that a particular series of tones is included in a single "pitch" is not the "reason" two notes are harmonious, it is rather, a manifestation of that harmony.

Next: "Melodies don't really imply harmonies, melodies and harmonies both imply the overtone series ... "

I'm pretty sure that folks were singing harmony way before they could measure overtones. The implied harmony in a melody is a function of the mind, which retains an impression of the preceeding pitches and relates them, one to another. Once again, the subtle effect of the overtone series within a note is not the "reason" that we experience harmony. It is merely an echo, if you will, a physical expression of the harmonious nature of certain pitches. We experience naturally occurring resonances as harmonious, not because they are related in an overtone series, but rather for the same reason that they exist in that overtone series. The overtone series doesn't "cause" harmony, it reflects harmony.

"The overtone series is an aspect of the component of pitch."

The overtone series is not an aspect, it is a physical reality. Music is not a concept, it is an human experience.

Is that $.06?
Emmit Sycamore
sixstringsnsongs@yahoo.com

#390455 - 07/30/04 05:11 PM Re: The four components  
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Emmitt,

That's .06 cents, you must have a sixth sense.

You are correct, I was mistaken, the harmonic series is definately not an aspect. What it is, is a phenomenon of pitch which can be expressed mathematically, but is still not necessary to music. It is simply most often there.

Music, I would say, can be an experience, but not necessarily. If my demo is playing in the forest, and there is no one there to experience it, is it still music? Well, if it's my demo, it may not be, let's say bob young's demo. If there is a band playing in the forest and there's no club owner there, are they still too loud?

In early times, the cavemen didn't start with harmony, they chanted and tried to sound like the birds (and on 8 Miles High, vice versa). They made the caves echo and found that some notes reverberated more than others, and when they couldn't get them to reverberate in tune, they used autotune, the cro-magnons used CroTools. In college, they told us that the earliest of harmonies were probably fifths and fourths, before thirds (they said music was math but they they said five came before three? so much for music professors...down with theory, see my thread on this).

Harmony and its relation to harmonics came later. The greeks figured it out, Ulysses did a study of music, the king gave him a great deal of money to further this study which became known as the Ulysses Grant. This brought about a general agreement with the Greek musician's federation, known as the Ulysses Grant Union General agreement (but I digress).

All the Best,
Mike

------------------
Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#390456 - 08/02/04 12:59 AM Re: The four components  
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No question about it, the four components are:

Hitting
Pitching
Defense
Coaching

You could look it up.

#390457 - 08/02/04 01:19 AM Re: The four components  
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And let's not forget Irish Coffe, which contains the four basic food groups:

Alcohol, Caffeine, Sugar, and Fat

------------------
Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#390458 - 08/02/04 02:18 PM Re: The four components  
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i don't think any component of music is more or less important. they can all be present in varying amounts in any particular song or type of music. some music showcases one element over another... but to me it's only a matter of whether or not it sounds interesting in my ears.



------------------
kit malone
http://www.kitmalone.com

#390459 - 08/19/04 06:06 AM Re: The four components  
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Pitch
Volume
Duration
Tone
Sonance

Mike, I know what you're saying. Most of the above posts are off-topic not on purpose, but from a lack of comprehension.

If speaking in absolutes, there is absolutely no way to play a note with the omission of any one of these components.(with the exception of sonance, which is probably a big reason it's questionable.)

1- It is physically impossible for there to be sound if it has no pitch. Every sound has a pitch.

2- Same for volume. Every sound has a volume.

3- Every sound must have a duration.

4- Every sound must have a tone, or "timbre".

No sound can exist in any form without each and every one of these components.

Now, that was speaking in absolutes. Now in order to conclude which of these components are most important as it applies to an individual note, we must assume that each of those components are present to some degree.

In the context of music, pitch is going to be the most important component of the 4. Without pitch being exact, the other components don't amount to a hill of beans.
Unless the pitch is controlled there is no way to construct a melody from individual notes, and all else matters not.

Duration, I would argue, is the second most important. Without an exact duration that can vary from note to note, there could be very little musical relevance to the notes.

Next comes Volume. The volume is important for musical purposes, but you can have a musical note at ANY volume. It is less important than Pitch and Duration in a practical utilization. For example:
If you are on stage or in the studio, you must play the note on pitch, as it will be the most notable of mistakes.
You must play the note for the right duration, but you can get away with a note a little shorter or a little longer than you are supposed to play it. It is not as noticeable as variations in pitch.
Volume can be even more forgivable than duration, because it is less noticeable. You have a wide range of volumes at which you can play the same part on your guitar, and it will still sound good. It falls more into the category of preference or taste. Example:
Stevie Ray might have played his guitar solo loud at the huge club last weekend, but this weekend he is playing to a smaller crowd and feels the need to give a more intimate performance. So he plays the same song at a reduced volume, which changes the nature of the song.
Which brings us to Timbre. Say Stevie not only turned his volume down, but he played in a more delicate, sweeter manner, and didn't have as much "bite" as last weekend. That's timbre, and it is even more subjective, and is pretty much a stylistic decision.

As for sonance, it is important in subtle ways. You can play a sax part with a real sax and get breathiness and other little variables, but you can also play the part on a MIDI wind controller and the lack of that breathy quality may not be easily recognised.

Just my take and I'm not a great theorist, but I do like to think about these kinds of things. I like it that we can actually explore these types of topics. It exercises our minds and encourages abstract thinking, which is always good for songwriters.

------------------
Chris

[This message has been edited by Helicon1 (edited 08-19-2004).]

#390460 - 08/19/04 07:19 AM Re: The four components  
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I go along with Kit here Guys.
It would depend a lot on what you were trying to say musically as to which element was to the fore.
A bit like a mixing desk.
Differant songs need differant levels of all the elements for them to be ear candy in any chosen scene.
Graham

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#390461 - 08/19/04 12:43 PM Re: The four components  
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Quote
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
If speaking in absolutes, there is absolutely no way to play a note with the omission of any one of these components.(with the exception of sonance, which is probably a big reason it's questionable.)

1- It is physically impossible for there to be sound if it has no pitch. Every sound has a pitch.

2- Same for volume. Every sound has a volume.

3- Every sound must have a duration.

4- Every sound must have a tone, or "timbre".

No sound can exist in any form without each and every one of these components.

In the context of music, pitch is going to be the most important component ...
</font>


If you scan all the way up to the original question, you'll see that the context is "music", not a single note, nor sound in general. Someone asked straight away if Mike meant "sound", instead of music, since the component list is pretty lame as far as "music" is concerned. Most of the thread reflects an attempt to get back "on topic".

Perhaps it would be better to start a new thread that opens with the quote, "There are four components to sound".

Later,
Emmit Sycamore

#390462 - 08/19/04 02:19 PM Re: The four components  
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"The four components of sound" would have been an accurate title for this thread. Mike's been talking all through this thread about the building blocks of music, not the components of music. He's describing sound, and calling it a description of music.

It's like describing a painting as consisting of "pigments, resin, glycols..." etc., rather than "a graphic art composition made by applying paints to a surface." Yes, paint is made up of certain ingredients, but I can find the same ingredients on my livingroom wall, and my wall is not a piece of graphic art.

It's like asking, "What is a tree?" and answering, "A tree is hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sulfur, sodium, silicon, iron, boron, strontium, and aluminum." I would respond that a tree is a tall perennial woody plant having a main trunk and branches forming a distinct elevated crown, but I'm sure I'd be told I'm wrong and there is only one perspective.

This thread was really frustrating for me to read and take part in.

I don't find a description of sound to be the same as a description of music. --Jean

#390463 - 08/19/04 04:12 PM Re: The four components  
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Jean,

I'm truly sorry if my writing has made you feel badly.

The four components I refer to are simply what I was taught in college. They were, at least at that time, fairly universally taught in colleges and universities as the components of music (in one of my freshman year tests as a music major, a question was asked, "What are the components of music?" and the expected answer was those components that I originally listed.)

If, to borrow your analogy, I asked, "What do you think about the chemistry of trees?" I would hardly expect people to tell me I'm wrong and accuse me of being cold and mechanical or analytical for suggesting that trees were made up of water, carbon, and so on.

In a later thread, I've asked, "What is music?" Here, I would answer, "Music is the aesthetic use of sound to entertain, enlighten, and enhance." In this thread, however, I simply ask for discussion about the components (which, again, I didn't make up. I was taught them at the music department of Chicago State University in the late sixties).

So please, Jean, don't take it personally. I'm simply trying to present something I learned in college for discussion on a music theory site. Your examples were thoughtful and show you have a love of music. I applaud you for that and wish that more people had a love and understanding of music that you display.

All the Best,
Mike



------------------
Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#390464 - 08/19/04 04:25 PM Re: The four components  
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Emmitt,

Thank you. Music is sound. The reason I called the four components of sound "the four componenets of music" is because of habit. You see, that's how we referred to them at the music department of Chicago State University several years ago.

Again, as you say, most of this thread has been an argument meant to get it back on track.

All the Best,
Mike

------------------
Mike Dunbar Music



[This message has been edited by Mike Dunbar (edited 08-19-2004).]


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#390465 - 08/20/04 03:25 PM Re: The four components  
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Chris,

Yes, I also believe pitch is a little more important, with duration coming second. Pitch and its property, the harmonic system, is what makes melody and harmony possible. We use the duration of sounds to create rhythm. Rhythm, melody and harmony are, I believe, slightly more important than intensity and timbre.

In the songwriting forum you asked me to grade your post. I give it an A. You would have gotten an A+, but in your example Stevie Ray could not have played last week...he's still dead.

All the Best,
Mike

------------------
Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#390466 - 08/21/04 07:12 PM Re: The four components  
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 327
Helicon1 Offline
Serious Contributor
Helicon1  Offline
Serious Contributor

Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 327
Texas
Good one Mike.

I know he's gone, but he just might have played for all of Heaven last week, and this week He's playing at the crossroads blues shack.

By the way, can someone tell me why I can't post smilies in the message board?

------------------
Chris

#390467 - 08/21/04 07:54 PM Re: The four components  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


JPF Mentor

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Nashville Tennessee
I don't know [Linked Image]

When I was on aol, I couldn't cut and paste or put smilies on the boards.

Have you checked out the smilies legend? It's to the left of the typing box when you write out a post.

Good Luck and Keep [Linked Image]ing

Mike

------------------
Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#390468 - 08/21/04 09:45 PM Re: The four components  
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 327
Helicon1 Offline
Serious Contributor
Helicon1  Offline
Serious Contributor

Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 327
Texas
[Linked Image]Thanks!

#390469 - 08/22/04 12:17 AM Re: The four components  
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 4,372
Bob Young (D) Offline
Top 100 Poster
Bob Young (D)  Offline
Top 100 Poster

Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 4,372
chicago il usa
what does this one mean ?

#390470 - 08/22/04 02:11 AM Re: The four components  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 13,618
Graham Henderson (D) Offline
Graham Henderson (D)  Offline

Top 10 Poster

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 13,618
Esperance. West Australia
I think it is used within the Nashville Numbers System Bob.
It means. "More imformation available when I learn something else".
Well that is my guess Cobber.
I get a smile out of the one that says. "Of course it's good ya mug. I wrote the bloody thing. But if ya think ya gunna get a thank you for saying so. tough."
Graham

------------------
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/2/grahamhendersonmusic.htm

#390471 - 10/19/04 02:26 AM Re: The four components  
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 988
Tony Whitehead Offline
Top 500 Poster
Tony Whitehead  Offline
Top 500 Poster

Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 988
Louisville Ky
Hi Mike, first post here on Theory board.

I'm thinking duration is the most important component.It determines the expression, the emotion.

Volume can vary to assist expression and emotion, but can remain constant and not deter greatly from the piece.It can convey emotion for sure.

Pitch ? I see it as a tool of sorts.Nothing until duration determines its'place in the piece.

Tone ? Another tool. It can give a feeling of warmth, stagnation, ect. Augments duration I'd say.


I've never studied theory much, so I may be way off on this one, Feel free to cyber slap me straight lol.

Enjoyed reading the thread. Some good replies to a good topic.

Take care,
Tony in Louisville

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