The Nuts and Bolts of Music - A Meander Through the Basic Elements of Music


Dr. William Leland
Las Cruces, NM USA


t goes almost without saying that music, like any enterprise, has its own group of essential elements which make up the underlying stuff of each individual product. There is music, to be sure, which uses only some of these elements: examples would include ancient or primitive works lacking in harmony or strict rhythm, or certain avant garde compositions which may do away with some of the traditional elements altogether. But this series of articles will discuss those basic components of music familiar to all of us: rhythm, melody, harmony, form, dynamics, and texture. To illustrate, many examples of partial scores and sound files are included with the articles.




Part One: Rhythm - Rhythm is the one element of music that we feel rather than hear.

Part Two: Melody - The most basic of all the elements which actually make sound--and the one which came first--is melody.

Part Three: Harmony - Harmony is the mix of sound that is produced by the ongoing series of chords that make up a musical composition as it progresses.

Page created: 4/21/07
Last updated: 01/30/15
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Reprinting from the Piano Education Page The Piano Education Page, Op. 10, No. 1,
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