In the beginning of Seminar today, we first discussed the four basic elements of music. They are rhythm, melody, harmony, and timbre/texture. The only one that left me a little perplexed was timbre, which by definition means the character or quality of a musical sound or voice. After the foundation of music was laid out, we delved deeper and explained the fact that music without text leaves meaning to the imagination. When the context isn’t provided for the listener better known as the audience, it’s up to one’s bountiful imagination to put two and two together, and come up with the deeper meaning behind it all. All four elements of music work together, but in some pieces one of the four will strike you the most, making it more prominent than the others.
I think that sometimes the notes of the song sound just like what its like when it’s sung. Melodies evoke a sense of feeling that can range from happy to sad and cheerful to gloomy. For example, West Side Story is a modern take on Romeo and Juliet. It takes place in the upper West Side of New York City, which in the 1960s was controlled by lots of gangs, and bestowed the name “ghetto.” We soon transitioned and listened to various works by the composer Johann Sebastian Bach. I brought up the point that different sounds evoke a wide range of emotions. If the composer plays louder, I think it hints at the fact a climax is present. Johann Bach’s first praeludium, I think depicted emotions of calmness, and the notion of bittersweet. His second praeludium was a little different in the way that it evoked emotions such as: darkness, suspense, franticness, and dystopia. I think it’s kind of ironic that the rhythm, cords, and melody can all be the same but get different emotions because of the variant configuration of elements. One of the last works we listened to was The Rite of Spring by Stravinsky. In this case, I think timbre matters because if it’s high or low, it’ll evoke different emotions; in this particular one timbre got really loud and intense symbolizing the climax. In fact, this music was written for a ballet. This particular class has definitely taught me not only the basic elements of music, but the concept that the way you see something can be completely different in the way another person views it, even though its played the exact same way. This idea relates back to Ways of Seeing, perception is everything!