Today, I thought our discussion of music would come rather naturally to me being that I play the horn. I was mistaken. In today’s discussion, I looked at music in a way I have never before. When the sheet music was handed out, I thought the discussion was going to be extremely unfair, and perhaps frightening, to those who don’t know how to read music just as if someone handed me an essay in another language. Once we started the discussion, I realized that we were approaching music in a similar fashion to how we approached visual artwork.
We began our discussion by talking about if we saw any patterns in the sheet music. I thought, “Yeah, a whole bunch of sixteenth notes” but hearing the non-musicians talk about what they saw made me realize I was being close-minded. Some people described the notes as “going up and down” or “increasing”. It was really interesting to hear other people talk about music in non-technical terms. Another musical redefining moment for me was when we talked about how you can have a completely different song from similar notes by rearranging the four musical elements (rhythm, melody, harmony, and timbre and texture). By emphasizing one element or another you can get a completely different feel as we saw in the two pieces by Bach, Praeludium I and Praeludium II. I had never thought about that before so, now whenever I listen to a piece of music, I’m always thinking about which element is being emphasized.
Toward the end of class, we began speaking about operas. One really interesting thing that was mentioned was how deep emotion is translated through physical exertion of the voice. That’s so intriguing and I’ll remember that when we go to see Turandot.
– Amber G