Unit VI Louisiana's Musical Landscape
Lesson 1 Music Around the State: Sound and Place

Musical Elements Chart

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These words are the "Vocabulary of Music." Use them and their meanings to complete Page 2 and the Musical Elements Chart Worksheet.

Instrumentation The combination of instruments used by musicians who play a certain style of music, i.e., a common instrumentation in a modern gospel choir is organ, piano, electric bass, drums, and vocals. The instruments that normally play the melody and take solos are often referred to as the lead instruments. The underlying rhythm and chord instruments are often called backup instruments. Instrumentation can be used to identify a certain musical style. By listening to the timbre and tone color of individual instruments and ensembles, we can also compare and contrast traditional musical styles.
Lyrics or
Each language has its own rhythms, which contribute to how music sounds. The lyrics often tell stories; language (e.g. English, French, Vietnamese) tells us about the culture and the way people choose to communicate with members of their folk groups. The rhythm of the melody is often determined by the rhythm of the words. Periods of sound or silence in a melody are influenced by lyrics and language.
Tempo The speed of the beat. Tempo guides how fast the piece of music will be played and is often constant throughout a piece of music. The tempo is usually set by the group leader or drummer and maintained by everyone in the ensemble. Tempo is one element of music that can be used to enhance the expressive qualities of music.
Dynamics The degree of intensity (sound quality and expressiveness) and loudness. Dynamics often change within a piece of music. Musicians use dynamics to enhance the expressive qualities of music and get the desired response from the listener. The deliberate use of silent intervals is also an important component of dynamics.
Melody The pattern of pitches and rhythm that creates a tune or song. In folk music styles, the lead instrument or vocalist most often plays the melody. Others often play or sing complementary lines or chords called harmony.
Rhythm The metered pattern of notes In a single piece of music there may be many different rhythmic patterns. Rhythm seems similar to tempo, but tempo generally remains constant throughout a selection while rhythm may change within a piece of music. Rhythm deals with the steady beat of the music, usually moving in groups of two or three and how patterns of notes vary in relation to the steady beat, as in syncopation.

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