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Ch 1: Elements of Music: Help and Review

About This Chapter

The Elements of Music chapter of this Music 101 Help and Review course is the simplest way to master elements of music. This chapter uses simple and fun videos that are about five minutes long, plus lesson quizzes and a chapter exam to ensure students learn the essentials of elements of music.

Who's it for?

Anyone who needs help learning or mastering Music 101 material will benefit from taking this course. There is no faster or easier way to learn introductory music. Among those who would benefit are:

  • Students who have fallen behind in understanding musical elements and forms
  • Students who struggle with learning disabilities or learning differences, including autism and ADHD
  • Students who prefer multiple ways of learning music (visual or auditory)
  • Students who have missed class time and need to catch up
  • Students who need an efficient way to learn about elements of music
  • Students who struggle to understand their teachers
  • Students who attend schools without extra music learning resources

How it works:

  • Find videos in our course that cover what you need to learn or review.
  • Press play and watch the video lesson.
  • Refer to the video transcripts to reinforce your learning.
  • Test your understanding of each lesson with short quizzes.
  • Verify you're ready by completing the elements of music chapter exam.

Why it works:

  • Study Efficiently: Skip what you know, review what you don't.
  • Retain What You Learn: Engaging animations and real-life examples make topics easy to grasp.
  • Be Ready on Test Day: Use the elements of music chapter exam to be prepared.
  • Get Extra Support: Ask our subject-matter experts any question about elements of music. They're here to help!
  • Study With Flexibility: Watch videos on any web-ready device.

Students will review:

This chapter helps students review the concepts in an elements of music unit of a standard introductory music course. Topics covered include:

  • Methods for reading notes on the treble clef and bass clef staff
  • Sharps and flats
  • Types of musical scales
  • Major and minor key signatures
  • Musical timbre of instruments
  • Instrument families of the orchestra
  • Basic rhythms
  • Classical music forms
  • Time signature in music
  • Texture and voices in music
  • Melody and harmony

61 Lessons in Chapter 1: Elements of Music: Help and Review
Musical Intelligence: Definition, Experiments & Characteristics

1. Musical Intelligence: Definition, Experiments & Characteristics

What do Michael Jackson, Mozart, and Barbara Streisand all have in common? They all have musical intelligence. Learn more about musical intelligence from examples and test your knowledge with a quiz.

How to Read Notes on the Treble Clef Staff

2. How to Read Notes on the Treble Clef Staff

How do musicians interpret notes on the treble clef staff? What types of instruments play notes that are read in the treble clef staff? Who invented the notation system? Find out in this lesson!

How to Read Notes of the Bass Clef Staff

3. How to Read Notes of the Bass Clef Staff

How do musicians interpret notes on the bass clef staff? What types of instruments play notes that are read in the bass clef staff? How is the bass clef staff different from the treble clef staff? Find out in this lesson!

Sharps and Flats: Reading and Identifying Sharp and Flat Notes in Music

4. Sharps and Flats: Reading and Identifying Sharp and Flat Notes in Music

What do sharp and flat notes look like? How are they different from regular notes? When and where are sharp and flat notes used? Find out in this lesson!

How to Determine Major Key Signatures in Music

5. How to Determine Major Key Signatures in Music

What is a key signature? How can you tell the key of a song by just looking at it? Are there flats and sharps in all songs? What are some common key signatures in the Major tonality? Find out in this lesson!

How to Determine Minor Key Signatures in Music

6. How to Determine Minor Key Signatures in Music

Key signatures are useful in playing and understanding music, but how do you know if the key signature is for a Major or a minor key? Find out in this lesson!

Understanding and Building Musical Scales: Definitions & Types of Scales

7. Understanding and Building Musical Scales: Definitions & Types of Scales

What is a 'scale' in music? How do tonality, pitch, and accidentals play a role in making a scale? What kinds of notes make up a scale? What is the difference between a Major scale, minor scale, blues scale, and pentatonic scale? Learn all about scales in this lesson!

Musical Timbre of Instruments and Singers: Definition

8. Musical Timbre of Instruments and Singers: Definition

How can you tell if you are listening to a violin or a flute? How do composers use timbre to express their ideas and keep the listener interested? Find out in this lesson on timbre!

Instrument Families of the Orchestra: String, Woodwind, Brass & Percussion

9. Instrument Families of the Orchestra: String, Woodwind, Brass & Percussion

There are so many instruments in the orchestra! What similarities and differences can one find between them? How do the instruments work? Find out about the string, woodwind, brass and percussion families in this lesson!

Tempo: Definition and Uses in Musical Forms

10. Tempo: Definition and Uses in Musical Forms

How does the speed of a song affect our emotions? How can we determine the speed of a song just by looking at it? By learning about tempo, we can find out!

Rhythm: Quarter Notes, Eighth Notes, Rests & Other Basic Rhythms

11. Rhythm: Quarter Notes, Eighth Notes, Rests & Other Basic Rhythms

Rhythm is an imperative part of music. Knowing the basic rhythms such as quarter notes, eighth notes, and rests will give you a deeper understanding of the music you hear. Learn about these notes and other basic rhythms in this lesson!

Rhythm: Recognizing Syncopation, Dotted Notes & Ties

12. Rhythm: Recognizing Syncopation, Dotted Notes & Ties

Beyond simple quarter notes and eighth notes, musical rhythm can become confusing. In this lesson, you'll learn how to recognize and define ties, dotted notes and syncopation. You'll also learn two styles where syncopation is often heard and how ties and dotted notes contribute to creating syncopation.

Major and Minor Keys: Tonality in Music

13. Major and Minor Keys: Tonality in Music

How does a movie's soundtrack enhance our emotions? Watch this video lesson to learn how musical tonality can express feeling in everything from movies to rock songs to operas.

Musical Form: Definitions and Analysis

14. Musical Form: Definitions and Analysis

What is musical form and why is it important? How can we determine the form of a song just by listening? In this lesson, learn the different parts that make up a musical form.

Musical Form: Phrasing, Binary, and Ternary Forms

15. Musical Form: Phrasing, Binary, and Ternary Forms

Why do composers use form? How do composers use phrases to create tension and release in their music? What is binary form, and how does it compare to ternary form? Find out in this lesson!

Classical Music Forms: Symphonic, Sonata, Theme and Variation & Rondo Forms

16. Classical Music Forms: Symphonic, Sonata, Theme and Variation & Rondo Forms

What exactly is a symphony? Why are some classical songs called sonata or rondo? Discover the answers to these questions as you study the different forms of classical music in this lesson.

Time Signature in Music: Definition and Examples

17. Time Signature in Music: Definition and Examples

Time signatures, or meters, are a way to communicate the pulse and feel of a piece of music. Musicians, dancers and listeners alike use them to interpret where the strong and weak beats lie, including their divisions. Find out the specifics of time signature in this lesson.

Meters and Time Signatures in Musical Forms

18. Meters and Time Signatures in Musical Forms

What's the difference between a waltz and a polka? What's a 'mazurka,' and why did Chopin write so many of them? How can time signature imply a type of form? Find the answers to these questions and more in this lesson!

Melody vs. Harmony: Definitions and Examples

19. Melody vs. Harmony: Definitions and Examples

What is a 'melody?' How are 'melody' and 'harmony' different? What kinds of harmonies are used in classical and current popular styles of music? Find out the basics of melody and harmony in this lesson.

Development of Musical Form Throughout History

20. Development of Musical Form Throughout History

If you think that classical music has always been classic, think again - it was really just one in a line of musical forms. Western music has evolved throughout history, starting with monastic chants and continuing through today's varied styles.

Texture and Voices in Music: Definition & Overview

21. Texture and Voices in Music: Definition & Overview

Why are background instruments important? What do 'thin' and 'thick' mean in a musical sense? Let's find out more about texture and how we use it to describe music.

Dynamics in Music: Piano, Forte and Why They Are Important

22. Dynamics in Music: Piano, Forte and Why They Are Important

Dynamics are a way of communicating volume and intensity in music. Piano, forte and other markings help musicians interpret the expressive quality of the music. What do these markings look like? What types of markings exist, and what do they mean? Learn more about dynamics in this lesson!

Sonata Form: Definition & Examples

23. Sonata Form: Definition & Examples

This lesson will explore the structure of sonata form, a ground-breaking method of organizing music that was arguably the most dramatic and exciting structural development of the Classical era.

The String Family: Instruments, History & Facts

24. The String Family: Instruments, History & Facts

This lesson looks at the history, construction, and function of the string family instruments of the Western orchestra. The strings form the largest orchestral section and have been called the 'heart' of the modern orchestra.

Binary Form in Music: Definition & Examples

25. Binary Form in Music: Definition & Examples

In this lesson you will learn about musical form and what defines binary form. You will also learn to identify binary form by looking for repeat signs, tonal modulations, and changes in the melody.

Arpeggio in Music: Definition & Patterns

26. Arpeggio in Music: Definition & Patterns

In this lesson you will learn about arpeggios in music. You will learn how chords can be performed as arpeggios, and how arpeggios can be written out in music.

Cadence: Definition, Meter & Examples

27. Cadence: Definition, Meter & Examples

Punctuation marks divide phrases in a sentence, but what do you call the end of a musical phrase? A cadence! Learn about the different kinds of cadences and how they work in this lesson.

Call & Response in Music: Definition, Songs & Examples

28. Call & Response in Music: Definition, Songs & Examples

'I don't know, but I've been told; 'I don't know, but I've been told'; 'call and response is pretty old'; 'call and response is pretty old.' This lesson will look at call and response and provide a few examples.

Chord Progression: Music Theory, Rules & Formulas

29. Chord Progression: Music Theory, Rules & Formulas

Chord progressions are the harmonic backbone of musical structure. This lesson will explore what they are and how they are made. Also, a few common progressions will be examined.

Chromatic Music: Definition, Scale & Harmony

30. Chromatic Music: Definition, Scale & Harmony

This lesson will examine the history and theory behind chromatic music, which was once a symbol of insanity in the musical arts. Test your knowledge at the end with a short quiz.

Counterpoint in Music: Definition, Music Theory & Examples

31. Counterpoint in Music: Definition, Music Theory & Examples

Counterpoint is the basis of classical music theory, growing out of the early sacred music traditions of the Catholic Church into the common practice for composers of the 15th through 18th centuries, and can be still heard in the music of today.

Duet: Definition, Singers & Songs

32. Duet: Definition, Singers & Songs

This lesson will define and examine several types of vocal duets. At the end, take a quiz and also consider exploring the songs in the Suggested Listening section to further test your knowledge.

Duple Meter: Definition & Example

33. Duple Meter: Definition & Example

Sometimes, what we see is not what we get, and some meters in music are definitely that way. Learn about duple meters and the difference between a simple duple meter and a compound duple meter.

Guitar: Parts & Theory

34. Guitar: Parts & Theory

Prepare yourself for a lesson on the parts and theory of the guitar, as told by a former punk rocker. Electric, acoustic, and all the ways we can make some noise!

Harmonic Minor Scale: Formula & Modes

35. Harmonic Minor Scale: Formula & Modes

These are the augmented seconds your mother forgot to warn you about! Learn all about the harmonic minor scale, harmonic minor modes, the formula to make them, and how they came to be.

Hemiola: Definition, Rhythm & Examples

36. Hemiola: Definition, Rhythm & Examples

This lesson will focus on the hemiola, which is a type of musical pattern. We'll learn about the two different types of rhythmic hemiolas, identify some examples in European and non-Western music, and even have some fun performing our own.

Legato: Definition & Technique

37. Legato: Definition & Technique

In this lesson you will learn about the musical concept of legato and how it is achieved. Legato is a type of smooth, connected phrasing that is highly desirable in music and an important goal musicians strive to attain.

Leitmotif: Definition & Examples

38. Leitmotif: Definition & Examples

In this lesson, you'll learn about the musical technique known as leitmotif. You'll learn how composers use musical fragments to represent ideas and tell stories, and you'll learn some famous examples of leitmotif from operas, symphonic music and film scores.

Lieder: Definition, Composers & Music

39. Lieder: Definition, Composers & Music

In this lesson, you'll learn about Lieder, a genre of German songs originally designed for home entertainment. You'll learn about how the Lied developed, and who some of its greatest composers were.

Major Scale: Definition & Intervals

40. Major Scale: Definition & Intervals

You hear it in commercials, pop songs, film music, and even ringtones! Learn what the major scale is, why composers like to use it, and even the special formula you can use to make a major scale on any note!

Minor Scale: Patterns, Chords & Intervals

41. Minor Scale: Patterns, Chords & Intervals

In this lesson, you will learn about minor scales, chords and intervals. You will also learn how music in minor keys sounds more dissonant than major keys because some of the notes are lowered a small amount.

Modality: Definition, Principle & Effect

42. Modality: Definition, Principle & Effect

Modality is the precursor to the modern musical scale; its origins can be found in ancient Greek music theory. In this lesson, we'll explore the principle of modality in relation to musical scales and discover how scale degrees build modes.

Modulation in Music Theory: Examples & Explanation

43. Modulation in Music Theory: Examples & Explanation

You can connect two thoughts with a conjunction, and you can connect two musical thoughts with a modulation. Learn how to move from one key to another using common chord, parallel, chromatic, enharmonic, common tone, and direct modulation.

Monophonic in Music: Definition & Examples

44. Monophonic in Music: Definition & Examples

Monophonic texture is one of the most rare textures in popular music today, but you can still find it if you know what you're listening for! In this lesson, you'll learn how to recognize and describe monophony in music.

Music Notation: History & Theory

45. Music Notation: History & Theory

This lesson will introduce you to the Western music notation system, which is used to write down music in countless different styles. Learn about how the system conveys pitch, rhythm, and other core musical concepts.

Octave: Definition, Function & Examples

46. Octave: Definition, Function & Examples

This lesson will teach you about the musical interval of an octave, how composers use it, and introduce you to some examples of its use in different types of music.

Orchestration: Definition, Techniques & Tools

47. Orchestration: Definition, Techniques & Tools

Learn how composers use orchestration to add color and nuance to their music. Using different instruments--and combinations of instruments--allows music to be rich and expressive.

Ostinato: Definition & Examples

48. Ostinato: Definition & Examples

The ostinato is a compositional technique from the Baroque period that is enjoying a modern revival. Today we'll discuss the definition of ostinato, how it is used, and look at some specific musical examples.

Overtone: Definition & Explanation

49. Overtone: Definition & Explanation

Did you know there's a scientific way to tell what colors combine to make another color? There's also a scientific way to tell what pitches combine to make another pitch. Find out more as you learn the science behind overtones and the overtone series.

Palindromes in Music: Definition & Examples

50. Palindromes in Music: Definition & Examples

Palindromes in music are a unique compositional technique. This lesson will examine the theory of musical palindromes and provide a few noteworthy examples.

Pentatonic: Definition, Scales & Songs

51. Pentatonic: Definition, Scales & Songs

In this lesson, you will learn about pentatonic scales and how to build them. You will also learn the difference between major pentatonic and minor pentatonic scales, as well as what kind of music uses pentatonic scales.

Polyphonic Texture: Definition, Music & Examples

52. Polyphonic Texture: Definition, Music & Examples

Polyphony took hold in the 13th century and became the primary way of writing music for the better part of 500 years. This lesson will look at this important musical texture, providing some history and some examples along the way.

Postlude: Definition, Music & Songs

53. Postlude: Definition, Music & Songs

A postlude is a piece of music played at the conclusion of a meeting. It is usually a part of worship services and other important ceremonies. This lesson will discuss the definition of postludes and give examples.

Sackbut Instrument: Music & Facts

54. Sackbut Instrument: Music & Facts

The sackbut, the forefather of the trombone, is a brass instrument dating from the Renaissance period. In this lesson we will examine the use of the sackbut in the music of its day.

Strophic: Definition, Form & Example

55. Strophic: Definition, Form & Example

Strophic is a common song form found in many popular songs, folk songs, and hymns. This lesson will discuss the strophic form and give examples of its use.

Syllabic Music: Definition, Analysis & Structure

56. Syllabic Music: Definition, Analysis & Structure

The term syllabic music may be new to you, but chances are that you've been listening to syllabic music your entire life! Learn how to recognize syllabic music and why composers like using it.

Tenor: Definition & Range

57. Tenor: Definition & Range

In this lesson, you'll learn about the tenor voice type. You'll learn about the average range of the tenor voice and how its range compares to other voice types. You'll also learn about some of the subcategories of tenor used in operatic literature.

The Harp: History & Explanation

58. The Harp: History & Explanation

In this lesson, we will learn about a stringed instrument called a harp - one of the oldest instruments in the world. We will explore the history of this instrument and how it is played. There will be a short quiz at the end of the lesson to test your knowledge.

Tonic in Music: Definition & Overview

59. Tonic in Music: Definition & Overview

The tonic pitch in music is what we refer to as the beginning and ending note of the scale used to compose a piece of music. In this lesson, we'll learn more about tonic pitch and what relationship the tonic pitch has to the key of the piece.

Understanding the Circle of Fifths: Explanation & Chord Progression

60. Understanding the Circle of Fifths: Explanation & Chord Progression

The musical equivalent of the color wheel, the circle of fifths is an arrangement of musical keys that represents musical relationships between keys. This lesson will look at the how and why of the circle of fifths.

Grand Staff in Music: Symbols & Notation

61. Grand Staff in Music: Symbols & Notation

Do you have trouble with treble? You don't have to! This lesson will teach you all about music's Grand Staff and the clefs it uses, as well as explain the use of notes, rests, ledger lines, and time signatures.

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