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Ch 1: Musical Terms and Symbols

About This Chapter

Learn about musical terms and symbols through this series of video lessons. These engaging lessons are just a portion of our online study guide and video collection.

Musical Terms and Symbols - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

Learn to read and understand musical terms through this chapter, which can help you prepare for the Florida Teacher Certification Examinations (FTCE) for prospective kindergarten through 12th-grade music teachers. You'll explore the various elements of a melody, and discover how tone can be used to express emotion in a musical work. By the end of this chapter, you should be able to:

  • Discuss how the timbre of an instrument is made up of its unique vibrations.
  • Differentiate between treble clef and bass clef staffs.
  • Define various musical terms, including imitative polyphony, ledger line and grand staff.
  • Explain the difference between melody and harmony.

VideoObjective
Elements of Sound: Pitch (wavelength), Dynamic (wave height), Timbre (waveform)Explore the elements of a melody, including pitch, dynamic and timbre.
Musical Timbre of Instruments and Singers: DefinitionLearn the definition of timbre. Learn about frequencies and harmonics.
Instrument Families of the Orchestra: String, Woodwind, Brass & PercussionExplore the types of vibrations made by instruments in the string, woodwind, brass and percussion families.
Major and Minor Keys: Tonality in MusicFind out how the tonality of music plays an important role in expressing a composer's emotions or bringing depth to the actions of a character.
Melody vs. Harmony: Definitions and ExamplesExplore the basics of melody and harmony. Learn about conjunct and disjunct motion in melody as well as consonant and dissonant harmonies.
Repetition in Musical StructureExamine the importance of repetition in music.
Polyphony: Imitative and NonimitativeLearn to identify imitative and nonimitative polyphony.
Texture and Voices in Music: DefinitionExplore how texture can help listeners appreciate intricacies in a piece of music.
Dynamics in Music: Piano, Forte and Why They Are ImportantLearn about the four main dynamics in music: piano, mezzo piano, mezzo forte and forte.
Error Detection in the Score: Pitch and RhythmLearn how to identify errors in pitch and rhythm in a musical score.
The Staff and ClefsCome to understand what the lines and spaces on a staff represent, and learn about the types of clefs that are normally used.
Treble, Bass and Grand StaffsLearn to differentiate between treble and bass staffs, and learn how and why grand staffs are used.
How to Read Notes on the Treble Clef StaffLearn about the treble clef staff and ledger line notes.
How to Read Notes on the Bass Clef StaffLearn about the bass clef staff and how it differs from the treble clef staff.
Octave Designation & Ledger LinesLearn how to read octave designations, and examine the significance of ledger lines.
Using the Neutral Clef for RhythmSee how the neutral clef is used for pitchless instruments, like drums.
Notation Symbols: Note Head, Stem, Flag, Bar Line, Measure, Double Bar Line and Final Bar LineLearn about various notation symbols used in modern musical scores.
Equivalents: Enharmonic, Intervallic, Chromatic and FrequencyLearn about enharmonic equivalents, intervallic relationships, chromatically equivalent graphs and note frequency.
Sharps and Flats: Reading and Identifying Sharp and Flat Notes in MusicExplore how sharps and flats are used to create expressive music, and learn about enharmonic notes.

10 Lessons in Chapter 1: Musical Terms and Symbols
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Musical Timbre of Instruments and Singers: Definition

1. 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

2. 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!

Major and Minor Keys: Tonality in Music

3. 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.

Melody vs. Harmony: Definitions and Examples

4. 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.

Texture and Voices in Music: Definition & Overview

5. 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

6. 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!

How to Read Notes on the Treble Clef Staff

7. 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

8. 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

9. 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!

Understanding and Building Musical Scales: Definitions & Types of Scales

10. 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!

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
Not Taken
Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
Not Taken

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