The rather than actual skill in studies related

The first class of Music Appreciation started with Mr.
Mueller asking the whole class about “What is a Liberal Arts major?” We were
left with a number of questions. What is a liberal art major? A liberal arts
major is a major that is supposed to give an individual knowledge rather than
actual skill in studies related to literature, art, philosophy, mathematics,
and social science. What can you do with a liberal arts major? There are many
job fields with a liberal arts background such as a graphic designer, teacher,
journalist, sociologist, archeologists, and an economist. The term “liberal” is
derived from the Latin word liber, which means free or freedom. The word art
derives from the Latin root “-ars”, which means method or skill. Through Music
Appreciation lectures, we studied the five elements of music, rhythm, harmony,
melody, texture, and form. We also studied important information about music
like the genre, time period, origin, subdivision background pulse, and the four
main divisions of musical instrument classification. This paper is going to
explore the rhythmic, melodic, textural, and form elements of “Take Five.”

The piece that interested me the most of out the six
big listening examples was “Take Five.” “Take Five” is a 1959 cool jazz standard
by ‘The Dave Brubeck Quartet’. This is an American piece that features four
instruments that create the rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic sounds that are
heard throughout the music. This composition is unique because of its odd time
signature being composed in a 5/4 measure hence the title of this song, ‘Take
Five.” It is built on a pentatonic/blues scale meaning it has five notes per
octave. This is both a heterogeneous and homogeneous ensemble that features the
instrumentation of four instruments. It features on aerophone known as the
saxophone, the drums, a membranophone, and two chordophones, known as the piano
and bass.  What makes this piece both
heterogeneous and homogenous is the timbre of the instruments sounding alike
(homo) and different (hetero). Among the four instruments the timbre sounds very
different but in the beginning, the left hand of the piano, and the bass are in
sync with each other and flow together effortlessly. The timbre is very lively,
groovy, smooth, and laid back.

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The rhythm was the first element of music that we
looked at. Rhythm is defined as the arrangement of sounds and silences in
relation to time. The timing of a piece is an important element to take note of
when referring to the rhythm. Some related terms that refer to rhythm are the
beats, meter, tempo, and syncopation. The beat in rhythm determines the speed or
rate of the music. It’s the steady and regular pulse heard in music. An example
of a beat is a heartbeat because the rate at which the heart is beating can be
at a steady pulse or regular. The beat in music also determines the subdivision
background pulse of a musical piece. The subdivision background pulse of a
piece can be simple, duple, triple, swing. As rhythm relates to culture, the backbeat,
or downbeat in a piece, refers to the emphasis on a note. For instance, American
pop music has a backbeat emphasis on beats 2 and 4, while Western Art Music like
European music, has a downbeat emphasis on beats 1 and 3. ‘Take Five’ has a
triple subdivision background pulse because the genre is jazz, and most jazz
pieces are known to be triple. It also an uncommon metric grouping having been written
in a 5/4 measure. The metric grouping of ‘Take Five’ is what makes it so special
because it was one of the first standard jazz pieces to not have the standard
metric grouping of a 4/4 beat or 3/4 waltz time. The tempo of ‘Take Five’ is very
upbeat and is considered to be in the range of 160-170 BPM, which is a fast
tempo.  The use of the saxophone being
heard throughout the music is what really gives ‘Take Five’ its jazz vibes being
it’s very smooth and relaxing.

Next, the melody. The melody in music is the main
focus that captures the attention in a piece. It’s a sequence of pitches played
in succession.  The centerpiece that is
holds that music together. It can become an earworm because of how catchy and unforgettable
the tune may be. In ‘Take Five’ the saxophone is the melody. The saxophone is
what is being heard the most throughout the music as well as some
improvisation. Improvisation is in the moment creativity without previous
preparation. Improvisation is comparable to a rapper freestyling on the spot
because words are being said off the top of their heads. Jazz music in
particular, is known for integrating a lot improvisation.

The texture is the next element I will talk about in
this paper. The same way hair come in many different textures, like fine, straight,
curly, kinky, wavy, or coarse, music also has texture, through sound. The texture
of a musical piece refers to how the melody, harmony, and rhythm intertwine
with each other. The texture in music basically determines the sound of a piece.
The two elements that are concentrated on the most when referring to the
texture of music is the melody and the harmony. A song can have multiple textures
as there are four possible textures.  

A monophonic texture is a texture that has a single
melody and no harmony. I can be easily remembered as meaning one because mono is
a Greek root word meaning one. So, when a musical piece is considered to be
monophonic it means that it literally has one voice that can be accompanied by one
or more instruments. A plainchant like the ‘Gregorian Chant’ or ‘Raga Jog’ by
Ravi Shankar is an example of a monophonic texture. A polyphonic texture is a texture
in music is when two or melodies are played at the same time. The prefix poly originates
from the Greek root word that means many, so you can easily remember polyphonic
textures as having multiple melodies. Sebastian Bach was a composer of the
Baroque period that was famous for incorporating polyphonic texture sounds in
his music. Some examples of his work include Prelude and Fugue in C Minor, and
Cantata No. 80, Mvt. No. 1. A heterophonic texture is a rare texture because it’s
not found in most Western music. It occurs when a melody is performed
simultaneously with unique variations. A heterophonic texture is mainly found
in Middle Eastern and Native American music traditions. ‘Ana Fi Intizarak’ by
Oum Kathloum is an example of where a heterophonic texture is incorporated. A homophonic
texture is music that has one melody with the accompaniment of a harmony along
with block chords. Multiple voices are heard but only one stands out with the
harmony stemming from possibly the instruments or other voices.  Homophonic textures are commonly found in Western
Art Music, classical and popular music. ‘Take Five’ is considered to have a
homophonic texture because the saxophone is the one that is playing the melody
while the piano chords and bass create the harmony.

The last element of music to be discussed is the form.
Form in music relates to the design of a musical selection. It’s the architectural
structure of piece sonically from start to finish. Some elements of form
include the theme, rhythms, patterns, dynamics, instrumentation, timbres, and
chord progression. The different forms of music include improvisation,
strophic, binary, sectional, a string quart, or a sonata-allegro.  ‘Take Five’ is considered to be a sectional form
under the ternary (ABA structure) because it is divided into multiple sections.
There is an introduction where the drums are first heard, then the piano and
bass come together forming the harmony. Then the head is where the saxophone
comes in and there’s a bit of improvisation. Next, there’s a solo where only
the drums are heard with some improvisation as well. And then it goes back to
the head, the saxophone.

            In
conclusion, all four out of five elements of music discussed in this paper is found
in this piece. Rhythm, melody, texture, and form are elements that are very
present in this piece. ‘Take Five’ is a listenable and very enjoyable track
because of the jazz elements that make it sound very relaxed, groovy, and
smooth. The four instruments heard in the music, saxophone, drums, bass, and piano,
create both a heterogeneous and homogeneous sound because although they may not
sound alike, there is a part in the music where the bass and left-hand piano
are in tune with each other.  The
saxophone, which plays the melody in the song, is what gives ‘Take Five’ its
jazz vibrations. Lastly, as previously mentioned, ‘Take Five’ being written in
a 5/4 measure arrangement is what makes it one famous jazz pieces composed of
all time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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