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The Elements of Music
This is how high or low a note sounds. The treble clef has high notes
and the bass clef has low notes
This is how the notes are divided into sounds and silence. The
Heartbeat is an example of a rhythm.
This describes how loud or soft a sound is. The words to describe it are
often Italian or symbols. Eg piano = soft.
This is the tone colour. It describes the type of sound (eg a solo voice
compared to a brass band).
This tells us how fast or slow the music is. Italian words are often used
to describe it. Eg Moderato = moderate.
This is the layers of sounds in a piece of music. It may be thick with
many different melodies all at once, or thin with just one melody on its
own. Eg Monophonic = 1 layer, Homophonic = 2 layers, Polyphonic =
This is how the notes are played. They could be played legato (smoothly)
or staccato (jumpy).
Structure (also called form)
This is how the sections of the music are divided. In classical music for
example they may have ABA. In contemporary music they use
Verse/Chorus structure.
This is when more than one pitch is played at the same time. Eg if you
play a C, E and G at the same time you have played a C major chord.
Key (or key signature)
This tells us what scale the music is based around, and can make the
music feel happy or sad, depending on what key is choosen. Eg, a major
key will often sound happy.
This is the style of music. Eg Reggae, Classical, Heavy Metal…