• Rhythm - The term has more than one meaning.  it can mean the basic repetitive pulse of the music, or a pattern that is repeated throughout the music, as in "feel the rhythm".  It can also refer to a pattern in time of a single small group of notes, as in "play this rhythm for me".

  • Beat - also has more than one meaning, but always refers to music with a steady pulse.  It may also refer to the pulse itself, as in "play this not on beat 2 of measure 5".  On the beat or on the downbeat refer to the moment when the pulse is the strongest.  Off the beat, is between pulses and the upbeat is halfway between pulses.  It can also refer to a rhythmic pattern like in "feel the beat".

  • Measure or Bar - Beats are grouped in measures of bars.  The first beat is usually the strongest and in most music each measure has the same number of beats.

  • Rhythm Section - The rhythm section of a band is the group of instruments that provide background rhythm and chords.  The rhythm section almost always includes a percussionist and a bass player.  it may also include keyboards, guitars or other strummed or plucked instruments.  Vocals, wind instruments or bowed instruments are usually not part of the rhythm section.

  • Syncopation - Syncopation happens when a strong note happens either on a weak beat of off the beat.

  • Timber - (Pronounced "TAM-ber") sometimes called "color", describes all aspects of musical sound that do not have anything to do with the sounds pitch, loudness or length.   Timbre is caused because different instruments produce different harmonics.  A flute and a trumpet playing an A-440 have the same basic frequency but the harmonics produced by each instrument make them sound very different.

  • Melody - Melody is one of the most basic elements of music.  String a few notes together and you have a melody.  But the melody of a piece of music is not just any notes, it's the notes that catch your ear as you listen, the line that sounds most important is the melody.

  • Melodic Phrase - A group of notes that make sense together and express a melodic idea might be called a phrase.  it usually takes more than one pfrase to make an entire melody.

  • Texture - The texture of music is one of the basic elements.  The texture may be thick of thin, have many layers of just a few, it could be a vocal with chords or many instruments playing different interweaving melodies.  Terms like "monophonic or "polyphonic" describe the texture of music.

  • Harmony - When you have more than one pitch sounding at the same time you have harmony.  It is a basic element of music but not as basic as rhythm.  Harmony is described further is the section on harmonic aanalysis.

  • Chords - Most harmony in western music is based on chords.  There are at least 3 notes in a chord but there can be more.

  • Chord Progression - A series of chords played one after another is a chord progression.  Progressions may be referred to as "blues progressions", "rock progressions" etc.

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