As a high school music teacher, writing about music in a critical and analytical way is an essential skill for all your music students to master. However, sometimes finding the right resources to achieve this can be a challenge. That’s where the Writing About the Concepts of Music Bundle comes in. This comprehensive printable resource has been classroom tested and designed to help your music students understand each of the 6 Concepts of Music while developing their aural analysis skills. Read on to find out about the Writing About Music resources that you can use in your music classes to make song analysis using the six concepts of music easy!
Are you looking for some more lesson ideas to transform your music lessons? Then grab your copy of the 5 Ways to Makeover Your Music Curriculum here.
What are the Six Concepts of Music
Before we look at the resources for writing about music, it is important to know the basics of the 6 Concepts of Music. The six concepts of music refer to the essential musical elements that make up a piece of music. Understanding these concepts is crucial for writing about music, song analysis, performance, composition and appreciating music. Below is a brief explanation of each of the 6 concepts of music –
In music, duration refers to the length of time that a sound or silence lasts. It is one of the basic concepts of music.
Duration is usually measured in beats or pulses and is related to the tempo of a piece of music. A faster tempo will have shorter durations, while a slower tempo will have longer durations.
Duration can also be notated using musical symbols, such as notes, rests, and dots. These symbols indicate how long a sound should be held or how long a silence should last. The duration of a note or rest is determined by its shape and placement on the staff.
Overall, duration plays a crucial role in shaping the rhythm and pace of a musical composition and can greatly affect the emotional impact of the music on the listener.
Blog Post for the Element of Music – Rhythm
Dynamics & Expressive Techniques
In music, dynamics refer to the variations in loudness or volume of a sound or passage. It is one of the primary elements of musical expression, along with pitch, rhythm, and timbre.
Dynamics can range from very soft (pianissimo) to very loud (fortissimo), and can be notated using symbols such as crescendos, decrescendos, and dynamic markings such as pp, p, mp, mf, f, ff, and more. These markings indicate the desired volume and intensity of the music at a particular point.
Expressive techniques, on the other hand, are the various ways that a musician can add nuance, feeling, and emotion to a musical performance. These techniques include vibrato, glissando, portamento, staccato, legato, and many others.
For example, vibrato is a technique that involves a slight fluctuation in pitch that creates a pulsating effect, while glissando is a technique that involves sliding smoothly between two notes. Legato playing involves connecting notes smoothly, while staccato playing involves playing notes in a short, detached manner.
Overall, dynamics and expressive techniques are important components of musical performance, allowing musicians to add depth and feeling to their interpretations of a piece of music.
Blog Post for the Element of Music – Dynamics
In music, pitch refers to the perceived highness or lowness of a sound. It is one of the fundamental elements of music, along with rhythm, dynamics, and timbre.
Pitch is determined by the frequency of the sound wave, with higher frequency waves producing higher pitches and lower frequency waves producing lower pitches. The unit of measurement for pitch is Hertz (Hz).
In Western music, the pitch system is based on a standard set of twelve notes arranged in an octave. These notes are named using the letters A through G and can be modified by sharps (#) or flats (b) to create additional pitches.
Musicians use musical notation to indicate the desired pitches in a composition, using symbols such as notes and clefs to indicate the specific pitches that should be played or sung.
Pitch plays a crucial role in defining the melody of a piece of music and can greatly affect its emotional impact. The use of different pitches and intervals can create a sense of tension or release and can help to convey a wide range of emotions and moods.
Blog Post for the Element of Music – Melody
Blog Post for the Element of Music – Harmony
Blog Post for the Element of Music – Tonality
In music, structure, or form, refers to the organization of musical elements and the overall arrangement of a composition. It includes the relationships between sections of a piece, the use of repetition and variation, and the way musical ideas are developed over time.
Musical structure can be analyzed on several levels, from the smallest elements such as individual notes and chords to larger structures such as phrases, sections, and entire movements.
Common structures in music include the binary form (AB), ternary form (ABA), rondo form (ABACA), and sonata form (exposition, development, and recapitulation). These structures provide a framework for composers to create coherence and balance within their works.
In addition, musical structure can also include the use of motifs and themes, which are recurring musical ideas that help to unify a composition.
Overall, musical structure is an essential aspect of musical composition, helping to shape the listener’s experience and providing a sense of order and direction to the music.
Blog Post for the Element of Music – Structure
In music, texture (can also be called layers of sound) refers to the way that different musical elements are combined to create the overall sound and feel of a composition. It can be described as the relationship between the different layers of sound that make up a piece of music.
Texture can be classified into several types, including monophonic, homophonic, polyphonic, and heterophonic.
Monophonic texture involves a single melodic line played by one instrument or voice.
Homophonic texture involves a melody accompanied by harmonic support, with the melody typically played in the highest voice or sung by the lead vocalist.
Polyphonic texture involves two or more independent melodic lines played or sung simultaneously, creating a complex interweaving of melodies.
Heterophonic texture involves multiple performers playing or singing the same melody with slight variations or embellishments, creating a rich and layered sound.
Musicians use texture to create variety and interest in their compositions, and to convey different emotions and moods. Texture can also change within a composition, providing contrast and highlighting different musical ideas.
Overall, texture is an important element of musical composition, contributing to the overall sound and feel of a piece of music.
Blog Post for the Element of Music – Texture
In music, tone color (also known as performing media, sound sources, pitch material and timbre) refers to the quality of sound produced by a particular instrument or voice. It is one of the defining characteristics of a musical sound and can greatly affect the emotional impact and meaning of a piece of music.
Tone color is determined by several factors, including the instrument or voice type, the playing technique, and the environment in which the sound is produced. For example, a trumpet playing a high note will have a different tone color than a violin playing the same note, due to differences in the way the sound is produced and the inherent characteristics of the instruments.
Musicians can use tone color creatively to convey different emotions and moods in their compositions. They can also use various techniques, such as vibrato, glissando, and articulation, to modify the tone color of a sound and create different effects.
Tone color is an important aspect of orchestration, the art of arranging and combining different instruments in a composition. Orchestration involves selecting specific instruments and placing them in specific registers to create a desired tone color and balance.
Overall, tone color is an essential element of musical expression, contributing to the richness and variety of musical sounds and playing a crucial role in conveying meaning and emotion in music.
Blog Post for the Element of Music – Timbre
When writing about music, using these 6 concepts of music will help you to gain a deeper understanding of how music works and appreciate the artistry and skill that goes into creating a great song.
What is Song Analysis
When writing about music, you are essentially writing or completing a Song Analysis. A song analysis is the process of critically examining a musical composition using the essential elements or concepts of music, as listed, and defined above. By analyzing each of these musical concepts and elements in a systematic and detailed manner, song analysis seeks to uncover how the concepts of music are used to make that song unique.
Through song analysis, one can gain a deeper understanding of how the different musical elements work together to create a cohesive whole, and how they contribute to the overall message and mood of the song. This process of writing about music involves using the concepts of music as the listening lens to critically analyze the music in a way that is based on musical fact and not on the opinion of whether the music is pleasing or not!
Overall, writing about music and song analysis is a valuable tool for all musicians, music scholars, and music students alike, helping them to appreciate the artistry and complexity of music, and to develop a more nuanced and informed understanding of the music that they have chosen to study.
Concepts of Music Mind Maps
One way to help your students to start writing about music is to sue mind maps to help them focus their listening on the concept of music that has been selected to study the music. Below are 5 reasons why using Mind Maps in the music classroom is a great way to start the writing about music song analysis.
- Visual organization: Music concept mind maps provide a visual way to organize the different elements or concepts of a piece of music, allowing students to see how they relate to each other and form a cohesive whole. This can help students to better understand the concept of music selected for analysis.
- Active engagement: Music concept mind maps require active engagement from students, as they must actively listen to the music and identify the different concepts being used. This can help to improve students’ listening skills and focus their attention on the music.
- Critical thinking: Creating a music concept mind map involves critical thinking, as students must analyze and evaluate the different concepts of a song and determine how they relate to each other. This can help to develop students’ critical thinking skills and encourage them to think more deeply about the music they are listening to.
- Collaboration: Music concept mind maps can be created collaboratively, allowing students to work together and share ideas about the different concepts of a song. This can promote teamwork and communication skills and can help students to learn from each other and build on each other’s ideas.
- Creativity: Music concept mind maps can be a creative way for students to engage with music, as they can experiment with different ways of organizing and presenting the different concepts of a song. This can help to foster students’ creativity and encourage them to think outside the box when analyzing and interpreting music before moving on to writing about music.
If you want some music teaching ideas for using mind maps in your classroom, check out the YouTube video below.
YouTube video for Lesson ideas for the Mind maps
11 Resources for Writing About Music
Below is a List of 11 Resources for writing about music that will help you and your music students be set up for success when using the Six Concepts of Music. Each of these is linked to my Teachers Pay Teachers store where you can purchase these at anytime and, once purchased you will have instant access and be able to download straight away!
- Writing About Music Bundle
- Writing About Music – Duration
- Writing About Music – Dynamics & Expressive Techniques
- Writing About Music – Pitch
- Writing About Music – Structure
- Writing About Music – Texture
- Writing About Music – Tone Colour
- Writing About Music – Other Types of Questions
- Writing About Music Aural Question Cards
- The Concepts of Music Mind Maps
- Music HSC Practice Aural Questions – Free
- Music HSC Practice Aural Questions – Practice Exam Questions 1
- Music HSC Practice Aural Questions – Practice Exam Questions 2
5 Benefits of Teaching Writing About Music
So far you have been given a lot of information about writing about music, and the six concepts of music. But what are the benefits for explicitly teaching writing about music in the music classroom?
There are 5 main benefits for teaching song analysis and writing about music, these are –
- Improved critical thinking skills: Writing about music requires students to think critically and analytically about the music they are listening to, identifying and evaluating different elements such as melody, harmony, rhythm, and form. Developing these skills can help students to become more thoughtful and nuanced listeners, as well as better problem solvers in other areas of their lives.
- Enhanced communication skills: Writing about music involves expressing ideas and opinions clearly and effectively in written form. Developing these skills can help students to become more confident communicators, better able to articulate their thoughts and feelings in a variety of contexts.
- Increased creativity: Writing about music allows students to explore their own ideas and interpretations of the music, encouraging them to think creatively and imaginatively about the music they are listening to. This can help to foster their own creativity and encourage them to approach music and other subjects in new and innovative ways.
- Greater understanding of music theory: Writing about music requires students to have a solid understanding of the fundamental principles of music theory, such as scales, chords, and harmony. Developing this understanding can help students to become more proficient musicians, as well as better listeners and more informed consumers of music.
- Improved academic performance: Developing writing about music skills can have a positive impact on students’ academic performance, as these skills are closely related to other important academic skills such as critical thinking, communication, and creativity. By honing their writing about music skills, students will be better equipped to succeed in other academic courses that they are studying at school.
Music Concepts Videos
To help you and your students with their writing about music journey, below is a curated list of YouTube videos with even more information about the six concepts of music and the writing about music process.
Dynamics & Expressive Techniques
Other Types of Questions
Writing about music is an essential skill for any music student, and as a music teacher, it’s your responsibility to provide them with the tools they need to succeed. The Writing About the Concepts of Music Bundle is an excellent resource for achieving this goal. By using this resource, your students will be able to confidently analyze and write about music using the six concepts of music – Duration, Dynamics & Expressive Techniques, Pitch, Structure, Texture, and Tone Colour. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to give your students the edge they need – try out this bundle today!
Link to the Writing About Music Bundle here.
Until next time
Julia from Jooya.