THE ELEMENTS OF MUSIC
THE ROOTS OF ROCK, page 12
To fully understand any musical style, one must be able to analyze the various elements of music as they exist in that particular style. In this first musical close-up, we shall briefly describe these elements of music. In subsequent musical close-ups, we shall examine one or another of these elements in greater detail as it pertains to a given style or topic.
We begin with rhythm because it is basic to all music. Rhythm refers to the interrelationship between music and time. Music even in its simplest form, exists in time. Whether we are speaking of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony or just one note, there is a beginning a duration. and an ending.Although we often compare music and art, they are dissimilar in at least this one respect. When you look at a painting, your eve sees it all at once. Music is more like dance. plays, books, movies, and even baseball games. All of these develop through time.' We cannot listen to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. read War and Peace, or watch the seventh game of the World Series in an instant. We must allow each to unfold over its own appropriate period of time. Furthermore. each has an internal pace of activity. with moments of exciting activity alternating with moments in which the action subsides.
In music. the composer must determine the rhythmic nature of his or her creation. In the broadest sense, the composer must determine how Iona he or she wishes the piece to be. At a middle level. he or she can control the rhythmic flow of the piece. For example, the piece might have a slow moving rather uncomplicated opening, followed by a sudden flurry of activity; then it may bui1d to a busy and fast climax, allowing the rhythmic tension to dissipate in the final section. And at the closest level, the composer must determine the exact length of each note and how it relates to the length of the other notes sounding before, after, and simultaneously. All of this results in how the music exists in time-its rhythm.
However, usually when we speak of rhythm, we mean the specific rhythmic patterns produced by the varying lengths of notes. The following two patterns, because the notes relate to each other differently in time,produce different rhythmic effects.