In music, what do melody, rhythm, texture, pitch, timbre and dynamics mean?

5 Answers

matthodge13's profile pic

matthodge13 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

Melody, rhythm, pitch, timbre and dynamics are all important aspects of music. Think of them as the different "pieces of the puzzle" that come together to create music. 

MELODY is a sequence of notes/pitches that could be called the 'theme' of the music.  Example of this: when you sing/hum your favorite song, you are usually singing/humming the melody of the song.

RHYTHM deals with the length of each note/pitch.  For example: when you are singing your favorite song, how long you hold each word/note is the rhythm.

PITCH deals with how high or low a note is. Each note has a specific pitch. When you go to a piano and play one of the keys, you are playing a pitch.  For example: when you are singing your favorite song, the exact note you are singing each word on is the pitch.  Each note in a melody is a pitch.

TIMBRE deals with the quality of the tone of each note/pitch.  What does the sound 'sound' like? A loud trumpet has a very brassy abrasive sound. A kazoo has a very pinched nasal sound. 

DYNAMICS deals with the volume of the music. How loud or soft is the music? Common dynamic terms are piano (soft), mezzo-piano (medium soft), mezzo-forte (medium loud) and forte (loud).  You can also have dynamic changes such as crescendo (gradually get louder) and decrescendo (gradually get softer).

In summary, all of these aspects of music work together like a beautiful puzzle with intricate pieces to produce music.

indepboy's profile pic

indepboy | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Honors

Posted on

The words melody, rhythm, texture, pitch, timbre and dynamics are each an element of music composition. re: MELODY: imagine the song "Mary had a little lamb" being played on a piano, one note following another. This song is so well known, generally, that if presented one note following another, each (and all) having the same duration, a high precentage of people could identify the song, simply by hearing the succession of different tones which comprise its MELODY, the "memorable" part of a tune. RHYTHM, added to the notes of like duration spoken of above assigns different durations for each of the melody notes. NOW we have note values assigned to each of the notes of the familiar tune. PITCH isvariousscale degrees, from low sounds to higher frequency sounds. Example: begin one octave below middle C on the piano; play one note at a time, advancing upward on each WHITE KEY of the piano until Middle C is reached. Each of the 12 notes has a different, higher, tone than those just one step "down" or "up." DYNAMICS = the intensity of the tone(s) of music. The symbols:pp, p, mp, mf, f, ff, fff provide a composer with a wide range of intensity, beginning very quietly when marked "pp" and advansing to louder and louder tones as the dynamic markings change, upward through the succession listed above. The same is true if done in the reverse order, beginning quite loud and progressingwith less intensity until, at last, the final tones are very quiet.TEXTUREhas to do with the complexity of simplicity of the number of notes (tones) being played, whether bypiano or contrasting orchestral or choir tones played/sung simultaneiously.A two-part melody or musical fragment may includea melody or a counter-meldoy being played together for example by an oboe and a violin. Each can be heard and recognized easily since only two notes are being played at any time. Texture increases as more "voices" (instruments or singers) are added to the "mix" of the composition. A typical string trio selection usually includes piano, violin and cello playing three melodies or variations of a melody or counter-melody all together. When a full orchestra and many of its separate instruments play simultaneously, the TEXTURE is complex. Depending on the skill of the composer and the assignment of contrasting ranges of pitch to the strings, woodwinds, brasses and percussion, each melody or "part" CAN BE heard emitting tones from the entire ensemble. Although the texture is "thick" the sound can be somewhat transparent (or not). Add a 300 voice choir and a pipe organ to the symphony orchestra and the TEXTURE is extremely complex with many varying pitches, melodies, rhythms, etc. occuring at the same time. TIMBRE has to do with the relative brightness/brashness of some instruments compared to a more mellow, warn or darker tone of others. For example, the higher and highest notes of a flute, piccolo, violin or trumpet will be bright, perhaps very bright. The mid-range to low-range tones (notes) of trombones, cellos, string basses, french horns, baritones and bass singers are all relatively mello, with warmth and richness especially as these musicians work to blend theirtones withthe others.

natedavis2013's profile pic

natedavis2013 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

The melody is the main theme that is going on currently in the peice.

Rhythm is the length of a note.

Texture is can be different things but mostly used for the style of note your playing.

     -Sticcato (short note)

     - Lagato (long pretty tone)

Pitch is just the sound of the note for example: A's pithch is lower than B's pithch.

Timbre is how more than one sound go together.

and Dynamics is the volume of your note.

    -Forte is loud

    -Piano is soft

there are also many more dynamics that go more specific

    Mezzo Forte is medium loud.

glitter742's profile pic

glitter742 | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

Melody is the main set of notes, the ones the audience or listener go away hearing in the back of their heads.

Rhythm is the length of the notes and how they are arranged to change the beat of the melody/harmony/song.

Pitch is how high or low the sound is in comparison to the others (relative pitch), or based off of middle c (perfect pitch).

Timbre is the tone quality of the instrument or sound in comparison to those around it (rough, brassy, nasal).

Dynamics are the volume of the notes being played, with "p" being marked for soft dynamics, "f" for loud, and "m" followed by either "p" or "f" for medium soft or medium loud, respectively.

cuteypie's profile pic

cuteypie | Student | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

Melody means tune, rhythm mean the different notes, pitch means squeaky or deep sounds, timbre means intruments that realate to each other and dynamics mean how quick or slow it is!