What is music?

Definition and main elements

According to several authors, music is the combination of sounds and silence in an organized fashion. Let’s explain with an example: radio noise emits sounds, but not in an organized fashion, so it is not classified as music.

This definition seems simple and complete, but defining music is not that obvious. Can we classify a car alarm as music? It makes sounds and silence in an organized fashion, but I guarantee that most people would not call this sound music.

In a simpler and more comprehensive way, music is composed of melody, harmony and rhythm.

What is Melody

Melody is the main voice of sound. It is what can be sung.

What is Harmony

Harmony is an overlapping of notes that serves as the basis for the melody. For example, a person playing the guitar and singing is harmonizing with the chords on the guitar and making melody with the voice. Each chord is an overlap of several notes, as we will see later in other topics. That is why chords are part of the harmony.

Note: It is worth noting that melody is not necessarily composed of a single voice. Melody can also have 2 or more voices, although this situation is less frequent. To differentiate melody from harmony in this case, we can make a comparison with a ship in the ocean. The ship represents harmony and the people inside the ship represent the melody. Both the ship and the people are moving, and people are moving inside the ship as it travels across the ocean. Notice that the ship serves as a base, support for people. They are free to move only inside the ship. If a person jumps off the ship, it will be disastrous. With melody and harmony, it is the same.

What is Rhythm

Rhythm is the timing of a song. Just like the clock tells the time, the rhythm tells us how to keep up with music.

Each of these three matters needs to be dealt with separately. In-depth knowledge allows unlimited manipulation of all the resources that music provides, and that is what makes “sounds and silence” so interesting to our ears. Here in Simplifying Music you will learn how to work with it all. Get ready!

Go to:  Music note

Back to: Module 1