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Elements of Music

4 5 EpIgraMs and dIalEctIcs ideas in sound When music parallels language, it often chooses devices that resemble epigrams or poetic devices. Take the epigram Live, Love, Learn. This collection of words, when arranged together, takes on an emergent interassociative meaning that transcends the individual parts. Notice the alliteration of Ls, and the use of learn in the sequence to diffuse the rhyming scheme of the first two words, and close the set. Additionally, all three words are monosyllabic, and can be used both as conceptual infinitives to live, to love, to learn and as imperatives Live Love Learn. In both music and language the components of epigrams are often synthesised or unified through paradox, an essential quality for having an aesthetic response and remembering the phrase. In music notes rise and fall, are consonant and dissonant, staccato and legato, or push and pull one another, these fundamental dualities representing the paradoxical nature of reality itself. Small pieces of meaning are arranged from them into larger forms based on their structure, and, perceiving this unity of opposites, the listener is temporarily removed from the dualistic separated stream of everyday life into the realm of unification. The Happy Birthday melody epigram see opposite undergoes various permutations and transformations but retains its fundamental characteristics, and thus stays satisfyingly recognizable to the end. Above Happy Birthday. The melody starts on the 5th of the major scale, a long note followed by a short, repeated, then the 6th to the 5th, and a leap upwards of a fourth to the octave, before falling a half step. The first repetition of this idea is the same, except the leap upwards is now larger a fifth followed by a fall of a whole step. The third time it is followed by a leap upwards of an entire octave small interval becomes large, and where the melody previously fell by one step, now it falls twice, with a salient dissonance on the persons name elongated on a strong beat. The final phrase repeats the opening lyric, on a dissonant tone, falling by step, leaping down, and another step. A well constructed dialectic of leaps and steps, up and down, resting and moving tones, alternating on strong and weak beats, carrying us effortlessly on a tiny journey, a slow striving ascent upwards, and a gentle cascade downwards, parachuting to the tonic or home key of the piece. Above Much of the communication of meaning in music is dependent upon opposites. Chromaticdiatonic, leapstep, repeatcontrast opposites interplay as the narrative unfolds to carry the listener along. Contexts are defined immediately by the first sounds the music presents, and all that follows is constantly compared to what precedes, in the shortterm and longterm, as time passes. Thus the interplay of these dialectics becomes clear as the music unfolds. Opposites in conflict create drama opposites in accord appear as beauty.
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