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Elements of Music

24 25 MorE coMplEx rhythMs dynamics, articulation, elocution, syncopation Sounds evolve over time, and envelopes below use three basic phases inception, continuation, and closure to characterise different qualities of volume over time. Staccato notes have a short and detached quality, tenuto notes are slightly lengthened to connect them in legato fashion to those nearby, while an accent indicates a strong start to a tone, emphasising its initiation. Piano and forte are soft and strong indications used to suggest volume or amplitude. The pianoforte piano was so named for its ability to play both loud and soft, in contrast to earlier keyboard instruments, the harpsichord and clavichord, which could not. Articulations and dynamics in music notation shape passages and contribute to the sense of character and mood, whether playful, doleful, whimsical, or aggressive. Articulations affect the presence of noise in the instrument, acting as consonants upon vowels. Opposite are shown dotted rhythms, used in triple notation. Notice the dot to the right of the note, rather than above or below it as with staccato. Rhythms continue to complexify and subdivide in syncopation and polyrhythms see too appendix III, page 56. Above Dotted notes left and rests right. Dotted rhythms are equal to one and a half times the value of the undotted note or rest, and are useful for obtaining triple subdivisions. Above A sample bass line in 34, illustrating the relationship of three quarters to a dotted half note, both occupying the same amount of time. Above In 68, three eighth notes are equivalent to two dotted eights, which in turn equal one dotted half. Above Syncopation is the shifting of strong beats on to weak beats, thus changing our sense of predictability and steadiness. Too much syncopation and we are lost for a pulse. Not enough, and we soon grow bored. Listening to how different cultures push and pull against their metric structures can be tracked largely through the use of syncopation. Above Polyrhythms occur whenever different subdivisions of the beat appear together, such as 2 against 3, 5 against 4, 4 against 3, 2 against 5, and so on. Right Tuplets can represent any number of subdivisions, depending upon the metric context in which they appear. Tuplet subdivisions are effectively identical to the subdivisions of frequency in the overtone series. By this point in the notational system, virtually any subdivision of the beat can be notated.
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