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Elements of Music

38 39 FurthEr MElodIc ElEMEnts epigrammatic development Humans are fundamentally patternbased beings, and artists worldwide, visual and acoustic, have used this fact to manipulate audiences for centuries. An idea or epigram is articulated, before undergoing a series of transformations, being reinforced or denied. The unfolding of this drama of denial and acceptance is the narrativity of music, and is played out in three basic ways Repetition, or thesis. The easiest thing for an epigram to do is to assert itself, and this is accomplished by repetition. Repetitions are helpful because they are highly orienting for the audience in the context of a given narrative. They are the anchors of time. Contrast, or antithesis. The drama begins. A new epigram is presented, possibly seeming to contradict the previous one, and creating the tension of a new set of opposites. A completely contrasting epigram, with no epigrammatic transference, is a denial. Variation, or synthesis. A reconciliation of the two poles of repetition and contrast, sometimes viewed as a fulcrum below. Melodies, songs, and symphonies all use these three degrees of epigrammatic transference from total repetition, through partial or transformative variation, to none contrast. The mind absorbs the meaning of each new idea, comparing it to recent and distant events. Attempting to cognise the parts produces anticipation, which may be affirmed or denied. Narrative artists exploit this faculty to create their books and movies, melodies, and rhythms. 1st species Note against note. Only consonances are permitted. Careful avoidance of parallel leaps or steps, especially to a perfect interval, except at a cadence. Third Species Four or three notes against one. Passing tones, neighbor tones, and now escape tones can be used, still adhering to consonances on strong beats. 2nd species Two notes against one. Passing tones make their appearance, as dissonances which are permitted only on weak beats. The contrapuntal line can start on a rest. Fourth Species Suspensionsoffset notes. Consonance is prepared on a weak beat, and when the pitch in the cantus firmus changes, a dissonance is created by the sustained tone on a strong beat, and resolved by a step downwards. Above Species Counterpoint, a system of rules for writing polyphonic music, dating back to the 16th century. The cantus firmus, or bottom line, is joined by a new melodic line on top. fifth species is the combination of the previous four, known as florid counterpoint. Counterpoint is the simultaneity of melodies, each line running independently of the others horizontally, and aligning to make harmonic sense vertically often at strong parts of the meter, to convey the harmonic framework. The fourpart texture of soprano, alto, tenor, bass in contrapuntal music later became melody, bass line, and inner voices. The highest voice became the most melodically important, the others taking on a more supporting role, eventually becoming chords, with a collective identity of their own. This more homophonic texture is the melody and accompaniment with which we are so familiar. There are three types of contrapuntal motion parallel, contrary, and oblique. Above Theme from Beethovens 9th Symphony, showing symmetrical nature of epigrammatic melodic movements. Species Counterpoint Repetition Contrast Variation
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