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Elements of Music

48 49 puttIng It all togEthEr conceive, create, and compose Perceiving music as an unfolding of epigrams, molecules of meaning, unities of opposites, allows for a new appreciation of its narrative quality. It becomes possible to perceive or even measure the rate of transference as the music unfolds, and to appreciate more deeply the way in which the drama is reinforced or denied, by seeing the very mechanisms by which it accomplishes those things. Degrees of contrast and repetition can be measured, and most importantly variation and transformation can be understood as a kind of evolution. Like the stations of the scale and the pulse, epigrams also have gravity, and what happens in between them communicates part of the drama of the intentionality of the transference its story, its plight. And in the most skillful hands, our souls follow suit. In melody these nuances are most easily heard in the large variety of scales found around the world. Although they all possess some forms of fifths and thirds, it is the notes between that convey the real meaning, tension and release, the distances of those between tones, and how they are rhythmically placed. Again, in rhythm, though there is often a predictable pulse, what happens in the spaces in between is much more complex, and can suggest tensions against the different beats, based on their relative distances from the pulse. These epigrams, melodic and rhythmic, can then be arranged into larger coherent structures, compositions, also unifying opposites, and so music is born. The music we love is the drama of the transference of epigrams, opposites in interplay, unfolding, repeating, contrasting, and most importantly, varying, through melody, harmony, and rhythm. Above A Chopin Prelude. The key is A, the tempo Andantino, a little walking pace, the meter , to be played dolce sweetly. Curved lines slurs indicate the phrases. The melody begins with a pickup on beat three, and commences in the first complete measure. An E7 chord suggests the key of A. The C in measure 1 is an appoggiatura, along with its dotted rhythm followed by three repeated chords, the primary epigram for this little piece. On beat three of measure 2 is a pair of escape tones, followed by a pair of appoggiaturas in measure 3. The harmony proceeds from V to I, completing one full phrase. Measure 5 again discloses the first epigram, with the appoggiatura on beat 1, doubled, now with a dominant 9th chord, elaborating the earlier dominant 7th. The 3rd, G , is now missing. The second phrase completes the first by measure 8. Measure 9 begins the first phrase again, a literal repetition. Measure 11 sounds much like measure 3, voiced slightly higher in range, but resolves to the surprising secondary dominant F 7, the densest chord in the piece. Now it is time to head home. In measure 13 there is a passing tone on beat 1, followed by the falling 7th of B minor, and a voicing of the dominant 9th, this time with the third, G , included thank you, Chopin. The last phrase of the last two bars is the final gesture, widely spaced, with the tonic at the top, letting us know the music has indeed finished.
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