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Reading music helps you to understand how music is constructed. Knowing musical

music helps you to understand how music is constructed. Knowing musical terms
and symbols makes you more literate. PRO You can
communicate your ideas more clearly and specifically. – “Some
parts were loud.” +
“As the piano repeated the first phrase quietly, I leaned forward. As the music
grew gradually louder in the final phrase, I felt an increase in intensity and
excitement.” PRO You can visually analyze the sounds you hear. – “I
heard stringed instruments.” +
“The score called for two violins, one viola, and one cello. The music began
with all four instruments playing together, but the first violin played the
leading melodies.” PRO You can tell what
the composer intends, to some extent. – “The
music stopped and started.” + “The piece
began Allegro [fast], but was
interrupted with surprising rests [silences] and changes of
tempo [accelerando in measures 10-11
and a fermata in measure 40].” CON
Notation can’t notate everything you hear. – “Aretha
did not sing the hymn exactly as written.” + “Aretha
Franklin has a distinctive voice, full of growls and wails.” CON
“Classical music” only tries to write down a few aspects of the sounds you
hear. – “The
pianist failed to play at a constant speed.” + “The pianist
interpreted the music by varying the tempo slightly, especially at the end of
phrases. This created a dreamy, floating quality.” CON It is
not necessary to understand all the terms/symbols to enjoy music. – “African
drummers don’t use written music, so they have to improvise.” + “This song
is made of many short phrases, layered to provide meaning and structure.” Assignment
Guide: 1. Listen (at
least twice, until time 1:20): an example of medieval Gregorian chant This European style is roughly 1,200
years old. The language being sung is Latin. The text
means, “This is the day that the Lord has made. Rejoice and be glad in it.” The
singers are male monks from the monastery of St. Domingo, near Burgos, Spain. 2. Write 200 words, reacting to what you hear. mood,
shape, speed, sound, style, thoughts, connections 3. Listen:
second, watch this video of the same Gregorian chant with notation: Watch more than once! The original music was learned mostly by
rote, but written down for reference. The score you see was printed in the
early 20th-century, based on ancient handwriting. 4. Write 200 words, describing what elements ARE and
ARE NOT notated. pitch, silence, harmony, instruments, tempo, timbre, meter, rhythm,
text, dynamics 5. Watch [5
minutes]: this piece of contemporary concert music is performed by its composer
who developed her own musical notation (Stripsody
by Cathy Berberian).

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