It’s the beautiful arrangement and harmony in the components of classic music that spellbound its listeners so much. The period between 1750 – 1830 is known as the Classical period, during which musicians and singers like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Johann Sebastian Bach, Franz Schubert and Ludwig van Beethoven created a history in classical music. The popularity of classical music had a far flung effect and even common people developed an inclination for it. Singers and composers experimented with different styles and practiced use of different types of instruments for creating new genres.
Singing classical songs is truly difficult if you are not well versed with its elements, forms and characteristics. The approach and concept of people about classical music although differ a lot, yet there are some traits that are common in all. Classical music elements actually refer to the parts, sections and the components of the music that make it complete. Such elements form an integral part of different types of musical instruments, like violin, saxophone, piano, guitar, percussion, flute, etc. The essence of classical music lies in harmonizing the notes and chords to generate a tune where we can submerge ourselves completely. It’s because these elements are blended so well, classical music is capable of rejuvenating our mind and enlivening our spirits (this effect has been proved scientifically).
Elements of Classical Music
The lyrics are tuned in a particular fashion, through which we sing the song. A song is composed by arranging the notes in harmony. The tune formed as a result of combining the pitch and the rhythm is known as the melody. The melody of the song is responsible for making it pleasing to our senses.
Basically there are two types of phrases, viz, complete and incomplete. The recurrent musical series are compiled into different phrases that completes the song. The first phrase is followed by the second (cadence), which finally closes the song.
Classical music is always based on a particular theme, that get exposed from the lyrics and the melody. A song without a theme is never complete. There might be variation in the themes, nevertheless, it forms the backbone of the song. The theme of the song is generated either spontaneously or by keeping the background into consideration.
Motif Motif is the shortest subsection of the melody or the theme. It’s a smallest idea or the smallest element of the song comprising three to four notes. Motifs are two types, viz, rhythmic motif and melodic motif. Listen to Beethoven’s 5th symphony du du du DUUUU to understand what exactly motif is.
Sonata is composed of three main sections ‘an exposition, a development, and a recapitulation’. The ‘sonata-allegro’ became famous during the classical period, that lead to development of many forms of themes of classical music. Many modern classical singers consider sonata to be the ‘model for musical analysis’.
The time span (time signature) of the music within which the lyrics are composed harmoniously is known as the measure. It’s also known as the bar of the music notation. In short, it is the ‘beat per duration’. The entire duration of the music further depends on its lyrics and tune.
It’s the quality of individual notes that helps in distinguishing one from another. The sound produced from the musical instrument depends upon the quality of the timbre used. Timbre is also connoted as tone color and tone quality, and due to this the notes produced have a differential effect.
The total number of syllables, lines, accents and rhythm in the music forms the meter. The technical terms used for defining a meter are measured rhythm, rhythmic shape and time. Meter results from arrangement of these elements. The melody of the song gets affected if the meter is not well measured.
What makes a classical song so harmonious? It’s the harmony. The chords, pitches, tones and notes when blended perfectly creates the best type of music. Harmony adds texture and quality to classical music. It’s done by tuning the chord and adding the desired tension to it, so that the sound produced is soothing and melodious.
You can define coda as an extension of a cadence that paves the way for completing the music. It’s the concluding part of the music and is usually placed towards the end of the composition. Example, C Major Sonata in Mozart’s classical pieces.
The uniform motion that a music follows to progress is known as the rhythm of the music. The notes recur, new notes are generated and the music keeps flowing in a particular fashion, which is known as the rhythm. The rhythm of the music is also created by the beats.
These play a significant role in forming the structure and the tune of the song. If you are really fond of classical music, then I’m sure you will try to figure out these elements while listening to a classical song. Play the music and get completely absorbed in its melody.