Harmony

Harmony is what you get when you play two or more notes at the same time. It’s one of the most important concepts in music — the building block of chords, song structures, and all sorts of performances. Along with rhythm and melody, it’s one of the three main concepts in music. You can think of harmony as the “vertical” structure of music, whereas melody is its “horizontal” structure. In other wor... »

Rhythm & Blues

Rhythm & Blues

What is R&B? R&B stands for “Rhythm & Blues”. It’s a loosely-defined genre of music, and can refer to a number of different genres that are musically very different from each other. All of these artists have at one time or another been referred to as “R&B”: Stevie Wonder, the Rolling Stones, Mariah Carey, Prince, the O’Jays, the Weeknd. That covers a huge range of musical styles! S... »

What is Jazz?

What is Jazz?

Jazz is a diverse genre encompassing a huge variety of styles. Of all the genres of popular music, jazz is the most musically complex, and it has a reputation for being hard to follow, especially for people accustomed to more musically straightforward pop music. Jazz was born in dance clubs and now is performed in symphony halls. It was invented by people on the margins of society and is now studi... »

Rhyme Scheme

Definition Rhyme scheme, along with meter, is one of the main features of traditional verse poetry. Rhyme schemes are often determined by the form of the poem – for example, sonnets have a very specific rhyme scheme, while cinquains have another. Rhymes work best when the poem has a rhythmic quality, so rhyme schemes are most common in traditional verse (which has a steady rhythm, or meter). Rhyme... »

What is Blues?

What is Blues?

The blues is the trickster of musical genres. It’s a joyful, exuberant music full of upbeat rhythms and playful humor – but it’s also a deeply sad music that deals with suffering and loneliness. It’s a music of dance halls and wooden porches, open fields and grimy factories, the city and the country, the North and the South. The blues captures something deeply familiar, yet impossible to describe.... »

Staff

Staff

What is a Staff? In musical notation, the “staff” is a set of five lines and four spaces. Each line and space corresponds to one of the white keys on the piano, so staffs are usually easiest to read on pianos and other keyboard-based instruments. But this kind of musical notation is used for many other instruments as well. Here’s an example of one kind of musical staff with the names of each note.... »

Meter

What is Meter? “Meter” is the underlying structure of a musical beat. It refers to the “count” of a song, or how many individual beats you would count out if you were tapping your foot to the beat. Most commonly, the meter will be a 4-count, meaning it has a pattern in which you count 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4. However, many other songs have a 3-count or a 2-count meter. More rarely, you may find songs wit... »

Time Signature

Time Signature

What is a Time Signature? All music is divided into measures, or short units that contain a set number of or “counts,” and Example You’ve probably heard musicians counting off 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, in which case the set of four beats is a single measure. This “measure” structure is the backbone for the song’s rhythm. But not all measures are the same! While most have four beats, they can have any numb... »

Types of Beats

Types of Beats

Down-beat: Beats have two components – the down-beat and the up-beat. The down-beat is best understood by clapping your hands along with a song. You are clapping the down-beats. Up-beat: An up-beat is the part of the rhythm that occurs in between the down beats. When clapping along with music, an upbeat is timed with when you pull your hands away from each other. Stressed beat: The beat that is gi... »

Beat

Beat

What is a Beat? In music, the beat is the basic unit of time. It’s a way that musicians count the notes being played to stay in synch with each other, and is often associated with the pulse that listeners tend to feel in the music. That is to say, when one is to clap along or dance with the music, they are moving to the beat. Songs are made up of three basic components: harmony, melody, and beat. ... »