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Elements of music

Key signatures
Major ­ Sharps
G ­ F#
D ­ F#, C#
A ­ F#, C#, G#
E ­ F#, C#, G# D#
B ­ F#, C#, G#, D#, A#
F# - F#, C#, G#, D#, A#, E#

Major ­ flats
F -…

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Family Instruments
Woodwind Piccolo, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Saxophone, Bassoon, Recorder
Brass Trumpet, French Horn, Trombone, Tuba
Strings Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass, Harp, Guitar
Percussion Timpani, Bass Drum, Snare Drum, Triangle, Xylophone, Glockenspiel
Keyboard Piano, Harpsichord, Organ, Synthesiser

Music actions

Music action Meaning
Glissando Sliding from one note to…

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Interrupted cadences are `surprise' cadences. Instead of the anticipated perfect
cadence, you get a minor chord.
Imperfect cadences sound unfinished. An imperfect cadence ends on chord V. (5)
Plagal cadences are formed by the chords IV ­ I. (4 ­ 1)

The character of a piece of music is…

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Sometimes imitations contain slight changes to the tune, to make it more interesting. These
changes might be:
Changes in octave
Adding ornaments
Playing at a different speed.

Riff, ostinato and loop
These three words mean the same thing, although `ostinato' is more often used when
describing classical music, `riff' is…

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Presto Very quick
Accelerando Gradually speeding up
Rallentando Gradually slowing down
Ritenuto Immediately slower.
Allargando Getting slower and broadening
Rubato Literally `robbed time', where rhythms are played freely for expressive effect.

Rhythm notation
Rhythm notation shows the duration of a note.

A semibreve lasts for four crotchet beats.
A minim…

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Polyphonic music has parts that weave in and out of each other. It is also sometimes called
contrapuntal music. It may contain a element of imitation, where one voice or instrument
copies what has just been played by another.

A fugue is a special type of polyphonic texture. Fugues…


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