G8 U2 L2 – Elements of Music



ELEMENTS DEFINITIONS HANDOUT first read this handout which includes definitions of each element of music.


How can we specifically use the Elements of Music to set the mood for a scene?

Quiz Google Forms


Soundtrack Composing Ideas Elements pdf


How can the following Musical Elements be used to create specific moods for your soundtrack scenes?

TEMPO refers to the speed at which the music moves forward in time. Beats per minute (bpm) is a unit typically used as a measure of tempo in music and heart rate. The bpm tempo of a piece of music is conventionally shown in its score as a metronome mark e.g. 120 BPM


Musical texture can be described in much the same way as we do when we touch different surfaces. For example something that feels thick (many voices or Polyphony) or smooth single line moving in steps (Monophony) or a single line with harmony (Homophony) or an intertwining two or three musical lines playing the melody (Heterophony)


Homophony has a melody with some accompaniment.  Think of a singer with a guitarist or piano accompaniment.

Monophony is just a single melodic line without accompaniment.


Polyphony has several single lines all happening at the same time and are weaving together as one whole. A classical symphony would be an example of having many different parts playing around each other at the same time, some times in unison and sometimes in counterpoint.


Heterophony is a type of texture characterized by the simultaneous variation of a single melodic line.  Think of a jazz band of several musicians playing their own versions of the melody at the same time.





Harmony is often said to refer to the “vertical” aspect of music, as distinguished from melodic line, or the “horizontal” aspect. Does the harmony part make the music sound consonant (pleasant) or dissonant (irritating or the notes fighting against one another)?

A major chord is positive sounding

A minor chord is darker or unsettling. Notice that the 3rd or middle note is played a half step or semitone lower than in a major chord.

A diminished chord sounds irritating and creates tension

An augmented chord sounds different




Relative loudness. The two basic dynamic indications in music are: p or piano, meaning “soft”. f or forte, meaning “loud”, crescendo/decrescendo, or accents. Severe dynamic changes can create excitement. No dynamic changes can be steady.  Only soft can be gentle etc.



Rhythm is the pattern of regular or irregular pulses caused in music by the use of a variety of musical notes and rests. Playing faster notes and more of them creates movement when playing fewer notes at a slower tempo is more relaxing. Ostinato is a recurring rhythm could be used. In music, an ostinato is a motif or phrase that persistently repeats in the same musical voice, usually at the same pitch.


Timbre is the characteristic quality of sound produced by a particular instrument or voice; tone colour. Some instruments may be better suited to use to create a specific mood for a scene. For example uses a brass sound to create excitement or a soft string sound for a more mellow mood. Drums could also add excitement to your scene and woodwinds such as a flute might be good for a nature scene. It is up to you to choose.


Is the melody moving in steps in a Conjunct manner or moving using leaps in a Disjunct manner?  Melodies can move quickly or slowly and have very few notes or many notes in them.



After reading the meaning of the above musical elements, Complete the following questions which ask you to choose how you would use a variety of elements to create a specific style of music.