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How are the tones used?

15 January, 2016 - 09:13
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  • Is each tone held steadily from beginning to end? If not, what types of ornaments and pitch variations are used?
  • Do some tones occur one after the other quickly enough that they are heard as a distinct line in the music (for example, a melody line, harmony line, or bass line)?
  • If you can hear a distinct line in the music, how would you describe its pitch motion? (For example, does it move from one pitch to another quickly or slowly? Does it leap between distant pitches, move by steps up and down the scale, or stay within a small range?)
  • If more than one tone sounds at a time, does the result tend to be triadic or quartal chords? Dissonances? "Open" intervals (such as octaves or fifths)?
  • Are some of the tones held for long periods of time, functioning as drone notes?
  • Regardless of whether you hear multiple tones at a time, are some of the tones used to create or imply functional harmony? If there is functional harmony, choose a short, interesting section of the piece: What are the chords used in that section, and how do they function in the harmony?
  • Are the answers to any of these questions different for different sections of the piece, or for different instruments? Do any of them indicate an unusual use of pitch for this kind of piece?