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Humanities Libertexts

1.5: Summary

This chapter serves as a detailed survey to those elements of music that represent time and how it is symbolized. Unlike the Plastic Arts (painting, sculpture), music is not a temporally fixed entity: it exists in its own time, calculated by the progression of rhythm and meter across a compositionally predetermined time span.

An intimate and close understanding of rhythm and its attributes is the first essential skill any musician must acquire. From performance through analysis, aspects of rhythmic organization permeate the entire range of all skill-sets that serves as the basis for becoming a competent, literate, functional musician.

The next chapter will discuss the other half of this equation: pitch and its attributes. These skill-sets, in tandem with rhythm, will prepare the student for exploring first the grammar, then the syntax of the musical language.

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