Cycle (music)

Last updated

Cycle has several meanings in the field of music. Acoustically, it refers to one complete vibration, the base unit of Hertz being one cycle per second. [1] Theoretically, an interval cycle is a collection of pitch classes created by a sequence of identical intervals. Individual pieces that aggregate into larger works are considered cycles, for example, the movements of a suite, symphony, sonata, or string quartet. [2] This definition can apply to everything from settings of the Mass or a song cycle to an opera cycle. Cycle also applies to the complete performance of an individual composer's work in one genre. [3]

Contents

Harmonic cycles—repeated sequences of a harmonic progression—are at the root of many musical genres, such as the twelve-bar blues. In compositions of this genre, the chord progression may be repeated indefinitely, with melodic and lyrical variation forming the musical interest. The form theme and variations is essentially of this type, but generally on a larger scale.

Composition using a tone row is another example of a cycle of pitch material, although it may be more difficult to hear because the variations are more diverse.

Rhythmic cycles

Indian classical music

In Indian classical music, a specific rhythmic structure known as a tala is repeated through the length of the raga, and used as a basis for improvisation of the drum parts.

Music of Indonesia

In the gamelan music of Indonesia, there are nested gong cycles which determine the rhythmic framework of the piece. This sort of cycling is called colotomy. In the same way as specific harmonic cycles determine the genre of many Western pieces (like the blues), gamelan pieces are classified according to their colotomic structures. Some other styles of music, such as gagaku or pi phat, have been analyzed colotomically.

Sub-Saharan African music traditions

Rhythm in Sub-Saharan Africa is typically generated by multiple cross-rhythmic cycles, in relation to a primary cycle of four main beats. [4] This basic musical period has a bipartite structure; it is made up of two rhythmically opposed cells, consisting of two beats each. [5] Kubik points out that the four-beat cycle is a shorter period than what is normally heard in European music. This accounts for the stereotype of African music as "repetitive." The cycles have a beginning and an end, with the two joining. [6] The lead instrument, or soloist, may temporarily contradict the primary cycle with cross beats and larger phrases, but awareness of the cycle is ever present. [7] In many sub-Saharan and Disapora musics, a key pattern, typically played on a bell, establishes the basic cycle or period.

Mixed cycles

Different types of musical cycles can overlap. One example is isorhythm, the medieval practice of using melodic and rhythmic cycles in one or two voices. There is a certain sequence of pitch material (known as the color) and a separate sequence of rhythmic values (known as the talea), which is of different length. If the lengths of the two cycles are relatively prime, a complex melody will emerge. Most compositions using this technique end when the two cycles coincide.

A similar process is used in serial music, although the number of different overlapping cycles can be quite large, and encode a wide variety of musical parameters, such as dynamics, articulation, timbre, register, and so forth.

Opera cycles

See also

Related Research Articles

Music Form of art using sound and silence

Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a composition through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the universal cultural aspects of all human societies. General definitions of music include common elements such as pitch, rhythm, dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture. Different styles or types of music may emphasize, de-emphasize or omit some of these elements. Music is performed with a vast range of instruments and vocal techniques ranging from singing to rapping; there are solely instrumental pieces, solely vocal pieces and pieces that combine singing and instruments. The word derives from Greek μουσική ; see § Etymology and glossary of musical terminology.

Rhythm generally means a "movement marked by the regulated succession of strong and weak elements, or of opposite or different conditions". This general meaning of regular recurrence or pattern in time can apply to a wide variety of cyclical natural phenomena having a periodicity or frequency of anything from microseconds to several seconds ; to several minutes or hours, or, at the most extreme, even over many years.

Bebop Subgenre of jazz music originated in the United States in mid-1940s

Bebop or bop is a style of jazz developed in the early to mid-1940s in the United States, which features compositions characterized by a fast tempo, complex chord progressions with rapid chord changes and numerous changes of key, instrumental virtuosity, and improvisation based on a combination of harmonic structure, the use of scales and occasional references to the melody.

Music theory Considers the practices and possibilities of music

Music theory is the study of the practices and possibilities of music. The Oxford Companion to Music describes three interrelated uses of the term "music theory". The first is the "rudiments", that are needed to understand music notation ; the second is learning scholars' views on music from antiquity to the present; the third a sub-topic of musicology that "seeks to define processes and general principles in music". The musicological approach to theory differs from music analysis "in that it takes as its starting-point not the individual work or performance but the fundamental materials from which it is built."

The traditional music of Africa, given the vastness of the continent, is historically ancient, rich and diverse, with different regions and nations of Africa having many distinct musical traditions. Music in Africa is very important when it comes to religion. Songs and music are used in rituals and religious ceremonies, to pass down stories from generation to generation, as well as to sing and dance to.

In music, an ostinato[ostiˈnaːto] is a motif or phrase that persistently repeats in the same musical voice, frequently in the same pitch. Well-known ostinato-based pieces include both classical compositions, such as Ravel's Boléro and the Carol of the Bells, and popular songs such as Donna Summer and Giorgio Moroder's "I Feel Love" (1977), Henry Mancini's theme from Peter Gunn (1959), and The Verve's "Bitter Sweet Symphony" (1997).

A suite, in Western classical music and jazz, is an ordered set of instrumental or orchestral/concert band pieces. It originated in the late 14th century as a pairing of dance tunes and grew in scope to comprise up to five dances, sometimes with a prelude, by the early 17th century. The separate movements were often thematically and tonally linked. The term can also be used to refer to similar forms in other musical traditions, such as the Turkish fasıl and the Arab nuubaat.

Clave (rhythm) Rhythmic pattern in Afro-Cuban music

The clave is a rhythmic pattern used as a tool for temporal organization in Afro-Cuban music. In Spanish, clave literally means key, clef, code, or keystone. It is present in a variety of genres such as Abakuá music, rumba, conga, son, mambo, salsa, songo, timba and Afro-Cuban jazz. The five-stroke clave pattern represents the structural core of many Afro-Cuban rhythms.

In music, form refers to the structure of a musical composition or performance. In his book, Worlds of Music, Jeff Todd Titon suggests that a number of organizational elements may determine the formal structure of a piece of music, such as "the arrangement of musical units of rhythm, melody, and/or harmony that show repetition or variation, the arrangement of the instruments, or the way a symphonic piece is orchestrated", among other factors.

Bassline Low-pitched instrumental part

A bassline is the term used in many styles of music, such as jazz, blues, funk, dub and electronic, traditional music, or classical music for the low-pitched instrumental part or line played by a rhythm section instrument such as the electric bass, double bass, cello, tuba or keyboard.

In music, variation is a formal technique where material is repeated in an altered form. The changes may involve melody, rhythm, harmony, counterpoint, timbre, orchestration or any combination of these.

Gamelan gong kebyar Indonesian traditional musical instruments

Gamelan gong kebyar is a style or genre of Balinese gamelan music of Indonesia. Kebyar means "to flare up or burst open", and refers to the explosive changes in tempo and dynamics characteristic of the style. It is the most popular form of gamelan in Bali, and its best known musical export.

Music of Java Javanese traditional music, Indonesia

The Music of Java embraces a wide variety of styles, both traditional and contemporary, reflecting the diversity of the island and its lengthy history. Apart from traditional forms that maintain connections to musical styles many centuries old, there are also many unique styles and conventions which combine elements from many other regional influences, including those of neighbouring Asian cultures and European colonial forms.

Period (music)

In music, the term period refers to certain types of recurrence in small-scale formal structure. In twentieth-century music scholarship, the term is usually used as defined by the Oxford Companion to Music: "a period consists of two phrases, antecedent and consequent, each of which begins with the same basic motif." Earlier usage varied somewhat, but usually referred to similar notions of symmetry, recurrence, and closure. The concept of a musical period originates in comparisons between music structure and rhetoric at least as early as the 16th century.

African popular music, like African traditional music, is vast and varied. Most contemporary genres of African popular music build on cross-pollination with western popular music. Many genres of popular music like blues, jazz, afrobeats, salsa, zouk, and rumba derive to varying degrees on musical traditions from Africa, taken to the Americas by enslaved Africans. These rhythms and sounds have subsequently been adapted by newer genres like rock, and rhythm and blues. Likewise, African popular music has adopted elements, particularly the musical instruments and recording studio techniques of western music. The term does not refer to a specific style or sound but is used as a general term for African popular music.

Level (music)

A level, also "tonality level", Gerhard Kubik's "tonal step," "tonal block," and John Blacking's "root progression," is an important melodic and harmonic progression where melodic material shifts between a whole tone above and a whole tone below the tonal center. This shift can occur to both neighboring notes, in either direction, and from any point of departure. The steps above and below the tonic are often called contrasting steps. A new harmonic segment is created which then changes the tonality but not necessarily the key.

Colotomy Indonesian musical rhythmic and metric used in Gamelan

Colotomy is an Indonesian description of the rhythmic and metric patterns of gamelan music. It refers to the use of specific instruments to mark off nested time intervals, or the process of dividing rhythmic time into such nested cycles. In the gamelan, this is usually done by gongs of various size: the kempyang, ketuk, kempul, kenong, gong suwukan, and gong ageng. The fast-playing instruments, kempyang and ketuk, keep a regular beat. The larger gongs group together these hits into larger groupings, playing once per each grouping. The largest gong, the gong ageng, represents the largest time cycle and generally indicates that that section will be repeated, or the piece will move on to a new section.

Bell pattern Rhythmic pattern of striking a hand-held bell or other instrument

A bell pattern is a rhythmic pattern of striking a hand-held bell or other instrument of the idiophone family, to make it emit a sound at desired intervals. It is often a key pattern, in most cases it is a metal bell, such as an agogô, gankoqui, or cowbell, or a hollowed piece of wood, or wooden claves. In band music, bell patterns are also played on the metal shell of the timbales, and drum kit cymbals.

Guajeo

A guajeo is a typical Cuban ostinato melody, most often consisting of arpeggiated chords in syncopated patterns. Some musicians only use the term guajeo for ostinato patterns played specifically by a tres, piano, an instrument of the violin family, or saxophones. Piano guajeos are one of the most recognizable elements of modern-day salsa. Piano guajeos are also known as montunos in North America, or tumbaos in the contemporary Cuban dance music timba.

Traditional sub-Saharan African harmony is a music theory of harmony in Sub-Saharan Africa music based on the principles of homophonic parallelism, homophonic polyphony, counter melody and ostinato-variation. Polyphony is common in African music and heterophony is a common technique as well. Although these principles of traditional African music are of Pan-African validity, the degree to which they are used in one area over another varies. Specific techniques that used to generate harmony in Africa are the "span process", "pedal notes", "Rhythmic harmony", "harmony by imitation", and "scalar clusters".

References

  1. Randel, Don, "Cycle", The Harvard Dictionary of Music, Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1986, p. 218.
  2. G. M. Tucker and Roger Parker, "Cyclic Form", The Oxford Companion to Music, edited by Alison Latham (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2001).
  3. "cycle." In The Oxford Companion to Music, edited by Alison Latham. Oxford Music Online, http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/opr/t114/e7623 (accessed December 25, 2011).
  4. Ladzekpo, C.K. (1996). Web. "Main Beat Schemes," Foundation Course in African Music. Web. http://home.comcast.net/~dzinyaladzekpo/PrinciplesFr.html
  5. Peñalosa, David, The Clave Matrix; Afro-Cuban Rhythm: Its Principles and African Origins. Redway, CA: Bembe Inc., 2010, p. 65 ISBN   1-886502-80-3.
  6. Kubik, Gerhard Theory of African Music (Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology) v. 2. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2010, p. 41. ISBN   978-0-226-45694-2
  7. Kubik 2010, p. 41.
  8. Catherine Miller (2003). Jean Cocteau, Guillaume Apollinaire, Paul Claudel et le groupe des six: rencontres poético-musicales autour des mélodies et des chansons. Editions Mardaga. p. 110.