elements of music

Insight 1: Elements of Music


Welcome to our first installment of our new Insight video series where I’ll share a little knowledge about music and ukulele and hopefully help you to become a better player.  Today I want to talk about 3 fundamental elements of music and how they apply to ukulele: RHYTHM, HARMONY, MELODY.

We can think of RHYTHM as the interaction between music and time.  When we hear music there is a natural and constant pulse or beat within that music.  We create rhythm by playing the strings in different patterns against this constant pulse with our right hand by strumming.

HARMONY can be defined as multiple notes or pitches happening simultaneously.  We quickly learn how to do this on the ukulele with our left hand by learning our first chords.  These two things rhythm, our strumming, and harmony, our chords, are usually what we learn to do first and we spend most of our time developing.  I think this is a great thing to get us playing very quickly but all too often people don’t put enough emphasis on developing the third element, melody!

Where harmony is multiple notes happening simultaneously, MELODY is a set of individual notes that are strung together to create a musical phrase.  These melodic phrases are really what define a song, it’s the part of the music that you remember when you think of a song.  Go ahead think of any song…what you're probably recalling is the melody…

So how do we incorporate melody with the ukulele?  We either do it with our voice, or we do it with the instrument.  Both of these things take a little time and effort to develop so you should start incorporating one or both of these into your practice right away.  The great part about this instrument is that, unlike a trumpet or a violin, you can actually accomplish all 3 of these elements at the same time while you are playing.  Check out our last Sessions Video for an example of this.

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