Four Basic Elements of Music

By Vladimir Khavkine
Music consists of multiple elements.

Music is a classic form of creative art and, while everyone enjoys it from time to time, not many are familiar with the “science” behind it. Each song comprises multiple elements that are combined to obtain a result that’s pleasant to hear. Some elements are specific to certain genres of music, while others are found in all musical genres.

Beats

A beat is a pulse of sound that is louder than other sounds in the music. Beats -- which usually exist in groups and form a pattern -- are characteristic to drums and other low-frequency instruments. Beats add more rhythm to the song by creating a low-frequency foundation and contrasting with high-frequency sounds.

Measure

A measure is a group of beats that follows a repetitive pattern. One of the most common measures is the four-beat measure, which indicates that beats are grouped in repetitive four-beat groups. The measure is especially useful for performers and disc jockeys, as it allows them to predict when the song's rhythm will change.

Tempo

The tempo -- which indicates the song's speed -- measures the number of beats played in a minute, or BPM. A higher tempo will result in more beats and a faster track, while a lower tempo will result in a slower track. Musical genres are easily distinguishable by their tempo, as each genre has a corresponding tempo range.

Melody

Melody represents the succession of sounds played within a song. The melody can comprise one or more instruments, playing all at once or alternatively. For a song to sound good, the melody must follow the measure and tempo of the song and be synchronized with the beats.

About the Author

Vladimir Khavkine has been writing since 1971. He has written for various online publications. Khavkine has a Doctor of Philosophy degree in mathematics and physics from the USSR Academy of Sciences.