Music theory is the field of study that deals with the mechanics of music and how music works. Mechanics ( Greek) is the branch of Physics concerned with the behaviour of physical bodies when subjected to Forces or displacements Music is an Art form in which the medium is Sound organized in Time. It involves identifying patterns that govern composers' techniques. A composer (literally meaning 'one who puts together' is a person who creates Music, usually in the medium of notation, for Interpretation and Performance In a more general sense, music theory also often distills and analyzes the elements of music – rhythm, harmony (harmonic function), melody, structure, form, and texture. Rhythm (from Greek ῥυθμός - rhythmos, "any measured flow or movement symmetry" is the variation of the length and accentuation of In Western music, harmony is the use of different pitches simultaneously and chords actual or implied in Music. In Music, a melody (from Greek μελῳδία - melōidía, "singing chanting" also tune, voice, or Structure is a fundamental and sometimes Intangible notion covering the Recognition, Observation, nature, and Stability of The term musical form refers to two related concepts the type of composition (for example a musical work can have the form of a Symphony, a In Music, texture is the overall quality of sound of a piece, most often indicated by the number of voices in the music and by the relationship between Broadly, theory may include any statement, belief, or conception of or about music (Boretz, 1995). People who study these properties are known as music theorists.
Music has many different elements. The main elements are: rhythm, melody, harmony, structure, timbre, dynamics, and texture. Each element, -- and each of its sub-elements, if any -- is discussed below.
A series of notes sounding in succession. In Music, a melody (from Greek μελῳδία - melōidía, "singing chanting" also tune, voice, or The notes of a melody are typically created with respect to pitch systems such as scales or modes. In Music, a scale is a group of musical notes collected in ascending and descending order that provides material for or is used to conveniently represent part or all In Music, a scale is an ordered series of Musical intervals which along with the key or tonic, define the pitches However mode The rhythm of a melody is often based on the inflections of language, the physical rhythms of dance, or simply periodic pulsation. In Grammar, inflection or inflexion is the way language handles grammatical relations and relational categories such as tense, mood, voice A language is a dynamic set of visual auditory or tactile Symbols of Communication and the elements used to manipulate them Dance (from French danser, perhaps from Frankish) is an Art form that generally refers to movement of the body usually rhythmic Melody is typically divided into phrases within a larger overarching structure. The elements of a melody are pitch, duration, dynamics, and timbre. Pitch represents the perceived Fundamental frequency of a sound In Music, dynamics normally refers to the volume of a Sound or note, but can also refer to every aspect of the execution of a given piece either stylistic In Music, timbre (ˈtæm-bər' like timber, or, from Fr timbre tɛ̃bʁ is the quality of a Musical note or sound that distinguishes different
In the context of theory, a piece of music may be melodically based. In this instance, a composer will first take a melody, and use that to create his work. A harmonically based piece, on the contrary, will focus on a chord progression, with the melody as a secondary or incidental factor of composition.
Pitch is determined by the sound's frequency of vibration. Pitch represents the perceived Fundamental frequency of a sound It refers to the relative highness or lowness of a given tone: the greater the frequency, the higher sounding the pitch.
The process of assigning note names to pitches is called Tuning. In Music, the term note has two primary meanings 1 a sign used in Musical notation to represent the relative duration and pitch of a Sound; In Music, there are two common meanings for tuning: Tuning practice, the act of tuning an instrument or voice 440 Hz is assigned to modern concert A.
The difference in frequency between two pitches is called an interval. In Music theory, the term interval describes the relationship between the pitches of two Notes Intervals may be described as vertical The most basic interval is the octave; a note and another note with twice its frequency form an octave. In Music, an octave ( is the the use of which is "common in most musical systems For example, if the pitch with frequency 440 Hz is A, then the pitches with frequency 880 Hz, 1760 Hz as well as 220 Hz, 110 Hz, and 55 Hz are also As.
Notes can be arranged into different scales and modes. In Music, a scale is a group of musical notes collected in ascending and descending order that provides material for or is used to conveniently represent part or all In Music, a scale is an ordered series of Musical intervals which along with the key or tonic, define the pitches However mode Western music theory traditionally has 12 notes that might be included in a piece of music. In a scale, each note is called a half-step or semitone. Patterns of half and whole steps (2 half steps, or a tone) make up a scale in that octave. In Music, an octave ( is the the use of which is "common in most musical systems The scales most commonly encountered are the major, the harmonic minor, the melodic minor, and the natural minor. In Music theory, the major scale or Ionian scale is one of the diatonic scales It is made up of seven distinct Notes plus an eighth Minor Scale was a test conducted by the United States Defense Nuclear Agency (now part of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency) involving the detonation Minor Scale was a test conducted by the United States Defense Nuclear Agency (now part of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency) involving the detonation Minor Scale was a test conducted by the United States Defense Nuclear Agency (now part of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency) involving the detonation
There are scales that do not follow the chromatic 12-note pattern, for example in classical Indian and Arabic music. The chromatic scale is a Musical scale with twelve pitches each a Semitone or Half step apart The origins of Indian classical music can be found from the oldest of Scriptures part of the Hindu tradition the Vedas. Arabic music or Arab music ( Arabic: موسيقى عربية;) includes several genres and styles of Music ranging from Arabic classical However, most contemporary compositions use the Western system.
In music written using the system of major-minor tonality, the key of a piece determines the scale used. Tonality is a system of Music in which specific hierarchical pitch relationships are based on a key "center" or tonic. Transposing a piece from C major to D major will make all the notes two semitones (or one full step) higher. Even in modern equal temperament, changing the key can change the feel of a piece of music, because it changes the relationship of the composition's pitches to the pitch range of the instruments on which the piece is being performed. Equal temperament is a Musical temperament, or a system of tuning in which every pair of adjacent notes has an identical Frequency ratio. This often affects the music's timbre, as well as having technical implications for the performers. However, performing a piece in one key rather than another may go unrecognized by the casual listener, since changing the key does not change the relationship of the individual pitches to each other. A key change, or modulation, may occur during a piece, which is more easily heard as a difference of intervals in sound. In Music, modulation is most commonly the act or process of changing from one key ( tonic, or tonal center) to another
Rhythm is the arrangement of sounds in time. Rhythm (from Greek ῥυθμός - rhythmos, "any measured flow or movement symmetry" is the variation of the length and accentuation of Rhythm (from Greek ῥυθμός - rhythmos, "any measured flow or movement symmetry" is the variation of the length and accentuation of For other uses see Time (disambiguation Time is a component of a measuring system used to sequence events to compare the durations of Meter animates time in regular pulse groupings, called measures or bars. Meter or metre is a concept related to an underlying division of time characteristic of western music In Musical notation, a bar or measure is a segment of time defined as a given number of beats of a given duration The time signature or meter signature specifies how many beats are in a measure, and which value of written note is counted and felt as a single beat. The time signature (also known as " meter signature" is a notational convention used in Western Musical notation to specify how many beats A beat is the basic Time Unit of a piece of Music; for example each tick sounded by a Metronome would correspond to a beat Through increased stress and attack (and subtle variations in duration), particular tones may be accented. There are conventions in most musical traditions for a regular and hierarchical accentuation of beats to reinforce the meter. Syncopated rhythms are rhythms that accent unexpected parts of the beat. In Music, syncopation includes a variety of Rhythms which are in some way unexpected in that they deviate from the strict succession of regularly spaced Playing simultaneous rhythms in more than one time signature is called polymeter. Meter or metre is a concept related to an underlying division of time characteristic of western music See also polyrhythm.
In recent years, rhythm and meter have become an important area of research among music scholars. Recent work in these areas includes books by Bengt-Olov Palmqvist, Fred Lerdahl and Ray Jackendoff, Jonathan Kramer, Christopher Hasty, William Rothstein, and Joel Lester. Fred Lerdahl (born March 10 1943) is the Fritz Reiner Professor of Musical Composition at Columbia University Ray Jackendoff (born January 23, 1945) is an American Linguist. Jonathan Donald Kramer ( December 7, 1942, Hartford, Connecticut &ndash June 3, 2004, New York City) was a
Rhythm is one of the most central features of many styles of music, especially jazz and hip-hop. Jazz is an American Musical art form which originated in the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States Hip hop is a cultural movement which developed in New York City in the 1970s primarily among African Americans and Latinos. Both of these styles of music involve an underlying repeated rhythm or beat into which more complex patterns are interwoven.
Harmony is the study of vertical sonorities in music. In Western music, harmony is the use of different pitches simultaneously and chords actual or implied in Music. In Western music, harmony is the use of different pitches simultaneously and chords actual or implied in Music. Vertical sonority refers to considering the relationships between pitches that occur together; usually this means at the same time, although harmony can also be implied by a melody that outlines a harmonic structure.
The vertical relationship between two pitches is referred to as an interval. In Music theory, the term interval describes the relationship between the pitches of two Notes Intervals may be described as vertical A larger structure involving multiple pitches is called a chord. This article describes musical chords in traditional Western styles In Common practice and Popular music, harmonies are generally tertian, although there are some notable exceptions. The common practice period, in the history of European Art music (broadly called Classical music) spanning the Baroque, Classical, and "Tertial" redirects here For the feathers in a birds wing see tertials. In 20th century classical music, many alternative types of harmonic structure were explored. At the turn of the 20th century classical music was characteristically late Romantic in style while at the same time the Impressionist movement spearheaded by Claude Debussy One way to analyze harmony in Common practice music is through a roman numeral system; in Popular Music and Jazz a system of chord symbols is used; and in post-tonal music, a variety of approaches are used, most frequently set theory. The common practice period, in the history of European Art music (broadly called Classical music) spanning the Baroque, Classical, and A diatonic function, in tonal Music theory, is the specific recognized Roles of Notes or chords in relation to the key. Jazz is an American Musical art form which originated in the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States Chord notation refers to the written notation for musical chords. Musical set theory provides concepts for categorizing musical objects and describing their relationships
Consonance can be roughly defined as harmonies whose tones complement and increase each others' resonance, and dissonance as those which create more complex acoustical interactions (called 'beats'). A simplistic example is that of "pleasant" sounds versus "unpleasant" ones. Another manner of thinking about the relationship regards stability; dissonant harmonies are sometimes considered to be unstable and to "want to move" or "resolve" toward consonance. However, this is not to say that dissonance is undesirable. A composition made entirely of consonant harmonies may be pleasing to the ear and yet boring because there are no instabilities to be resolved.
Melody is often organized so as to interact with changing harmonies (sometimes called a chord progression) that accompany it, setting up consonance and dissonance. A chord progression (also chord sequence and harmonic progression or sequence) is a series of chords played in order The art of melody writing depends heavily upon the choices of tones for their nonharmonic or harmonic character.
"Harmony" as used by music theorists can refer to any kind of simultaneity without a value judgement, in contrast with a more common usage of "in harmony" or "harmonious", which in technical language might be described as consonance.
In music, dynamics normally refers to the softness or loudness of a sound or note, e. In Music, dynamics normally refers to the volume of a Sound or note, but can also refer to every aspect of the execution of a given piece either stylistic g. pianissimo or fortissimo. Until recently, most of these dynamics and signs were written in Italian, but recently are becoming written or translated into English. However, to every aspect of the execution of a given piece, either stylistic (staccato, legato etc. ) or functional (velocity) are also known as dynamics. The term is also applied to the written or printed musical notation used to indicate dynamics.
Musical texture is the overall sound of a piece of music commonly described according to the number of and relationship between parts or lines of music: monophony, heterophony, polyphony, homophony, or monody. In Music, texture is the overall quality of sound of a piece, most often indicated by the number of voices in the music and by the relationship between In Music, texture is the overall quality of sound of a piece, most often indicated by the number of voices in the music and by the relationship between In Music, monophony is the simplest of textures, consisting of Melody without accompanying Harmony. In Music, heterophony is a type of texture created through the simultaneous variation of a melodic line In Music, polyphony is a texture consisting of two or more independent Melodic voices, as opposed to music with just one voice ( Monophony In Music, homophony (hoʊˈmɒfəni from Greek "homófonos" where ομοιο = the same and φωνή = a sound tone is a texture in which two or more In Poetry, the term monody has become specialized to refer to a poem in which one person laments another's death The perceived texture of a piece may also be affected by the timbre of the instruments, the number of instruments used, and the interval between each musical line, among other things.
Monophony is the texture of a melody heard only by itself. If a melody is accompanied by chords, the texture is homophony. In homophony, the melody is usually but not always voiced in the highest notes. A third texture, called polyphony, consists of several simultaneous melodies of equal importance.
Form is a facet of music theory that explores the concept of musical syntax, on a local and global level. The term musical form refers to two related concepts the type of composition (for example a musical work can have the form of a Symphony, a The term musical form refers to two related concepts the type of composition (for example a musical work can have the form of a Symphony, a The syntax is often explained in terms of phrases and periods (for the local level) or sections or genre (for the global scale). Examples of common forms Western music include the fugue, the invention, sonata-allegro, canon, strophic, theme and variations, and rondo. In Music, a fugue (ˈfjuːg is a type of contrapuntal composition or technique of composition for a fixed number of parts, normally referred In Music, an invention is a short composition (usually for a Keyboard instrument) with two-part Counterpoint. Sonata form is a Musical form that has been used widely since the early Classical period. In Music, a canon is a contrapuntal composition that employs a Melody with one or more imitations of the melody played after a given duration (e In Music, strophic form (or chorus form) is a sectional and/or Additive way of structuring a piece of Music based on the Variation form Variation form include Ground bass, Passacaglia, Chaconne, and theme and variations Rondo, and its French equivalent rondeau, is a word that has been used in Music in a number of ways most often in reference to a Musical form Popular Music often makes use of strophic form often in conjunction with Twelve bar blues. In Music, strophic form (or chorus form) is a sectional and/or Additive way of structuring a piece of Music based on the
Four part chorale writing is used to teach and analyze the basic conventions of Common-Practice Period music. Johann Sebastian Bach's four voice chorales written for liturgial purposes serve as a model for students. WikipediaWikiProject Composers#Lead section.2 This article is written in British English including maximised use of "-ise" These chorales exhibit a fusion of linear and vertical thinking. In analysis, the harmonic function and rhythm are analyzed as well as the shape and implications of each of the four lines. Students are then instructed to compose chorales, often using given melodies (as Bach would have done), over a given bass line, or to compose within a chord progression, following rules of good voice leading. In Music, counterpoint is the relationship between two or more voices that are independent in contour and Rhythm, and interdependent in Harmony Though traditionally conceived as a vocal exercise for Soprano, Alto, Tenor, and Bass, other common four-part writings could consist of a brass quartet (two Trumpets, French Horn, and Trombone) or a string quartet (including violin I, violin II, viola and cello). This article is related to a series of articles under the main article Voice type. Alto is a musical term derived from the Latin word altus, meaning "high" that has several possible interpretations The tenor is the highest male voice within the Modal register, just above the Baritone voice The trombone is a Musical instrument in the brass family Like all brass instruments it is a lip-reed Aerophone: sound is produced when the player’s A string quartet is a Musical ensemble of four String instruments &mdash usually two Violins a Viola and Cello &mdash or a piece
There are seven chords used in four-part writing that are based upon each note of the scale. The chords are usually given Roman Numerals I, II, III, IV, V, VI and VII to refer to triadic (three-note) chords which are based upon each successive note of the major or minor scale which the piece is in. Chords may be analyzed in two ways. Case-sensitive harmonic analysis would state that major-mode chords (I, IV, V7, etc. ), including augmented, would be notated with upper-case Roman numerals, and minor-mode chords, including diminished (ii, iii, vi, viio), would be notated with lower-case Roman numerals. Schenkerian harmonic analysis, patterned after the theories of Heinrich Schenker, would state that the mode does not matter in the final analysis, and thus all harmonies are notated in upper-case. Heinrich Schenker ( June 19, 1868 - January 13, 1935) was a Music theorist best known for his approach to Musical analysis
The skill in harmonising a Bach chorale lies in being able to begin a phrase in one key and to modulate to another key either at the end of the first phrase, the beginning of the next one, or perhaps by the end of the second phrase. Each chorale often has the ability to modulate to various tonally related areas: the relative major (III) or minor (VI), the Dominant (V) or its relative minor (III), the Sub-Dominant (IV) or its relative minor (II). Other chromatic chords may be used, like the diminished seventh (made up of minor thirds piled on top of each other) or the Secondary Dominant (the Dominant's Dominant - a kind of major version of chord II). Certain standard cadences are observed, most notably IIb7 - V7 - I. The standard collection of J. S. Bach's chorales were edited by Albert Riemenschneider and this collection is readily available; the student is greatly rewarded by playing them at the piano, singing the lines by themselves, singing them in groups, analyzing them by writing the Key and the Chords employed and by taking the melody and bass line from any chorale and trying to fill in the inner alto and tenor parts. Once this has been accomplished the student can then begin to complete their own bass lines - whilst carefully watching for modulations - and then they can fill in the inner alto and tenor parts. Parallel octave and fifth motion is forbidden, and this often proves to be the pons asinorum of the average music student. Pons Asinorum ( Latin for "Bridge of Asses" is the name given to Euclid 's fifth proposition in Book 1 of his Elements of
Jackendoff and Lerdahl attempt to develop a "musical grammar. Music cognition is an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the mental processes that support musical behaviors including perception comprehension memory attention and performance Fred Lerdahl (born March 10 1943) is the Fritz Reiner Professor of Musical Composition at Columbia University Ray Jackendoff (born January 23, 1945) is an American Linguist. " Using Jackendoff's background as a linguist and Lerdahl's compositional and theoretical background, a series of generative rules are defined to explain the hierarchical structure of tonal music. The rules focus of musical grouping, or methods in which rhythmic groups of notes, as well as formal hierarchies, are perceived by listeners. Three sets of rules are given: "Grouping Well-Formedness Rules," "Grouping Preference Rules," and "Transformational Rules. " These rules are designed to interpret how listeners group structures in tonal music. These groupings then play into the segmentation of events by listeners, which in turn determine the hierarchical structure perceived by the listener. Although this theory is well developed and complete, it is by far not the only system designed to discuss music in this manner, and there is no acceptance of this theory being the sole theory to discuss perception of music by (see Jonathan Kramer). Jonathan Donald Kramer ( December 7, 1942, Hartford, Connecticut &ndash June 3, 2004, New York City) was a
Twelve Tone Serialism is a technique developed by Arnold Schoenberg to order and repeat all the 12 pitches of the Chromatic Scale with specific order. In Music, serialism is a technique for composition that uses sets to describe musical elements, and allows the manipulation of those Musical set theory provides concepts for categorizing musical objects and describing their relationships Arnold Schoenberg ( pronounced ˈʃøːnbɛrk (13 September 1874 &ndash 13 July 1951 was an Austrian and later American Composer, associated with Milton Byron Babbitt (born May 10 1916 is an American Composer. David Lewin ( July 2 1933 - May 5 2003) was an American Music theorist, music Critic and Composer. Allen Forte (born December 23, 1926) is a music theorist and Musicologist. In Music, serialism is a technique for composition that uses sets to describe musical elements, and allows the manipulation of those Arnold Schoenberg ( pronounced ˈʃøːnbɛrk (13 September 1874 &ndash 13 July 1951 was an Austrian and later American Composer, associated with An ordered row of the 12 pitches is created, then all possible transformations are explored. The analytic techniques involve writing a 12x12 matrix of the tone row, and all of its forms (Transposition, Inversion, Retrograde, Retrograde Inversion) This technique is strongly related to the composers of the Second Viennese School, but also has been incorporated into the languages of many other composers. The Second Viennese School is the term generally used in English -speaking countries to denote the group of Composers that comprised Arnold Schoenberg Serialism does not always appear in the strict 12-note form; many composers have explored with serialism using fewer than 12 notes, repeating tones inside of the row, serialism of microtonal scales. Also, composers such as Pierre Boulez and his teacher Oliver Messiaen explored integral serialism, or the serialization of all possible musical parameters (pitch, rhythm, dynamics, etc. WikipediaWikiProject Classical music#Biographical_infoboxes --> Pierre Boulez (pjɛʁ buˈlɛz (b Olivier Messiaen ( December 10 1908 &ndash April 27 1992 was a French Composer, organist and ornithologist. ). Composers such as Igor Stravinsky and Milton Babbitt developed personal approaches to Serialism; Stravinsky using a method of Rotational Arrays, and Babbitt using Combinatoriality of the rows. Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky (Игорь Фёдорович Стравинский) ( &ndash 6 April 1971 was a Russian born Composer, considered by many to Milton Byron Babbitt (born May 10 1916 is an American Composer. Set Theory is another approach to understanding atonal music that may or may not be serial. Musical set theory provides concepts for categorizing musical objects and describing their relationships Although more akin to the mathematical field of Group Theory than mathematical Set Theory, the nomenclature has become standard inside the musical community. Group theory is a mathematical discipline the part of Abstract algebra that studies the Algebraic structures known as groups. Set theory represents the pitch classes as numbers to allow a methodology of examining music without tonic or triadic functional harmony. This technique allows for exploration of the construction of a serial tone row as well as less strict atonal works. This technique has been extended with a great deal of mathematical rigor to both tonal and atonal systems by David Lewin in his transformational approach utilizing networks of related sets. David Lewin ( July 2 1933 - May 5 2003) was an American Music theorist, music Critic and Composer. Transformational theory is a branch of music theory developed by David Lewin in the 1980s and formally introduced in his most influential work Generalized Musical
Music notation is the graphical representation of music. Music semiology ( Semiotics) the semiology of Music, is the study of signs as they pertain to Music on a variety of levels Jean-Jacques Nattiez (born December 30 1945, Amiens, France) is a Musical semiologist or semiotician and professor of See also Modern musical symbols Music notation or musical notation is any system which represents aurally perceived Music through the use See also Modern musical symbols Music notation or musical notation is any system which represents aurally perceived Music through the use In standard Western notation, pitches are represented on the vertical axis and time is represented by notation symbols on the horizontal axis. Thus, notes are properly placed on the musical staff with appropriate time values to show musicians what note to play and when to play it.
Such notation makes up the contents of the musical staff, along with directions indicating the key, tempo, dynamics, accents, and rests, etc. In standard Western Musical notation, the staff ( AmE) or stave In Music theory, the term key is used in many different and sometimes contradictory ways 2266-Tetramethylpiperidine-1-oxyl or TEMPO is the Chemical compound with the formula (CH23(CMe22NO In Music, dynamics normally refers to the volume of a Sound or note, but can also refer to every aspect of the execution of a given piece either stylistic
Music and mathematics are strongly intertwined. Music theorists often use Mathematics to understand musical structure and communicate new ways of hearing music As noted above, our concept of pitch and temperament are both strongly tied to mathematics, and acoustics in particular. Analysis often takes a mathematical route, musical set theory and Transformational theory are both steeped in mathematics. Transformational theory is a branch of music theory developed by David Lewin in the 1980s and formally introduced in his most influential work Generalized Musical
Some methods of composition are mathematically based. Iannis Xenakis developed several methods using stochastic methods. Iannis Xenakis (Ιάννης Ξενάκης (May 29 1922 - February 4 2001 was a Greek modernist composer musical theoretician and architect Stochastic (from the Greek "Στόχος" for "aim" or "guess" means Random. The French school of spectral music uses mathematical analysis of sounds to develop compositional materials. Spectral music (or spectralism) refers to a Musical composition practice where compositional decisions are often informed by the analysis of sound spectra
Analysis is the effort to describe and explain music using only the music as a starting point. Musical analysis can be defined as an attempt to answer the Question how does this Music work?. Schenkerian analysis is a method of Musical analysis of tonal music based on the theories of Heinrich Schenker. Transformational theory is a branch of music theory developed by David Lewin in the 1980s and formally introduced in his most influential work Generalized Musical Analysis at once is a catch-all term describing the process of describing any portion of the music, as well as a specific field of formal analysis or the field of stylistic analysis. Formal analysis attempts to answer questions of hierarchy and form, and stylistic analysis attempts to describe the style of the piece. These two distinct sub-fields often coincide.
Analysis of harmonic structures is typically presented through a roman numeral analysis. However, over the years, as music and the theory of music have both grown, a multitude of methods of analyzing music have presented themselves. Two very popular methods Shenkerian analysis and Neo-Riemannian analysis have dominated much of the field. Shenkerian analysis attempts to "reduce" music through layers of foreground, middleground, and, eventually an importantly, the background. Neo-Riemannian (or Transformational) analysis began as an extension of Hugo Riemann's theories of music, and then expanding Riemann's concepts of pitch and transformation into a mathematically rich language of analysis. While both theories originated as methods of analysis for tonal music, both have been extended to use in non-tonal music as well.
Aural skills — the ability to identify musical patterns by ear, as opposed to by the reading of notation — form a key part of a musician's craft and are usually taught alongside music theory. Ear training or aural skills is a process by which Musicians learn to identify intervals chords Rhythms and other basic elements of Most aural skills courses train the perception of relative pitch (the ability to determine pitch in an established context) and rhythm. The term relative pitch may denote the distance of a musical note from a set point of reference e Sight-singing — the ability to sing unfamiliar music without assistance — is generally an important component of aural skills courses.