Free course

Discovering music through listening

Free statement of participation on completion
Discovering music through listening Copyrighted Icon

This free course, Discovering music through listening, will introduce you to the musical elements used by musicians to create a piece of music: pulse, tempo, metre, rhythm, melody, harmony, structure, texture, timbre, and dynamics. You’ll learn how to identify the different musical elements by taking a particular approach to listening to the music, known as close listening. Alongside developing your listening skills, you will learn how to explain what you hear using technical language.

You do not need to be able to read music notation, play an instrument, or have any prior musical knowledge to be able to complete this course.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • identify the different musical elements in the music you listen to
  • discuss the musical elements that you hear using technical language
  • analyse the musical effects created by composers by thinking about how they use and manipulate the musical elements.

First Published: 22/07/2020

Updated: 22/07/2020

You can start this course right now without signing-up. Click on any of the course content sections below to start at any point in this course.
If you want to be able to track your progress, earn a free Statement of Participation, and access all course quizzes and activities, sign-up.

Course content

Skip Rate and Review

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371