Listening for form in popular music
Listening for form in popular music

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Listening for form in popular music

Glossary

Bridge
A contrasting passage connecting other important components of a song.
Chorus
A section of a song in which both music and text are repeated. The chorus is often sung in alternation with other sections (especially verses) and frequently contains the most memorable and engaging musical material in a song.
Contrast
Formal technique in which new musical material is presented.
Coda
A passage that brings a piece to a close.
Extemporised
Composed in the course of performance. A synonym of ‘improvised’.
Falsetto
Most commonly, the weaker upper range of the male voice.
Form
How music is organised in time by means of repetition, variation and contrast.
Instrumental music
Music made by instruments only, without singing.
Interlude
An instrumental passage that comes between other sections of a song.
Introduction
Also referred to as ‘Intro’. An instrumental passage heard at the opening of a piece of music.
Loop
A repeating section, often purely instrumental. The term is most commonly used in describing electronic music.
Ostinatos
A relatively short passage of music, continually repeated.
Outro
Coda; an instrumental section that concludes a piece of music.
Pre-chorus
A section of a song that connects the verse to the chorus. It typically uses the same words and the same melody each time it appears.
Repetition
Formal technique involving the presentation of musical material that has been heard before.
Tempo
The speed of the underlying beat.
Vamp
A short piece of opening material that can be repeated as desired.
Variation
Formal technique in which musical material that has been heard before is presented in altered form.
Verse
A verse is a section of a song that has the same musical content as other verses, but different words. Verses tend to have more text and be more focused on narrative than choruses.
Vocables
Sung, meaningless syllables.
A234_1

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