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Discovering music through listening
Discovering music through listening

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This free course 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. Hearing the musical elements is the first step to understanding how a piece of music ‘works’, but translating what you hear into words will require using the language which musicians use. Therefore, alongside developing your listening skills, you will learn how to explain what you hear using technical language.

This course introduces music terminology which you may not be familiar with. You can find a summary of these in the glossary of terms at the end of each week. Music terminology will be reproduced in bold text to indicate that a definition is provided in the glossary.

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.

Moving around the course

In the ‘Summary’ at the end of each week, you will find a link to the next week. If at any time you want to return to the start of the course, click on ‘Full course description’. From here you can navigate to any part of the course.

It’s also good practice, if you access a link from within a course page, to open it in a new window or tab. That way you can easily return to where you’ve come from without having to use the back button on your browser.