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Discovering music through listening
Discovering music through listening

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What is close listening?

Close listening helps us to discover how music works. It involves listening to music with the aim of identifying and explaining different elements of the music. These musical elements can be grouped into four categories relating to:

  • how the music is regulated over time (pulse, tempo, metre, rhythm)
  • the formation of melodies to make the music memorable (pitch, contour, range, register, timbre)
  • establishing harmony to enable different instruments to play together at the same time, and the concept of a musical journey – leaving and coming home, consonance and dissonance, key (including: major/minor) and harmonic progressions, texture, dynamics
  • the broader structure and how the musical elements above are organised across time (repetition, variation and contrast, and musical form).