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Understanding musical scores
Understanding musical scores

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1.3.2 Close listening

Figure 13
Download this audio clip.Audio player: ou_futurelearn_musical_score_aud_1019_frere.mp3
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You will probably recognise this tune as Frère Jacques, but it is also the melody that forms the basis of the slow movement of Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, which we will be looking at in more detail later.

You will notice vertical lines dividing up the notes. These are called bar lines. Music is divided up into bars that each contain a specific number of beats (pulses) and show the movement of the music through time. Each bar is numbered in these examples. Listen to the melody and try to tap the beat as you go. Notice where you hear longer and shorter notes and how the melodic contour moves up and down as the notes travel across the page. Listen a second time and take note of the different note shapes and other symbols.

Now listen to another equally well-known tune, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.

Figure 14
Download this audio clip.Audio player: ou_futurelearn_musical_score_aud_1021_twinkle.mp3
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How is the pitch and rhythm of this tune similar to Frère Jacques? How is it different?