Understanding musical scores
Understanding musical scores

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

Understanding musical scores

1.3.2 Close listening

Figure 13
Download this audio clip.Audio player: ou_futurelearn_musical_score_aud_1019_frere.mp3
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

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
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

How is the pitch and rhythm of this tune similar to Frère Jacques? How is it different?


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