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

3.1.2 Working with instruments

Now you have listened to the performance and heard the performers discussing a little bit about their approach to this music, let’s look at the score.

Look out for the following elements:

  • Double bar lines and repeat marks – can you spot these landmarks?
  • Rests – note the rests in the piano part, as it doesn’t play at all in this section.
  • Dynamics – the pp indicates that the dynamic is quiet.
  • Melody – this is played by the violin and is in the top treble clef stave.
  • Accompaniment – this is provided by the other instruments (viola, cello and double bass). The double bass in the bottom bass clef stave has the slowest moving notes, and gives a repetitive, rhythmic long-short-short pattern.
Figure 1

You will have noticed brackets over the music labelled with numbers one and two. These are first and second time bars; the musicians play the music under the one bracket on the first time, then miss out this bar on the repeat to play the music marked two.

Now, let’s put it all together and listen to this section, while following the score. First, keep your eye on the melody, and then see if you can pick out the double bass and follow the bottom line.

Download this audio clip.Audio player: music_mooc_introducing_new_genres_000-104.mp3
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

How do you think the performers manage to work together to combine all these elements effectively?


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