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Looking inside a song

In this video, Adam White from the University of Sheffield breaks down a song into the five fundamental elements of music.

At their most basic level, all songs are built from the same building blocks of music. In this video, Adam introduces you to these building blocks – with the help of some musical friends.

These building blocks are what we’ll be calling the five elements of music – melody, rhythm, harmony, metre and key. To help us understand these concepts and how they work together to create a song, we’ve put together a band and headed into a studio. The band are going to play a traditional song called Green Rocky Road.

We’ll see that some of the elements of music are divided up between the performers, whilst others are the responsibility of one or two parts in particular. This video is our first dose of music theory, but please don’t worry about trying to learn it all here. We’ll be returning to these concepts again and again as the course unfolds.

  • As you watch the video, make a note of which parts of the band (drums, double bass, rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar and vocals) create each element of music.
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How to Write Your First Song

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