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Valentina Carlile Osteopata
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Musical elements and interpretation: When music meets speech

Musical elements and interpretation: When music meets speech

Of the many musical elements we could identify, the following three produce the greatest dramatic results: articulation and phrasing, dynamic contrast, rhythm, and smoothness of passage.

These same elements have the same purpose when we express them in speech.

Let's see how:

  1. ARTICULATION AND PHRASE: helps you understand what the speaker is saying. What happens is what happens when we articulate each of the consonants and give each vowel its right energy. This is what we mean by good articulation vs bad articulation. The sentence is an integral part of natural language. Think of it as the organic grouping of thoughts and the connection of one thought to the next that communicates intention and meaning. In the same way a musical phrase, well articulated and linked, gives expression to a piece.

  2. DYNAMIC CONTRAST: refers to how loud or soft we play. We can speak to emphasize a point, or we can speak more softly to de-emphasize a point. But sometimes, becoming softer can also be a form of emphasis. We can also get gradually louder, calling this a crescendo, or gradually softer, calling this a decrescendo.

  3. PASSAGE RHYTHM AND UNIFORMITY: This refers to how accurate and consistent our timing is in playing a given passage. How can it relate to everyday language? When speech patterns are irregular, it can be difficult to understand what is being said. But when we standardize the rhythmic patterns, speech is more natural. This also applies to music, when you hear a musical form that is performed incorrectly with an unstable rhythm, it is difficult to understand. However, if the rhythm is presented more smoothly, the musical intention is clearer.

In this way we made sense of the musical elements and how they will relate to the interpretation (Shinn 2017).

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