Cultural and Creative Arts

Elements of music

The following are the elements of music.

Pitch, melody, harmony, rhythm, texture, timbre, form or structure

(i) Pitch: This refers to the height or depth of sound.

(ii) Rhythm: This refers to the movement, life or time pattern of a piece of music.

(iii) Melody: This means the main tune of a piece of music.

(iv) Harmony: This means combination of musical notes to form chords. It is the clothing of melody.

(v) Texture: The number of parts in a musical piece and their relation to one another.

(vi) Timbre: This is the difference in sound production of one musical instrument and the other.

(vii) Form or structure: This is the shape or order of music.


  1. List three elements of music you have been taught.
  2. What is pitch?

Notes on the Keyboard

The keyboard of a piano or organ is the whole row of black and white keys on which the fingers are placed in playing.


The white keys are named after the first seven letters of the musical alphabet (ABCDEFG). When we play from left to right on the keyboard, we are GOING UP in pitch. As we play from right to left the notes become lower. The white key on the left of two black keys is C. Between the two black keys is D. To the right of two black keys is E. The white key on the left of the three black keys is FG and A are inside, and B is on the right of the three black keys.

Notes on octave apart from each other have the same letter names e.g. A A, C C, G G, etc. A standard piano keyboard has 7 ¼ octaves.


This is the distance between any note and the very next note up or down from it. E.g. B to C, E to F, and G to (black note on the right of G) is a semitone.

A Tone

This is the distance of two SEMITONES up or down from any given note. E.g C to D , D to E, etc.

Now, look at the note ‘G’. The semitone down from that note would be the black note which is the lowest of the group of three black notes. We would call that note ‘G-flat’. Did you notice? ‘F-sharp’ and ‘G-flat’ are the same pitch! All of the black notes on the piano keyboard have two different names. Give two names for the black note which is the middle of the group of three…The answer would be ‘G-sharp’ and ‘A-flat’.

Here is a picture of a keyboard with all of the keys properly labelled, with a staff showing where each note is located. In printed music, we use this sign to indicate ‘sharp’: , and this sign to indicate ‘flat’: 



  1. Draw the keyboard.
  2. Label the keyboard drawn above.
  3. What is semi-tone?
  4. What is a tone?


  1. How are the white and black keys arranged?
  2. As you play to the right the sound becomes ___ (higher, lower)
  3. Mention the two places on the keyboard where semitones exit between white keys only.
  4. How many semitones are there in an octave e.g. C to C or D or D?
  5. Notes which sound alike but are differently notated (e.g. D# and Eb) are said to be what?
  1. Write down the name of the note that is a semitone abovethe following notes.

(There are two possible names):

(a) ‘G’: ______ ______

(b) ‘C’: ______ ______

(c) ‘A’: ______ ______

(d) ‘D’: ______ ______

  1. Write down the name of the note that is a semitone belowthe following notes.

(There are two possible names):

(a) ‘E’: ______ ______

(b) ‘A’: ______ ______

(c) ‘G’: ______ ______

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