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Classical Snack, Opus 2305

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Piano Player and Still Life, Henri Matisse
Piano Player and Still Life, Henri Matisse

The Elements of Music

When I was in high school, our incredibly enthusiastic chemistry teacher made us memorize the first twenty elements on the Periodic Table. To this day, I can still recite them, and I sound pretty darn smart doing it: Hydrogen, Helium, Lithium, Beryllium, Boron, Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Fluorine, Neon, Sodium, Magnesium, Aluminum, Silicon, Phosphorus, Sulfur, Chlorine, Argon, Potassium, and Calcium. Although I was a music major in college and had no real need for further study in chemistry, my well-rounded liberal arts education serves me well in life. Frankly, it’s cool knowing random stuff – especially while watching Jeopardy, right?!

Because of my job as a WNED Classical program host, people often ask me what they can do to learn more about classical music. Lots of ideas come to mind, but like my chemistry teacher, Mr. Wilbur, I end up advising them to begin at the beginning - with the elements of music. Fortunately, there are only a few elements of music, unlike chemistry where there are more than a hundred! And it doesn’t even matter what order you put them in! Here’s my order: 

Melody, Harmony, Tempo, Rhythm, Meter, Dynamics, Form, Timbre, and Texture.

Here’s a short VIDEO briefly explaining the elements of music. 

If you have questions or comments, please write to me at Thank you for reading Classical Snack. It’s great to connect with you this way!