Table of Contents
Duration refers to the lengths of sounds and silences in music.
- a click or a pop = the shortest
- an awkward silence = less short
- a note held on a violin for 20 seconds = longer
- silence during exams = the longest
Aspects of Duration
- Pulse & Beat – “regularity”
- The background “heartbeat” of a piece of music.
- Durational Value – “ratio”
- The duration of a musical sound or silence assigned to the beat unit and all other durations of musical sounds and silences proportionately related to that beat unit.
- Tempo – “speed”
- The relative fast or slow speed at which the beat is perceived.
- Meter – “recurrence”
- The grouping of beats into recurring patterns.
- Rhythm – “combination”
- The combination of various durational values.
To find out the absolute duration of a sound or a silence in music, you need to look at
- the tempo markings,
- the time/meter signature (the notation of the meter), and
- the design of the notes (the durational value)
- The Complete Musician: An Integrated Approach to Theory, Analysis, and Listening by Steven G. Laitz
- Music in Theory and Practice by Bruce Benward and Marilyn Saker
- The Musician’s Guide to Theory and Analysis by Elizabeth West Marvin and Jane Piper Clendinning
- Understanding Basic Music Theory by Catherine Schmidt-Jones
- Music Theory v 1.0
- Duration (music) by Wikipedia