Miscellaneous

Name that Tune

eliyahu stein
eliyahu stein
By Eliyahu Stein
What is a tune made of? What is the difference between one melody and another? We all
know that each melody is made up of certain notes played in a certain order, but what fewer
people know is that the timing of the notes is an essential part of the tune. You can take the
same notes from one melody and change the timing on them, and what you’ll hear will be a
completely different song.

There are four elements in the timing of a piece: beat, tempo, meter, and duration. The
beats are fixed units of time used universally in musical notation. The tempo is the
frequency of the beats in a piece—how fast the piece should be played, usually measured in
bpm (beats per minute). For example, the tempo of a fast Chassidic tune will be around 160
bpm. Meter is the rhythmic pattern of the song, and it indicates to the musician which notes
in the melody should be emphasized. For example, in the “simple quadruple” meter, each
measure contains 4 beats with different emphases on each—normally, the first and third
beats will be emphasized more than the second and fourth. Duration is the duration of each
note relative to the beat—a whole note, quarter note, eighth note, etc. Silences between notes
are also part of the melody, and their location and duration is also indicated in the notes for a piece.

In popular bands, drums and other percussion instruments are normally used to “play” the
rhythm and set up the framework of the piece’s timing. They control the speed and the
meter, using different instruments to emphasize different parts of the rhythm (such as the
hi-hat kick and the snare drum). The drums are also often used to play flourishes to signify
the end of a verse.
Eliyahu Stein is a popular musician based in Ramat Beit Shemesh. His musical ability matches his knowledge of setting the right tone for any event.
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