Representative composers: Debussy, Ravel, Faure
MELODY: Varies from short dabs of sound to long, free-flowing lines; chromatic scale, whole-tone scale, and pentatonic scale often replace usual major and minor scales.
Chromatic scale: the use of notes not part of the diatonic major or minor pattern
Whole-tone scale: a six-note scale each pitch of which is a whole tone (two frets) away from the next.
Pentatonic scale: a five-note scale found often in flok music and non-Western music.
Major scale: a seven-note scale that ascends in the following order of whole and half steps: 1-1-1/2-1-1-1-1/2. On guitar think of one or two frets on one string: 2-2-1-2-2-2-1.
Minor scale: a seven-note scale that ascends in the following order of whole and half steps: 1-1/2-1-1-1/2-1-1 or on guitar 2-1-2-2-1-2-2.
HARMONY: Primarily homophonic; triad is extended to form seventh chords and ninth chords; and these frequently move in parallel motion.
Homophonic: a texture in which all the voices, or lines, move to new pitches at roughly the same time; often referred to in contradistinction to polyphony.
Triad: a chord consisting of three pitches and two intervals of a third.
Seventh chords: a chord spanning seven letter names and constructed by superimposing three thirds.
Ninth chords: a chord spanning nine letters of the scale and constructed by superimposing four intervals of a third.
Parallel motion: a musical process in which all of the lines or parts move in the same direction, and at the same intervals, for a period of time; the opposite of counterpoint.
RHYTHM: Usually free and flexible with irregular accents, making it sometimes difficult to determine the meter; rhythmic ostinatos used to give feeling of stases rather than movement.
Ostinatos: (Italian for “obstinate”) a musical figure, motive, melody, harmony, or rhythm that is repeated again and again.
COLOR: More emphasis on woodwinds and brass and less on the violins as primary carriers of melody; more soloistic writing to show that the color of the instrument is as important as the melody line it plays.
TEXTURE: Can vary from thin and airy to heavy and dense; sustaining pedal of the piano often used to create a wash of sound.
FORM: Traditional forms involving clear-cut repetitions rarely used; composers try to develop a form unique and particular to each new musical work.