Music Vocabulary To Teach Your Chinese Students

As teaching jobs in China keep rising, the introduction of various classes such as music also comes into play. Jobs in China now allow teachers to teach more than just English, and Chinese students learning English have the flexibility to learn music too. 

This means students must learn music vocabulary to enjoy and create music. They need to understand the required musical terminologies to develop and share their music with the world. Many describe music as good or bad, soft or loud, foreign or local. However, there are more musical vocabularies that Chinese students need to learn. 

Here are 12 examples:

  1. Genre

Genre is the traditional category that identifies and differentiates pieces of music. People can identify and group various music through genres. For instance, classical music, hip-hop music, pop, reggae, and rock are some significant genres. A student needs to distinguish the different music genres should they wish to create their own or evaluate another. It is important to note that all genres have an additional music flow.

Another music genre that has gained popularity over the years is Acappella. Acappella is a type of musical performance where the performer plays or performs without an accompaniment or other backing instruments that usually create harmony or rhythm.

  1. Beat/Tempo

The beat is the regular tempo or pulse in music that dictates the song’s speed. Beat or tempo allows singers, players, and listeners to be in synchrony resulting in a consistent rhythm. The cadence enables players to remain in synchrony and produce a harmonious performance.

  1. Key

The key identifies pitch and is related to a group of notes. Keys can be minor or significant. Usually, minor keys evoke sad emotions, while primary keys create happy feelings. Music can only be played in one key at a time.

  1. Staff

The staff or stave is a set of five lines and four spaces representing a notation or pitch of a note. There are three primary clefs: G clef (treble clef), C clef (alto clef), and F clef (bass clef). The staff is where the musical notation is written for musicians to read and play. The song’s key is also written on the staff so that all players are in tune and harmony.

  1. Harmony

Harmony is the sound of two or more musical notes simultaneously, resulting in a pleasant sound blend. The Chinese students need to know the key to a melodious song or piece to develop pleasing sound combinations.

  1. Dissonance

Dissonance is the tension or clashing of notes, often because of sound combinations not in perfect harmony. Dissonance can occur because the creator lacks a proper understanding of harmonies or intentionally uses it to create pressure.

  1. Lyrics

Lyrics are the words of a musical performance. Usually, they tell a story and are accompanied by sound. Lyrics are the most critical part of music because they narrate a story and evoke an emotion that the sounds complement. Lyrics can either be written or spoken freely, usually known as freestyle. 

  1. Music Instruments

A Musical instrument is an instrument that is played often through striking, strumming, pressing, blowing, or singing to create sound. The most basic instrument is the human voice. Other instruments include piano, guitar, violin, cello, synthesizers, and drums. 

All instruments are played differently. Some instruments can be played solo or in a group. When different instruments are played together, good music can still be achieved. For example, a music band allows other people to play various musical instruments to produce one song. 

  1. Voice

The human voice can be categorized into four voice parts: soprano, alto, tenor, and bass. The soprano is the highest pitch, followed by alto, tenor, and bass. According to music history, the soprano and alto are considered feminine voices, while tenor and bass relate to masculine voices. As music has evolved, any person can perform music in these categories regardless of gender. 

  1. Artist

An artist is a professional who can create music, write lyrics, play an instrument, sing, or combine all the four.  Other aspects of artists include dancing, spoken word, and sound mimicking. While many artists can write and sing simultaneously, there have been occasions where people write for other musicians to perform. 

Two artists can collaborate to create one piece of music, and this can be called a ‘collabo’ or annotated as one musician featuring the other. When many musicians join in singing together, the group is called a choir or band.

  1. Rhythm

Rhythm is the pattern of beats within the speed or tempo of the song to create a specific movement that leads all other instruments and performers. African rhythms tend to be more complex compared to European rhythms. When there is a perfect rhythm, it is easy to say that the music flows.

  1. Chorus

A chorus is the repeated part of a musical performance with a catchy melody, harmony, and rhythm. The chorus of the song holds the central message of the song. Depending on the length, one piece can have two or three choruses, while in other cases, a hook precedes a chorus.

Conclusion

Chinese students learning English need to understand the various musical vocabularies to converse and enjoy their music classes or relate with musical professionals. Understanding diverse music vocabulary is integral in understanding the different types of music genres, artists, performances, and meanings. Students who understand terminology can create their music, share their thoughts with professionals, and develop a more profound sense of music, enabling them to appreciate it more.

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