Intro to the 8 Elements

From 4 parameters to 8 elements

We have seen:

  • the 4 parameters of sound (pitch, duration, intensity, and timbre),

and we have learned that

  • “music” is “sound” that is continuous, organized, and pleasing.

Four more things that help organize music, make it happen over time, and make it pleasing are:

  • form, texture, tempo, and even the use of silence.

In the following sections we’ll look at the 8 elements of music in detail. Here they are (in music, we use the term “dynamics” instead of “intensity”:


High or Low


Long or Short


Loud or Soft


Tone Color


ABA, sonata…


Thick or Thin


Fast or Slow


Helpful information

  • Each lesson starts with a summary in outline form (TL;DR, or “too long, didn’t read”.) This can help you to organize your mind as you look at the rest of the lesson.
  • There are illustrations and diagrams you can copy and print out. There are videos to watch, and to listen to. Watch and listen to everything!
  • At the end of each lesson there is a “Remember!” box with keywords and ideas that are important for you to remember and understand.
  • Do all of the games and quizzes! 
  • Download and print out the mind map below. It will help you visualize everything. It will also be a part of your final test – you’ll have to fill out the mind map yourself!

Ready? Yalla!