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      Maxime Racicot - Saturday 21 December 2022

      The 4 dimensions of Music

      The 4 dimensions of music

       

      There are several ways to explain music and its multiple facets.

      During advanced seminars I attended in the early 2000s, Jon Damian, guitar teacher at Berklee College, illustrated the 4 dimensions of music very well. Here is a summary.

       

      If we imagine a cube, we can easily see the 3 dimensions:

      -The height

      -The length and

      -The depth

       

      Music, on the other hand, has 4 dimensions. Let's use the cube parameters to fully understand these.

       

      If we imagine the height of the cube, we can say that it represents the height of the notes (low notes, high notes). This is a fundamental dimension of music. It is essential to play the right notes, in the right register, in order to correctly recognize a melody.

       

      Like the width of a cube, rhythm is also essential in music. As we wonder how wide a cube is, we can wonder if a rhythm is slow, fast, repetitive or random.

       

      When learning a piece of music, we are mainly concerned with these two parameters:

      -The rhythm and

      -The pitch of notes.

       

      If we stop after looking at these two elements only, we will have only 2 dimensions and therefore a square rather than a cube... We are missing something.

       

      Just like the depth, the nuances and the intensity of playing will bring a third dimension, relief. It is therefore important to think about the volume, the intensity and the variations of what you play on the instrument.

       

      The fourth dimension is difficult to explain but can be illustrated quite simply.

       

      If we take three cubes of identical length, width and depth, we will agree that if these cubes are made of different materials, they will consequently be very different. A cube of wood, a cube of sugar, a cube of cheese : Three cubes but a world of difference.

       

      If we transpose everything into music, we will call this fourth dimension articulation.

      Articulation is how we're going to play the music.

      Will we play our guitar piece with the fingers, with a pick, or with the edge of the thumb?  Will we use a guitar with nylon or metal strings? All these elements contribute to the final result of the music that will be played and are all parameters to consider.

       

      In summary, the next time you play a piece of music, ask yourself: Am I making a cube? Or just a square?

      La Boîte Musicale

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