Site Loader

The term syllabic music may be new to you, but chances are that you’ve been listening to syllabic music your entire life! Learn how to recognize syllabic music and why composers like using it.

Syllabic Music

What kind of music do you like? R;B? Metal? Ska? Maybe you’re more of a rock and roll fan, or a country music lover. No matter what kind of music you listen to, you’ve almost certainly heard syllabic music!You may notice that the word syllabic has a lot of the same letters as the word syllable in it. That is because syllabic music sets one syllable of text per musical note.

Therefore, syllabic music must have lyrics.

Best services for writing your paper according to Trustpilot

Premium Partner
From $18.00 per page
4,8 / 5
4,80
Writers Experience
4,80
Delivery
4,90
Support
4,70
Price
Recommended Service
From $13.90 per page
4,6 / 5
4,70
Writers Experience
4,70
Delivery
4,60
Support
4,60
Price
From $20.00 per page
4,5 / 5
4,80
Writers Experience
4,50
Delivery
4,40
Support
4,10
Price
* All Partners were chosen among 50+ writing services by our Customer Satisfaction Team

How Does Syllabic Music Work?

Syllabic music is music that uses syllabic text setting for the lyrics. In syllabic text setting, each syllable of a word is broken up and assigned to an individual note. As an example, let’s look at the song ”Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

Sheet music of

The word star is a one-syllable word, and is under one musical note.

That means that the word star is sung on the one note indicated. One syllable, one note.The word twinkle has two syllables: twink and le. If you take a look at the lyrics, you’ll notice that the two syllables of this word are separated by a dash and each syllable is under its own note. Two syllables, two notes.

Melismatic Music

Syllabic text setting is the opposite of melismatic text setting. A melisma occurs when a single syllable of text is stretched over several different pitches. Here’s an example of Ding Dong Merrily on High; notice the melisma on the first syllable of the word ‘Gloria.’ Notice how the syllable is stretched over 16 different pitches.

A melisma on the first syllable of the word
Melismatic singer Whitney Houston.
Photo of Whitney Houston

Whether or not a piece is considered to be syllabic or melismatic depends on the frequency with which each type of text setting occurs. Many pieces are mostly syllabic with a few decorative melismas, whereas a few pieces are almost entirely melismatic.

Improvising On Syllabic Settings

Sometimes performers decide to ”decorate” a plain syllabic text setting by adding extra notes to transform it into a melismatic setting. A great example of this is ”The Star-Spangled Banner”. In its original form, Francis Scott Key used an almost entirely syllabic text when he set his poem to the now-famous tune by John Stafford Smith. Notice how it is all syllabic except for a small melisma on the first word.

Sheet music of

However, if you’ve ever been to a professional sports game or watched one on television, you may have noticed that the person who sings the National Anthem often embellishes the syllabic setting with decorative melismas — especially at the ends of musical phrases, as is illustrated in the example below.

One possible melismatic embellishement of the original syllabic tune.

The original notes are indicated in red, all other notes are embellished melismas.

Embellished version of Star-Spangled Banner.</p>
<p>” /></td>
</tr>
</table>
<p>This style of embellishment is not a new phenomenon. In fact, embellishing syllabic music was a very common practice during periods in music history, such as the Baroque era.</p>
<h2>Why Use Syllabic Text Setting?</h2>
<p>During the Medieval era, many professional art music composers were a little melisma-crazy.</p>
<p> They loved them, often using them on almost every syllable of text. Sometimes, one melisma might even last for over 5 minutes, moving through dozens of different notes! For example, this church music from the Medieval era stretches out each syllable of the word ‘Alleluia’ in a series of long melismas.</p>
<table border=
Image of melismatic chant.</p>
<p>” /></td>
</tr>
</table>
<p>The problem with writing music like this was that by the time the singer actually got to the end of the word, the people listening might have forgotten what the word was in the first place! Composers started to realize that this was problematic if they wanted songs to be memorable. In response to this, a gradual shift towards incorporating more syllabic text in art music compositions started to take place. By the 19th century, a large collection of art music was primarily syllabic.</p>
<p>In addition to being easier to remember, syllabic text setting is also easier to sing. Try it! Sing ”Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” and then try to sing along with Whitney Houston. Which one is easier on your voice?Now that you know what syllabic music is, pick a few of your favorite songs and listen closely to the text setting. Chances are that you’ll discover that most of the songs you hear on a daily basis are primarily syllabic!</p>
<h2>Lesson Summary</h2>
<p><b>Syllabic music</b> is music with lyrics that have primarily one syllable of text per musical note.</p>
<p> Creating syllabic music involves using <b>syllabic text setting</b>, which is the opposite of melismatic text setting. For example, the song ”Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” is entirely syllabic, using one musical note per syllable. During the Medieval era, composers preferred to use a lot of <b>melismas</b>, a musical text setting that occurs when one syllable is stretched out over several different pitches. However, syllabic music is easier to sing and easier to remember and is currently the most popular text setting style.</p>
<div class='yarpp-related'>
<h3>Related posts:</h3><ol>
<li><a href=The Ohio State University (OSU) Academic Calendar
  • Usually, metrical feet. First, we have to
  • Language our own. The simplest of these rules
  • Every with each other? ‘Instead of full stops,
  • After has six syllable types. This is
  • Learning for this example looks like this:h
  • The diphthongs, but with a bit of
  • Did A dactyl is one strong syllable
  • How focusing on the bass clef staff,
  • Did Mammal Now look at the answers
  • Post Author: admin

    x

    Hi!
    I'm Eric!

    Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

    Check it out