MUSICAL EMPHASIS I
Emphasis is very important in communication: It helps to establish what is of primary importance, versus what may be supporting or of secondary relevance.
Verbal communication contains a variety of strategies for creating emphasis. For instance, you’re instructing your children on pool safety: Don’t run next to the pool, no splashing in other people’s faces, etc. But most important of all: No children allowed in the water without a grown-up. How would you emphasize this statement’s import? You might repeat it several times; you might raise your voice; you might grab your child’s hand and look him or her in the eye; you might sit the child, down, pause, and then speak.
How is emphasis created in a piece of music? Being able to recognize and interpret such emphases is essential to active listening. When a composer is communicating with you through music, it is very helpful to know what he or she considers to be of primary importance.
Musical emphasis may be created by duration, change and extremes. When emphases are coordinated to help illuminate musical structure, rhetorical reinforcement is created.