How Well Do You Remember Your Elementary School Music Class?

Amanda Monell

Image: Digital Vision/Digital Vision/Getty Images

About This Quiz

One of the first introductions we get to music is while we're in the womb.  Many mothers-to-be believe that listening to Mozart will help improve the intelligence of their growing babies. However, this was proven to be false by a team from Vienna.  Once the baby was born, however, there was a different outcome.  At three months old, babies could listen to the complex structures of music and then recognize if they've heard them before.

For some, music is something you play in the background while you work, exercise, or drive from point A to point B. Then there are music lovers who eat, breathe, and sleep music. We're guessing that you fall into the second category. While it seems that music floods the populace through radio and film, it is in elementary school where students are first introduced to musical theory and the elements of what makes music a universal language, including structure, instruments, and the components that makes music what it is.  

So, do you remember what your music teacher taught you many years ago, or are you going need a refresher course?  One way to find out is to take this quiz.

Which musical instrument family includes maracas, drums, and gongs?

Other instruments in this family include triangles, xylophones, chimes, castanets, and the piano. However, it should be noted that there has always been a debate over what family the piano belongs to: the string family or the percussion family.

What musical instrument family includes violins and violas?

Other instruments in the strings family include the bass and harps. An easy way to classify an instrument as a string instrument is its construction and how you play it. If there are strings stretched out over a bridge and if you played it by plucking those same strings, then you have a string instrument.

What musical instrument family includes trumpets and tubas?

The brass family of instruments got their name from the material from which they are made (brass). The method of playing the instrument is taken into account as well. Instead of blowing into the instrument using a reed like one of the woodwind instruments, players make a buzzing noise against the mouthpiece, making the sweet sounds that could only belong to the brass family.

What musical instrument family includes clarinets and flutes?

Just like many other instruments, one of the primary ways you can tell the difference between a brass instrument and a woodwind instrument is by the way it is played and by its construction. All woodwind instruments have dampers (called keys) that are pressed and a reed that the players blow against, causing vibrations and producing sound.

What is a group of singers who sing without instrumental back-up called?

If you are looking for a good example of an a cappella performance, check out the group, Pentatonix. This quintet has performed many popular songs, including Lorde's 2014 hit, "Royals," and Camila Cabello's 2017 hit, "Havana."

What is a group of performers who perform​ by ringing bells called?

Almost all handbell players wear white gloves. Why? Not only do they protect the player from getting blisters from the handles, but they protect the bell as well. Oils from the human hand could damage the instrument.

This type of choir learns its music by ear and often improvises performances. What's this group called?

Gospel Choirs are often used to add a little bit of soul and depth to music. If you're looking for a good example of a gospel choir in music, check out "Hallelujah" by Panic at the Disco.

Which of the instruments listed below is a woodwind instrument?

Because of its black lacquered body, many will mistake an oboe for a clarinet. An oboe is slightly shorter than the clarinet, is more difficult to play, and is played using a double reed versus the clarinet's single reed.

Which of the instruments listed below is a brass instrument?

The tuba family is broken down into two different types: rotary tubas and piston tubas. The way you can tell the difference between the rotary and the piston tuba is pretty simple: a piston tuba has valves that look like and act similarly to a car's engine (when the valve is pressed, air flows through two channels), and a rotary tuba has flatter valves and when they're pressed, the air will flow around a circular channel.

What instrument listed below belongs in the strings family?

One of the easiest ways to tell the difference between a guitar and a bass is the number of strings it has. A bass has four strings and bigger tuning keys, while a guitar has six (or 12) strings and smaller tuning keys.

Which of the instruments listed below is a percussion instrument?

One of the key parts of a tambourine are the jingles also known as zills. However, zills aren't only present on tambourines. They are also what belly dancers use as finger symbols.

What is a song without lyrics called?

An easy way to find instrumental music is to check out some movies. There may be one or two songs with lyrics to highlight lows or highs in the plot, but the majority of the music is instrumental.

What part of a song's lyrics sets the mood and provides the story for the composition?

Even though it isn't remembered as well as the refrain and chorus, the verses tend to give the most emotion and provide the story that feeds into that powerful moment that unifies the entire piece.

What part of a song is repeated after each verse?

Whenever you're trying to identify a song in your head to another person, we're betting you're singing the chorus. Why? It is often repeated more than once in a song and usually has a more passion-infused composition.

Which of the clefs denotes higher-pitched tones?

Did you know that a treble clef is also known as a G clef? Why? Because if you look at it, the bottom half forms a G.

Which of the clefs denotes lower-pitched tones?

Those unfamiliar with music will often ask where the bass clef begins and the treble clef begins. There is a single note that denotes this: middle C. This key is located in the center of many instruments.

What are the numbers located to the right of the clefs called?

Did you know that most rock music is written with a 4/4 time signature. That's because it is one of the easiest time signatures to follow.

What is a chord?

Chords are used in both the melody and the harmony of a composition. When a chord is heard, it gives the piece a more in-depth sound.

When you see the word "forte" at the beginning of a song, what does it mean?

To perform a song louder than the average volume, the musician will often strike the keys or strum the strings harder than when playing a piece at a normal volume. For a good example of a song performed forte, check out "Do You Hear the People Sing?" from "Les Miserables" or "Knights of Cydonia" by Muse.

When you see the word "piano" at the beginning of a song, what does it mean?

To perform a song softer than the average volume, the musician will often strike the keys or strum the strings more gently than when playing a piece at a normal volume. "It's Oh So Quiet," originally performed by Betty Hutton, then remade by Bjork, is an example of a song performed piano.

In what language are​ most musical terms written?

One of the world's most treasured and flexible instruments, the piano, has an Italian origin. Its formal name is pianoforte, Italian for "soft and loud."

Barry White had this pitch voice. What tone is it?

If you're ever looking for a villain's voice, you should enlist the rich deep tones of a baritone. Celebrities who have baritone voices include James Earl Jones, Brad Garrett, Liev Schreiber, and Michael Clarke Duncan.

Michael Jackson had this pitch voice. What tone is it?

Other famous tenors include Freddie Mercury, Paul McCartney, and Elton John. In 1990, three of the most popular tenors in opera got together and recorded a series of albums under the group, The Three Tenors.

Amy Winehouse had this pitch voice. What tone is it?

Just like the baritone is for the male, the alto is the rich deep voice of the female. Famous alto performers include Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks, Judy Garland, and Annie Lennox.

Cyndi Lauper has this pitch voice. What tone is it?

When you need a voice for a sugary sweet heroine, you should definitely look for a soprano. Famous sopranos include Julie Andrews, Dolly Parton, Mariah Carey, and Sarah Brightman.

When performing with actors in a play or musical, where does the the orchestra sit?

In addition to giving the audience a better view of the acting performers, sinking the orchestra into an orchestra pit has a second purpose. By being in an enclosed space, the music gets amplified.

What kind of musical group is seen the most in parades and sporting events?

Drum majors are a very important function in a marching band. They hold the group together and direct their path. When you have a flag corps accompanying the marching band, it is a colorful spectacle to behold.

What type of guitar is played without the use of an amp or pedals and is made primarily of wood?

When an acoustic guitar is used to cover an originally electric recording, it provides a rawer performance because there is less surrounding noise. When this happens, many artists will perform a cappella with the guitarist using the body of the guitar as a drum.

What type of guitar is played using amps and is usually a staple of rock music?

Aside from the output jack, the main differences between electric and acoustic guitars are physical. Electric guitars have knobs and bars, whereas acoustic guitars have a sound hole. Why doesn't the electric guitar have one? Because acoustic guitars use that hole to amplify its sound. Electric guitars use amplifiers.

Performers will often perform these vocal exercises before hitting the stage. What are they called?

To warm up before a performance, singers go through a series of scales to ready their vocal cords to hit all the high and low notes of the songs which they will be singing.

What part of a song usually contains the lyrics?

A majority of the instruments used for playing melodies are those capable of playing single notes. One of the best examples of a melodic instrument is something everyone has: a voice​.

What part of a song usually contains the beat and background?

While the average person will remember the melody of a song, the harmonies are just as important. A harmony is the part of music that adds texture and depth to a composition. Drums and bass guitars are common instruments used for harmonic accompaniment.

What is another word for rhythm?

Many performers will often count the tempo as they learn their music. Depending on the time signature, a piece can have up to 16 counts per measure.

What is the music between a verse and a chorus called?

Just like a physical bridge, a musical bridge connects one section of music to another. It could be used to speed the tempo of a song up or down.

What is the name of the person who directs an orchestra?

Conductors are usually positioned on a riser at the front of the orchestra. Why? So all the players can see what they're supposed to do. Conductors usually bring the orchestra to attention by beating a thin rod (known as a baton) on their music stand.

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