about figuring out melody

Back in the ’80s when hair was big and ideas were bigger, David Fuentes has this random brainwave while working on a paper in graduate school. Thinks a melody isn’t a series of individual notes. No, no. It’s built from a handful of common "building blocks" (3- to 4-note patterns) found in every piece of tonal music. A radical idea? Perhaps. Yet, one that offers a profound understanding of melody’s true nature.

So, Fuentes walks into his first teaching gig at Berklee College of Music, eager to introduce these "melodic figures" and see what happens. His students? Hooked from the word go. And their projects “ROCKED” (even when they wrote jazz). The registrar repeatedly told him that his classes were the first to fill up during the 10 years he was there.

Since then, he’s refined his initial ideas and developed an original, comprehensive theory of melody called "Melodic Figuration," which he continues to develop.

Through written materials, public lectures, private lessons, workshops, videos, seminars, and applications for AI, Fuentes continues to show composers how to use melodic figures to create melodies that are more imaginative, personal, technically solid, and emotionally expressive.