a blog about melody:
with some posts for instruction, and others for reflection


fundamentals of melody

The 3 Core Principles of Melody

This addresses the source of ENERGY in melody: harnessing its interior vitality. Here, the focus is on meter – the most powerful force in music. Learn to use meter to control melodic momentum. It’s the key to achieving a wide range of expressive effects. The first bit of Eleanor Rigby has only two

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melodic figuration

Melody is Made of Figures, Not Single Notes

Principle #1 in the series, “The 3 Core Principles of Melody” According to the dictionary, a melody is “a succession of single tones organized as an aesthetic whole” (Merriam Webster). So riddle me this: why doesn’t any old succession of tones sound “melodic?” Hmmmm… Could it be that the “single tones” in a

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melodies land

Notes Behave Differently Just Before, Right On, and Just After Each Beat.

Principle #2 in the series, “The 3 Core Principles of Melody.”
Musical meter is deeply intuitive. And it’s so closely tied to our physical bodies that even babies and many animals respond to it. Doesn’t it make sense that meter would be a key to understanding music?

But by and large, it is RARE to find anyone who talks about meter.
I believe that this is a grave oversight.

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melody as predictable as love

Great Melodies Have Both Predictable and Unpredictable Parts.

Principle #3 in the series, “The 3 Core Principles of Melody.”  Composers not only need to know when to give listeners what they expect, we need to know when not to. Unless our music is predictable, listeners won’t be able to follow along. But if there are no parts that take an unexpected

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Melodic Building Blocks: Musical Legos?

  Irving Berlin wrote over 1500 songs,the scores for 20 original Broadway musicals,and 15 Hollywood films, including White Christmas.Here’s how he described composing:     What did Berlin mean by “the old phrases?” That a handful of common melodic patterns have formed the “vocabulary” that Bach, John Lennon, and Taylor Swift have used

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music analysis necessary

Why Analyze Music?

I get asked this question A LOT. It seems that many people see analysis as a purely mental exercise that’s more likely to spoil music than reveal anything worthwhile. But any time we step outside of our experience of music to try to answer questions about it, that’s analysis. Maybe you’re a fan

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