Melody relies on patterns. Every string of notes that listeners accept as a melody is full of them! These musical patterns – a.k.a. “melodic figures” – are present in countless other melodies. For over 30 years, I’ve cataloged melodic figures by shape, type, and behavior. Expect to see a “Field Guide to Melodic Figures” for composers soon. Think of this list of the 24 melodic figures as a preview to that book.
the 24 melodic figures
To see a few of these figures in action, start here:
- the 3-Note Scale: “How To Approach Melody In An Entirely New Way – #1 Melodic Figures” (video)
- the Leaping Scale: “Melody is Made of Figures, Not Single Notes” (blog post)
- the Crazy Driver and the 3_Note Scale: “Melodic Building Blocks: Musical Legos?” (blog post)