Melodic Figures — Points for Review
- Melody is made of groups of notes, not individual notes.
- I call those groups melodic figures. (Elsewhere, “figure” is a
- Melodic figures line up with beats.
- Unlike motives, which have unique profiles, melodic figures are generic.
- The fact that figures are generic is an advantage: you can use them to create anything you want.
- Even so, figures have aspects that set them apart from other figures.
- There are only three types of figures: scale figures, neighbor figures, and arpeggio figures.
- We don’t compose figures, we combine “pre-existing” figures to make something new. (The same applies to words and sentences.)
- Musicians learn figures the same way we learn language: intuitively, by ear.
- Learning about figures is a powerful way to start thinking more intuitively about music.
- A great way to learn about melody is to switch out one figure for another and hear the difference.