Tutorial: Musical Elements - Melody
In a previous tutorial we had discussed a musical element called rhythm. We will take a closer look at other important musical elements to consider when composing music - Melody, Harmony, Key and Scales. The concepts studied in this lesson will be enhanced through compositional activities and a project.
As a computer music composer, it is vital to understand how melody works and how to effectively compose a melody in order to achieve the desired mood.
Melody - A series of single notes that add up to a recognizable whole.
Characteristics of Melody
Begins, moves, ends-Has direction, shape and continuity.
Tension and release-Expectation and Arrival.
Stepwise vs. leap motion:
Melodies move by small intervals called steps or larger ones called leaps.
Climax=The highest tone of melody/emotional focal point.
Legato vs. staccato=Note durations can vary the effect of a melody.
Melodies are organized into phrases.
Phrases are melodies made up of shorter parts.
Balanced pairs: Rising pitches followed by falling pitches
Analyze: Lowercase letters to represent sections of a piece: a,b,etc.
Different phrases: a,b Phrase Repeated: a,a
Varied Repetition: a, a’
Sequence within melodies: A repetition of a melodic pattern at a higher or lower pitch.
Cadence: Complete vs. Incomplete: A point of arrival/resting place at end of phrase-Partial, setting up expectations=incomplete; Sense of finality=Complete
For audio and visual examples of phrases, click the "Exploring Melody and Phrases Below".
In Review of Exploring Melody and Phrases
Be able to identify the following elements of melody:
Climax (focal point)
Incomplete and complete sequence
Be able to identify the following elements of Phrases:
Theme: melody used as starting point and evolving throughout an extended piece of music.
Identify the themes from the following film clip: