Melodic Organization

Melodic Organization
Chapter 6
Short melodic and/or rhythmic pattern
Usually only a few beats
Recurs throughout a piece or section
Unifying element
Melodic motives – repeated pitch patterns
Rhythmic motives – repeated rhythm patterns
Accompaniment figures are often rhythmic
• Immediate restatement of a melodic motive at
a higher or lower pitch
• Characteristics
– 1. At least two segments
– 2. Most contain no more than three or four
– 3. Move in only one direction
– 4. Segments continue by the same interval
Types of Sequences
• Real Sequence
– Exact transposition
– Will most likely include accidentals
• Tonal Sequence
– Segments remain diatonic to the original key
– No accidentals
• Modified Sequence
– Segments are decorated or embellished
• False Sequence
– Each segment repeats a portion of the original
Complete musical thought
Usually contains a cadence
Often 4 measures in length
Can be divided into two smaller phrases called
phrase members
– Usually separated by a longer note value or rest
– Some phrase members are repeats or in sequence
– Others are simply new material
• Two adjacent phrases can combine to form a
period if:
– The 2nd cadence is stronger than the 1st
– They are melodically related
Types of Periods
• Parallel
– Both phrases begin the same
• Contrasting
– The phrases are not melodically similar
• Three-Phrase
– AAB or ABB type construction
– 3rd phrase must have the strongest cadence
• Double Period
– Many combinations of phrases
– 4th phrase must have the strongest cadence
• Extends the length of the phrase without
adding any significant melodic interest
• Often includes sequence or motive
• Can occur at any point in the phrase
– Beginning
– Middle
– End
Change of Mode
• Modification of a phrase by transcribing it into
the parallel major or minor
Melodic Structure
• Climax tone – the highest stressed pitch of a
• Ascent – the general melodic movement up to
the climax tone
• Decent – the general melodic movement away
from the climax tone
• Tonic triad pitches – placed throughout the
melody to establish tonality
• 3 2 1 scale degrees – end of melody includes 3, 2,
1 progression

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