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The Elements of Music. Part Four: Melody. Learning Goal/Success Criteria. Learning Goal I will learn about melody as an element of music. Success Criteria: I will be able to determine the range, shape, and movement of a song using proper terminology. Melody.

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the elements of music
The Elements of Music

Part Four: Melody

learning goal success criteria
Learning Goal/Success Criteria
  • Learning Goal
    • I will learn about melodyas an element of music.
  • Success Criteria:
    • I will be able to determine the range, shape, and movementof a song using proper terminology.
  • A melody is a series of pitches.
  • A melody can be described by its range, shape, and its movement.
  • The range of a melody is the distance between a melody’s highest note and lowest note.
  • The range of a melody can be narrow, medium, or wide.
  • A melody can move upward in pitch, downward in pitch, or not change pitch at all.
    • A melody can start high and then go low (descend)
    • A melody can start low and then go high (ascend)
    • A melody can start and end on the same note and then move anywhere in between (the shape of a melody would then be a wave)
    • Hint: Most pop singers sing in a “wave” shape.
  • The notes within a melody move either by steps or by leaps.
  • Melodies in popular music have mostly steps and a few leaps. A melody with more steps and fewer leaps is easer to sing and more memorable to the ear.
    • If a melody mostly steps, we call it conjunct.
    • If a melody is mostly leaps, we call it disjunct.
musical examples
Musical Examples
  • Listen to the following melodies. Determine the range, shape, and movement of each melody.
example 1
Example #1
  • Range:
  • Shape:
  • Movement:
example 2
Example #2
  • Range:
  • Shape:
  • Movement:
example 3
Example #3
  • Range:
  • Shape:
  • Movement:
example 4
Example #4
  • Range:
  • Shape:
  • Movement:
  • Repetition is a common feature in melodies. If a piece of music is repetitious, people will be able to remember it easily.
  • The image on the right has the same note repeating over and over again.
  • Many singers and instrumentalists will choose to improvise on a melody to make it more interesting.
  • Improvisation is to invent, compose, perform, or embellish a piece of music with little preparation.
examples 5
Examples 5
  • The US National anthem, the Star Spangled Banner, is one of the most improvised songs of all time.
  • Watch the video file of the version by the famous jazz musician Bleeding Gums Murphy. How does he improvise on the melody?
lack of melody
Lack of Melody
  • Finally, many pieces of music may not have a melody at all!
  • Example 6:
    • Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima (1959) by Krzysztof Penderecki
putting it all together
Putting It All Together
  • Choose a song and make comments about the musical elements on the last page of your handout.