The secrets of Melodic Writing
Melodies live among us in our daily lives. From morning to evening, we cannot escape their influence; we listen to songs to train in the gym, to study, to relax, or special events such as concerts that gather many people with a single purpose: to enjoy the beauty that only music can deliver.
This power does not go unnoticed to the composition students. To be able to master a balanced melodic line allows the composers to tap into the emotional part of the audience, and learning how to write a melody becomes both paramount and challenging.
Many aspects of how a melody is structured may escape our attention. Gisela Paterno‘s article not only should be read by composition learners but is written for piano students as well. Piano teachers should gain from these writings, as provides information about the core of every melody we have listened and how to grasp their essence truly; either to teach their students or to enrich their performances.
The article goes through several topics, among them, the most significant is the “Active Steps”, in which the hierarchy of specific notes upon others, such as the 1st, 3rd and 5th degrees of any scale are more stable than the rest.
Another topic of interest is the “relative importance of the notes.” in which a comprehensive list shows how ” in most tonal melodies, certain notes are heard to be more important than others.” (Kent Kennan)
Following this topic, we can observe the five archetypes of melodic contours; this reveals an inner structure that lays beneath many melodies we have heard from different times and composers.
Regarding the variables that can distinguish from one melody to another, the article presents three concepts: Melodic contour, continuity and skeleton.
Finally, the final topic relates to how to compose a melody from scratch in three steps. This method ensures a well-balanced motive. Undoubtedly will be valuable for beginners in composition!