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Thread: Discussion on melody

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    Captain of Water Music musicteach's Avatar
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    Discussion on melody

    I learned this many many many many years ago with my absolute favourite professor in college. All parts that make up the piece of music, are essential to that piece of music. What I mean is, when a piece of music is written, it is written to fit together just as a puzzle is cut into multiple pieces. However, no, melody is not essential. Drum cadences, for instance, have no melody, yet they work perfectly fine. Just about every drum line in the world has one or more drum cadences. You must remember, that in music the pieces are insignificant compared to the whole. Melody is great, but there's also the counter melody, the harmony, the counter harmony, and all of the supporting roles too!

    As I was saying earlier, music is written so that every instrument, every voice, and every structural element of the music, be it the melody or the harmony or whatever it may be, *is* essential to the piece of music. This is why as a conductor when we have a piece of music that we want our ensemble to perform, and we do not have part coverage, we either arrange it or have another instrument to hear it so that that part is heard.


    Regulator note:

    Posts #1 through #9 have been moved from this thread.
    Last edited by Mat; Nov-28-2012 at 18:35.
    Music education opens doors that help children pass from school into the world around them-a world of work, culture, intellectual activity, and human involvement. The future of our Nation depends on providing our children with a complete education that includes music. -Gerald Ford

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    Chief assistant to the assistant chief JHC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chi_townPhilly View Post

    I'll say that melody is (or can be) a pleasing element in music, a desirable and significant element... but an essential one? Well, let's just say that I think there are composers out there that do enough wonderful things with structure, antiphonal effects, counterpoint and harmony that I can forgive their inability to provide a lot of "big tunes" that stay in our head. I say this primarily thinking of one of my "belovèds" in Classical Music... Bruckner.

    .
    I may misunderstand you are you saying Bruckner has no melody??

    Quote Originally Posted by musicteach View Post
    no, melody is not essential.


    !
    just out of interest what musical work does not have melody?

    Just a thought for the mods could we transfer this to a separate thread
    Last edited by JHC; Nov-23-2012 at 07:15. Reason: an after thought
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    Captain of Water Music musicteach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JHC View Post
    I may misunderstand you are you saying Bruckner has no melody??


    just out of interest what musical work does not have melody?

    Just a thought for the mods could we transfer this to a separate thread
    Drum cadences for one
    Music education opens doors that help children pass from school into the world around them-a world of work, culture, intellectual activity, and human involvement. The future of our Nation depends on providing our children with a complete education that includes music. -Gerald Ford

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    Chief assistant to the assistant chief JHC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by musicteach View Post
    Drum cadences for one
    Which musical work, symphony, tone poem,St Qt, jazz std, song, march etc etc.
    afaik a cadence is a melodic configuration at the end of a phrase, section, or piece of music
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    Captain of Water Music musicteach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JHC View Post
    Which musical work, symphony, tone poem,St Qt, jazz std, song, march etc etc.
    afaik a cadence is a melodic configuration at the end of a phrase, section, or piece of music
    No, I'm talking about marching cadences. They are non-melodic, but are still considered musical work.
    Music education opens doors that help children pass from school into the world around them-a world of work, culture, intellectual activity, and human involvement. The future of our Nation depends on providing our children with a complete education that includes music. -Gerald Ford

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    The only Drum cadences that I have heard are on Youtube and they are 100% melodic, I think it depends on what you consider melodic to mean i.e it boils down to definition and I am using the one that I have been taught rightly or wrongly
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    Captain of Water Music musicteach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JHC View Post
    The only Drum cadences that I have heard are on Youtube and they are 100% melodic, I think it depends on what you consider melodic to mean i.e it boils down to definition and I am using the one that I have been taught rightly or wrongly
    This is true. So agree to disagree?
    Music education opens doors that help children pass from school into the world around them-a world of work, culture, intellectual activity, and human involvement. The future of our Nation depends on providing our children with a complete education that includes music. -Gerald Ford

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    Quote Originally Posted by musicteach View Post
    This is true. So agree to disagree?

    For what it’s worth,
    Melody in Tin Pan Ally is perhaps thought of as a catchy tune the same may be true in other forms of music but in Classical I was taught that it is the horizontal development of a work which included rhythm, timing, motifs etc and that Harmony was the vertical development so you can’t have a musical work without a melodic line but you do not have to have harmony I.e. it is not essential.
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    Commander, Assistant Conductor ericwood992's Avatar
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    Hello to all those who have responded to my introductory post! I am both fascinated and delighted that you have all been so helpful and interesting. I never had any music education as such, and I suppose that I have always just been happy listening to it. I recently got talking about different types of music and upon being asked what kind of music I like I began to think: OK, it is easy to say classics, jazz, quality popular, etc., but how do I really specify which particular classical style, jazz sound or kind of popular song?
    I could only, in my uneducated ignorance of the technical meaning of the term, put my preference forward very strongly for "melodic" music; music with what I call a "good tune" in very general terms.
    This was my motivation for joining the MIMF. Obviously, (l think!!!) categorising the music I like as "the kind that has a 'good tune'" is too simplistic. It also sounds very restrictive, but putting it the other way round, I don't tend to like the kind(s) of music in which there is no discernible "tune" or "melody" as I like to call it.

    Since joining MIMF however, I have realised what a wealth of musical knowledge there is available in this forum, and not only that, the way so many kind members post links to fantastic tracks of recorded music, especially in the jazz section. Thank you very much indeed, and it is great to be a member of this forum. I will try to contribute more myself when I get time and learn the mechanism of posting original music links.
    In the meantime, I would still appreciate further comment on my liking for tune containing music and lack of appreciation of the non-melodic kind.
    Thank you.

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    Thanks for moving the thread Mat I hope it stimulates some discussion.
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    Captain of Water Music musicteach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JHC View Post
    Thanks for moving the thread Mat I hope it stimulates some discussion.
    See I saw this thread and thought I had lost my mind...
    Music education opens doors that help children pass from school into the world around them-a world of work, culture, intellectual activity, and human involvement. The future of our Nation depends on providing our children with a complete education that includes music. -Gerald Ford

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    No teach you have not lost your mind but if you hang around here long enough you will become quite mad
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    Captain of Water Music musicteach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JHC View Post
    No teach you have not lost your mind but if you hang around here long enough you will become quite mad
    Pfft. I teach music to high schoolers and see the same person for several hours a day who is not my wife. You'd think I'd already be mad But that's okay, I believe it's a bit of a requirement to be a little crazy to be a musician and also to be a teacher.
    Music education opens doors that help children pass from school into the world around them-a world of work, culture, intellectual activity, and human involvement. The future of our Nation depends on providing our children with a complete education that includes music. -Gerald Ford

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    Commander, Assistant Conductor Chi_townPhilly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chi_townPhilly View Post
    I'll say that melody is (or can be) a pleasing element in music, a desirable and significant element... but an essential one? Well, let's just say that I think there are composers out there that do enough wonderful things with structure, antiphonal effects, counterpoint and harmony that I can forgive their inability to provide a lot of "big tunes" that stay in our head. I say this primarily thinking of one of my "belovèds" in Classical Music... Bruckner.
    Quote Originally Posted by JHC View Post
    I may misunderstand you are you saying Bruckner has no melody??
    Yes.

    You are misunderstanding me.

    My statement that Bruckner doesn't provide a surfeit of "big tunes" in no way is synonymous with a claim that Bruckner doesn't have melody. What I'm saying is that Bruckner's value can be best appreciated by what he brings to our awareness, other than melody.

    This can be adequately demonstrated with a thought-experiment. First, think of as many Johann Strauss melodies as you can. There are at least three memorable ones in "Blue Danube," and then there's 'Wiener Blut," "Pizzicato Polka," "Tales from the Vienna Woods," "Annen-Polka"--- for me, at least, the page fills up pretty fast. Now, let's think of our favorite Bruckner melodies. Might take some time. I guess we'd all think about the dedicatory slow movement of Bruckner's 7th. For my part, I'd add the chorale-finale of the 5th. I kind of like the "Rod of Jesse" tune from the Motets. [Appreciations from other Bruckner fans can and do vary!] However, for most of us, we're not going to come up with as many 'tunes' as we came up with when thinking of 'The Waltz King.'

    Now, are we going to claim that based on this, Johann Strauss is a superior composer?! I surely wouldn't, and I'd guess that you wouldn't either. I suppose that some might, but (among Classical Music cognoscenti), that would emphatically be a minority opinion.
    Last edited by Chi_townPhilly; Nov-29-2012 at 12:21. Reason: typos
    The truth that's told with bad intent
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    Vice Admiral Virtuoso Dorsetmike's Avatar
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    First, think of as many Johann Strauss melodies as you can.
    Now, let's think of our favorite Bruckner melodies.
    Might I suggest that this will mainly, or at least partly, be due to the relative amounts of "exposure" each gets on the radio/media. Individuals that listen mainly to their own collections will be more likely to recognise works by their favourite composers.

    To misquote " Beautiful Music is in the ear of the listener". What I find difficult to understand is how some people can class works by Gorecki and Einaudi (among others) as music, Gorecki I find almost painful, I switch off the radio as soon as his name is mentioned, or the first bars of one of his works; Einaudi is barely suitable for use in elevators, mindless repetitive noise for the most part, I don't recall anybody recording hos work, other than himself, wonder why?

    This does not mean I'm against all contemporary work, for example I enjoy Priesners "Requiem for my friend", particularly the Lascrimosa.
    Cheers MIKE.

    How many roads must a man walk down ... ... before he admits he's lost?

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