Melody Creation

Melody creation. My cheat-sheet from a Pat Pattison lecture…

Staccato vs. legato.

Tessitura. Range of pitches / notes for a given section.

Long notes vs. short notes. Not the same as staccato and legato.

1 note per bar, 2 notes per bar, 3 notes per bar, etc.

Notes used – tonic or stable, sub-tonic? 1,3,5 are stable. 2,4,6,7 unstable.

Empty vs. full. Space in the melody.

On the downbeat vs. off downbeat “Imagine” by John Lennon is a great example – there are 18 lines of verse, 4 lines of chorus sung 3 times, yet only 3 lines are sung on the downbeat – the spotlight.

Strong bar / weak bar. In 4/4, bar 1 is strongest, bar 3 is second strongest, bars 2 and 4 are weak. Listen to The Cars to see what weak bar sounds like.

Number of bars. Odd/even – e.g. Tim Hardin 7 bars of 3/4, Yesterday 7 bars.

Starting notes. Are the notes the same or different at the beginning of each line?

Stable vs. unstable to support your ideas (prosody).

Line length. Long line followed by short creates forward motion, short line followed by long creates a spotlight.

Chord structure. “A” sung over Am then G changes colour.

Key – major / minor?



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