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  #1  
Old 06-13-2009, 01:40 PM
mgray mgray is offline
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Default Melody and chord progessions?

If melody is the "horizontal" component of music, then a chord progression is a form of melody no? Or does melody mainly refer to horizontal movement of single notes?
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Old 06-13-2009, 01:59 PM
Bryan T Bryan T is offline
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Loosely speaking, a melody is a single note line. It is what you'd whistle, what the 'lead' instrument plays, or what the singer sings. The chord progression would be the harmony. It gives context for and supports the melody.

The distinction isn't totally black/white, as in some genres/periods the harmony is what drives things. Think about a Bach chorale or a solo jazz guitarist playing a chord melody piece for examples where the distinction isn't as clear.

Bryan
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Old 06-13-2009, 03:33 PM
Malcolm Malcolm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgray View Post
If melody is the "horizontal" component of music, then a chord progression is a form of melody no? Or does melody mainly refer to horizontal movement of single notes?
If by horizontal you mean what melody notes look like - a string of notes in a line and then harmony would be vertical - string of notes stacked on top of each other....... like has been said melody could mean both in that you can have chord melody or note melody. But normally melody as we play it is treble clef single note. Harmony is bass clef or chord diagram of two or more notes sounded at the same time.

Here is what Virginia Tech has to say about Melody:
A tune; a succession of tones comprised of mode, rhythm, and pitches so arranged as to achieve musical shape, being perceived as a unity by the mind. In a piece of music where there is more than one voice, or where harmony is present, the melody is the dominant tune of the composition.

So if you just had chords arranged as to achieve musical shape, being perceived as a unit by the mind, that could be a chord melody.

I think the key word here is chord progression. That to me means the progression of chords used to harmonize the melody line AND help the verse's movement from rest, tension, climax, resolution and back to rest. So my answer is No a chord progression is not melody. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chord_progression

Be interesting to see what others have to add.

Last edited by Malcolm; 06-13-2009 at 04:28 PM.
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Old 06-14-2009, 02:41 PM
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vac4873 vac4873 is offline
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Default horizontal vs. vertical

If by horizontal, you are referring to the movement of pitches plotted against time, as in music notation, the melody is indeed a "horizontal" construct composed of a series of single notes. If you think about the chord structure, it is the "vertical" component of this construct, with the melody (at least for the most part with some exceptions), usually incorporated into the pitches that make up the "stacks" of chords.

Usually, the melody is made to "stand out" against the backing chord structure, much as the main subject is made to stand out against the background in a painting or photo, or the main character in a novel or play against the setting and other characters.

In instrumental music, there is sometimes more "blurring" of the melody line vs. the chord structure. This would be evidenced by an inability to "hum the tune" of the song. This is a matter of style, similar to a painting or photo in which the subject is not readily separable from the whole of the composition.

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Old 06-14-2009, 02:54 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgray View Post
If melody is the "horizontal" component of music, then a chord progression is a form of melody no? Or does melody mainly refer to horizontal movement of single notes?
I wonder how Chuck Berry, Slash, Frank Sinatra, Elvis or Pavarotti would answer this?

Regards,

SpruceTop
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Old 06-14-2009, 10:16 PM
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Hi gray...
Melody is the single note line that we sing or play which identifies a song - which distinguishes it from other songs.

Many songs share chord progressions, but melody makes them unique.
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Old 06-14-2009, 10:36 PM
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Melody has a different function than chords but exists within the context of a chord structure whether
that is expressed overtly or tacitly. You can change around the chord structure under the same melody
line for a different color but some chord structure exists.
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Old 06-15-2009, 07:31 AM
imwjl imwjl is offline
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I'm SO far from being an expert here, but in come cases I see how the top, root or some notes in the progression or inversions of the chords carry or are the melody.
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Old 06-15-2009, 09:42 AM
Will Kirk Will Kirk is offline
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can't really state anything different than what has already been stated but one thing you can experiment with is having the melody in a different key entirely and have your chord progression supporting it harmonize rather than provide a bass for it. You can get some pretty cool sounding results
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