Melody! How important is it? What is it? Is it the most important thing in a song? According to Wikipedia, “a melody (from Greek μελῳδία, melōidía, “singing, chanting”), also tune, voice, or line, is a linear succession of musical tones that the listener perceives as a single entity. In its most literal sense, a melody is a combination of pitch and rhythm, while more figuratively, the term can include successions of other musical elements such as tonal color. It may be considered the foreground to the background accompaniment.”
In other words, the melody of a song is the main theme or the main tune of a song. It may be sung with vocals or it may just be instrumental in nature. But it is the main tune or idea of the song. The melody has been touted as the most important aspect of music. It is considered by some to be more important than HARMONY or RHYTHM. But as with all art forms that is subjective. The main reason I would put the melody as the most important, is that it helps to tell the story of the song. It gives the story the initial voicing and forms the basis for what else the song or story needs to be complete.
What does your melody say? Is it telling your story? I love to tell the story. In music, if you are not telling the story then your melody is just noise. Some melodies exhibit more variation based on the style of music as in Jazz, Country, Rock, Indian Classical Music, or Balinese Gamelan. I’ll expound on this in a later post. There’s so much to explore with melodic concepts and how it relates to the other elements of music.
So we have seen HARMONY, RHYTHM and MELODY. These three are what the main elements of music. They are the pieces that when they come together, they can tell a beautiful story. They all help to shape our world view. I will use them to help me continue to tell my story as I Play It By Ear.