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On melody, meaning, & relationships of notes #MUS654

Melody is something that speaks to people. It sings, it moves, it has meaning. I was musing over this as I sat with my cello, playing different two-note combinations across the strings as I warmed up my fingers and my ear. While playing, I thought – what am I doing?

  • Listening
  • Feeling
  • Tunig
  • Manipulating the sound as I moved the bow left to right
  • Changing dynamics
  • Breathing

Was this exercise a melody? or could this be a melody? I think it didn’t start as a melody, but as I thought about it and changed my perception, it became melodic.

Last week in #MUS654 we heard Duane Padilla explain that a melody was the notes of a scale mixed up. Ah, yes! -I’d like to add an ‘and’, so: the notes of a scale mixed up and played with some intention. Duane didn’t say that bit in words, but he did in sound – through his playing.

That intention comes from different sources including our understanding of the harmonic language-framework (tonality), experiences where we have heard those or similar sounds, and both musical and extra-musical associations. Then we can project that onto the music via a host of instrument-specific techniques.

I invite you to dip into this week’s #MUS654 topic exploring Scales and the Relationships of Notes to question, deepen your awareness, discuss, and further our (collective) understanding of some of the frameworks that enable us as musicians to add that intention to our sounds and create expression.

Let’s start with a question for you all:

When in your music making (from whistling to concertising) do your notes become melody and what gives them meaning?

Leave a comment or share something and tag it #MUS654

Featured image CC BY-ND by kiera.chan

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