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Old 11-19-2012, 10:52 PM   #1
dannydawiz
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Melodic Interaction & Melodies in Chords

Is there a topic of music theory that focus completely on melodic interaction?

I have a pretty intermediate understanding of Harmony and how to make a melody follow chord changes however I feel like there are still times when I don't understand what I'm hearing.

If I hear a melodic line thats being harmonized I can immediately spot and figure it out. However when there are two independent melodies being played at the same time while having a different rhythmic figure I don't know how describe this melodic interaction. Can someone tell me what this is called if they know of concept that sounds familiar? Here is an example of what i'm talking about. 0:00 - 0:28



Also another question. I've been listening to a lot of piano players lately and I've been playing a little bit of it myself as well. One thing that I've found that I love a lot about pianists that is when they play chords that contain the notes of the melody in them. It's almost as if the chords themselves become the melody.

An example of this would be at 0:32 in this song.



The melody is being played but its all being played as a chord. What is this called? Is there a section of music theory that is dedicated to this as well? If so I really want to know and I would appreciate it if someone could let me in on this.

Last edited by dannydawiz : 11-19-2012 at 10:54 PM.
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:06 PM   #2
AeolianWolf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dannydawiz
Is there a topic of music theory that focus completely on melodic interaction?


counterpoint.

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Originally Posted by dannydawiz
The melody is being played but its all being played as a chord.


it's just a matter of the accompaniment to the melody. no one ever said the melody has to be separate from the harmony. and this is not just a pianistic idiom, any guitarist worth his salt should be able to do it.

study chord voicings if that's something you want to replicate.
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Old 11-20-2012, 12:18 AM   #3
dannydawiz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AeolianWolf
counterpoint.



it's just a matter of the accompaniment to the melody. no one ever said the melody has to be separate from the harmony. and this is not just a pianistic idiom, any guitarist worth his salt should be able to do it.

study chord voicings if that's something you want to replicate.


Thanks a lot wolf! Looks like I have a ton of studying to do now that I know where to look. This is gonna make my chord section and music theory section so much more interesting!

One more question though. When using chords, is it usually the highest note that gets the melody?

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Old 11-20-2012, 01:01 AM   #4
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One more question though. When using chords, is it usually the highest note that gets the melody?


nope. it's ALWAYS the highest note that gets the melody (assuming we're talking about the concept you're talking about).

i mean, is it possible for me to play a G chord on a guitar and sing a B? absolutely. but if i'm not singing and i want a B in the melody, then my highest note needs to be a B -- no way around that. the highest note (or most prominent due to orchestration, i.e. the B i might sing over the guitar is not going to be higher than the highest G in the open G chord, but it will still be heard as the melody) is always perceived as the melody.

as you'll learn from studying counterpoint and chord voicings, the two notes that matter most are the lowest note (termed 'bass'), and the highest note (termed 'soprano'). the soprano voice is what will ultimately take the melody. everything else (within a single chord) is mainly just filler or decoration.

it's important to consider that there are a lot of factors to consider when composing, even after you've studied the topics i've presented you with. but these should get you off to a good start.
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Old 11-20-2012, 01:49 AM   #5
dannydawiz
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Wink

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Originally Posted by AeolianWolf
nope. it's ALWAYS the highest note that gets the melody (assuming we're talking about the concept you're talking about).

i mean, is it possible for me to play a G chord on a guitar and sing a B? absolutely. but if i'm not singing and i want a B in the melody, then my highest note needs to be a B -- no way around that. the highest note (or most prominent due to orchestration, i.e. the B i might sing over the guitar is not going to be higher than the highest G in the open G chord, but it will still be heard as the melody) is always perceived as the melody.

as you'll learn from studying counterpoint and chord voicings, the two notes that matter most are the lowest note (termed 'bass'), and the highest note (termed 'soprano'). the soprano voice is what will ultimately take the melody. everything else (within a single chord) is mainly just filler or decoration.

it's important to consider that there are a lot of factors to consider when composing, even after you've studied the topics i've presented you with. but these should get you off to a good start.


Thanks a lot for the reference! This information is really gonna help out my composing once I've practiced it enough. Looks like I got some work to do.
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Old 11-20-2012, 02:02 AM   #6
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good - remember to put into practice EVERYTHING you study.

"simply willing and simply knowing are not enough -- we must apply, and we must do." - goethe
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