#2
Well, if you only play chords it obviously doesnt have a melody, or it has an implied melody in the way you add extensions or put the emphasis on certain notes within the chord.
You also really dont get a melody if the melody follows the chords too much. If i would play C Am G and Em and my 'melody' would be playing a C one measure, A one measure, G one measure and E one measure they'll just blend into to harmony. So fix yourself a harmony and play something over it that sounds outstanding and that adds something extra to the harmony, then per definition you will have your melody.
#3
A meody is a single note line, a sequence of notes that follow on one after another chosen because they sound nice together - usually the majorty of them will fit in with the scale that the backing chords are derived from.
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#4
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A meody is a single note line, a sequence of notes that follow on one after another chosen because they sound nice together - usually the majorty of them will fit in with the scale that the backing chords are derived from.

this also PHRASING is important. The melody generally will have a few phrases that repeat throughout the song. They may transpose up or down, or the rhythm might differ slightly from one repeat of the phrase, to another.

Also, a 'melody' (in my experience at school) generally refers to something a voice could sing. intervals not bigger than a fourth or fifth. This is how a melody is different from a 'riff' which suggests an instrument, which can have as many leaps and bounds as it likes.
#5
Don't forget that the melody is usually sung in alot of popular music, so even if the band just plays simple harmony there still is a melody.
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#6
Thanks for the answers. My idea is starting to clear up a bit, but I'm still a little confused, which can't be good because it seems as though melody is a big part of creating a unique song.

This bit left me with some questions, any thoughts or answers would be appreciated:

Quote by mdwallin
this also PHRASING is important. The melody generally will have a few phrases that repeat throughout the song. They may transpose up or down, or the rhythm might differ slightly from one repeat of the phrase, to another.


When you say the melody has a few phrases, then do you mean completely distinct phrases that combine to make the melody? Or a phrase can be broken at first and pieced together and vice versa? And that the entire melody is composed of these fragments?

Should you always be able to relate one phrase of the melody to another in some way?

How much and what ways can you change the melody or phrasing before it can no longer be considered part of the song? Or is it fair game to switch it up a lot?
#8
Generally if someone tells you your song has no melody, they mean to say that your song has no memorable melody. Any series of pitches can be considered a melody, and thus every song has melody. You just need to make yours simpler somewhere in the song to remedy your problem.
#9
^ Right.

To say a song has no melody doesn't mean it literally has no melody but is more along the lines of a poorly distinguished melody. Their criticism is probably implying the melody just blends into the harmony. A reason for this is failing to give the melody the required independence in timing, contour, phrasing, or it's own place in the sound spectrum to stand out.

For example if all the voices move in straight eighths and they all move by the exact same step pattern then they will all blend together and the voices will have no independence. A likely criticism would be that the song has no melody.

Or all your voices could be moving independently with different timing and different step patterns but they might be overlapping each other's range or orchestrated so that no single instrument stands out and captures your attention.

Or you might have a audibly distinguishable melody that lacks "contour". The verse for Help! by the Beatles for example has a very linear melody "When I was younger so much younger than toda-a-ay. I never needed any body's help in any way" If you draw the melody on a staff you will see that it is very flat and doesn't have any "contour" to it. It is also lacking in range. This is also a fault sometimes described as "not having a melody".

There are a number of faults that might lead one to describe a piece of music as "lacking a melody." So next time someone says that to you then you need to look at the piece of music you are playing and go through that checklist.
1. Is the melody unique or does it follow the same step pattern and phrasing as the underlying harmony?
2. Is the melody distinguishable? - Is it in it's own frequency range or played in it's own timbre with enough volume and emphasis to push it clearly into the foreground above the harmony?
3. Does the melody have a good contour? and range to make it interesting and memorable?

You don't have to always have all those things and there are plenty of other things that go into making a song memorable or effective. But melody is important and even the Beatles' Help! had a bigger range and contour in the chorus. It also had some nifty little notes thrown into the verse chorus that provided just enough flavour to keep you listening.

Best of Luck man.
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