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Ch 3: Elements of Melody

About This Chapter

Use our informative video lessons and quizzes to learn about the elements of melody. In this chapter, learn about various scales and tonality in music.

Elements of Melody - Chapter Summary

Learn to detect errors in pitch and rhythm and to understand and build musical scales through this informative chapter on the elements of melody. Our brief, engaging video lessons also can teach you about melody vs. harmony and major and minor keys. Additional topics addressed in this chapter include the following:

  • The circle of fifths
  • The chromatic scale
  • The minor scale pattern
  • Degrees of scales
  • The pentatonic, whole-tone, diminishing (octatonic) and blues scales
  • Church modes: Ionian and Aeolian modes
  • Melodic embellishments, including grand note, turn, repetition, sequence and transposition
  • Melodic and harmonic contour

The knowledgeable team of educators who worked on this Elements of Melody chapter has expertise in the broad field of music. You can watch each of the video lessons in just a few minutes, and our convenient video tags allow you to return to main points in the presentations at any time. Watch the videos as many times as necessary, until you feel comfortable with the material.

To complete your learning experience, take the brief self-assessment quiz that accompanies each lesson. In addition to reinforcing what you've learned about the elements of melody, these short, multiple-choice quizzes can help you build your overall test-taking skills. Some learners even find it helpful to take the quiz once before viewing the video, to focus their learning.

14 Lessons in Chapter 3: Elements of Melody
Melody vs. Harmony: Definitions and Examples

1. Melody vs. Harmony: Definitions and Examples

What is a 'melody?' How are 'melody' and 'harmony' different? What kinds of harmonies are used in classical and current popular styles of music? Find out the basics of melody and harmony in this lesson.

Understanding and Building Musical Scales: Definitions & Types of Scales

2. Understanding and Building Musical Scales: Definitions & Types of Scales

What is a 'scale' in music? How do tonality, pitch, and accidentals play a role in making a scale? What kinds of notes make up a scale? What is the difference between a Major scale, minor scale, blues scale, and pentatonic scale? Learn all about scales in this lesson!

Chromatic Music: Definition, Scale & Harmony

3. Chromatic Music: Definition, Scale & Harmony

This lesson will examine the history and theory behind chromatic music, which was once a symbol of insanity in the musical arts. Test your knowledge at the end with a short quiz.

Key Signature in Music: Definition & Concept

4. Key Signature in Music: Definition & Concept

In this lesson, we're talking about key signatures. We'll learn how to properly write them, how to quickly identify them, and why they're used in the first place.

How to Determine Major Key Signatures in Music

5. How to Determine Major Key Signatures in Music

What is a key signature? How can you tell the key of a song by just looking at it? Are there flats and sharps in all songs? What are some common key signatures in the Major tonality? Find out in this lesson!

How to Determine Minor Key Signatures in Music

6. How to Determine Minor Key Signatures in Music

Key signatures are useful in playing and understanding music, but how do you know if the key signature is for a Major or a minor key? Find out in this lesson!

Understanding the Circle of Fifths: Explanation & Chord Progression

7. Understanding the Circle of Fifths: Explanation & Chord Progression

The musical equivalent of the color wheel, the circle of fifths is an arrangement of musical keys that represents musical relationships between keys. This lesson will look at the how and why of the circle of fifths.

Major Scale: Definition & Intervals

8. Major Scale: Definition & Intervals

You hear it in commercials, pop songs, film music, and even ringtones! Learn what the major scale is, why composers like to use it, and even the special formula you can use to make a major scale on any note!

Minor Scale: Patterns, Chords & Intervals

9. Minor Scale: Patterns, Chords & Intervals

In this lesson, you will learn about minor scales, chords and intervals. You will also learn how music in minor keys sounds more dissonant than major keys because some of the notes are lowered a small amount.

Octatonic Scale: Definition & Properties

10. Octatonic Scale: Definition & Properties

In this lesson, you'll learn about the octatonic scale, a synthetic scale that has fascinated composers since the 1800s. Learn about the scale's history, its fascinating properties, and how to build an octatonic collection yourself.

Pentatonic: Definition, Scales & Songs

11. Pentatonic: Definition, Scales & Songs

In this lesson, you will learn about pentatonic scales and how to build them. You will also learn the difference between major pentatonic and minor pentatonic scales, as well as what kind of music uses pentatonic scales.

Modality: Definition, Principle & Effect

12. Modality: Definition, Principle & Effect

Modality is the precursor to the modern musical scale; its origins can be found in ancient Greek music theory. In this lesson, we'll explore the principle of modality in relation to musical scales and discover how scale degrees build modes.

What Is a Tetrachord? - Definition & Examples

13. What Is a Tetrachord? - Definition & Examples

There are many ways to build a chord. In this lesson, we're going to explore tetrachords by defining the term, talking about where they come from, and looking at some of the ways they can be built and used.

Melodic Contour: Definition & Examples

14. Melodic Contour: Definition & Examples

This lesson teaches you about melodic contour, which helps musicians understand how melodies rise and fall. Learn about the four types of melodic motion, and analyze the contours of some famous melodies to find out what makes them so special.

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