Judy's educational career spans over twenty-five years and three states. Most recently she served as Director of Curriculum and Instruction at a PK3-12th grade independent school in Florida. Judy holds a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, specializing in Reading. She has taught all ages from preschool through 12th grade, focusing mainly on language arts, social studies, and performing arts.
Do you ever wonder why there are certain songs that just keep running through your mind? The melody of a song is what you keep hearing over and over again.
For example, remember when you learned your ABCs? Most of us remember that melody and can jump right back into singing our ABCs, no matter what age we are. In music, the melody is the tune, or musical line of notes, that our brains hear as one unit. A melody is made up of two parts: rhythm and pitch.
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Imagine tapping two sticks together, or your two hands on your desk. All it takes to create a beat is to hit two items together to form a rhythm, or a repeating pattern of long and shorts.
Now, put your hand over your heart. Feel the beat of your heart. Your heartbeat is a rhythm. Now do 20 jumping jacks. Put your hand over your heart again. The beat or rhythm of your heart is different, probably faster.
In music, every melody has a rhythm, or pattern of long and short beats. A memorable melody will usually have a simple, yet interesting rhythm. Think about the ''ABC Song'' again and sing it through to the letter ''P.'' The rhythm changes at ''L, M, N, O, P'' which makes it a fun part to sing!
The second part of a melody is the pitch, or the high and low sounds. Imagine tapping those two sticks or your hands on the desk again: the pitch, or high and low of the sound, doesn't change. Now sing the beginning of the ''ABC Song.'' Do you hear how the sound of the song changes when the pitch goes up and down or from low to high?
Here's a fun household experiment that you can use to understand pitch:
- Fill a glass (it must be glass and not plastic) with water almost to the top
- Take a metal spoon or fork and lightly tap the top rim of the glass. How does it sound?
- Now pour some of the water out and tap the glass again.
- Do you notice how the tapping sounds higher or lower, depending on how much water you have in the glass?
This is an example of pitch. A melody strings together different pitches to create a tune.
Melody & Pitch Activity
Practice identifying the pieces of the melody with ''Happy Birthday.''
- Sing the first phrase out loud.
- Pay attention to the highs and lows, or the pitch.
- Now, clap while you sing each syllable; that's the rhythm.
- Combine the pitch and the rhythm and you have a melody, or the tune or musical line of notes that our brains hear as one unit.
Let's review. Melody refers to the combination of a particular rhythm with a series of pitches. The rhythm is the pattern of beats, or the long and short sounds, while pitch refers to the high and low sounds. Together they create the melody, which is the tune, or musical line of notes that our brains hear as one unit.
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What is Melody? - Lesson for Kids
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