Instructor:  Dr. Vicky V. Johnson


Phone: Ext 9238



Course Outline    Syllabus


A song, in order to be a song, must have two things:  words and a tune.


Poetic MeterAspects of Melody

Stable and Unstable


Here's a scale

You can number the tones, call them by their letter names, or call them "Do Re Mi"


Most stable

(I'm home!)



Least stable

(I have to go on!)

#1 (Do)

Key note of the song

#5 (Sol)

in the key chord

#3 (Mi)

in the key chord

#6 (La)

wants to go to 5

#2 (Re)

wants to go to 1

#4 (Fa)

wants to go to 3

#7 (Ti)

wants to go (up) to 1

Unstable tones are often used in the first phrase of a pair.

Stable tones are often used in the second phrase of a pair.

Sort of like a question - answer.


Then there's Word Painting


high notes - flying, joy, superlative words (great, awesome)

low notes - ominous words, ground, sturdy/stable

ascending notes - moving in a positive direction, loss of control

descending notes - coming home, settling down, introspection

gaining speed - train, losing control, gaining excitement

slowing down - tired, coming to an end

minor melody - sad, melancholy, ominous, reflective, secretive

major melody - happy, bright, open, confident

non-traditional scale - exotic, surprising



Checklist for Melodies

Returning to the same pitch too often can make a melody boring.

Use the high note wisely.  The range makes can determine the words' importance.

Usually the chorus should include the higher notes, rather than the verse.  You want your chorus to stand out.  A high note makes that section or phrase special.

Consider writing a tune for the name of the song first.

Repetition is your friend!  You want your song to be memorable, so repeat your memorable melody fragments.

Make sure your melody is 'singable.'  If you want others to be able to sing it, watch the range.  If you're singing it, make sure you sound good in the range you choose.








Created and maintained by Vicky V. Johnson