The Secret Code of Melody
May 30, 2024 9:20 PM   Subscribe

The 24 Universal Melodic Figures [of Western music] "Have you ever found yourself humming along to a song that you’d never heard before? How is this even possible? Could it be that you possess some musical superpower? You may indeed be an extraordinary person, but this particular skill is unexceptional. Every melody you know—plus every melody you don’t yet know—draws from just 24 melodic patterns or “figures.” You see, there are just so many ways to arrange the notes in a major or minor key into patterns that “make sense”—that “sound like music.”"
posted by storybored (16 comments total) 53 users marked this as a favorite
 
Want to go further? You CAN!
Each chapter in this 300-page eBook breaks down everything
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perfect pitch
posted by HearHere at 9:37 PM on May 30 [9 favorites]




Little Holy Phillip

brb changing my username
posted by cabbage raccoon at 3:35 AM on May 31 [2 favorites]


Want to go further? You CAN! Each chapter in this 300-page eBook breaks down everything! perfect pitch

ISWYDT
posted by emelenjr at 5:53 AM on May 31 [3 favorites]


Damn it, my instrument doesn't go below middle C. I have to transpose some of these to play them.
posted by Jane the Brown at 6:11 AM on May 31


Possibly related: Bobby McFerrin demonstrates the universality of the pentatonic scale at a World Science Festival lecture.

(That is one of my guaranteed happy-making videos.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:23 AM on May 31 [18 favorites]


Interesting way to break it down! Traditional Middle Eastern and Greek music analyze and codify melodic phrases in a systematic way that similar and much more extensive. I got alot out of this introduction by youtuber and composer Farya Faraji
posted by bendybendy at 7:07 AM on May 31 [2 favorites]


perfect pitch
posted by HearHere at 12:37 AM on May 31 [3 favorites +] [⚑]


Eponysterical?
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 9:08 AM on May 31 [2 favorites]



Possibly related: Bobby McFerrin demonstrates the universality of the pentatonic scale at a World Science Festival lecture.


flagged as fantastic EmpressCallipygos !
posted by lalochezia at 10:10 AM on May 31 [1 favorite]


Kinda reminds me of the lick, or rather of what my non-jazz-trained ass has been able to infer about soloing in part because of lick discourse.
posted by dick dale the vampire at 11:52 AM on May 31 [1 favorite]


So this is kind one of those things that might not be exactly new to people who think about music theory a lot, but it certainly is a great way to present it. The biggest advantage I can to this system isn't really for composers, but instead folks who have to sight read music a lot, or at the opposite end folks who have to transcribe a lot of music. Because there is a literal shape to written music that follows the shape of the pitches in a song, having a strong mental catalogue of the possibilities will act to filter the possible pitches the next note could be.

Now I will say, I would bet that this system is probably best used early on, because by the time you've got a working knowledge you've already built up your own system, even if you don't realize it. But I can see inserting this in a Theory 101 or Music Fundamentals class at the very beginning could really speed up things by the time they get to melodic dictation exercises later on because the student would have a much more defined taxonomy of shapes rather than the one they were able to cobble together.
posted by Gygesringtone at 9:49 AM on June 1 [2 favorites]


Wait, are they universal, or are they Western?
posted by umbú at 4:01 PM on June 1 [1 favorite]


Related: Kurt Vonnegut's narrative graphs
posted by DeepSeaHaggis at 11:50 PM on June 1


It's all just metaphor anyways
posted by DeepSeaHaggis at 11:54 PM on June 1


Mod note: [We're happy to include this post and EmpressCallipygos' comment on the sidebar and Best Of blog!]
posted by taz (staff) at 2:33 AM on June 3


Gosh - in that case I should also add that there have been a couple of FPPs about it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:15 AM on June 3


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