Common Building Blocks of Melodies

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Common Building Blocks of Melodies.

Common Building Blocks of Melodies.

What in the Modal Sequencing Bundle and how can you use this course?   We tend to think of melodies as magical….they can catch our ears or penetrate our heart. They are the reason we remember certain songs or solos for years. But it is important to approach melodies as structures or sequences, and once you have that perspective, you will be amazed at what you can do in this area.    

A total beginner usually doesn’t know about the common building blocks of melodies. One of the most used is a modal sequence or melodic pattern, so I often recommend that students learn a few modal sequences to help spur their creativity. When using this approach the Two Note Modal Sequencing course becomes more of a reference guide, rather than a technique exercise or singing method.

Steps to Making the Common Building Blocks of Melodies

So the first step is to open the course and just randomly pick a modal sequence. Next, you want to figure out how to play the modal sequence on your instrument. Last, you want to add some embellishment to the melodic pattern. Some common embellishment are:

  • Sliding up into a note.
  • Sliding down into a note.
  • Bending up to a note on a stringed instrument.
  • Pre-Bending and releasing down into the note on a stringed instrument.
  • Hammering on, or pulling off of a note on a stringed instrument.
  • Using any of the 12 chromatic or diatonic approach note figures.

By adding these embellishments you will make your sequence sound much more musical.  Different idioms use certain types of embellishments more than others.  For instance if you are a budding blues guitar player, using bends is indispensable.    

Altering the Common Building Blocks of Melodies

Next thing you want to do is decide where rhythmically within the measure you want to play your modal sequence.  Usually I just have students improvise, placing the notes where they don’t have too much to think about initially.  But eventually you need to vary your phrasing in as many ways as you can think of, otherwise you may fall into the trap of always placing those notes in the same place –which creates boredom for you and the listener.    

That is why I recommend the One Minute Lessons for Phrasing because it gives you many ideas on how to change a musical phrase to create a new sounding melody. Some of phrasing changes can be as simple as changing where that melody starts within a measure, or very complex as you combine multiple phrasing concepts.    

See Progress Quickly

The nice thing about modal sequencing is that it comes out in your playing quickly.  Other music techniques such as approach notes into chord tones on beats one and three (which is one of the cornerstones of the Approach Note course) can take months of work because you need to play specific notes at a specific place within a measure, and to put it simply, it’s a lot harder.    

So if you you are a beginner or you don’t have time to add modal sequencing into your practice schedule, then just grabbing a few melodic ideas from the course is a great way to find some new melodies quickly.  If you are a beginner you will also begin to see the logic that is used with many melodies and how to change them easily to make new ideas.    

Bruce-Arnold-Guitar-Flutterby-18 sight reading recommendation Applying Rhythm Ideas Common Building Blocks of Melodies

Bruce Arnold Music Education Genealogy Chart

You might enjoy checking out the “Music Education Genealogy Chart” located on my artist’s site. You will clearly see the historic progression of pedagogy that is the basis for Muse Eek Publishing Products. Great musicians throughout history have been studying the ideas presented by which derives its content from a a lineage that stretches back to Scarlatti!

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