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Topic: Beginner Q: Do you need a melody?

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  1. #1

    Beginner Q: Do you need a melody?

    When you listen to pop music and classical music, most cases there is a recognisable melody.
    Is it wrong to write classical music without a clear recognisable melody?
    Does anyone know any composer who tried that?
    Would-Like-To-Be Composer

  2. #2

    Re: Beginner Q: Do you need a melody?

    How about the first Prelude to the Well-Tempered Clavier? Not much melodic going on there.

    Another one: Most of the "Neptune" movement from Holst's "The Planets" is melody-free.

    There are probably others I'll think of later.
    Dan Powers
    www.danielpowers.info

    "It's easier to be a composer than it is to compose."
    --Ray Luke (1928-2010)

  3. #3
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    Smile Re: Beginner Q: Do you need a melody?

    Pegasus, if you skim through a music history book from "the end of era" to whole Schoenberg staff and what followed, you will find out a lot of staff you are looking for.


    >>Is it wrong to write classical music without a clear recognisable melody?

    I am not sure what exactly you mean by "classical music" (I am guessing it means orchestral), but it is absolute fine to write pieces without recognizable melody.
    You can pretty much do anything, and of course, whether the piece is "successful" "loved" "artistic" or not is completely different matter.


    >>Does anyone know any composer who tried that?

    There are A LOT classical composers and compositions in the 20th and 21st century that went into this category. But most of them didn't make through the test of time.



    >>How about the first Prelude to the Well-Tempered Clavier? Not much melodic
    >>going on there.
    >>Another one: Most of the "Neptune" movement from Holst's
    >>"The Planets" is melody-free.

    Well, they may not have what we might recognize as song-like melody or long breathing/lyrical melody. But they do have motifs and themes that are very appropriate for their styles and era.
    Kentaro Sato (Ken-P)
    Composer/Conductor/Orchestrator
    www.wisemanproject.com

  4. #4

    Re: Beginner Q: Do you need a melody?

    Another one: Bruckner Symphony No. 0 in D minor (in the beginning).
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  5. #5

    Re: Beginner Q: Do you need a melody?

    Thanks every one for your suggestions, at least there may be hope for me yet.

    I will have to visit the record shop and listen to all music suggested.

    Would-Like-To-Be Composer

  6. #6

    Re: Beginner Q: Do you need a melody?

    I found all three in youtube.

    Holst's The Planets
    Well-Tempered Clavier
    Bruckner Symphony No. 0 in D minor

    Thanks again, that was very informative.

    Would-Like-To-Be Composer

  7. #7

    Re: Beginner Q: Do you need a melody?

    I will add that some of Rachmaninoff's works (I don't remember very well right now which) are melody-free.

  8. #8

    Re: Beginner Q: Do you need a melody?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pegasus View Post
    When you listen to pop music and classical music, most cases there is a recognisable melody.
    Is it wrong to write classical music without a clear recognisable melody?
    Does anyone know any composer who tried that?
    Define "melody".

    Seriously define what you mean by melody.

    Is a "subject" different from a melody?

    Is a motif a melody or just a subset?

    ==

    All you actually need is rhythm; also a vaguely defined term.
    //
    // Ars longa, vita brevis
    // http://edosbear.blogspot.com/
    //

  9. #9

    Re: Beginner Q: Do you need a melody?

    the entire 20th century dealt with that philosophical issue, and lost their audience (mostly on bad taste, not because they rejected melody)... Stalin reprimanded Shostakovitch for creating 'muddle' and not music (and Shostakovitch barely escaped with his life)... Stalin wanted music to be more song-like, and that wasn't the current mindset in the classical world, as Shostakovitch knew, besides, Shostakovitch didn't feel like creating melody, he probably thought it too child-like, like you trying to write Mary Had a Little Lamb...

    I use a strong melody if I want the music to mimic language phrasing, in order to impart emotions, to let the instruments 'speak'; or if I want something to literally write words to... melody by no means has to be in baby-like major chords all the way through, just throw in a few minor chords and the like... but, like the abstractionist Schoenberg said, "There is still a lot of good music to be written in the key of C" which includes pieces with melody in them.

    When my daughter was very young, I used to ask her to come over a give me a melody. She was bursting with them, mostly happy and bouncy, which I liked, and then which I would develop in my dark and brooding way...

  10. #10
    New Member HorNet505's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner Q: Do you need a melody?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pegasus View Post
    When you listen to pop music and classical music, most cases there is a recognisable melody.
    Is it wrong to write classical music without a clear recognisable melody?
    ...
    There are mnany approaches for a composition.
    Melody is the easiest I think.
    You could also base a composition on rhythm only.
    As well, and this is the trickiest and most interesting part, the orchestral or sonic colour. Creating new combination of sounds etc.

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