Melody (melədē) Research, Analysis, and Recording Project

Creative Commons image Music – an art for itself – Headphones and music notes / musical notation system by photosteve101 at Flickr

“To study music we must learn the rules. To create music we must forget them.”

– Juliette Nadia Boulanger She was a French composer, conductor, and teacher. Among her students were many of the leading composers and musicians of the 20th century as well as celebrated living composers and musicians. She also performed as a pianist and organist.[1] From a musical family, she achieved early honours as a student at the Paris Conservatoire but, believing that she had no particular talent as a composer, she gave up writing music and became a teacher. In that capacity, she influenced generations of young composers, especially those from the United States and other English-speaking countries. Among her students were those who became leading composers, soloists, arrangers and conductors, including Aaron CoplandRoy HarrisQuincy JonesJohn Eliot GardinerElliott CarterDinu LipattiIgor MarkevitchVirgil ThomsonDavid DiamondIdil BiretDaniel BarenboimPhilip Glass and Ástor Piazzolla. – wikipedia


  • Demonstrate knowledge of melody terms and concepts and apply this knowledge to two student composed melodies


  • Create a blog post with embedded melody compositions.



  • Music has structure and like any language the more an artist knows about the structure the better they can communicate


  • Part 2 – Compose a 8 Measure Melody (Period of Music) (Theme)
  • Part 3 – Watch Dr. Hanke’s How to Write a Melody and Howard Goodall’s How Melody Works Videos
  •  Part 4 – Examine One of Your Favorite Melodies (Themes)
    • Watch the Favorite Melody Video Tutorial 
    • Review Composition Terms at Quizlet
    • Find a song with the HookTheory Tab Index of Songs

      • Find the song key and note structure
    • Place under One of My Favorite Melodies heading:
      • Embed a clean version of this song from YouTube
      • In writing, describe why you like this melody, and identify the musical key, tonic note, and tension notes
      • What do you notice about the note structure/pattern of the theme of the melody?
  • Part 5 – Create a Second 8 Measure Melody (Period of Music) (Theme)
    • I ii iii IV V vi vii
      C MAJOR D min E min F MAJOR G MAJOR A MINOR B dim
      Tonic Supertonic Mediant Subdominant Dominant Submediant Leading Tone
    • Watch the last two minutes of How to Compose Music – Lesson 1 – How to Write a Melody by Art of Composing
    • Watch The 4 Critical Parts to Writing a Melody
    • Examine
    • Watch the My Melody Video Tutorial
    • Create a period of music: 8 measures – a musical sentence that has a catchy melody that builds and releases tension
      • Remember the green notes raise the most tension
    • Decide on pitches (notes)
    • Think about how many notes
      • Fast = happy
      • Slow = sad
    • Think about notes rising or descending
      • Rising = happy
      • Descending = sad
    • Use HookPad
    • Include under the My Second HookTheory Melody heading
      • A screenshot of the notation
      • An exported theme as an MP3 from HookPad
      • An explanation about how you composed your period of music by answering the questions below (use compositional terms in your answer):
        • Explain your musical structure choices for each musical phrase: Antecedent (Question) Phrase (first 4 measures) and the Consequent (Answer) Phrase (last 4 measures)?
          • Identify what key you composed in (should be the key of C major)
          • Identify the tonic notes (first and last notes) (should be the note C)
          • Identify where you built tension and what notes they are: dominant, subdominant, etc., (should be measures 4 and/or 5)
          • Identify using Contrast, Repetition, and/or Variation.
            • Which measures?
          • Did you use inversion, retrograde, or retrograde-inversion?
            • Where?
        • Remember you are writing for an audience that was not in the class, so explain your melodic choices
  • Last Day of Project
    • Fill in a second Period Melody Composition Rubric (PDF)
    • Complete the What I Learned and Problems I Solved section
      • Explain what you learned and at least one problem you overcame
      • Include a link to a tutorial you used and describe how you used it
    • Present the two melodies to class


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Four Music Research, Analysis, and Recording Projects