Melodic pattern

In music and jazz improvisation, a melodic pattern (or motive) is a cell or germ serving as the basis for repetitive pattern. It is a figure that can be used with any scale. It is used primarily for solos because, when practiced enough, it can be extremely useful when improvising. "Sequence" refers to the repetition of a part at a higher or lower pitch,[1][2][3][4] and melodic sequence is differentiated from harmonic sequence. One example of melodic motive and sequence are the pitches of the first line, "Send her victorious," repeated, a step lower, in the second line, "Happy and glorious," from "God Save the Queen".

C major scale melodic pattern
Melodic pattern in C major.[5]

"A melodic pattern is just what the name implies: a melody with some sort of fixed pattern to it."[6] "The strong theme or motive is stated. It is repeated more or less exactly, but at a different pitch level."[7]

Four note ascending melodic pattern
Simple melodic pattern. Play 
God Save the Queen melodic sequence
Melodic sequence on the lines "Send her victorious," and "Happy and glorious," from "God Save the Queen" Play 

See also


  1. ^ Berg, Shelly (2005). Alfred's Essentials of Jazz Theory, p.83. Alfred Music. ISBN 9780739030899. "Melodic sequence is the repetition of an idea transposed by some interval."
  2. ^ Briggs (2011). The Language and Materials of Music, p.202. Third Edition. Highland Heritage. ISBN 9781257996148. "Melodic sequences are patterns that repeat at different pitches."
  3. ^ Randel, Don Michael; ed. (2003). The Harvard Dictionary of Music, p.768. Harvard. ISBN 9780674011632. "Sequence: The repetition of a phrase of melody (melodic sequence) different pitch levels, the succession of pitch levels rising or falling by the same or similar succession of intervals."
  4. ^ Giffe, William Thomas (1906). A Practical Course in Harmony and Musical Composition, p.107. T. Presser. [ISBN unspecified] "A melodic sequence may consist of a melodic design, or phrase, repeated in a symmetrical manner."
  5. ^ Berle, Arnie (1997). Mel Bay Encyclopedia of Scales, Modes and Melodic Patterns, p.9. ISBN 0-7866-1791-8.
  6. ^ Greene, Ted (1985). Ted Greene -- Jazz Guitar Single Note Soloing, p.42. Alfred Music. ISBN 9780739053843.
  7. ^ Haerle, Dan (1993). Jazz Improvisation for Keyyboard Players, p.2-7. Alfred. ISBN 9781457493874.

Further reading

  • Hanon, C.L. (2000) The Virtuoso Pianist. ISBN 9781569221440. Cited in Baerman, Noah (2003). Big Book of Jazz Piano Improvisation, p.33. ISBN 9780739031711.
  • Lateef, Yusef (1981). Repository of Scales and Melodic Patterns. Fana Music. Cited in Baerman (2003), p.33.
  • Slonimsky, Nicolas (2000). Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns. ISBN 9780825672408. Cited in Baerman (2003), p.33.
Beautiful Dreamer

"Beautiful Dreamer" is a parlor song by American songwriter Stephen Foster (1826–1864). It was published posthumously in March 1864, by Wm. A. Pond & Co. of New York. The first edition states on its title page that it is "the last song ever written by Stephen C. Foster. Composed but a few days prior to his death." However, Carol Kimball, the author of Song, points out that the first edition's copyright is dated 1862, which suggests, she writes, that the song was composed and readied for publication two years before Foster's death. There are at least 20 songs, she observes, that claim to be Foster's last, and it is unknown which is indeed his last. The song is set in 98 time with a broken chord accompaniment.The song tells of a lover serenading a "Beautiful Dreamer" who is oblivious to worldly cares and may actually be dead. Foster's works feature many dead young women, including his sister Charlotte and "Jeanie". Helen Lightner writes, "This sentimental ballad is folk-like in character with its repetitious but lovely melody and its basic harmonic accompaniment ... The quiet and calm of this mood is portrayed by the monotony of the arpeggiated accompaniment, by the repetitiveness of the melodic pattern, and by the strophic form itself."


Boogie is a repetitive, swung note or shuffle rhythm, "groove" or pattern used in blues which was originally played on the piano in boogie-woogie music. The characteristic rhythm and feel of the boogie was then adapted to guitar, double bass, and other instruments. The earliest recorded boogie-woogie song was in 1916. By the 1930s, Swing bands such as Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey and Louis Jordan all had boogie hits. By the 1950s, boogie became incorporated into the emerging rockabilly and rock and roll styles. In the late 1980s and the early 1990s country bands released country boogies. Today, the term "boogie" usually refers to dancing to pop, disco, or rock music.

Dastgāh-e Māhur

Dastgāh-e Māhur or Dastgaah-e Maahur (Persian: دستگاه ماهور‎) is one of the seven Dastgāhs of Persian Music (Classically, Persian Music is organized into seven Dastgāhs and five Āvāzes, however from a merely technical point of view, one can consider them as an ensemble of 12 Dastgāhs).

Fallen (Stryper album)

Fallen is the sixteenth release and the eleventh studio album by the Christian metal band Stryper, produced by the frontman Michael Sweet and released on October 16, 2015.


A gendèr is a type of metallophone used in Balinese and Javanese gamelan music. It consists of 10 to 14 tuned metal bars suspended over a tuned resonator of bamboo or metal, which are tapped with a mallet made of wooden disks (Bali) or a padded wooden disk (Java). Each key is a note of a different pitch, often extending a little more than two octaves. There are five notes per octave, so in the seven-note pélog scale, some pitches are left out according to the pathet. Most gamelans include three gendèr, one for sléndro, one for pelog pathet nem and lima, and one for pelog pathet barang.

The gendèr is similar to the Balinese gangsa, which also has an individual resonator under each key, and the saron, which, although trough-resonated, does have a set of tuned metal bars or keys. It is also similar to the Javanese slenthem, which is pitched lower and has fewer notes.

In some types of gamelan, two gendèrs are used, both spanning approximately two and a half octaves, the gendèr barung and the gendèr panerus, pitched an octave higher than the other. In Gamelan Surakarta, the gendèr panerus plays a single line of melodic pattern, following a pattern similar to the siter. The gendèr barung plays a slower, but more complex melodic pattern that includes more separate right and left hand melodic lines that come together in kempyung (approximately a fifth) and gembyang (octave) intervals. The melodies of the two hands sometimes move in parallel motion, but often play contrapuntally. When playing gendèr barung with two mallets, the technique of dampening, important to most gamelan instruments, becomes more challenging, and the previously hit notes must be dampened by the same hand immediately after the new ones are hit. This is sometimes possible by playing with the mallet at an angle (to dampen one key and play the other), but may require a small pause.

Both types of gendèr play semi-improvised patterns called cengkok, which generally elaborate upon the seleh. These are relatively fixed patterns, but can be varied in a number of ways to suit the style, pathet, irama, and mood of the piece, as well as the skill of the performer. The cengkok repertoire for gendèr are more developed and specific than those for most other elaborating instruments. Similarly, the gendèr barung is likely to give cues for changing parts or irama, especially in the absence of a rebab, which usually leads the ensemble. It may also play the buka of a piece.


Imbal (Javanese for literally: "to repeat") or imbalan (imbal-imbalan, demung imbal) is a technique used in Javanese gamelan. It refers to a rapid alternation of a melodic line between instruments, in a way similar to hocket in medieval music or kotekan in Balinese gamelan. "A style of playing in which two identical or similar instruments play interlocking parts forming a single repetitive melodic pattern."

This imbal is a method of playing in which the nuclear theme is played by one of the nyaga's 'broken up' into half-values (say, two crotchets [quarter notes] for every minim [half note]), what time another player beats alternately with the first, but in such a way that his tones, each of which comes between two of his colleague's, are always one step lower than the nuclear theme tone immediately preceding it. From practical considerations this imbal is, if possible, divided over two demungs; if only one such instrument is available, the two players sit facing each other. The player who beats the nuclear theme tones is said to play the gawé (...); the other one, the nginţil (= inseparable, following like a shadow) (...).

In Javanese gamelan, it is used especially for the sarons and the bonangs. On the bonangs, an imbal pattern is divided between the bonang panerus and bonang barung, in the octave or so of range that both instruments have. When played on sarons, generally two of the same instrument are used. Both bonang and saron patterns generally are made of scalar passages that end on the seleh at the end of the gatra. Each key is dampened as soon as the other instrument plays, and it allows the melody to be played faster or more smoothly than is possible by a single performer. "Basically, there are two bonang-playing techniques: imbal-imbalan and pipilan. Imbal-imbalan (interlocking) refers to the playing technique in which bonang barung and bonang panerus play interlocking patterns."

One of the hallmarks of Yogyanese style, especially suited to the performance of loud-playing pieces, is the interlocking alternation of two demung parts, known as imbal demung. ... Imbal is a widely practiced technique, popular in some Solonese genres and throughout Java.

On the bonangs, an imbal passage is usually followed by a sekaran.

Imitation (music)

In music, imitation is the repetition of a melody in a polyphonic texture shortly after its first appearance in a different voice. The melody may vary through transposition, inversion, or otherwise, but retain its original character. The intervals and rhythms of an imitation may be exact or modified; imitation occurs at varying distances relative to the first occurrence, and phrases may begin with voices in imitation before they freely go their own ways.

Imitation helps provide unity to a composition and is used in forms such as the fugue and canon.

The near universality of imitation in polyphonic styles in Western music (and its frequency in homorhythmic, homophonic, and other textures) is evidence enough of its paradoxical value in asserting the individuality of voices.


The irmos (or heirmos from Greek εἱρμός) in the Byzantine liturgical tradition is the initial troparion of an ode of a canon. The meter and melody of an irmos is followed by the remaining troparia of the ode; when more than one canon is used (as is typical at matins), only the first canon's irmos is sung, but the irmoi of the subsequent canons must be known in order to determine an ode's melody and so, even in canons where it is known that the irmos is never sung, the irmos is nonetheless specified. Note that in the Russian tradition, often only the irmos is sung, the rest of the ode simply being read; in Greek parishes, often the remaining troparia are simply eliminated, but in non-Russian traditions, all troparia of a canon are sung

The term comes from the Greek verb "to tie, link" meaning that it poetically connects the Biblical ode to the subject of the canon.Because the irmos presents a rhythmic and melodic pattern for the troparia which follow, "irmos" gives its name to the irmologic forms of Byzantine chant.

At the end of an ode, the irmos may be repeated, or another irmos may be prescribed to be sung to return to the original biblical theme this is called the katavasia.

Javanese poetry

Javanese poetry (poetry in the Javanese or especially the Kawi language; Low Javanese: tembang; High Javanese: sekar) is traditionally recited in song form. The standard forms are divided into three types, sekar ageng, sekar madya, and sekar macapat, also common with the ngoko terms: tembang gedhé, tembang tengahan, and tembang macapat. All three types follow strict rules of poetic construction. These forms are highly influential in Javanese gamelan.

Landini cadence

A Landini cadence (Landini sixth or Landini sixth cadence), or under-third cadence, is a type of cadence, a technique in music composition, named after Francesco Landini (1325–1397), a blind Florentine organist, in honor of his extensive use of the technique. The technique was used extensively in the 14th and early 15th century.

In a typical Medieval cadence, a major sixth musical interval is expanded to an octave by having each note move outwards one step. In Landini's version, an escape tone in the upper voice narrows the interval briefly to a perfect fifth before the octave. There could also be an inner voice; in the example the inner voice would move from F♯ to G, in the same rhythm as the lower voice.

Landini was not the first to use the cadence (Gherardello da Firenze appears to be the first, at least whose works have survived), and was not the last: the cadence was still in use well into the 15th century, appearing particularly frequently in the songs of Gilles Binchois and in the music of Johannes Wreede. However Landini seems to have been the first to use it consistently. The term was coined in the late 19th century by German writer A.G. Ritter (1884), in his Zur Geschichte des Orgelspiels, Leipzig.

Livin' the Dream (song)

"Livin' the Dream" is a song written by Tom Douglas, Jaren Johnston and Luke Laird and recorded by American country music artist Drake White. It was released to radio on December 7, 2015 as the second single to his debut studio album, Spark, which was released on August 19, 2016.

Millennial whoop

The millennial whoop is a melodic pattern alternating between the fifth and third notes in a major scale, typically starting on the fifth, in the rhythm of straight 8th-notes, and often using the "wa" and "oh" syllables. It has been used extensively in 2010s pop music.


In music, an ostinato [ostiˈnaːto] (derived from Italian: stubborn, compare English, from Latin: 'obstinate') is a motif or phrase that persistently repeats in the same musical voice, frequently in the same pitch. Well-known ostinato-based pieces include both classical compositions such as Ravel's Boléro and the Carol of the Bells, and popular songs such as Donna Summer and Giorgio Moroder's "I Feel Love" (1977), Henry Mancini's theme from Peter Gunn (1959), The Verve's "Bitter Sweet Symphony" (1997), and April Ivy's "Be Ok" (1997).In RCM (Royal Conservatory of Music), a level 8 theory definition for the term "ostinato" would be referred to as "a recurring rhythmic or melodic pattern". The repeating idea may be a rhythmic pattern, part of a tune, or a complete melody in itself. Both ostinatos and ostinati are accepted English plural forms, the latter reflecting the word's Italian etymology. Strictly speaking, ostinati should have exact repetition, but in common usage, the term covers repetition with variation and development, such as the alteration of an ostinato line to fit changing harmonies or keys.

If the cadence may be regarded as the cradle of tonality, the ostinato patterns can be considered the playground in which it grew strong and self-confident.

Within the context of film music, Claudia Gorbman defines an ostinato as a repeated melodic or rhythmic figure that propels scenes that lack dynamic visual action.Ostinato plays an important part in improvised music (rock and jazz), in which it is often referred to as a riff or a vamp. A "favorite technique of contemporary jazz writers", ostinati are often used in modal and Latin jazz and traditional African music including Gnawa music.The term ostinato essentially has the same meaning as the medieval Latin word pes, the word ground as applied to classical music, and the word riff in contemporary popular music.

Piano Concerto No. 3 (Bartók)

Béla Bartók's Piano Concerto No. 3 in E major, Sz. 119, BB 127 is a musical composition for piano and orchestra. Bartók composed the piece in 1945 during the final months of his life, as a surprise birthday present for his second wife Ditta Pásztory-Bartók. It consists of three movements.

Prelude in F-sharp minor (Rachmaninoff)

The Prelude in F-sharp minor, Op. 23, No. 1 is a composition by Sergei Rachmaninoff completed and premiered in 1903. It is one of ten preludes composed by Rachmaninoff in 1901 and 1903.

Repetition (music)

Repetition is important in music, where sounds or sequences are often repeated. It may be called restatement, such as the restatement of a theme. While it plays a role in all music, with noise and musical tones lying along a spectrum from irregular to periodic sounds,(Moravcsik, 114)(Rajagopal,) it is especially prominent in specific styles.

Thiruda Thiruda

Thiruda Thiruda (lit. Thief! Thief!) is a 1993 Tamil language caper film directed by Mani Ratnam written along with Ram Gopal Varma. The film features Prashanth, Anand, Heera Rajgopal, and Anu Aggarwal in the lead roles while S. P. Balasubrahmanyam and Salim Ghouse play supporting roles. The film's soundtrack and background score were composed by A. R. Rahman while the cinematography was handled by P. C. Sriram. The film opened to positive critical reception. In 1994, the film premièred at the Toronto International Film Festival. It also won the National Film Award for Best Special Effects. The Hindi dubbed version of the movie was called Chor Chor.


Tihai (pronounced ti-'ha-yi) is a polyrhythmic technique found in Indian classical music, and often used to conclude a piece. Tihais can be either sung or played on an instrument.Tihais are sometimes used to distort the listeners’ perception of time, only to reveal the consistent underlying cycle at the sam.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.