MUS 112 Study Guide O (Chapter 15)
Melodic Line II
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Melodic extension: The four-measure phrase is
not extended at random, but rather through creative
adjustment. Ways of doing that:
Repeat part of a phrase. Exact repetition of
an entire phrase is not extension. Since a phrase and its
repetition are considered a single phrase, they cannot be considered
Evade the cadence at the end of the phrase, allowing
the melody to continue further to the ultimate cadence.
Use a sequential pattern during the course of the
Lengthen by adding measures.
Add another motive to the phrase.
Occasionally, phrases may be more or less than four
measures in length. In some instances, a two-measure phrase or
an eight-measure phrase may be considered a regular phrase
length. E.g., when the tempo is very fast or each measure
contains only a few notes, an eight-measure phrase may be considered
regular. When the tempo is very slow or each measure contains
many notes, a two-measure phrase may be considered regular.
The Phrase Group and the Double Period: Two
other forms, each larger than the period, can be constructed by the
addition of phrase lengths.
Phrase Group: consists of three of more
phrases (often three), each of which differs melodically from the
others. Usually, each of the first two phrases ends with a half
cadence or an imperfect authentic, and the last phrase ends with a
perfect authentic. Any or all phrases of a phrase group may be
lengthened by an extension.
Double Period: consists of two
periods. In the double period, there is but one perfect cadence
... at the very end of the form. The first eight-measure group
(two phrases) looks and sounds like a period until its cadence, which
is an imperfect or half. (This temporary stop is necessary or
there would be no double period, only two successive periods.)
The beginning of the second period is usually the same as or similar
to that of the first period, and the last phrase can recall the second
phrase or show all new material.
Extension in Motivic Development: Extensions are
often used for the development of a melodic idea from the principal
part of the phrase. Often, a motivic fragment will be repeated
- Harmonizing a Melody without Lead Sheet Symbols: Two factors
must be considered–tempo and harmonic rhythm.
Then, you must determine whether certain melody tones are more
satisfactory as harmonic tones or as nonharmonic tones in relation
to the chosen accompanying harmony.
Tempo. Consider how fast or slow the tune will be
performed. Slower tempos often require more chords per
measure; faster tempos often require fewer. A very slow tempo
may require a different chord for every melody note. A
moderate tempo may require a different chord every beat or two,
whereas, a fast tempo may require only one chord per measure.
These are generalizations, of course. An appropriate tempo can
be determined only by careful study of the melody and applying one’s
own aesthetic judgment.
Harmonic Rhythm. Harmonic rhythm is the frequency of
harmonic change in a composition. Typical harmonic rhythm
patterns show these characteristics: (1) Chords may be changed
on any beat of the measure. (2) When a change of chord appears
on a strong beat of the measure, it may extend into following
beats. (3) When a change of chord appears on a weak beat or
part of a beat, it should not be repeated on the following stronger
beat; instead, a new chord should appear. (4) When a change of
bass note appears on a weak beat of a measure, this note is not
repeated on the following strong beat even for a new chord.
An exception occurs when a new phrase or motive begins on a
strong beat, in which case the harmony of the previous weak beat may
The upbeat (anacrusis) to a phrase is treated in a special
way. Typically, there is no harmony at all. But, if the
upbeat to a phrase is harmonized, the harmony may be repeated or
changed on the strong beat that follows.
Rhythmic syncopation is generally avoided in harmonic
rhythm. Syncopation results when stress is placed on weak
beats rather than on strong beats. This often occurs by
accenting a weak beat or tying a weak beat into a strong beat.
- Differentiating Chord Tones and Nonharmonic Tones: More
often than not, a specific chord tone will appear on each strong
beat of the measure, with nonharmonic tones between. In
choosing the harmonic movement from chord to chord, be sure to use
the chart of chord progressions (Sheet J8). At times, however,
an accented nonharmonic tone may appear. It may be better to
let such tones remain nonharmonic, rather than trying to harmonize
them, in relation to an overall better harmonic progression.
Experiment with various possibilities ...
- Application to the Keyboard: When harmonizing an accented
nonharmonic tone, the usual procedure is to omit the corresponding
harmonic tone on the strong beat. The chord will be completed
when the nonharmonic tone resolves to the chord tone.
- Melody Writing: First decide on a tempo. This will determine
the harmonic rhythm. Again, refer to the chart of chord
progressions (Sheet J8). If you find it helpful, actually
write the harmony, either by chord numbers or by block chords, on an
extra bass staff. Intervals larger than scale steps can now
have several analytical implications:
The interval(s) may outline a chord. In most melodies, scale
steps and small intervals predominate, which includes intervals
implying the ii triad and the V7 chord.
Melodies consisting predominantly of intervallic leaps can also be
musically satisfactory, examples of which occur in some of the Bach
Each note of the interval can represent a different chord (a chord
change occurs as the interval is sounded).
The interval may be a leap from a chord tone to a nonharmonic tone,
or in the case of an escaped tone, from a nonharmonic tone to a
In the melodic sequence, the same leap in successive figures may
hold differing implications.
Extension in melodic writing is helpful in avoiding the monotony of
a constant four-measure metric repetition.
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