What is melody?

What Does melody Mean

The Latin word melōidía came to late Latin as melodĭa . That is the immediate etymological antecedent of melody , a term that in our language has several uses.

The first meaning mentioned by the Royal Spanish Academy ( RAE ) in its dictionary refers to the delicacy and sweetness of a sound produced by a musical instrument or a voice.
For example: "I really enjoy the melody of the harp" , "The voice of this singer has a very special melody" , "I did not like the melody of the locution" .
In the field of music , a composition that develops an idea beyond its accompaniment is called a melody . In this way it is opposed to harmony , which combines different sounds although chords simultaneously.

Also called melody is the link between time and song and the choice of sounds with which musical periods are formed in the different genres of composition. It can be said that the melody is a combination of rhythm and pitch .
While a chord presents simultaneous sounds (it is "vertical" ), the melody is based on events that occur in time (it is "horizontal" ). The perception of the melody, in any case, occurs as a unit beyond the changes that it shows in its development.
A melody, in short, is a linear succession of notes that is closely related to rhythm , has sounds of different heights and acquires a leading role in the framework of a piece.
The melody has a leading role, so to speak, in the realm of music because it is the part of a composition that most people can remember most easily, for example, when leaving the theater. Music lovers often leave a show whistling or humming their favorite tunes, but very few can take the structure of harmony and rhythm home with them.
We can say that harmony is a suitable base for the execution of a certain number of notes, of those that are compatible with the chords. For example, if on a piano we play the C major triad with our left hand , that is, the three-note chord, with the right hand we can elaborate a melody that uses only the white keys, since they represent the sounds included in said tonality.
It is important to note that not only sounds are included in the melody, but also silences , which we can interpret as "pauses". When this is combined with the characteristics of the rhythm, we obtain very particular results, with notes that span several times and drawings that generate a sensation of movement, stillness, melancholy or joy, among many other possibilities.

Finally, for phonetics, melody is intonation : that is, the melodic movement with which the pronunciation of a sentence is specified .
Practically, we can affirm that in all languages ​​the speakers produce certain characteristic melodies when expressing themselves orally, although in some it is much more evident than in others. For example, Japanese has a very different accentuation from Spanish: while we emphasize the accented syllable and weaken the rest, the Japanese must give each syllable the same time duration and modify the height of the "accented", generating different melodies in every word.
When we hear a person speak with a very "strong" or "marked" accent, we usually say that he seems to be from this or that country because of "his melody" or "his song." From our perspective, this happens in certain accents in Brazil, Italy and France, but also in all Spanish-speaking countries, where we find the tonal variations of regions other than ours more striking.

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