linear succession of musical tones in the foreground of a work of music
(Redirected from Melodic)
For the Waris Hussein film, see Melody (1971 film).

A melody also tune, voice or line, is a linear succession of musical tones that the listener perceives as a single entity. In its most literal sense, a melody is a combination of pitch and rhythm, while more figuratively, the term can include successions of other musical elements such as tonal color.

Composers should write tunes the chauffeurs and errand boys can whistle.


  • Melody is the golden thread running through the maze of tones by which the ear is guided and the heart reached.
    • Anonymous
  • Melody is a series of repeated rising and falling intervals, which are subdivided and given movement by rhythm; containing a latent harmony within itself and giving out a mood feeling; it can and does exist independently of accompanying parts as a form; in its performance the choice of pitch and of the instrument makes no difference to its essence.
    • Ferruccio Busoni, also quoted in An Encyclopedia of Quotations about Music, p. 33
  • Composers should write tunes the chauffeurs and errand boys can whistle.
  • The heart of a melody can never be put down on paper.
  • The melody is generally what the piece is about.
    • Aaron Copland, also quoted in Encyclopedia of Quotations about Music, p. 33
  • Harmony is music does not consist merely in the construction of concordant sounds, but in their mutual relations, their proper succession in what I should call their audible reflex.
  • The greatest beauties of melody and harmony become faults and imperfections when they are not in their proper place.
  • A tune is always the same tune, whether it is sung loudly or softly, by a child or a man; whether it is played on a flute or on a trombone.
    • Charles Darwin, The Expressions of the Emotions in Man and Animals, 1872
  • A melody is a vocal or instrumental imitation using the sounds of a scale invented by art or inspired by nature, as you prefer; it imitates either physical noises or the accents of passion.
  • The continuity and diegetic function of almost all vocal melody draw us along the linear thread of the song's syntagmatic structure, producing a 'point of perspective' from which the otherwise disparate parts of the musical texture can be placed within a coherent 'image'.
    • Middleton, Richard (1990/2002). Studying Popular Music, p. 264. Philadelphia: Open University Press. ISBN 0335152759.
  • You who are sitting before me have the power to change my consciousness into painting, poem, melody or anything else!
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