a linear succession of musical tones in the foreground of a work of music
- "The continuity and diagetic 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.