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Old 08-19-2008, 01:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Melody?

Here's a question: is the melodicism (is that a word?) of a given track an absolute value or is it somewhat subjective? Obviously you can't argue about the actual notes that are being played, but there seem to be differing opinions about what constitutes a "proper" melody (ever try to discuss rock and roll with your stereotypical classical music buff? Good luck).

Example: I've heard countless people talk about how melodic Pretty Vacant is. Huh? It sounds like your average tuneless punk song to me (not that I don't love it, but that's besides the point). On the other hand, a lot of critics dismiss Holidays In The Sun because it's not melodic enough. I think that's interesting because all of the people I've talked to about the Pistols seem to think that Holidays is actually more memorable and "melodic."

Another example; most blues songs. You'll hear people go on and on about how musically rich those songs are. To me it's just the same chords, rhythm, and three notes for every !@#$ blues song out there.

Thoughts?
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Old 08-19-2008, 02:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by WaspStar View Post
Here's a question: is the melodicism (is that a word?) of a given track an absolute value or is it somewhat subjective?
I think it's very subjective. I mean, how would one decide what is most melodic, there's no objective measurement. Is speed metal more melodic than reggae because it contains more notes per minute? Nah.
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Old 08-19-2008, 04:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Yes and no. If you can give an objective definition for what a melody is than you can objectify melodies themselves by noting which has more of it. The memorability of a melody is wholly subjective though.
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Old 08-19-2008, 08:49 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I think some people don't value it enough.

Unfortunately people have forgotten what melody actually is. Anything more complex than a Monkeys song is "not melodic", this is how any band with rather complex song structures and an emphasis on soloing is "not melodic". So somewhere along the line people decided that prog isn't melodic but punk is. You might as well just call classical music a bunch of atonal noise if thats your idea of melody.

And twee pop is supposed to be pure melody for some reason, and it just sounds like some bored out of his goddamn mind twit moaning over some lousy barre chords to me.
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Old 08-20-2008, 05:54 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I think the concept of melody nowadays is largely obfuscated. People seem to think that you can quantify the melodic content of a song according to some linear scale such that one type of music will be inherently more melodic than another type.

I think a lot of people think that a song has to be in major scale and be full of happy to be melodic. And of course there are those who think that instrumental music lacks melody - though that could stem from the etymology of melody - melos = poetic order and ote = song (Greek) - which implies music should have vocals to be melodic.
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Old 08-20-2008, 09:22 AM   #6 (permalink)
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hmm, well, first of all I must say I'm a great fan of melodiousness (because I like that spelling), just to start off my post with a statement of ultimate ambiguity :P

What do I define as melodic? well, the Oxford dictionary defines melody as, among other things:

"sweet music, tunefulness"

and I believe that this might not be as ambiguous as it first seems.

While there is still always going t be argument over whether something sounds sweet or not, it's usually easy to say whether something jars or whether it flows. If it flows, it's melodic, if it doesn't it isn't.

That isn't to say that melody is the be-all and end-all of music though, discord and jars can form some incredible music, just not melodic music. non-melodic music it however a relatively new idea, in terms of music: most classical music will be melodic in nature, it's only when you get to the 20th century that "unmelodic" music starts being experimented with.

Of course, that's just one meaning of melody. Another meaning of melody is the main tune of a song. as in if there's a basic riff or theme that dominates the song at any one time, that is the melody.

Thus, I suppose you could also define unmelodic music as music that lacks (a) central theme(s) (as poliphony is still melodic, in my opinion anyway), and so melodic music is something that isn't a complete and utter mess of sound :P

In that case, though, I would be inclined to say that anything that isn't melodic is purely noise, rather than music...
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