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The Death of Melody

Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

The Death of Melody - 08/16/19 10:16 AM

Curious what people here think about this rather dramatic viewpoint:

Posted By: dogperson

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/16/19 10:28 AM

Malarkey

Here is Jacob Collier from non-classical forum
http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...idal-wave-jacob-collier.html#Post2880072
Posted By: NobleHouse

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/16/19 11:42 AM

I think there is some truth in his assertion. His examples are very compelling.
Posted By: bennevis

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/16/19 11:48 AM

One thing that guy is right about - we are too dumb to whistle complete tunes anymore these days. Even a simple one like John Williams's from Schindler's List.

So, we take a bite-sized, Twitter-sized snippet out of a much longer melody, and......lo and behold, you get a ringtone that anyone can whistle (except that most people are too tone-deaf to do so):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vk4KK-gh0FM

Why bother with this?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSQzUx3QW2Y

So, for all those tone-deaf ones, you don't need a melody anymore - you just need a simple rhythm, and one that you can bob your head to yippie.

(Just be careful with your neck....... smirk )
Posted By: Iaroslav Vasiliev

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/16/19 12:21 PM

I agree with the video. Now there are young people who think that music with long melody is weird.
Posted By: PianoWVBob

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/16/19 12:28 PM

I think he's right in what he's actually SAID and shown. (I'm wondering if those who disagreed watched the video and paid attention to ALL that he said)

I think that today, melody is just taking a back seat stylistically. What's popular isn't melodic music and hopefully it will change in the not too distant future. I'm a fan of good melodies. smile

Someone (not sure who) said "Melody IS the tune" and I sort of agree with them...chord changes and rhythms are subservient. You can play the same chords and play different melodies over them and you have different tunes.
Posted By: Animisha

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/16/19 12:39 PM

I think melody won't ever die. It is just what he says, a modern trend. Trends will come and go. Melodies are so strong and compelling, they will survive.
Posted By: QuasiUnaFantasia

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/16/19 12:49 PM

In my view this is just part and parcel of the general dumbing down of society.

Music with several distinct notes is more complex, and requires more mental effort for its comprehension, than music with just a single note (or none at all). Modern people, being ever on the lookout for ways to avoid using their minds, will happily gravitate towards music with fewer distinct notes, and therefore simpler melody.

I would say that popular rythms are also much simpler nowadays than in earlier times, and harmony is often dispensed with.

If the Beatles (who by historical standards were surely not writing complex music) were to have a hit today with "She loves you", they probably would have to include only the refrain "Yeah, yeah, yeah" leaving everything else out. And in ten years from now, they would probably have to cut it down to just a series of slow primal exhaust sounds with no definable meaning.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/16/19 01:09 PM

Originally Posted by QuasiUnaFantasia
Modern people, being ever on the lookout for ways to avoid using their minds, will happily gravitate towards music with fewer distinct notes, and therefore simpler melody.

I would say that popular rythms are also much simpler nowadays than in earlier times, and harmony is often dispensed with.

If the Beatles (who by historical standards were surely not writing complex music) were to have a hit today with "She loves you", they probably would have to include only the refrain "Yeah, yeah, yeah" leaving everything else out. And in ten years from now, they would probably have to cut it down to just a series of slow primal exhaust sounds with no definable meaning.

My wife used to listen to a lot of techno and dance mixes so I paid attention to that sound. I think techno, dance mixes, rap, and hip hop are just different faces of pure rhythm.
Posted By: Dr. Rogers

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/16/19 03:05 PM

The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

I watched the whole video (except for the rap/hip-hop section, as I have no wish to vomit on my keyboard) and I think he's catastrophizing a little bit.

Also, this only applies to Western music. Has he listened to any Japanese, Taiwanese, Chinese, or Korean music lately? I guarantee you, melody is alive and well, at least in the Orient, even in their pop/disco/techno. (I'm a big fan of Japanese disco, especially in anime soundtracks.)

Now pardon me while I go listen to some pentatonic Japanese disco... (well, pentatonic with perhaps an occasional flattened mediant...)
Posted By: outo

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/16/19 03:25 PM

What a boring and useless video...I'd say what's dying is interesting and insightful content...side effect of the YT culture I guess, where everyone has to make their contributions even if there's very little to say.

If you want melodies, there's enough music around with plenty. But melody just isn't needed for artistic expression or the listener's enjoyment. And no melody is better than a boring melody...
Posted By: beeboss

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/16/19 05:11 PM

The trouble with the kind of view expressed in the video is that it is impossible to quantify what a good melody is, and without that quantification all that remains is somebodies opinion as to which melodies are good and which bad. What bugs me is that he doesn’t seem to get that tries to justify the superiority of the melodies he likes with spurious concepts about complexity and empathetic expression.
Posted By: indigo_dave

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/16/19 06:34 PM


I wonder who this guy is. I'm guessing he's a writer of words. Journalist or something. I kept cringing each time he said "no melody". Didn't he notice there was also no harmonic movement. That's why I thought he was a literary guy. I remember some years back, a guy who wrote a biography about Frank Sinatra. I caught him on 2 separate radio interviews (NPR). He ignorantly (and I guess unknowingly) embarrassed himself when he said that Sinatra was a musical genius the likes of which only comes around every several hundred years - like a Mozart. Huh ? I think Sinatra was a great singer, and I loved those late 1950's arrangements (Nelson Riddle for one. Possibly Billy May for another). Frank had it going on. But he was not more of a musical genius than Stravinsky, Debussy, Bartok and you can add your favorites.

Also the guy kept pulling up examples of current pop pablum. Sure he mentioned Hans Zimmer. But he kept focusing on stupid pop and hip hop hits. Never mentioning the lack of harmonic movement. The current pop music drivel is mostly crap !

Someone mentioned Jacob Collier. He's a special musical universe - at 24 years old. He's very open to sharing information. I think he'll be influencing many young people. There are T shirts you can order on Amazon with things like, "It's a Jacob thing, you wouldn't understand". Also I'm a regular listener to Chris Thile's Saturday night NPR show called "Live From Here". Chris plays mandolin. He's recorded with people like Yo Yo Ma and Brad Mehldau - in other words he's a heavyweight. Great musical guests. I'm regularly surprised and impressed by music on his show.

You have to search out current high quality music these days. But it really does exist. I'm questionable on the level of musical knowledge in the author of the original video.
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/16/19 09:17 PM

Whether the person in the video is correct about the "death of melody" depends on what percentage of music today sounds like the examples he gives (which are certainly lacking in melody).

Here's Michael Feinstein singing "Whatever Happered to Melody":
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9smi7FSQWKg
(begins around 6:00)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64emObdnJwM
Posted By: rmns2bseen

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/16/19 10:26 PM

I think it's just a feature that Western "serious music" took on when it was realized that Bach, Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven represent a kind of "summit" from which there could only be decline in the form of endless repetition, and Common Practice was left behind. Thus the "modern" techniques were formed, with atonality and the rest. So I'd guess that from that perspective "the death of melody" would be a good thing.
As for pop music, I think it'd be pretty hard to produce strongly melodic songs without inviting comparison to Gershwin or Lennon-McCartney or Dylan, so pretty much the same dynamic. I'm not so sure that creativity and originality are bottomless wells. It could be that sometimes media just become exhausted, the point at which everything that can be said has been said.
Posted By: WTM

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/16/19 11:19 PM

Originally Posted by indigo_dave

Also the guy kept pulling up examples of current pop pablum. Sure he mentioned Hans Zimmer. But he kept focusing on stupid pop and hip hop hits. Never mentioning the lack of harmonic movement. The current pop music drivel is mostly crap !




The point of him bringing up pop was to contrast it to pop from 40/50 years ago. There was a time when pop had harmony, his examples of Queen and the Beatles, heck even The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac I'll add myself. And to contrast that to pop today, it is very different. There has always been crap and good music. His bringing up of pop was purely to contrast it to a previous generation where pop had harmony.
Posted By: PianoWVBob

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/17/19 06:54 AM

Originally Posted by Dr. Rogers
The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

I watched the whole video (except for the rap/hip-hop section, as I have no wish to vomit on my keyboard) and I think he's catastrophizing a little bit.

Also, this only applies to Western music. Has he listened to any Japanese, Taiwanese, Chinese, or Korean music lately? I guarantee you, melody is alive and well, at least in the Orient, even in their pop/disco/techno. (I'm a big fan of Japanese disco, especially in anime soundtracks.)

Now pardon me while I go listen to some pentatonic Japanese disco... (well, pentatonic with perhaps an occasional flattened mediant...)

His entire video was about western music...that was the context. He didn't say that melody was vacant in all music (or for that matter he didn't say vacant in ALL western music. He made some observations that he was careful to define and set boundaries on) He was in no way doing a "sky is falling!" thing at all.
Posted By: NobleHouse

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/17/19 01:17 PM

Originally Posted by PianoWVBob
Originally Posted by Dr. Rogers
The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

I watched the whole video (except for the rap/hip-hop section, as I have no wish to vomit on my keyboard) and I think he's catastrophizing a little bit.

Also, this only applies to Western music. Has he listened to any Japanese, Taiwanese, Chinese, or Korean music lately? I guarantee you, melody is alive and well, at least in the Orient, even in their pop/disco/techno. (I'm a big fan of Japanese disco, especially in anime soundtracks.)

Now pardon me while I go listen to some pentatonic Japanese disco... (well, pentatonic with perhaps an occasional flattened mediant...)

His entire video was about western music...that was the context. He didn't say that melody was vacant in all music (or for that matter he didn't say vacant in ALL western music. He made some observations that he was careful to define and set boundaries on) He was in no way doing a "sky is falling!" thing at all.


Exactly- western music was the context. And his examples were very convincing.
Posted By: indigo_dave

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/17/19 01:19 PM

I agree that current mass marketed pop music is melodically simplistic. My mind tunes it out if I'm someplace where it's being played over speakers.

As I said, with a bit of searching there's excellent musical craft and invention to be found. The performance below was recorded live for the NPR Tiny Desk concert series on July 22, 2019.

Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/17/19 01:25 PM

Originally Posted by indigo_dave
I agree that current mass marketed pop music is melodically simplistic. My mind tunes it out if I'm someplace where it's being played over speakers.

As I said, with a bit of searching there's excellent musical craft and invention to be found. The performance below was recorded live for the NPR Tiny Desk concert series on July 22, 2019.


dogperson's first post - 2nd post in thread - also cited Jacob Collier as a counterexample.
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/17/19 02:44 PM

No one's claiming 100% of today's pop or movie music lacks melody. I think the real question is if there is a significant trend towards music lacking in melody over the last 10, 20, or 50 years. I don't have the answer since I don't follow pop music. A small number of examples from the video or a small number of counterexamples don't mean too much. Based on the other videos on the poster of the video in question's website, I think the poster of the video is reasonably knowledgeable.
Posted By: indigo_dave

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/17/19 04:28 PM

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
No one's claiming 100% of today's pop or movie music lacks melody. I think the real question is if there is a significant trend towards music lacking in melody over the last 10, 20, or 50 years. I don't have the answer since I don't follow pop music. A small number of examples from the video or a small number of counterexamples don't mean too much. Based on the other videos on the poster of the video in question's website, I think the poster of the video is reasonably knowledgeable.


Maybe I missed something in his narration. I only heard definitive blanket assertions that "melody is dead" in contemporary Western culture.
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/17/19 07:34 PM

Originally Posted by indigo_dave
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
No one's claiming 100% of today's pop or movie music lacks melody. I think the real question is if there is a significant trend towards music lacking in melody over the last 10, 20, or 50 years. I don't have the answer since I don't follow pop music. A small number of examples from the video or a small number of counterexamples don't mean too much. Based on the other videos on the poster of the video in question's website, I think the poster of the video is reasonably knowledgeable.


Maybe I missed something in his narration. I only heard definitive blanket assertions that "melody is dead" in contemporary Western culture.
I think you're taking him far too literally. One does not have to be familiar with much music to know that it would be ridiculous to think 100% of the thousands of pop songs and hundreds of movie scores lacked melody. He probably thinks lack of melody applies to a high percentage of pop and movie music.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/17/19 07:51 PM

Originally Posted by indigo_dave
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
No one's claiming 100% of today's pop or movie music lacks melody. I think the real question is if there is a significant trend towards music lacking in melody over the last 10, 20, or 50 years. I don't have the answer since I don't follow pop music. A small number of examples from the video or a small number of counterexamples don't mean too much. Based on the other videos on the poster of the video in question's website, I think the poster of the video is reasonably knowledgeable.


Maybe I missed something in his narration. I only heard definitive blanket assertions that "melody is dead" in contemporary Western culture.

Even among contemporary classical music, especially in the minimalism subgenre, I've recently encountered piano pieces without melody. I'm guessing this was far less common in earlier musical eras, say before the start of the 20th century, to have a musical work without a melody.
Posted By: BruceD

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/17/19 08:21 PM

It's often difficult if not very limiting to make broad generalizations in a field as complex as music. I think, given the context in which I understand the presenter of the video, there is considerable truth to what he says and implies. Many exceptions, perhaps even broad-ranging, can be found to refute these observations. In my limited experience of modern pop music and some contemporary classical music, I would say that he is not so far off the mark to be called "foul!"

Regards,
Posted By: keystring

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/17/19 08:40 PM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
I'm guessing this was far less common in earlier musical eras, say before the start of the 20th century, to have a musical work without a melody.

If you go back in music history, you'll find that folks were constantly experimenting if they were allowed to - went "too far" - got pulled back by political and religious forces - went to other extremes - and always somebody somewhere was outraged by what was happening. My mind went to the "hocket" of the Ars Antiqua but I couldn't find the one that had assailed my unsuspecting ears back then. Instead, I refound this link. It gives a much more comprehensive (and less simplistic) overview of trends in music across time and geographically, this time around the them of the hocket.

Posted By: keystring

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/17/19 08:44 PM

I went directly to Youtube to find out about the person who produced the video. He has a number of videos that teach about music in a very simple manner, probably for non-musicians who would like to get a bit better informed. So it will all be simplified. He may also have his own prejudices and preferences. There are things to be learned from some of his videos, however.
Posted By: Iaroslav Vasiliev

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/18/19 01:43 PM

Originally Posted by rmns2bseen
It could be that sometimes media just become exhausted, the point at which everything that can be said has been said.

It's often the case in art. But the melody is such a fundamental component that it's too striking to imagine its exhaustion.
Posted By: patH

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/18/19 04:00 PM

I just watched the video, and my feeling about the author can be summarized in one short sentence.

He's wrong.

A more elaborate answer would include mentions on how the pop songs he mentions all have melodies (like the choruses of "Poker face" or "Bad guy", he chose to cut these parts out); or how there are plenty of pop songs in the charts that have recognizable melodies (like "Senorita" which was #1 in the German charts not too long ago); or how John Williams, whom he praises for his melodies, got his first Oscar for "Jaws", a score not known for his melody; or how in modern classical music, serial composers from Schönberg to Boulez have done more to kill melody than all pop music put together (at least he mentions serialists at the end of his video; but only en passant)...
But I guess, just saying "he's wrong" covers it.
Posted By: johnstaf

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/18/19 06:58 PM

It was great in the old days before some fellow called Stravinsky came along.
Posted By: bennevis

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/18/19 07:09 PM

Originally Posted by johnstaf
It was great in the old days before some fellow called Stravinsky came along.




I thought this is full of memorable tunes (like Le sacre du printemps - though that has Russian folk tunes in it too):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hg-5iL6cF34
Posted By: NobleHouse

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/18/19 08:21 PM

Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by johnstaf
It was great in the old days before some fellow called Stravinsky came along.




I thought this is full of memorable tunes (like Le sacre du printemps - though that has Russian folk tunes in it too):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hg-5iL6cF34


I seconded your thoughts here. Very memorable tunes...
Posted By: patH

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/18/19 10:05 PM

Originally Posted by johnstaf
It was great in the old days before some fellow called Stravinsky came along.


Not to mention Bach and Beethoven.
Where's the melody of the C Major and C Minor prelude of WTC I ? Or the melody of the first movement of the Sonata op.27/2 (aka Moonlight Sonata)?

Bach and Beethoven look like predecessors of Minimal Music with these works...
Posted By: rmns2bseen

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/18/19 10:20 PM

Originally Posted by patH
Originally Posted by johnstaf
It was great in the old days before some fellow called Stravinsky came along.


Not to mention Bach and Beethoven.
Where's the melody of the C Major and C Minor prelude of WTC I ? Or the melody of the first movement of the Sonata op.27/2 (aka Moonlight Sonata)?

Bach and Beethoven look like predecessors of Minimal Music with these works...

Hmmmm...not good examples. All three are definitely melodic.
Posted By: outo

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/19/19 03:31 AM

Which all brings us back to what is sufficient melodic content and how to assess the quality of melody.
I think the discussion might as well be about the death of music in general. If one sees Mozart, Bach or Beethoven as the best music ever written, then I guess music has died. For others music is very much alive and still evolving. Also the simple western music theory as a common base and structure of music has lost some of it's dominance. Whether that's a loss or not is a highly subjective matter.
Posted By: patH

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/19/19 05:53 AM

Originally Posted by rmns2bseen
Originally Posted by patH
Originally Posted by johnstaf
It was great in the old days before some fellow called Stravinsky came along.


Not to mention Bach and Beethoven.
Where's the melody of the C Major and C Minor prelude of WTC I ? Or the melody of the first movement of the Sonata op.27/2 (aka Moonlight Sonata)?

Bach and Beethoven look like predecessors of Minimal Music with these works...

Hmmmm...not good examples. All three are definitely melodic.

They are great works; but in my opinion as "melodic" as the pop music examples listed in the video.
It's the harmonic progression that creates an illusion of melody. Which makes them different from most modern pop music.
Posted By: rmns2bseen

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/19/19 07:49 AM

Originally Posted by patH
Originally Posted by rmns2bseen
Originally Posted by patH
Originally Posted by johnstaf
It was great in the old days before some fellow called Stravinsky came along.


Not to mention Bach and Beethoven.
Where's the melody of the C Major and C Minor prelude of WTC I ? Or the melody of the first movement of the Sonata op.27/2 (aka Moonlight Sonata)?

Bach and Beethoven look like predecessors of Minimal Music with these works...

Hmmmm...not good examples. All three are definitely melodic.

They are great works; but in my opinion as "melodic" as the pop music examples listed in the video.
It's the harmonic progression that creates an illusion of melody. Which makes them different from most modern pop music.
On second thought I think you're right, and I think maybe it illustrates an important point, and that is the difference between saying that "melody is dead" and "people aren't writing Puccini arias and 'Yesterday' now." After all some of the melodies in Bach and Beethoven are not exactly ravishing in themselves. It's how they're developed that's tremendous.
Posted By: Sidokar

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/19/19 09:25 AM

In my view the melody has disappeared mainly in the atonal music that started to become predominant early 20th century. It is essentially very difficult to create a melody that is recognizable in a fully atonal context. Therefore to a large extent melody is replaced with rythmic patterns. In music using serial, integral serial or later probabilistic technique, melody is replaced with a pattern of notes which has no meaning in itself. Similar trend can be seen in pop modern music. Many songs are just based on a sequence of chords supporting a very simple melodic pattern and it is the rythm that gives the song its identity. It is simplier (faster) to compose. It is obvious that the current trend of mainstream pop is to go toward simple, rythmically driven music. But that does represent everything being composed and like all trends, it can switch later on. Who knows, but for sure I do not see that we are ever going to go back to Bach type music.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/19/19 10:02 AM

I believe that one of tne of the reason that Alma Deutscher has so caught the imagination, besides her age, is her innocent love of melody:

Posted By: Dr. Rogers

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/19/19 02:23 PM

Originally Posted by PianoWVBob

His entire video was about western music...that was the context. He didn't say that melody was vacant in all music (or for that matter he didn't say vacant in ALL western music. He made some observations that he was careful to define and set boundaries on) He was in no way doing a "sky is falling!" thing at all.


Yes, indeed, he set narrow boundaries so that he could make his demagogic, click-baity point.
Posted By: brooster

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/22/19 01:11 PM

This is profound:

MELODY - SPIRIT
HARMONY - SOUL
RHYTHM - BODY


Selah!


profound - heartfelt, intense, keen, great, very great, extreme, sincere, earnest, deep, deepest, deeply felt, wholehearted, acute, overpowering, overwhelming, deep-seated, deep-rooted, fervent,

Selah - Selah (/ˈsiːlə(h)/; Hebrew: סֶלָה, also transliterated as selāh) is a word used 74 times in the Hebrew Bible—seventy-one times in the Psalms and three times in the Book of Habakkuk.[1] The meaning of the word is not known, though various interpretations are given below. (It should not be confused with the Hebrew word sela` (Hebrew: סֶלַע) which means "rock", or in an adjectival form, "like a rock", i.e.: firm, hard, heavy) It is probably either a liturgico-musical mark or an instruction on the reading of the text, something like "stop and listen." Another proposal is that Selah can be used to indicate that there is to be a musical interlude at that point in the Psalm.[2] The Amplified Bible translates selah as "pause, and think of that." It can also be interpreted as a form of underlining in preparation for the next paragraph.

At least some of the Psalms were sung accompanied by musical instruments and there are references to this in many chapters. Thirty-one of the thirty-nine psalms with the caption "To the choir-master" include the word selah. Selah may indicate a break in the song whose purpose is similar to that of Amen (Hebrew: "so be it") in that it stresses the truth and importance of the preceding passage; this interpretation is consistent with the meaning of the Semitic root ṣ-l-ḥ also reflected in Arabic cognate salih (variously "valid" [in the logical sense of "truth-preserving"], "honest," and "righteous"). Alternatively, selah may mean "forever," as it does in some places in the liturgy (notably the second to last blessing of the Amidah). Another interpretation claims that selah comes from the primary Hebrew root word salah (סָלָה) which means "to hang," and by implication to measure (weigh).[3]
Posted By: Lady Bird

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/26/19 11:51 PM

Melody is one parameter of music.Harmony, rhythm ,polyphony(counterpoint) form,timbre,texture are others.Sometimes even in Bach ,melody is not the main focus.Yes look at the C minor Prelude
from Book 1 from WTC. Can YOU think is the main focus in this prelude.?Be logical !
Bach's music is not defective !
I do not understand the last post but I find it scary !
Posted By: Sweelinck

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/27/19 01:28 AM

It’s even worse than the narrator of the video in the OP suggests. The algorithms in Spotify and Pandora that decide what songs to add to a playlist, which in turn drives revenue for the songwriter, look at the percentage of listeners who listen to the end vs stopping the play of a song before the end. This is motivating songwriters to produce shorter songs with no intro or verse, but that just go straight into the chorus hook and repeat it with some variations and then end the song. They are composing for the algorithm instead of for the listener or for artistic merit.

Someone who wants to compose for artistic merit is swimming upstream against a string current if they want to make a living. Perhaps that always was true, just in different ways in the past.
Posted By: Lady Bird

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/27/19 02:59 AM

Why do we not all just listen to traditional classical Indian music, from India(not influenced by Western music)The focus is purely on melody,long lines which even make use of 1/4 tones ? Most of us will not appreciate this music.
But wow there you are pure melody !
The use of Oh Come Oh Come Immanuel is not a good exampe---in its original form.This was an ancient chant making use of pure melody .No functional hamony was around and people never made harmonic connections when it was a chant.
Later this when harmony and key signatures became clearer ,we thought of this piece as being in E minor.(centuries later)We changed the piece and then added 4 part harmony.It had to fit the added harming structure.It also of course now had harmonic rhythm.
Music was modal ,not just major and minor keys ! To suggest otherwise is incorrect !
Talking " spiritual " was the Rite of Spring visionary? Apart from the unearthly melodies in the opening(The Adoration of the Earth)The whole piece is based on rhythm ! The next movement opens faster but with very evenly distributed chords which suddenly become violenty uneven rhythms and it is as if one is violently beaten about the head.The choreography is strange,the dancers wrists twisting outwards.
The combinations of this music and the dancing evoked a riot which broke out after this first performance in Paris.These were no doubt troubled times.
The Rite of Spring captures the dark (primitive)side of humanity.World War 1 started in 1914 .So was
this masterpiece by Stravinsky (where melody and beauty of melody of little importance) )prophetic?
Was this a mirror of what was about to happen.Why did it affect the audience to this degree ?
I remember at university this was a piece we had to analyze.,and rhythm is what this piece focuses
on.
Posted By: Lady Bird

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/27/19 03:22 AM

The first performance of the." Rite" was 1913 in Paris.Was it a death of melody ?
Posted By: outo

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/27/19 03:47 AM

A good question would be how the range of melodies change over time and place. What exactly are the requirements of melody. How many intervals or notes must there be? If I can sing something, is it not a melody? Are diatonic melodies somehow better than other types? The more one looks into these questions the less substancial or relevant the video seems.
Posted By: Lady Bird

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/27/19 05:40 AM

I must apologize I did not listen to the whole video.If it is just about pop music ,I am not really
interested.I also find rap really neurotic.
But do think art is tied to life. In modern classical music the focus of the parameters of the music
is often tied to the meaning of the piece.I do not think sweet melodies (in overkill in the strings section of an orchestra )and forms related.to 19th century music is the way to go for modern composers.
Wagner in Tristan and Insolde focuses on harmony ,building up tension more and more, going
through many implied Key changes and finally reaches a point where the music is almost atonal.(a sense of "key" is lost )This relates to the story of Tristan searching for a lost love !
According to Martin Cooper ,Music and Musicians .
The music was regarded as unplayable and unsingable ., King Ludwig ll (the mad one ?)made 3 performance possible.
In Vienna it was abandoned after 77 rehearsals .Von Caroldsfeld ,the first Tristan ,whose wife Malwins Garrigues was the first Isolde,died from rheumatic fever shortly after the production
and his death was attributed to the strain of singing the part ?
After this atonality was reached the direction to go perplexed composers.So eventually enter Schoenberg and Webern.Europe was heavily bombed in WW2 .Schoenberg escaped to the US .,Weber was killed getting on a train by a stray bullet.
Is is coincidental that musical line (melody)is now split into 12 tones .Actually music is split
by these composers into a series of 12 totally unrelated equal tones.
So there was a "death "of melody then by these important (great)composers.
This was no gimmick however nor was it a jingle .You no doubt can sing such a melody but I would
not like to try.This was all serious art though.
Posted By: Lady Bird

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/27/19 04:46 PM

Please I am not saying we must all listen to atonal music.I am not
saying composition should be atonal.I do not think we could
ever let go of tonality.Composers often now make use of implied tonal
centre's.Schoenberg has been gone for a long while.
As for "hocket" spoken of in the the video.It is just a rhythmic
motif of some sort.
In the 5th Symphony a 4 note motif is used as a structural element
for the whole 1st movement or not ?
Posted By: rmns2bseen

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/28/19 11:28 PM

Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Melody is one parameter of music.Harmony, rhythm ,polyphony(counterpoint) form,timbre,texture are others.Sometimes even in Bach ,melody is not the main focus.Yes look at the C minor Prelude
from Book 1 from WTC. Can YOU think is the main focus in this prelude.?Be logical !
Bach's music is not defective !
...

No it isn't, and I do think there is melodic material in that prelude. While playing it, imagine a flute or violin-family instrument playing the top treble notes, maybe even holding them for two beats in a pattern like C - C - A flat - A flat - B - B - C - C and so on. Simple, yes, but still a melodic theme, and serves as the basis for the broken chords.
Posted By: Lady Bird

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/29/19 09:52 AM

Originally Posted by rmns2bseen
Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Melody is one parameter of music.Harmony, rhythm ,polyphony(counterpoint) form,timbre,texture are others.Sometimes even in Bach ,melody is not the main focus.Yes look at the C minor Prelude
from Book 1 from WTC. Can YOU think is the main focus in this prelude.?Be logical !
Bach's music is not defective !
...

No it isn't, and I do think there is melodic material in that prelude. While playing it, imagine a flute or violin-family instrument playing the top treble notes, maybe even holding them for two beats in a pattern like C - C - A flat - A flat - B - B - C - C and so on. Simple, yes, but still a melodic theme, and serves as the basis for the broken chords.

Yes there is melodic material.But the main focus of the piece is not melodic .A flute playing those
disjointed notes would not work even if played very fast .Perhaps a violins playing pizzicato,
or a xylophone ?The focus is rhythmic,the repeated progresive chords move fast forward creating
a rising reason which culminates in a beautiful short Cadenza ,with touches of melody.
Melody is only a parameter in music.Listen to some of the long ,long melody lines in the St Matthew
Passion.(an Aria)The human voice is used almost like a musical instrument.Thsee are Bach melodies at there best ! The Prelude in A flat is very much more melodic.
The little Prelude in C minor from the short Preludes is not really melodic either.

Posted By: rmns2bseen

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/29/19 11:21 AM

Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Originally Posted by rmns2bseen
Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Melody is one parameter of music.Harmony, rhythm ,polyphony(counterpoint) form,timbre,texture are others.Sometimes even in Bach ,melody is not the main focus.Yes look at the C minor Prelude
from Book 1 from WTC. Can YOU think is the main focus in this prelude.?Be logical !
Bach's music is not defective !
...

No it isn't, and I do think there is melodic material in that prelude. While playing it, imagine a flute or violin-family instrument playing the top treble notes, maybe even holding them for two beats in a pattern like C - C - A flat - A flat - B - B - C - C and so on. Simple, yes, but still a melodic theme, and serves as the basis for the broken chords.

Yes there is melodic material.But the main focus of the piece is not melodic .A flute playing those
disjointed notes would not work even if played very fast .Perhaps a violins playing pizzicato,
or a xylophone ?The focus is rhythmic,the repeated progresive chords move fast forward creating
a rising reason which culminates in a beautiful short Cadenza ,with touches of melody.
Melody is only a parameter in music.Listen to some of the long ,long melody lines in the St Matthew
Passion.(an Aria)The human voice is used almost like a musical instrument.Thsee are Bach melodies at there best ! The Prelude in A flat is very much more melodic.
The little Prelude in C minor from the short Preludes is not really melodic either.


No, you wouldn't need a xylophone or pizzicato strings. A whole note held throughout each measure would even do it: C - A flat - B - C - E flat - D and so on. There's the melodic idea. Just because the harmony features those broken chords doesn't make it any less melodic than the opening measures of the St John Passion. Bach's melodies, especially fugue subjects, are often quite short and simple...not always flowing and long. But they're still melodies.
Posted By: rmns2bseen

Re: The Death of Melody - 08/29/19 11:36 AM

^ I would add, by the way, that the Preludes to the first and fourth cello suites are similar cases. Would you say that they're lacking in melody?
Posted By: Lady Bird

Re: The Death of Melody - 09/02/19 05:05 AM

Originally Posted by rmns2bseen
^ I would add, by the way, that the Preludes to the first and fourth cello suites are similar cases. Would you say that they're lacking in melody?

Well If you really think so ! Just go ahead and play it musically.Do you not think that is what really matters ! How you think of it is what is important, since you are the one playing it.
You are the artist.Do you really think I would want to confuse you ?
Posted By: rmns2bseen

Re: The Death of Melody - 09/02/19 05:31 AM

Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Originally Posted by rmns2bseen
^ I would add, by the way, that the Preludes to the first and fourth cello suites are similar cases. Would you say that they're lacking in melody?

Well If you really think so ! Just go ahead and play it musically.Do you not think that is what really matters ! How you think of it is what is important, since you are the one playing it.
You are the artist.Do you really think I would want to confuse you ?

Agreed, playing is better than arguing. A rose by any other name...etc. Best wishes.
Posted By: Lady Bird

Re: The Death of Melody - 09/02/19 06:56 AM

Sorry I was not trying to argue with you ! It is a wonderful piece.Enjoy it !
Posted By: CharlesXX

Re: The Death of Melody - 09/02/19 01:07 PM

A very interesting and thought-provoking video.

Musical style is not static. It changes and evolves constantly. It's true, as the video points out, that there is a fashion/style/trend in music in which melody is not the primary musical driving element.

But to announce the death of melody perhaps premature. Somewhat of an exaggeration.

Surely it's possible for these different styles of music to exist concurrently. When in the mid-1970s, Steve Reich composed "Music for 18 Musicians", it did not mark the end of melody, for at about the same time Gorecki was composing his Symphony #3. Although stylistically miles apart, one does not negate the other.

One of the things I make an effort to do, especially when out working in the garden, is to listen to what I call "young people's music". And I'm glad I do because I have come across some great songs. The creativity of the young gives me hope and a sense of optimism.

Here is a curated list of some of the songs I like. I would describe them all as melody driven. Melody is what they are about, constrained as they are by populars song form - verse, chorus, middle 8 etc. Popular songs by popular artists in Australia, now. All artists are performing here and now to young audiences.

In the video, examples were given of songs where melody was secondary. My list is full of good, catchy, enjoyable and even beautiful and moving melodies. I like 'em.

Melody of not dead. Just resting in various corners.

Vera Blue "All the pretty Girls"

Thelma Plum "Clumsy Love"

SAFIA "Starlight"

Rufus Du Sol "Lost in my Mind"

Hayden James "Numb"

Vance Joy "We're Going Home"

Amy Shark "I said hi"

Hayden James "Better together"

Vance Joy "Saturday Sun"
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