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Using the Melodic Motion Tunetext format, pitch sequences of melodies are expressed using operators which describe the melodic motion from note to note as a series of different sized chord and scale step jumps that move in a specified direction.

When melodies are abstracted in this fashion, the motion description can be played above different harmony to produce a somewhat different melody which retains the shape of the original idea as it changes itself to fit its new harmonic setting. The contour, melodic range, pattern of melodic skips and their direction, and the rhythm of the original idea are preserved in its new setting.

If you can think of a melodic idea as a shape that moves by chord and scale step above a particular harmonic sequence, instead of a particular pitch sequence, a particular sequence of melodic intervals or a particular sequence of harmonic intervals, the essence of an idea can be captured in a way that makes it applicable and possibly useful in many harmonic settings.

If the supporting chord progression for an excerpt of a Melodic Motion Tunetext is changed, the melody generated by the Melodic Motion Operators in the the Tunetext will differ because those operators will select different melody pitches to be added the score that will preserve quite a lot of the original meaning of the excerpt in it's new setting.

Transplanting the exact pitch of the notes of an excerpt to play over a new harmonic setting, will nearly always cause many clashes which need to be fixed. Transplanting an excerpt expressed in Melodic Motion notation will cause many fewer clashes when a transplant over new harmony is performed. This increases the probability that a composer will be able to recognize that a transplant contributes an attractive novelty to his work that he'll want to develop further.

A study of this format can help you learn to express and memorize melodic ideas using this more general method.

The Direction Specifications in Melodic Motion Tunetext are 'ru'(an abbreviation for the directional verb 'runup'), 'rd' ('rundown' abbrevated) and 'dr' ('don't run' abbreviated).

The Scale Step Operator is 's' and the Chord Step Operator is 'ch'.

Placing an integer number before a Scale Step or Chord Step operator means to execute that operation, starting with the pitch of the llast interpreted note in the Tunetext list, moving the specified number of times in the direction that was last specified by a Direction Operator in order to reach the pitch where the next note will be written. (eg. 'rd,3s,2ch,ru,4s' means run down to place a note of current duration on the pitch which is 3 scale steps down from the last note, followed by a note whose pitch is 2 chord steps down, followed by a note whose pitch is 4 scale steps up).

Chord steps are measured wth respect to the chord that will accompany that note as it begins to sound in the score. Scale steps are measured using the default scale which is likely to sound best the accompanying chord which is sounding at the instant that note begins to sound in the score.

For notes that fall between the chord tones and scale pitches that are implied by the accompanying chord, any number of '#,'b' or 'x' Accidental Specifications can be added to follow a scale or chord tone operator.

A 'chbbb' operator, for example, adds a note to the score whose pitch is three half steps below the next chord tone that we encounter as we move as directed by the last Direction Operator that was encountered as the Tunetext string was interpreted from beginning to end.

An 's#'operator adds a note whose pitch that is a half step above the next scale tone that is encountered as we move in the direction last declared up to that point in the Tunetext string,

A 'chx' operator adds a note to score which is two half steps above the next chord tone encountered as we move as instructed by the last previously encountered Direction Operation in the Tunetext string.

The 'same' operator tells the tunetext interpreter to add a note whose pitch is identical to that of the previous note that was specified in the Tunetext list.

Last update: Friday, November 12, 2010 at 7:12 PM.