Melodic pattern

In music and jazz improvisation, a melodic pattern (or motive) is a cell or germ serving as the basis for repetitive pattern. It is a figure that can be used with any scale. It is used primarily for solos because, when practiced enough, it can be extremely useful when improvising. "Sequence" refers to the repetition of a part at a higher or lower pitch,[1][2][3][4] and melodic sequence is differentiated from harmonic sequence. One example of melodic motive and sequence are the pitches of the first line, "Send her victorious," repeated, a step lower, in the second line, "Happy and glorious," from "God Save the Queen".

"A melodic pattern is just what the name implies: a melody with some sort of fixed pattern to it."[6] "The strong theme or motive is stated. It is repeated more or less exactly, but at a different pitch level."[7]

See also


  1. Berg, Shelly (2005). Alfred's Essentials of Jazz Theory, p.83. Alfred Music. ISBN 9780739030899. "Melodic sequence is the repetition of an idea transposed by some interval."
  2. Briggs (2011). The Language and Materials of Music, p.202. Third Edition. Highland Heritage. ISBN 9781257996148. "Melodic sequences are patterns that repeat at different pitches."
  3. Randel, Don Michael; ed. (2003). The Harvard Dictionary of Music, p.768. Harvard. ISBN 9780674011632. "Sequence: The repetition of a phrase of melody (melodic sequence) different pitch levels, the succession of pitch levels rising or falling by the same or similar succession of intervals."
  4. Giffe, William Thomas (1906). A Practical Course in Harmony and Musical Composition, p.107. T. Presser. [ISBN unspecified] "A melodic sequence may consist of a melodic design, or phrase, repeated in a symmetrical manner."
  5. Berle, Arnie (1997). Mel Bay Encyclopedia of Scales, Modes and Melodic Patterns, p.9. ISBN 0-7866-1791-8.
  6. Greene, Ted (1985). Ted Greene -- Jazz Guitar Single Note Soloing, p.42. Alfred Music. ISBN 9780739053843.
  7. Haerle, Dan (1993). Jazz Improvisation for Keyyboard Players, p.2-7. Alfred. ISBN 9781457493874.

Further reading

  • Hanon, C.L. (2000) The Virtuoso Pianist. ISBN 9781569221440. Cited in Baerman, Noah (2003). Big Book of Jazz Piano Improvisation, p.33. ISBN 9780739031711.
  • Lateef, Yusef (1981). Repository of Scales and Melodic Patterns. Fana Music. Cited in Baerman (2003), p.33.
  • Slonimsky, Nicolas (2000). Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns. ISBN 9780825672408. Cited in Baerman (2003), p.33.

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