Definition of melody in English:



  • 1A sequence of single notes that is musically satisfying; a tune.

    ‘he picked out an intricate melody on his guitar’
    • ‘Her fingers danced skillfully on the taut strings, creating an intricate melody.’
    • ‘The first two songs use folk melodies which Durey heard a young shepherd sing during his stay.’
    • ‘It was just pure joy escapist music, sweet melodies played very sweetly by a small orchestra.’
    • ‘Singers will get the chance to sing in harmony, in single line melodies, in rounds and to experiment with varied vocal textures.’
    • ‘The majority of Obrecht's masses are constructed round either plainchant melodies or secular songs.’
    • ‘It's a rather chirpy little guitar-pop song with a melody that is strangely reminiscent of the Postman Pat theme tune.’
    • ‘Still, these are threads rather than a dialogue until the piano plays an infectious melody around which the music weaves a joyous romp.’
    • ‘Mendelssohn's melody forms a self-contained, cadentially closed unit, a little garden of its own.’
    • ‘This is a language I can understand, music with a melody I can whistle.’
    • ‘Their repertoire included folk and musical hall melodies about daily life ending with a fun tongue twister as a finale.’
    • ‘The album's arrangements are uniformly awful, and its melodies are elevator music bland.’
    • ‘That same, simple melody played by a single trumpet might be beautiful, but the message conveyed and resulting impact on the audience is not the same.’
    • ‘As soon as his fingers hit the notes in the song, the melody seemed quite familiar.’
    • ‘Rain beat against her window, and she could hear faint musical melodies drifting through the air to her from the ballroom.’
    • ‘According to the liner notes, only three of the melodies come directly from Holst.’
    • ‘That said, you may not be able to remember a single melody to any one of these songs after a week, but maybe that's not the point.’
    • ‘It means he can hum a popular melody in the tune of other songs.’
    • ‘Her voice sounded like pure music, a melody he'd forever be joyful to hear composed.’
    • ‘Even if the basic chords are unchanged, the melody almost inevitably adds passing notes which effectively alter the chords.’
    • ‘Dedicated to Balakirev, this piece has a lyrical melody with light fingerwork in the right hand.’
    tune, music, air, strain, theme, subject, line, part, song, refrain, jingle, piece
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    1. 1.1[mass noun]The aspect of musical composition concerned with the arrangement of single notes to form a satisfying sequence.
      ‘her great gift was for melody’
      • ‘Glass has stripped music down to a few bare parameters: repetition, simple harmony and little melody.’
      • ‘She possesses a powerful voice, intelligent lyrics, excellent musicianship (particularly on keyboard) and a clear gift for melody.’
      • ‘Stock is stronger with structure, rhythm, harmony and tonal effect than he is with melody.’
      • ‘Copland, of course, owed a lot to the Russian Stravinsky, but not his sense of melody, embedded in the American vernacular.’
      • ‘He has a fine gift for melody, and it would be fair to say that melodic considerations drive the piece.’
      • ‘Not only has he inherited his father's gift for effortless melody, but his tenor is also imbued with Caetano's sturdy character.’
      • ‘Also included is the Hungarian composer Zoltan Kodaly, a master of melody and of his country's folklore.’
      • ‘A song like ‘Oranges On Appletrees’ is a glaring advertisement for their gift of melody.’
      • ‘He's always had a gift for melody and texture, obviously, but how these components work against his drums is what I'm always listening for.’
      • ‘Having said that, there is some evocative background to most of the mixes and they do show the plain gift for melody that Reich has.’
      • ‘His supreme gift for melody is readily apparent in his keyboard works, just on a smaller scale than found in his orchestral and vocal works.’
      • ‘They do display a keen sense of melody and song arrangement, but being better than all the other emo bands still isn't saying much.’
      • ‘Consistently elevating each of these fourteen tracks above the clones are the pair's ear for melody and sense of musical humor.’
      • ‘The common threads are Jóhannsson's airy use of space and the fundamental simplicity with which he approaches melody and arrangement.’
      • ‘In addition, David says melody and rhythm are most important to him in composing music.’
      • ‘They've got such a strong grasp of melody, rhythm and harmony and every single song on this latest album withstands repeated plays.’
      • ‘He also has an uncommon gift for melody and thoughtful lyrics.’
      • ‘The Italians Rossini and Donizetti had a real gift for melody, a natural theatrical instinct and, more often than not, great wit.’
      • ‘In terms of form, melody, and harmony, these works define the word ‘traditional.’’
      • ‘Shadows Collide with People marks the point at which Frusciante brings his gift for melody and proper songs to his own work.’
    2. 1.2The principal part in harmonized music.
      ‘we have the melody and bass of a song composed by Strozzi’
      • ‘As with the chord of the diminished seventh in the past, these bring a new colour to the melody and the harmony.’
      • ‘Voicing in many pieces is made more advanced by placing the melody in the same hand as many moving sixteenth notes or triplets.’
      • ‘When music is recognizable, as in a melody with a traditional harmonic accompaniment, we experience reassurance.’
      • ‘Milhaud approved the work, made his comments, and then requested that Trimble write ten harmonizations of the same melody for the next week.’
      • ‘I also encourage students to focus on how the melody and harmony interrelate, particularly in homophonic textures.’
      • ‘It has been said that in Schubert's music the melody stands for life and the harmony for death.’
      • ‘Today, it's very rare for the bass player to think he's only operating in the bass area of the sound spectrum and supporting the melody with harmonic changes.’
      • ‘Andrew can pick out a lovely melody but his harmonies often seem out (perhaps deliberately so) and he's better with melodies than he is with rhythms, for the moment.’
      • ‘We sang the chorus together - me trying my best to harmonize with his melody.’
      • ‘Rachmaninoff indicates that the tenor carries the melody by placing accents over each of its notes.’
      • ‘It is a gentle, almost languid waltz, with a simple melody, and even simpler harmonies and construction.’
      • ‘Possibly the lack of harmonic padding between the melody and bass lines meant that there was more inclusive space for other adjacent sounds.’
      • ‘Their meticulously crafted melodies and tight harmonies recreate that awesome sound of the seventies.’
      • ‘The haze of sound he creates actually does activate those harmonics and their subtle movement is the real melody of the music.’
      • ‘Also, in bar 5 the bass is in thirds with the melody while in all other versions it is in sixths.’
      • ‘Accordingly, harmony becomes the fundamental texture of music, and melody a more superficial constituent.’
      • ‘The band will probably branch out into new musical areas, like melody and proper chord progression.’
      • ‘Second, the student is able to play melody and harmony simultaneously.’
      • ‘Only one, ‘I Love to Tell the Story,’ has the melody in octaves in the bass.’
      • ‘Primary parameters include melody and harmony: aspects of music that are culturally shaped and recognizable as traditional forms.’
    3. 1.3[mass noun]Sweet music; tunefulness.
      • ‘Their lyrics are intelligent and literate, their music is full of melody, while their performance is always passionate - thanks to their powerful vocals.’
      • ‘Even now, The Shadows are still the benchmark for tone and melody, their music is timeless and always a pleasure to hear - especially to guitar lovers.’
      • ‘In fact, it's thought that the mathematical structure embedded in the rhythm and melody of music is what our brains latch on to, and that this is why we enjoy listening to it.’
      • ‘Trickling streams nearby added to the tranquility of this hidden paradise, joining in sweet melody with the bird's songs.’
      • ‘But that life had still been familiar and reassuring, like the quiet roar of the passing cars and the sweet melody of the songbirds in the trees.’
      • ‘Instead of seeking melody, listeners grew satisfied with crump-crump rhythm.’
      • ‘Yet, unlike so many other releases, rather than focusing on the sweetness and melody of pop music, Massimo seems to be grasping for rock instead.’
      • ‘The sweet melody of the practicing orchestra wafted over us.’
      • ‘Apparently, Mandarin speakers also use the right temporal lobe which is used to process melody in music and speech.’
      • ‘The lyrics are intelligent and engaging, while the music has more melody than the typical metal record.’
      • ‘The music is devoid of melody, at least in the traditional sense, but it can grab the listener as tightly as any Big Tune, if given the chance.’
      • ‘Whereas popular music relies almost entirely on melody, classical music has development and argument.’
      • ‘The rhythm, harmony and melody of the music are drawn from the sounds of nature, mixed with the cadence of the Gaelic language.’
      • ‘I think he's trying to sing, but there's little melody - when the music suggests there should be.’
      • ‘The pieces are predominantly romantic in style with an emphasis on attractive, tonal melody.’
      • ‘His name was Marc Saison, and to hear it pronounced from his own delicately full lips gave it such sweet melody it charmed one's ears.’
      • ‘On the other line I could hear the soft melody of music, slow lyrics playing out over the telephone line.’
      • ‘He believes that there's currently a move in British music towards better melody and lyrics.’
      • ‘Their music had edge, melody, and incredible vocals - all rare in most of the bands that night.’
      • ‘Like some private soundtrack the sweet melody of humpback whales singing accompanied us as the day wore on.’
      musicality, musicalness, melodiousness, tunefulness, lyricism, sweetness, euphony
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Middle English (also in the sense ‘sweet music’): from Old French melodie, via late Latin from Greek melōidia, from melos song.