Definition of melody in US English:

melody

nounPlural melodies

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

    ‘he picked out an intricate melody on his guitar’
    • ‘According to the liner notes, only three of the melodies come directly from Holst.’
    • ‘Her voice sounded like pure music, a melody he'd forever be joyful to hear composed.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This is a language I can understand, music with a melody I can whistle.’
    • ‘Dedicated to Balakirev, this piece has a lyrical melody with light fingerwork in the right hand.’
    • ‘Even if the basic chords are unchanged, the melody almost inevitably adds passing notes which effectively alter the chords.’
    • ‘It means he can hum a popular melody in the tune of other songs.’
    • ‘As soon as his fingers hit the notes in the song, the melody seemed quite familiar.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The first two songs use folk melodies which Durey heard a young shepherd sing during his stay.’
    • ‘Her fingers danced skillfully on the taut strings, creating an intricate melody.’
    • ‘It was just pure joy escapist music, sweet melodies played very sweetly by a small orchestra.’
    • ‘Rain beat against her window, and she could hear faint musical melodies drifting through the air to her from the ballroom.’
    • ‘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'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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Mendelssohn's melody forms a self-contained, cadentially closed unit, a little garden of its own.’
    tune, music, air, strain, theme, subject, line, part, song, refrain, jingle, piece
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Musically satisfying sequences of notes collectively.
      ‘his great gift was for melody’
      • ‘Copland, of course, owed a lot to the Russian Stravinsky, but not his sense of melody, embedded in the American vernacular.’
      • ‘Not only has he inherited his father's gift for effortless melody, but his tenor is also imbued with Caetano's sturdy character.’
      • ‘The common threads are Jóhannsson's airy use of space and the fundamental simplicity with which he approaches melody and arrangement.’
      • ‘Consistently elevating each of these fourteen tracks above the clones are the pair's ear for melody and sense of musical humor.’
      • ‘Also included is the Hungarian composer Zoltan Kodaly, a master of melody and of his country's folklore.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He also has an uncommon gift for melody and thoughtful lyrics.’
      • ‘In addition, David says melody and rhythm are most important to him in composing music.’
      • ‘Shadows Collide with People marks the point at which Frusciante brings his gift for melody and proper songs to his own work.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The Italians Rossini and Donizetti had a real gift for melody, a natural theatrical instinct and, more often than not, great wit.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He has a fine gift for melody, and it would be fair to say that melodic considerations drive the piece.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They've got such a strong grasp of melody, rhythm and harmony and every single song on this latest album withstands repeated plays.’
      • ‘Stock is stronger with structure, rhythm, harmony and tonal effect than he is with melody.’
      • ‘In terms of form, melody, and harmony, these works define the word ‘traditional.’’
    2. 1.2 The principal part in harmonized music.
      ‘we have the melody and bass of a song composed by Strozzi’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It is a gentle, almost languid waltz, with a simple melody, and even simpler harmonies and construction.’
      • ‘As with the chord of the diminished seventh in the past, these bring a new colour to the melody and the harmony.’
      • ‘Milhaud approved the work, made his comments, and then requested that Trimble write ten harmonizations of the same melody for the next week.’
      • ‘We sang the chorus together - me trying my best to harmonize with his melody.’
      • ‘When music is recognizable, as in a melody with a traditional harmonic accompaniment, we experience reassurance.’
      • ‘Second, the student is able to play melody and harmony simultaneously.’
      • ‘Rachmaninoff indicates that the tenor carries the melody by placing accents over each of its notes.’
      • ‘It has been said that in Schubert's music the melody stands for life and the harmony for death.’
      • ‘I also encourage students to focus on how the melody and harmony interrelate, particularly in homophonic textures.’
      • ‘Primary parameters include melody and harmony: aspects of music that are culturally shaped and recognizable as traditional forms.’
      • ‘Voicing in many pieces is made more advanced by placing the melody in the same hand as many moving sixteenth notes or triplets.’
      • ‘Accordingly, harmony becomes the fundamental texture of music, and melody a more superficial constituent.’
      • ‘Also, in bar 5 the bass is in thirds with the melody while in all other versions it is in sixths.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The band will probably branch out into new musical areas, like melody and proper chord progression.’
      • ‘Only one, ‘I Love to Tell the Story,’ has the melody in octaves in the bass.’
      • ‘Possibly the lack of harmonic padding between the melody and bass lines meant that there was more inclusive space for other adjacent sounds.’

Origin

Middle English (also in the sense ‘sweet music’): from Old French melodie, via late Latin from Greek melōidia, from melos ‘song’.

Pronunciation

melody

/ˈmɛlədi//ˈmelədē/