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Meaningful succession of pitches.


Section of a melody, comparable to a section or phrase of a sentence.


Stopping point.


Melodic phrase repeated at different levels of pitch.


Melody that is easy to recognize, memorize, and sing.


Melody that recurs throughout a section, a movement, or an entire composition.

Motive, motivic melody

Short melodic phrase that may be effectively developed.

Lyrical melody

Relatively long, songlike melody.


Ascending or descending pattern of half steps, whole steps or both.

Major Scale

Ascending pattern steps as follows: whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half.

Minor Scale

Ascending pattern of steps as follows: whole, half, whole, whole, half, whole.


First and most important note of the major or minor scale, to which all other notes in the scale are subordinate.


The major or minor scale on which a composition is based.

Chromatic Scale

Twelve consecutive half steps within the range of an octave.

Whole-tone scale

Six consecutive whole steps within the range of an octave.

Pentatonic scale

Five-note scale

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