SKIP TO CONTENT

melody

In any musical composition, there is a dominant line that creates a tone pattern known as the piece's melody. There are specific rules for the musical composition of a melody, and most fall into regular patterns.

The ancient Greek word melōidía was used to denote a tune for lyric poetry. It was derived from melos, which meant "song." In most songs, the melody follows a logical, mathematical pattern that creates a memorable line of notes. The word suggests a beautiful and pleasant sound, as was celebrated in the 1946 Irving Berlin lyrics, "A pretty girl is like a melody that haunts you night and day."

Definitions of melody
  1. noun
    a succession of notes forming a distinctive sequence
    synonyms: air, line, melodic line, melodic phrase, strain, tune
    see moresee less
    types:
    show 17 types...
    hide 17 types...
    fanfare, flourish, tucket
    (music) a short lively tune played on brass instruments
    glissando
    a rapid series of ascending or descending notes on the musical scale
    roulade
    (music) an elaborate run of several notes sung to one syllable
    leitmotif, leitmotiv
    a melodic phrase that accompanies the reappearance of a person or situation (as in Wagner's operas)
    theme song
    a melody that recurs and comes to represent a musical play or movie
    signature, signature tune, theme song
    a melody used to identify a performer or a dance band or radio/tv program
    idea, melodic theme, musical theme, theme
    (music) melodic subject of a musical composition
    part, voice
    the melody carried by a particular voice or instrument in polyphonic music
    slide, swoop
    (music) rapid sliding up or down the musical scale
    motif, motive
    a theme that is repeated or elaborated in a piece of music
    statement
    (music) the presentation of a musical theme
    variation
    a repetition of a musical theme in which it is modified or embellished
    primo
    the principal part of a duet (especially a piano duet)
    secondo
    the second or lower part of a duet (especially a piano duet)
    voice part
    a part written for a singer
    accompaniment, backup, musical accompaniment, support
    a musical part (vocal or instrumental) that supports or provides background for other musical parts
    bass, bass part
    the lowest part in polyphonic music
    type of:
    music
    an artistic form of auditory communication incorporating instrumental or vocal tones in a structured and continuous manner
  2. noun
    the perception of pleasant arrangements of musical notes
    synonyms: tonal pattern
    see moresee less
    type of:
    musical perception
    the auditory perception of musical sounds
Word Family
EDITOR'S CHOICE

Look up melody for the last time

Close your vocabulary gaps with personalized learning that focuses on teaching the words you need to know.

VocabTrainer - Vocabulary.com's Vocabulary Trainer