Composing Music Part 2 – Exploring Melody and Scales


Amongst the most ancient melodies known is the Entrance Hymn for the Emperor (Circa 1000BC) which was part of the time-honoured Chinese course ceremonial. Written in the Pentatonic scale it has a percussion accompaniment.

The Ambrosian Hymn – the highest note is only heard once. A beautifully balanced melodic line.

The First Delphic Hymn – is the earliest known Greek music. A pain to the god Apollo, it probably won a prize not he Pythian festival, which is why it came to be engraved on stones found in Delphi. Largely a pentatonic scale.

St Godric was the earliest known lyrical poet in the English language. He was never officially canonised – here is more information about him Godric of Finchale

Contour, peak points, glancing and reflecting phrases in melodic lines from the distant past can be found in all the best melodies of recent times too. eh Tchaikovsky.

Dynamic play a very important part in the impact and character of a piece. This is the same for melodic lines

A five note scale has been used since antiquity and occurs in traditional music throughout the world.Auld Lang Syne uses this scale. More recent composers and pop musicians have made innovative uses of its tonally indeterminate qualities.

Project 5 – Pentatonic Melody

The composition of three contrasting pentatonic melodic shapes designed as vocal lines for a male or female voice. Use dynamics, tempo and rhythmic interest to make them a contrasting group of solos. As you are exploring a melody there is no need for bar lines

So I found this quite an easyish task, however I couldn’t really work on Sibelius without the bar lines but what I have done I am pleased with. I made two pentatonic scales of their own and then I made a third combining two pentatonics. There is a lovely feel to this scale. I found it pleasant to listen to.

Simple melody using the C Major pentatonic scale
Audio version
Simple melody using A major pentatonic
Audio version
Simple melody using A major and B major pentatonic
Audio version

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