Music Theory
Acoustic Composition
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Quincy Jones may not be a familiar name to you, but I promise you know his music:

We begin each module with melody not because it is the most important topic in music, but because it gives us a framework that allows us to further explore more musical topics. What happens when there’s more than one simultaneous note? How can the same set of notes produce two completely different sounding melodies? What kinds of structures are there for us to expand our melodic writing? What happens when there’s more than one melody happening at the same time? Why do two instruments playing the same melody sound so different?

Melody, the succession of single notes, is the foundation that western music and music theory is built upon. A strong command of melody is essential for the arranger, composer, theorist, and performing musician.

Composition Assignment

For your first composition assignment write a 16 measure melody in any meter, style, or key that features:

  • Note repetition
  • Interval repetition
  • Phrase repetition

If you’re unfamiliar with standard notation try experimenting with graphic notation.


This example is in A major and is in 3/4 time.
This example is in F major and is in 4/4 time.
This example shows a melodic contour using graph paper. It doesn’t give specific notes, but you can see the shape of the melodic line.