Are the best melodies 4 bars long, and nearly always resolving on the root note?

Chords, scales, harmony, melody, etc.
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Bansaw
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362 posts since 19 Aug, 2008

Post Fri Nov 17, 2017 6:27 pm

Is a good standard melody nearly always a journey of four bars long, and resolving itself on the root note of the song key ?
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Michael L
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2400 posts since 25 Jan, 2014 from the End of the World as we Knowit

Re: Are the best melodies 4 bars long, and nearly always resolving on the root note?

Post Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:33 pm

Yes! And the best songs nearly always use the same four chords:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pidokakU4I
Last edited by Michael L on Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

someone called simon
KVRist
472 posts since 24 Jul, 2008 from Quake central, New Zealand

Re: Are the best melodies 4 bars long, and nearly always resolving on the root note?

Post Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:33 pm

Yes, recent scientific studies have shown this to be the case at least 87% of the time.

Kidding. Most melodies of any interest are going to be longer than 4 bars. A phrase might be 4 bars long but that's not the entire melody. There is something innately pleasing though about melodies that resolve on the tonic. A sense of resolution or completeness.
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dark water
KVRian
952 posts since 2 Jun, 2016

Re: Are the best melodies 4 bars long, and nearly always resolving on the root note?

Post Fri Nov 17, 2017 11:59 pm

Bansaw wrote:Is a good standard melody nearly always a journey of four bars long, and resolving itself on the root note of the song key ?
I don't know if this thread is a wind-up, but I'll answer seriously.

Your questions are far too subjective - "good" - and cannot be answered objectively.
Secondly, personally I would become extremely bored quickly of such a melody: there are plenty of ways to make different and more sophisticated melodies.
Lastly, a melody should reflect what your music is saying. You are the artist. Forget about pigeon-holed limitations.

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melomood
KVRist
317 posts since 15 Oct, 2017 from U.S.

Re: Are the best melodies 4 bars long, and nearly always resolving on the root note?

Post Sat Nov 18, 2017 1:07 am

Wouldn't that all be entirely dependent on the tastes of the listener?

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AsPeeXXXVIII
KVRist
340 posts since 17 Aug, 2015 from Finland

Re: Are the best melodies 4 bars long, and nearly always resolving on the root note?

Post Sat Nov 18, 2017 2:19 am

No. The best melodies are at least 8 bars long and never resolve on the root note.
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jancivil
KVRAF
15782 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: Are the best melodies 4 bars long, and nearly always resolving on the root note?

Post Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:33 am

The question is so dumb one hopes it's a joke.

Jafo
KVRAF
1820 posts since 20 Dec, 2002 from The Benighted States of Trumpistan

Re: Are the best melodies 4 bars long, and nearly always resolving on the root note?

Post Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:53 am

The root note is often called the home toe, and both names exist for a reason. Same with four square beats to a bar, four bars per phrase -- also for a reason.

The reason is convention and conditioning. Nothing more, nothing less.

We've been so trained to hear the Major and Minor scales and the cadences designed to end on them, that having them land on anything other than the root note feels incomplete. But we forget that these are just a few possibilities. You can take the exact same notes, the exact same chords and treat other notes as the home tone (or chord). We forget that the Major scale is just the old Ionic mode, and that the (natural) Minor scale is just the old Aeolian mode. In fact, the medieval system of modes is just one possibility.

Of course, it's worth noting that the V7-I (or variants thereof) does feel like a resolution, because it is -- but of the tritone in the V7. Other chords can be treated as the home chord in a bar or any section of a song (and often are). But that is just a technique for forcing a feeling of resolution.

Similarly, melodies in other cultures can have odd numbers of beats per bar, per phrase, or whatever. Much of early European music, particularly religious, is based on threes. Or waltzes. Many musics you've never heard of are based on threes or fives or schemas that are actually interesting. We all need to take five, man. Or none; medieval European chant (of which Gregorian is just one type of many) had a free rhythm.

Then again, modern electronic dance music is pretty much monotonously four to the floor, four bars, supersaws all over, repeat until the drugs wear out. If that's what the OP means, then yes, absolutely. But only because the convention doesn't allow for anything else.
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Jafo
KVRAF
1820 posts since 20 Dec, 2002 from The Benighted States of Trumpistan

Re: Are the best melodies 4 bars long, and nearly always resolving on the root note?

Post Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:54 am

Edit failed. Please delete.
Last edited by Jafo on Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Jafo
KVRAF
1820 posts since 20 Dec, 2002 from The Benighted States of Trumpistan

Re: Are the best melodies 4 bars long, and nearly always resolving on the root note?

Post Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:55 am

nm, duplicate. My bad.
Joy and kindness are acts of resistance -- fight the power!

Jafo
KVRAF
1820 posts since 20 Dec, 2002 from The Benighted States of Trumpistan

Re: Are the best melodies 4 bars long, and nearly always resolving on the root note?

Post Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:58 am

Sorry, editing failed. Please delete.
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dark water
KVRian
952 posts since 2 Jun, 2016

Re: Are the best melodies 4 bars long, and nearly always resolving on the root note?

Post Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:15 pm

^^ If it's any consolation Jafo, the best comments are always 4 posts long :p

sjm
KVRAF
1729 posts since 17 Apr, 2004

Re: Are the best melodies 4 bars long, and nearly always resolving on the root note?

Post Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:26 pm

Yes, provided the root note is Bb. It doesn't work as well with A#.
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deastman
KVRAF
6788 posts since 7 Aug, 2003 from San Francisco Bay Area

Re: Are the best melodies 4 bars long, and nearly always resolving on the root note?

Post Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:43 pm

From what I can tell, most contemporary EDM is one bar long, repeated for two hours, with a filter sweep, some glitch stutters, and... the drop.

In other words, no, the OP is incorrect.
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Aloysius
KVRAF
22288 posts since 11 Aug, 2008 from a computer

Re: Are the best melodies 4 bars long, and nearly always resolving on the root note?

Post Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:49 pm

D minor is the saddest of all keys.
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