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MELODY Melody is the horizontal succession of sounds with different pitches and lengths. Melody is made up of notes that appear in order and correspond to the musical idea of the composer. To make sure that the sounds express the right idea, they have to follow a structure. A melodic structure is formed by themes and these themes are formed by phrases. For example, in the first theme of Ode to joy we see that the length of each musical phrase is 4 bars and the theme is made up of two phrases, which means that the length of this theme is 8 bars. In fact, this is the most common structure. Ode to joy theme There is also another structure when we take into account the notes and pitches of every melody. It depends on the scale. A scale is a sequence of notes from which melodies and harmony can be derived. Scales are named according to the first note or degree. For example, in the C (do) major scale the first degree is the note do and this is the most important degree. Other important degrees are the fifth degree (dominant) and the fourth degree (subdominant). The most used scales in western music are the major scale and the minor scale. Both scales have seven notes and they are different because of the distance between their notes or degrees. In the major scale, you have one tone of distance between the first and second degree, the second and third, the fourth and fifth, the fifth and sixth and the sixth and seventh degree. However, you have one semitone between the third and fourth degree and the seventh and first (eighth) degree. Do major scale In the minor scale you always have one tone of distance between the consecutive degrees except between the second and third degree and the fifth and sixth degree. A minor scale The differences between the minor and the major scales are the distances between their degrees, and because of these distances, you have a different character or atmosphere in the melodies that you can create with each scale. The major scale would suggest a clear, positive and cheerful character, and the minor scale would suggest a more dark and melancholic character. SYNCOPATION Syncopation is the disturbance or interruption of the regular flow of rhythm, placing stresses or accents where they don’t normally occur. The aim is to displace the natural accented notes, which are usually on the strong beats, and force them to fall on the weak beats being later prolonged on the strong beats or times. In 2/4, 3/4 and 4/4 times the first beat is stressed while the others are weak, except for the 4/4, where the third beat is semi-strong.