Tip #130 – Pros of Melodic Overlap

Melodic overlap is a concept that we have covered before in previous tips. Just like dovetailing and staggering entrances for a continuous line – melodic overlap is when a melodic line for one group of instruments is sustained and carried-out by another group.

This can be done by having half of the violins play the melody, and then at the midway-point have that first half sustain a note while the other half continue where the melody left off at a new phrase.

Like passing the baton in a race!

Now, some of you reading this might think that this is a stupid idea. Why can’t the instruments just play the melodic line start-to-finish?

Well, here is a list of pros and possibilities utilized from using melodic overlap:

  1. Divides sections into smaller groups for more polyphonic or antiphonal possibilities.
  2. Becomes a smooth entrance for a new line
  3. Adds interest, excitement, and momentum
  4. Creates a flow of thematic materials
  5. Prepares the audience’s ear for contrapuntal lines.

So as you can see, there are a lot of benefits of using melodic overlap in your new composition.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Feel free to comment, share, and subscribe for more daily tips below! Till next time.

Author: Bryan M. Waring

Bryan Waring is a graduate of USM's School of Music with a B.M. in Performance – Composition and is now attending Belmont University for a M.M. in Commercial Media – Composition & Arranging. During his time at USM, he studied violin with Dino Liva and composition with Dr. Daniel Sonenberg, as well as has premiered several pieces during the semiannual Composer's Ensemble concert series. In 2017, Bryan was a writer for the original musical theater work of "Molded By The Flow," directed by Paul Dresher and Rinde Eckert. Outside of school, Bryan has been involved with writing music for videogame developers at Portland's CI2 Lab, collaborating with the King Tide Party, and studying with Larry Groupé (Straw Dogs) in San Diego. Now living in Nashville. Along with composing, Bryan teaches music to children, receiving the Master Teacher Award for his work at ESF Camps; and does audio engineering for live ensembles. Besides talents in music, Bryan is a team-player in any competitive work environment; equipped with skills in leadership, organization, mathematics, creativity, communication, and managing. On the side, Bryan has worked as a model for several skilled artists in the New England area. Among his other accomplishments include obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout in April 2013 with a project of building a side parking area with guide rails for Webb Mountain Park in Monroe, CT.

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