Tip #131 – Experimenting with Melodic Coupling

Melodic Coupling is when an additional melodic line in the same contour and rhythm is added to a main melodic line at an interval above or below it.

Rock, metal, and punk songs are notorious for using melodic coupling in the way of adding a new line above the main melody at a perfect fifth – hence, the power chord.

Doubling at the octave is also considered a form of melodic coupling, but it doesn’t create a full sense of harmony as other harmonic intervals would suggest.

So, today’s tip is a small suggestion to play around with different intervals in coupling. Diatonic thirds, sixths, and octaves are the most common – but that means we shouldn’t neglect other perfect intervals or diatonic seconds and sevenths.

Also, just like the example below, you can experiment with diatonic and continuous chromatic intervals. In other words: instead of switching between m3 and M3 intervals, just keep one throughout a melodic line!:

Try it out and see what possibilities it may unlock.

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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