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.

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