What is the definition of melody in a song?

A melody is a sequence of single notes that is musically satisfying. Any series of single tone creates a melody. The human voice, the flute, horn,—all instruments capable of emitting but one tone at a time. Each of these instruments produces a melody. Melody constitutes, then, a line of tones. The quality of the melody depends upon the choice and duration of each successive tone.

A good melody is one that appeals to the music lover as tuneful, pleasing, and intelligible. It is one where each successive tone and each successive group of tones stands in a rational harmonic relation to the one before it, and even, usually, to several preceding tones or groups. To say it another way, the tones are not arranged haphazard, but with reference to their harmonious agreement with each other.

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  • Songwriter Tip:

    The song is an acceptable length for radio play. Probably, no more than 3 1/2 minutes. The demo should not contain musical breaks. The lyrics are honest, believable and heartfelt. Ask yourself, would the singer want to be associated with the tone or message in these lyrics? If the male comes across as weak or the female as a victim, the artist will probably pass on the song. One big no-no is self-pity. I have also been told by other publishers they don’t like to hear begging songs, though its’ been done.