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[mel-uh-dee] /ˈmɛl ə di/
a female given name.


[mel-uh-dee] /ˈmɛl ə di/
noun, plural melodies.
musical sounds in agreeable succession or arrangement.
  1. the succession of single tones in musical compositions, as distinguished from harmony and rhythm.
  2. the principal part in a harmonic composition; the air.
  3. a rhythmical succession of single tones producing a distinct musical phrase or idea.
a poem suitable for singing.
intonation, as of a segment of connected speech.
1250-1300; Middle English melodie < Medieval Latin melōdia < Greek melōidía (choral) singing, equivalent to mel- (see melic) + -ōid- (see ode) + -ia -y3
Related forms
melodyless, adjective
undermelody, noun, plural undermelodies.
Can be confused
malady, melody.
1. See harmony. 2. tune, song, descant, theme. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for melodies
  • The melodies played by the accompaniment mainly fall into three broad categories.
  • Sometimes they were entirely original, spontaneous melodies from start to finish.
  • The movement recapitulates melodies and effects from previous movements.
  • The melodies are repeated by various sections throughout the first movement.
  • His melodies are often long, asymmetrical and wideranging in tessitura.
  • He composed some chorale melodies himself, such as a mighty fortress.
  • The plot is described in vivid musical pictures and the melodies are linear and clear.
British Dictionary definitions for melodies


noun (pl) -dies
  1. a succession of notes forming a distinctive sequence; tune
  2. the horizontally represented aspect of the structure of a piece of music Compare harmony (sense 4b)
sounds that are pleasant because of tone or arrangement, esp words of poetry
Word Origin
C13: from Old French, from Late Latin melōdia, from Greek melōidia singing, from melos song + -ōidia, from aoidein to sing
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for melodies



late 13c., from Old French melodie "music, song, tune" (12c.), from Late Latin melodia, from Greek meloidia "a singing, a chanting, choral song, a tune for lyric poetry," from melos "song, part of song" (see melisma) + oide "song, ode" (see ode).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for melodies


(French: "melody"), the accompanied French art song of the 19th and 20th centuries. Following the model of the German Lied, the 19th-century melodie was usually a setting of a serious lyric poem for solo voice and piano that recognizably combined and unified the poetic and musical forms. The earliest use of the word melodie for this type of song was in the 1820s, when it was applied to the popular French translations and adaptations of Schubert's lieder. Berlioz was the first major composer to write in this style, which freed itself of the rigid strophic form and predominantly lighter mood of the earlier French romance. Other first-rank composers, recognizing the versatility and musical quality of French poetry-and inspired by the poetry of Verlaine and Baudelaire-molded the melodie into a typically French tradition of song. Meyerbeer, Liszt, Gounod, Bizet, Massenet, Saint-Saens, Lalo, and Franck all contributed to the development of the melodie, although in Franck's case, his importance in this field is more noteworthy as teacher. One of Franck's pupils was Henri Duparc, whose 16 songs (composed between 1868 and 1877) became the cornerstone for one of the most important and cherished genres of French music. At about the same time, Faure began to write songs, many forming song cycles (La Bonne Chanson, La Chanson d'Eve, Le Jardin clos, L' Horizon chimerique, and others) and all possessing the essence of the ideals inherent in French art and culture. Faure's influence on the younger generation, including Ravel, was considerable and signalled the decisive turning away from the path set by the Lied and anticipating the French Impressionist style, exemplified by Debussy's startling and exciting Chansons de Bilitis (1897). The songs of Ravel and of Albert Roussel generally follow this trend, but later 20th-century vocal compositions reflect the reaction of contemporary artists and writers against various forms of Romanticism and Impressionism. Neoclassicism, jazz, and music-hall (and other pseudo-popular) styles were often employed, although the apparent gaiety was just as often only superficial, a mask for deeper and more sombre feelings. Francis Poulenc and Darius Milhaud, two members of Les Six (the Parisian group of composers that came into existence after World War I), both made important contributions to the melodie. More recently, the character of French art songs has become more eclectic, and 12-note techniques have extended to athematic serialism.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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