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LESSON XXIV
Melody: Scale-Lines
Simple as the foregoing lesson will have appeared, it is nevertheless a necessary foundation for what is to follow. The scale-steps, when used by composers, are not al­ways taken in their natural direction. Why is this? It may be explained in the following manner. A scale move­ment is to be regarded as symbolizing physical movement in a given direction, since it produces a corresponding mental or emotional effect. Physical movement, once started, tends, according to the Law of Inertia, to continue in the same direction, and this impulse is called momentum. Just as it is an easy matter for a ball once started to con­tinue rolling along a smooth surface, so it is easy for a scale-line, once embarked on, to maintain its course. This tendency, which is felt, and will be admitted, by all, may then be accepted as a new force in melody construction.
The momentum of the scale-line movement is strong enough to overcome the natural tendency of the active scale-steps, and will thus give a new variety of movement. The 4th step, if approached from below, will be pushed up; the 6th step likewise. The 7th, if approached from above, will be driven down.
Here are the new movements:
It should be noticed that this new motion is not com­pulsory, but optional. The original tendency may still be followed, but its strength has been removed.
In the last lesson we included narrow leaps. These may again be introduced with the scale-line momentum, and then we get some interesting developments. This new force may be regarded as sufficient to carry the tune over the interval of a third, but with a reservation. The original
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III