Melodic Writing & Harmony

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This lesson is part of the Melodic Techniques category.


  • Students will be able to analyze a melodic phrase for shape and intervallic composition
  • Students will be familiar with the pentatonic scale and other subsets of the major scale.
  • Students will be able to compose a simple piano or guitar accompaniment to a vocal melody.
  • Students will be familiar with how melody and harmony influence one another.
  • Students will be able to analyze a melody for implied basic diatonic harmony.


Class Activities[edit]

  • Discussions and definitions of melodic shape, intervallic composition (steps, skips, leaps)
  • Shape and interval analysis of melodies from music of multiple genres and time periods
  • Activity where students improvise a short melody given a shape, an intervallic descriptor (“stepwise,” “disjunct,” etc.), and a grammatical descriptor (“final,” “energetic,” etc.)
  • Discussion of implied harmony in melody
  • Demonstration of writing an accompaniment for a melody and various accompaniment techniques
  • Composition of an accompaniment for a given or student-composed vocal melody
  • Analysis of harmonic accompaniment of different styles of melody


  • “Error” identification in written melodies or their harmonic accompaniments
  • Analysis of melodies for intervallic composition
  • Composition of well-formed melodies
  • Creating a harmonic accompaniment for a given melody