4/7: Melodies

Ikonika - “Praxis”

What are these sounds?

There are many layers in this song, and all of them are played by electronic instruments of some kind.

How is this melody put together?

This song is in E minor. Much like the Kraftwerk example, the melody is a pair of nearly-identical phrases, with a small variation occurring at the end of the phrase. Each phrase is two bars long, and only the last note differs.

The rhythm is interesting; the pair of ascending five-note lines from D up to B creates a sort of rhythmic "tension" as the notes land in a different place in the bar each time through the figure.

Did you notice...?

You might have noticed that the notes don't quite sound the same between the video and the note grid. That's because the original track uses notes that are in-between the 12 pitches that are commonly used. This might have happened because Ikonika was working with synthesizers that had very flexible ranges of pitch, and she tuned them by ear rather than to a "standard" reference.

If you listen to the original track alone, everything works, because all of the instruments use the same collection of notes and so are in tune with each other. In the grid, we've chosen to move up to the next higher "conventional" note (E), but we could also have gone lower; the song is almost exactly halfway between E♭ and E.

Experiment with your own melodies that use unusual groupings of notes and repeated phrases with variations.

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