5/7: Melodies

Robert Hood - “Ride”

What plays the melody?

As with the Kraftwerk example, all of the sounds here are made by synthesizers and drum machines. There are actually very few sounds being used, but they continuously evolve.

Robert Hood was working extensively with the Roland Alpha Juno 2 synthesizer on this record, and it's likely that this is the synth used for this melodic sound.

How is this melody put together?

In addition to the drums, there is only a single pattern of notes that repeats throughout the entire track.

This is an example of minimal techno; here the focus is on slow, subtle changes, primarily to the nature of the sounds themselves, rather than to the notes and rhythms.

Notice that this line jumps between a very wide range of pitches. As you listen to it repeat, you might sometimes hear it as one part, while at other times it might separate into two interlocking parts, with the high notes suggesting a melody and the low notes suggesting a bassline.

So is it one or the other, or both? In music like this, the distinction is really up to the listener.

Also notice that the steady four-on-the-floor kick drum makes it very easy to hear the beats. But it's very difficult to tell where the pattern actually begins. If you jump to different points in the video, you might hear the pattern sound like it has "shifted" to begin in different places.

Let's play with some of these ways of hearing the pattern.

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