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Melodic seems like the obvious candidate but that seems like it refers to a specific type of scale or mode in particular and not just all things to do with melody or melodies in general. What is the more general adjective, especially if you’re speaking in a technical musical context?

For example, if I wanted to ask why the various variations of a melody have such a certain musical quality, could I ask about the properties of the “melodic” variations? “Melodical” variations? Is the latter even a word?

I feel a need to distinguish from the former due to the fact that there is some kind of melodic chord or melodic scale or something (it’s been too long since I learned music theory but I don’t want to mix up what it is I’m trying to refer to with specific musical entities).

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    Hi, please provide a sample sentence showing how the word will be used. You can learn more under the [[single-word-requests]] tag.
    – livresque
    Commented Feb 22, 2023 at 1:08
  • "Melodic" is indeed the word used for this.
    – alphabet
    Commented Feb 22, 2023 at 2:07
  • A google search for melodic synonyms gets lots of results. Maybe one of them will appeal to you. Or go right to moby-thesaurus.org/melodic, for 47 candidates. Commented Feb 22, 2023 at 2:36

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Melodic seems like the obvious candidate but that seems like it refers to a specific type of scale or mode in particular and not just all things to do with melody or melodies in general.

"Melodic" is, in fact, correct and commonly used for your intended meaning. AHD defines it as "of, relating to, or containing melody". Here are a couple of examples that I found in a quick online search:

During the course of the nineteenth century, and under the influence of Wagner, melodic boundaries began to weaken. (Roger Scruton, "Rhythm, Melody, and Harmony," in Andrew Kania and Theodore Gracyk, eds., "The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Music," Taylor & Francis, 2001, pg. 31)

In studying jazz, it is imperative to develop an impeccable ear capable of identifying complex chord structure, melodic formations, and harmonic progressions. (Dariusz Terefenko, "Jazz Theory: From Basic to Advanced Study," Taylor & Francis, 2017)


. . . “Melodical” variations? Is the latter even a word?

It does not appear to be listed in major online dictionaries, according to Onelook.


I feel a need to distinguish from the former due to the fact that there is some kind of melodic chord or melodic scale or something

I'm not quite sure what you mean. "Melody" is often distinguished from "harmony" and "rhythm" (and sometimes other musical elements, such as timbre). "Melodic" can also mean "beautiful to listen to", but I doubt that there would be confusion in most contexts.

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