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Lesson 133: Composition - Melodic Development: "The 3 Times Thing/ Rule"

Melodic Development: "The 3 Times Thing/ Rule"

A very common pattern for melodic development is one I like to refer to as "The 3 Times Thing/ Rule". "The 3 Times Thing/ Rule" means that the same motif is played three times and the third time it continues/ is developed.

You can also think of this as

  1. idea/ motif
  2. repetition
  3. development/ variation

Yet another way to think of this is:

  1. you have a motif
  2. you repeat it, thereby establishing a pattern
  3. now you can break the pattern, create an element of surprise

This development pattern is used in the first half ( the first 8 bars) of When the Saints Go Marching in ( trad.):

 	Motif		|    Motif Repeated	|
 	   Motif Developed			|

My composition Waltz #1 utilizes this pattern in the first 8 bars:

You can listen to it here.

More Examples of Melodies Following the "The 3 Times Thing/ Rule" Pattern

Listen to the following tunes:

  • The Dance by me
  • The Godfather Waltz by Nino Rota
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly by Ennio Morricone
  • I Still Didn't Get the Blues by me
  • Pasila by Kalle Koivisto
  • The Pretty Road by Maria Schneider
  • Rain Dance by me
  • Send in the Clowns by Stephen Sondheim
  • Tattoo by me
  • Waltz #1 by me

2014 Tomas Karlsson. All rights reserved.