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Over the past decade or so, the concept of melody seems to have changed from what it was for Rock or Big Band melodies.  There are songs being written with the traditional concept of melody and I have provided some examples below.  However, the most prominent interpretation of melody is what I’m calling contemporary melody. 

In the past melodies were an important component of the marketability of the song. However, today melodies seem more like an afterthought. As I will demonstrate in this paper, it is possible to statistically measure the difference in variation between traditional and contemporary melodies.  Moreover, traditional melodies exhibit a larger range of pitch whereas the contemporary melodies are confined to a narrow set of notes.

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Are you asking us for feedback on this Clark? Or if not may I ask what the prpose of this dissertatation is?


Not sure how melodies come into song marketing. Between about 1963 until the late 1980s, marketing was driven by the artists/talent themselves who had to persuade media companies to take them on. "Can we make a profit or not from this person/group".Decca decided it couldn't with the Beatles so EMI snapped them up, put their songs out on Parlophone, their trial label, probably because the Beatles were so new EMI wasn't entirely convinced.

But as major talent seemed to evaporate those companies resorted to manufacturing "pop" if they were to survive. The image of a singer was far more important than his/her voice which could be tinkered around with in the control room and post production.  It came with fashions and a new vernacular. It was more about strutting stuff on stage than any issue of melody. That's what X-factor is about. And if the winner fails others are lined up behind. Just keep it coming. The singers themselves have almost no artistic control - not even over their titles. But I suppose all the evidence you need that melodies are less adequate than formerly is the number of cover versions churned out by the pop mill.  It all has to be deeply conservative, besides. Nothing new will hit the market until it gets big enough outside then the pop mill will process it . Happened with the Beatles, Progressive rock, punk (UK).

My own view - it doesn't matter. It's an industry. I did read your paper. It contains one or two contradictions and a lot of assumption. But as a discussion piece it's a good start. Lady Gaga...I've only heard one piece of hers and it seemed to hark back to the MOR pop of the 1960s. But that's just me. 

Personally, I think this is way too small a sample to make this kind of case. I think there are a lot of songs in all time periods that fit both criteria. The melody from Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star or Moonlight Sonata, both from a few hundred years ago, are pretty simple and have little range. You do not take into consideration if melodies have a harmonic motivation. Melody does not happen in a vacuum. Subconsciously, there is an underlying harmonic structure which can drive how wide or narrow the melody is. I think a lot of song writers care more about the over-all effect, not just the melody. And it really depends on the type of music you listen to. There are plenty of writers producing a  variety of wide and narrow melodies. Always have been.

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