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Three Styles of Melody

Today I want to talk about three types of melodies based on the personal styles of the three composers that mean the most to me.

I'll call the three types "marbles", "sprites" and "geysirs".

You'll find that regardless of type, the following melodies have some traits in common:

  • A clear sense of direction. The composer has listened to the push and pull of the notes and sent the melodies where they need to go.

  • They're well proportioned in terms of intervals, rhythm and form.

  • They quickly establish an identity, and once you've heard them, they're pretty much unforgettable.

These are the hallmarks of any great melody.

These melodies are also melodies «for melody's sake». Unlike themes and motifs from many a work of classical music, these are not going to be fragments that are never completed. These melodies have a beginning and an end. They are complete and in themselves enough.


Like a marble, these melodies are simple, frugal and have no frills. And, also like the marble, they are perfectly proportioned and completely closed.

You could not remove or change a single note from these melodies without either messing up the balance or changing the course of the melody – which of course would create even more problems.

Like mathematical equivalencies, or platonic ideas, they give off the impression of something that is «discovered», rather than constructed.

Unlike the superfluousness (but flexibility) of anisong style melodies, these melodies are characterized by having few to none repeating notes.

Marbles are found in the works of few composers. Among them, Revo of Sound Horizon, Yasunori Mitsuda and Koji Kondo.


Where marble melodies give the impression of being more perfect than nature, sprite melodies are more like nature itself.

Because they quickly establish an «opportunity space», they allow themselves greater freedom of movement and move more organically. These melodies can feel slightly mischievous or unpredictable, or like free spirits that go where their heart desires.

Musically, these melodies are characterized by greater intra-melodic contrast. They can combine legato with staccato; quiet and loud; after climbing steadily they can make a quick turn; or like snakes, they can slither through multiple keys.

These melodies are found in musical world of Zektbach. They can also be found in the works of Maurice Ravel. What these composers have in common is that they describe a world just as much as they describe the people who live in it, with an added dose of a little mysticism.


Geysir melodies bravely gush forth with unbridled energy and passion. Uninhibited by social restrictions and any sense of propriety, they express their true selves.

Their syncopations mimick human speech patterns, but since they're also characterized by their huge intervals, jumped effortlessly with perfect coordination and precision, geysir melodies truly feel larger than life.

These melodies are speaking to crowds of thousands, expressing their intensely felt and honest emotions.

Geysir melodies are the trademark of Hayato Asano, composer for the Atelier series and Blue Reflection.

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