Melody is an orderly chain of pitches organized by rhythm. Rhythm, or how long each pitch lasts, is an important part of the melody. Even when the pitches remain the same, if the rhythm is changed, it becomes a unique melody.

The melody is the tune of the music. It is what we can sing, whistle, or hum, and is the easiest part of the music to remember. Melody is horizontal, meaning the notes sound one after another, while harmony is vertical, meaning the notes sound at the same time.

Composers can also use motifs or themes in their music. A motif is a short melody or rhythm pattern which may be used by itself, or may be used to build a longer theme. When using music to tell a story or paint a picture, a composer often uses certain motifs and themes to describe character, how that character reacts to situations, actions, happenings or feelings. This is called “character association” because we connect the music with a certain character. Themes usually are longer and often set the mood for main characters.