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Steps and skips - Wikipedia

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Steps and skips

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In music, a step, or conjunct motion,[1] is the

difference in pitch between two consecutive notes
of a musical scale. In other words, it is the interval
between two consecutive scale degrees. Any larger
interval is called a skip (also called a leap), or
disjunct motion.[1]
In the diatonic scale, a step is either a minor second
(sometimes also called half step) or a major second
(sometimes also called whole step), with all intervals
of a minor third or larger being skips. For example,
C to D (major second) is a step, whereas C to E
(major third) is a skip.

Step: major second.


Skip: Major third.


A chorale melody containing only steps, no

skips: "Jesu, Leiden, Pein, un Tod". Play

More generally, a step is a smaller or narrower

interval in a musical line, and a skip is a wider or larger interval, with the categorization of intervals
into steps and skips is determined by the tuning system and the pitch space used.
Melodic motion in which the interval between any two consecutive pitches is no more than a step,
or, less strictly, where skips are rare, is called stepwise or conjunct melodic motion, as opposed to
skipwise or disjunct melodic motion, characterized by frequent skips.


Half steps
See also

Half steps
Measured in semitones the difference between steps and skips in a diatonic scale becomes fairly
Unison: 0
Steps: 1-2
Skips: 3+

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Steps and skips - Wikipedia

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Melody may be characterized by its degree
and type of conjunct and disjunct motion. For
example, Medieval plainchant melodies are
generally characterized by conjunct motion
with occasional thirds, fourths, and generally
ascending fifths while larger intervals are
quite rare though octave leaps may occur
"Pop Goes the Weasel" melody[2] is predominately
between two separate phrases.[4] Renaissance
steps. Play
melodies are generally characterized by
conjunct motion, with only occasional leaps
of more than a fifth and then rarely anything
but a sixth or octave.[1] In contrast, melody in
the 20th century varied greatly including the
Webern's Variations for orchestra (1940), op. 30
diatonic idiom of the 18th century (Classical),
(pp.23-24) melody[3] is predominately skips. Play
the variety of idioms from the 19th century
(Romantic), and newer nondiatonic scales in
the 20th century.[5] Some of these later idioms included many or predominately leaps.

See also
"Giant Steps"
Linear progression

1. Bonds, Mark Evan (2006). A History of Music in Western Culture, p.123. 2nd ed. ISBN 0-13-193104-0.
2. Kliewer, Vernon (1975). "Melody: Linear Aspects of Twentieth-Century Music", Aspects of TwentiethCentury Music, p.270-301. Wittlich, Gary (ed.). Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall. ISBN
3. Marquis, G. Welton (1964). Twentieth Century Music Idioms, p.2. Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs,
New Jersey.
4. Bonds (2006), p.43.
5. Bonds (2006), p.540.

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Categories: Intervals (music) Melody
This page was last modified on 30 March 2016, at 13:41.

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Steps and skips - Wikipedia

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