Mendelssohn, Memory & Melody by Ken Myers

Column: From Heavenly Harmony

Mendelssohn, Memory & Melody

by Ken Myers

All music has a narrative quality about it. Even the simplest melody has a plot-like structure. Sing the tunes (without the words) to "Happy Birthday" or "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" or "Jesus Loves Me" to children, and the children know the music has—like a good story—a beginning, middle, and end. They sense the movement or progress within the melodic line that holds their attention, and they want the satisfaction of getting to the "end of the story" (try omitting the last several notes and see how dissatisfied they beco . . .