Some basic tips for doing a reductive melodic analysis:
The basic principle underlying reductive analysis of melodies is that step-wise motion provides a structural framework for almost all common practice tonal melodies. Reductive analysis seeks to illustrate this step-wise framework that connects the beginning of a melodic phrase with its melodic cadence.
To begin a melodic analysis, first identify the scale degrees of the two-note melodic cadence. Next, identify the scale degree of the first note of the melody. If the scale degree of the first note matches either scale degree of the melodic cadence, then you most likely have your reductive, structural step-wise motion. If there is a gap, an interval larger than a step between the beginning scale degree of the melody and the melodic cadence, then you need to find the important scale degrees that connect and fill in the gap.
In your reductive analysis, all notes of the melody are indicated as filled noteheads (black notes). Structural notes are given (upward) stems, and their scale degrees are indicated above the staff. No other rhythmic notation is used (other than to place noteheads in the measure that they appear).
- Reductive melodic analysis looks for a structural step-wise melodic motion that connects the beginning of a phrase with its melodic cadence
- Begin your melodic analysis by labeling the scale degrees of the melodic cadence.
- Next, identify and label the scale degree of the beginning of the phrase.
- If the scale degree of the beginning of the phrase is within a step of the melodic cadence, then you have found the structural step-wise motion.
- If there is a gap between the opening note scale degree and the melodic cadence, look for notes in the melody that connect the beginning and cadence in step-wise motion. If you have multiple choices, more than one occurrence of a scale degree, favor later instances over earlier ones, as long as the step-wise motion remains directional (moves in a single direction, up or down).