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Watch the Melodic Contour online guitar lesson by Matthieu Brandt from Songwriting on Guitar

Looking at the contour of your melody is a way of getting a grip on the energy flow in your composition. The contour of a melody can be found by looking at all the stressed notes in your melody.
Stressed notes are:
- notes played on a strong beat or part of a beat
- notes that have a longer timer value than the notes surrounding them
- the beginning and ending note of a phrase
- the lowest and highest notes of a phrase
- notes that are preceded by a relatively long rest

Well written melodies use phrases of a variety of contours:
- ascending
- descending
- arch up - down
- arch down - up
- linear