Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Grove Music Online. Grove is a registered trademark. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

date: 27 October 2020


  • Dalia Cohen
  •  and Ruth Katz


An electronic instrument used in musicological research for the continuous graphic representation of melody or any monophonic vocal expression with a defined pitch. The melograph displays acoustical information in the form of a melogram which generally shows pitch and loudness as functions of time. Although the computer has replaced the melograph, the manner of presenting the musical material remains an essential stage in research and has changed very little even though the information is now obtained directly from a computer. The computer is used primarily for the measurement based on the graphic representation (which without the computer is done manually) and with the final summation; these two stages may be based on melographic or computer representations.

The melograph was created in the 1950s for the analysis of those melodic elements which cannot be expressed exactly in traditional notation, such as intonations based on systems other than those of Western music, microtonal intervals, contours of glissandos, the attack and decay of notes individually and in relation to adjacent notes, vibrato and relationships between the contours of pitch and loudness. Such elements are important mostly in the study of non-Western music, but also in that of certain Western folk musics and in the performance style of Western art melodies, and in nonverbal vocal communication, such as sounds made by infants, the prosodic layer in speech, and animal sounds. Most of these ‘melodic’ elements, even when they play an important role in shaping the musical style, have not been formulated in musical theory; those that have been addressed in theory exhibit a discrepancy between theory and practice....

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Please subscribe to access the full content.

Journal of Music Theory
Journal of the International Folk Music Council
Musical Quarterly
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America