Here's an example of what I mean.


It is a melody that is transposed down 1 whole tone every 4 measures. I am wondering if there is a term for this transposing of a melody in music?

2 Answers 2


It's called a "melodic sequence" when a segment of melody is repeated at consistent intervals — in this case whole steps.

For more, see How to Identify & Complete Sequences.

  • I just put comments on your linked answer, but please note that "melodic sequence" generally refers to a repetition of a melodic motif up or down but with changing harmonic patterns on the repetitions. In OP's case, the harmonies move down exactly the same along with the melody. By default "sequence" generally assumes the same harmony on each repetition, so I'd just call this a sequence or perhaps a "harmonic sequence."
    – Athanasius
    Commented Feb 19 at 1:57

What's written there is known as a motif - a short melody, which then repeats, albeit in different keys - but still the same pattern. As such, it could be labelled a sequential motif, the key differences may give it a different name, but the pattern is the important factor.

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