enter image description here

I see first instance of the melody, and then the second one instance descending. But I'm not sure what the text means by sequencing down across 4 bars since the melody isn't descending across 4 bars.

  • 1
    I can only see the first 4 (or so) bars, where are the following four bars? Feb 24 at 10:35
  • @ElementsInSpace This was just an example the website had about sequences. By following four bars, they were referring to the picture below.
    – t_t
    Feb 24 at 10:39
  • 1
    "The website": what website? Can you provide a link?
    – phoog
    Feb 24 at 12:55

4 Answers 4


Your excerpt shows the first four bars. The following four bars are a step down from the first four (ignoring the first bar which is an anacrusis as far as the melody is concerned):

enter image description here

enter image description here

This is the beginning of Mozart's Symphony no.40 in G minor KV550.

  • Oh God I'm sorry I didn't see that. Was that on the website the whole time?
    – t_t
    Feb 24 at 10:50
  • @t_t It's not on the web site. The author presumably expects you to know how the piece goes.
    – PiedPiper
    Feb 24 at 12:08
  • @t_t we don't know what website you're talking about.
    – phoog
    Feb 24 at 12:56
  • @phoog We do, Elements In Space provided a link
    – PiedPiper
    Feb 24 at 13:03

The source of the quote is Robert Hutchinson’s Music Theory for the 21st-Century Classroom:

Definition 9.1.11   A sequence is a musical idea repeated at a different pitch level.

Sequences can be short or long. For example, look at this familiar idea and notice how all four bars are sequenced down a step in the following four bars.

The melody line for the first four (or so) bars of Mozart’s Symphony No.1 - I

Figure 9.1.12. Mozart, Symphony No. 40, I.

I think the author is expecting you to recognise the melody (either by sight or after playing in on your instrument first) or to use the figure caption to look it up:

The melody in the following four bars is the same as the melody shown but shifted down a step.


Unfortunately, the example of melodic sequence given at... https://musictheory.pugetsound.edu/mt21c/CircleOfFifths.html#p-327 ...is poorly illustrated, because it does not actually show the sequence!

The part of music treated by sequence can be called the model and the sequenced material is called the sequence.

Here is the Mozart melody showing the model followed by its sequence:

enter image description here


Listen to the beginning 9 measures of Mozart's 40th Symphony in G Minor (1st movement). The first phrase (called the "model", see @MichaelCurtis's answer) is what you included in your answer, beginning with Eb-D (la-so). The question mark at the end is the start of the second phrase (called the "sequence") which is D-C (so-fa), which is one SCALE DEGREE lower according to the G-minor harmonic scale (see the notation of the melody in @PiedPiper's answer). This is consistent throughout the sequence.

Don't get confused by the variable distance of each note between the "model" and the "sequence"; go by scale degree instead of absolute distance. For example the first note was down a semitone but the second note was down 2 semitones. So the textbook was right in calling it a "step" instead.

P.S. I doubt that measure 1 should be called anacrusis because the string accompaniment (viola, cello, and double bass) starts at beat 1 which is musically significant (see the full score embedded in the YouTube in @ElementsInSpace's answer).

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