I am studying music, and English is not my first language.

In the follwing sentence, what does "sweeping phrases" mean? Does it have a special meaning?

"Laitman’s vocal melodies have large, sweeping phrases with arching shapes that highlight the voice. She unifies her song cycles with recurring motives and rhythmic gestures. She often uses sparse textures in her accompaniments, helping to highlight the vocal melodies"

from "The new American song: a catalog of published songs by 25 living American composers by Sarah Elizabeth Snydacker"


Sweeping means a similar thing to swaying when it comes to describing melodies.

The perfect example I can think of is Muse's 'Bliss':

Notice the way that the opening melody is 'swaying', or 'sweeping' up and down the keyboard.

thinking in metaphor, phrases are like musical sentences, with bars being words and notes being the individual letters/syllables. In the song above, the ascending/upward arpeggio could be considered one phrase, and the downward arpeggio another.

Hope that helps!


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