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18

There isn't one definitive answer to this question besides "Try to be Paul McCartney." That said, here are some guidelines that I hope prove helpful: Mix It Up Don't just use chord tones (meaning, notes that are in the chord you're playing at the moment) and don't just use non-chord tones. Non-chord tones will give your melody a sense of momentum and ...


16

There are some very simple ways to transform the mood of a song by slight alterations in the melody, harmony or both. A transposition of the melody to the relative minor (ex. from C major to A minor) or to the parallel minor (ex. from C major to C minor) are both very simple ways to retain the melodic material, while drastically changing the sound. ...


13

The art of Counterpoint, as studied by composers for centuries, gives exact details on how to correctly ornament any melody. The lists of ornaments cited as point 4 in the question is only a subset of the possibilities given to us by counterpoint. There are five main species of counterpoint. The treatise by Johann Joseph Fux is today the most common source ...


8

It surely can be done and it's largely used in, for example, games to signal mood changes to the listener while still conveying the original "idea" of the song. Take as an example the soundtrack to Final Fantasy VI (Final Fantasy III in the USA). The main theme for Terra - one of the protagonists - is a strong yet melancholic song with emphasis on the ...


7

Addressing the Easy to Sing aspect: For Four Non-Blondes' What's Up?, I think the fact that the melody in the refrain is a simple arpeggio of a major chord is what maks it easy to sing. If you can find (or, a cappella, choose) the A at the top, the F# and D follow naturally to anyone with sufficient familiary with the Western tradition of music. What's Up? ...


6

Ornamentation is the process of adding little "points of interest" to accentuate the drama of the melody. Passing Tones add a moment of slower "pace" to a melody. Instead of flying, jumping, or teleporting to the destination, this poor schmo has to take each step one at a time. Grace Notes add a bit of "trajectory" to melody. There's an older style slow ...


6

There are other transformations besides the shift to relative minor, but it begins to depend on what kind of melody you're dealing with. If the melody covers only a short range of the scale, you can alter any notes it doesn't touch. Like if the melody only ranges over 1-2-3-4-5 of the scale, you can shift it to 4-5-6-7-8 of the ascending melodic minor ...


6

You have a great number of options. Some of them: Change the tempo (duh) Change rhythmic figures, add pauses, change note duration. Change time signature; classic examples are bringing a 4/4 piece in 3/4 or even 5/4. Work on the harmony: change voicings, add or remove notes. A seventh where there wasn't one (or vice versa) makes a big difference, and gives ...


6

I'm going to aim for simple and scientific here, though I will say melody is far more than I can write here or in any book. There's a minor misunderstanding here, because Melody is the combination of line and rhythm. (and arguably harmony also) The 3 concepts to concern yourself with in a Melody are Line, Rhythm and Harmony Let's remove/ignore harmony to ...


6

Your question is a bit too open-ended to be answered completely and all the comments that have been made already give you useful pointers. Said simply: your ear has been trained by what you have heard over the years. When you hear a few notes, your brain will want to make sense of it, fall back onto its feet, the same way that you make sense of a few dots ...


6

Ooooooh there are so many hundreds of tricks and tips that you can use. I'd refer you to my blog, but for now let me give 3 simple ideas that I love to utilise, and go to regularly. These apply to melody-writing and to writing music in general. Make the music reflect the intended message Using text or words, simply write the melody to imitate the natural ...


5

OK lets see hints for Melodies... Patterns are key. If you write a melody in a theory exam they will give you an extract from which you can repeat certain patterns. After a cadence you need a rhythmical sequence. That is rhythm that is repeated for at least two bars. This a just a repeat of the rhythm the notes need not be identical. Know your cadences. ...


4

I advice you to focus on relative pitch. You're a bassist, so you catch the bass line easily in songs, I don't doubt about that. There may be methods, but I'm just gonna give you some tricks. Once you feel the bass you feel what is called in classical music the fundamental tone. (I'm french maybe that's not the correct word in english). When you play ...


4

As you have observed, parallel 5ths are not particularly musical. In fact, in the first semester of Theory I, everyone learns the important rule of harmonizing a melody and bassline: "NO PARALLEL 5ths!" In fact, I give you not one, not two, but three different memes (that I did not make) that detail this. (This page has some much more useful images.) You ...


4

I'd approach this as an application of counterpoint, where it's not always desirable to have the intermediate voices be a 5th above the bass. In strict counterpoint, you would typically construct parallel voices with a separation of a 3rd or a 6th up from the bass, this may fill out the harmony better than a 5th. This is in addition to the the answer ...


3

You're on the right track, but there are some slight modifications I'd make to what you said. Rhythm is a component of a melody. A melody is a sequence of pitches with certain durations. The duration aspect is the rhythm. But rhythm need not refer to a melody. Because not every musical sound is a melody. (Also, what exactly constitutes a melody vs. a ...


3

Focus on the main downbeats of your melody. The rest you might have to turn into transition-focused points of your melody. To Reiterate: Yea, ok, A4, that's fine, but you will need to give something up, so focus on the important notes of your melody. Downbeats Longer-held notes (those with more duration) Hope this catches the point of your question.


3

Part of this can be answered by the idea of Function. Within the Western music tradition chords serve a function, that is they play a role. The most commonly known term from this thought process is the Dominant function, built on the V of the key. The Dominant chord is named such because it has the most tension and most desire to resolve back to the ...


2

This can be acheived by tempo and style moderations. In the animated movie "Pinchcliffe Grand Prix" (original norwegian title: "Flåklypa Grand Prix") has example of this. The Theodore theme is occuring two times in different styles with same melody, but with different feels to it. First occurence is when Theodore plays it in a very melancolic way: ...


2

No experience with the method you mentioned, but I learned from the center out. P5, P4, M3, m3, M6, m6, M2, m2, M7, m7, TT (tritone). Ascending and descending in all cases. In this sense, you are starting with more consonant, "stable" intervals, then working your way into the more dissonant, "complex" intervals, if you will.


2

I think the closest thing you're going to get to an answer is 'meter', as is more usually applied to hymns. This essentially describes the pattern of syllables in each verse by using numbers to represent them. For example, Common Meter refers to a pattern of 8,6,8,6 : Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, ...


2

I think the biggest problem with this question is the assumption that a melody is tied to a key. A melody may be transposed to any key. Three Blind Mice in C major begins E,D,C. Three Blind Mice in D major begins F♯,E,D. And so on. Melodies are tied to modes, which are the set of intervals between the notes in the melody, relative to the root note. It's ...


2

This is a hugely complicated question based on the style, the instrument, and voicing among other things. Generally chords that have more common tones with the chord in the progression makes for a more harmonious sound. For example C major = CEG, E min = EGB, and Amin = ACE, so the shared notes make a harmonious sound happen if you play notes of E minor ...


2

Examining the history of Western music might be helpful here. Contrary to what you might expect, polyphony, or multiple independent melodies sounding simultaneously, came before homophony, or melody with harmony/chords. The first examples of Western music were just single-voice melodies — think Gregorian chanting. Since each octave had the same pitches, and ...


2

What you describe sounds almost like the opposite of a rhyme, in that it is the beginning of the phrase that matches instead of the end. Anyway, that kind of melodic writing is of course very common, and would usually be described as an antecedent and consequent phrase. In some contexts, that might be considered sequencing -- typically used to describe ...


2

No single melody can properly fit all English haiku, because each poem stresses different syllables. This may also be true for 5-7-5 haiku in other Western languages. Furthermore, some scholars argue that 5-7-5 poorly translates the Japanese concept, and that other syllable counts are justifiable. In that case, even the number of syllables is not known. ...


1

Reminds me of 'One Note Samba' (Jobim). A simple idea would be to use the D in the first example, and go to other notes from that particular chord in each bar. E.g. D-E in 1st bar, D-C 2nd, D-F# 3rd etc. This references the 'pedal note', but also the underlying chord. Assuming one chord represents one bar, there is time to play around with the notes from ...


1

There isn't a systematic way to write strong melodies. You have to know what you intend of each specific melody. One thing that you can do is listen closely to songs you enjoy and figure out what makes their melodies work. For example, I really like high energy electronic music, so oftentimes, when I listen to it, I try to discern how each song pushes its ...



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