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23

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 ...


18

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. ...


15

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 ...


12

In my experience, unfortunately, writing melodies is one of the most "magical" parts of writing music. Some melodies just sound great, some just don't. There are, however, a few things to keep in mind that can help you deliberately write a melody for a particular emotion or style and help you understand why a particular melody sounds good. Intervallic and ...


11

Creating melodies or a melodic line is not much different than creating a figure in drawing. I see two ends of a spectrum of choices with everything in between as possible. 1) derivative 2) original I. Derivative melodies are a subjugation of environmental influences literally and figuratively. Examples include the following: A melody based on ...


10

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 ...


10

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 ...


9

You say you know scales. Most melodies, especially the more simple kind, are made up from the notes of a particular scale, be it major or minor. To start with, try using the pentatonics. They are the major/minor scales with the awkward notes missing. As in C major, C,D,E,G,A. Not F or B. Using just those notes, many good melodies can be made, as leaving out ...


9

I think you're about right. Homophony is the concept of a single 'line' as such, potentially split across several parts, but all moving at the same time - parts mainly follow the same rhythm. Polyphony is when there is multiple melody lines at the same time, interacting with each other. What's important to remember is that there should be a degree of ...


9

I'm sure someone more experienced will come to help, but for now, here are some suggestions: Make use of dissonant chords. In particular, augumented fifths, and diminished major sevenths. In particular I'd just look into the various scale modes (e.g. Lydian) and pick out chords from there. If it's a slow horror song I'd suggest using a Dorian mode for ...


8

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? ...


7

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. ...


7

"methods for constructing a musical motive" For me, it doesn't work like that. A melody comes to me, and in retrospect, I find the motives. I can't really explain how that works, a motive is just anything that I recognize as a distinct unit - some kind of pattern. Whether something is a pattern is to some extent subjective. Melodic and rhytmic properties ...


7

With practice, you'll eventually be able to listen to a passage of music a few times, recognise what the relationships between pitches are, and then notate it straight onto manuscript paper, but this skill takes time to develop. To start with, use an instrument to play along with the audio files, to help you work out the music. Piano is ideal for this, but ...


7

The basic idea of the melodic minor scale is to be able to traverse the minor scale by step use the leading tone while avoiding the augmented 2nd interval. It may seem random when you use melodic and when you use natural minor scale degrees, but there is a very simple test: Are you going to the tonic or are you leaving the tonic? I'll give a few common ...


7

Learning production is like learning any musical instrument in a lot of ways. You first need to practice a lot to become very familiar with your software. The software is your instrument, you need to know it inside and out to become proficient at creating songs. For instruments, daily practice is the fastest way to improve, and the same goes with digital ...


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

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

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

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

As you listen to music analytically (especially music you like), there are various patterns and things you'll discover, which will help you learn how to write melodies. For example, it's obvious that in many pieces, a melodic phrase spans a number of bars that's divisible by the number 4. If you can pin down the 4 parts of some such melodies (that you like, ...


6

Sometimes just singing over a chord progression can do wonders. However a melody that sounds 'good' on vocals may flub on the keyboard (or other instruments). Try changing the chords under the melody - sometimes its easy to dismiss a decent melody because it wasn't in a very good context (chord substitution is a great way to go here). Try to identify what ...


6

It's not necessarily needed, but it don't half help! Some players tend to use the harmonic structure of a number to 'play over the changes'. So they will follow the chords that make up the tune, and put different melodies to that sequence. If that is done properly, then any improv. will work well. If the melody is known, then another sort of improv. can be ...


5

I'd say Luke's (and user10944's) answer of an octave sounds about right for vocal parts. While typical SATB vocal ranges for your standard 4-part harmony are usually listed as about an octave and a half each, many simple melodies stay within about an octave. Depending on the melodic contour, that octave may stretch from dominant to dominant (as in Amazing ...


5

I use a book called the Guitarist's Way to teach pupils classical guitar; so every pupil gets to play this tune, which is just in crotchets, within the first few months of lessons. Here it is: It's only short, so might not be suitable for whatever you need it for. I'm not sure what the original piece by Thomas Tallis is that it comes from, but that might ...


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 ...


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 ...



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