As a composer (and electronic music producer), I'm currently facing what I think is a big issue : each and every melody I compose is in minor mode, so it makes them gloomy. But now I would like to compose melodies that rhyme with summer and happiness.

So my question is : Is there a trick to switch my minor melodies to sunny major melodies ? (e.g. : adding a sharp note, or a halftone ?)


If your melodies are based on the notes of a minor scale, change them to fit a major one! Two basic techniques would be:

  1. Shift into the tonic major - if your tune used the notes in C minor scale, change it to use those of C major. That means the Eb, Ab and (maybe) Bb will become E, A and B naturals. Your basic chords will be C, Dm (or D major - that's a very common extension), F, G, Am... (But you can use plenty more and still be 'in C major'.)

    1. Shift into the relative major. Keep your Eb, Ab and Bb but make Eb the 'home' note. Your basic chords might br Eb, Ab, bb7, Cm...
  • 1
    Cold turkey could involve only using the three major chords for a while - avoid ii, iii and vi altogether, otherwise the OP could modulate back to vi...
    – Tim
    Feb 11 '17 at 9:14

l like Laurence's answer very much, but I'm going to ask a question and then offer some additional alternatives-- not instead of his but in addition to them.

You didn't say which of the three types of minor scales you were using: natural, harmonic, or melodic. I'm going to offer three strategies, and you should pick the one that matches the type of minor you tend toward:

Natural: Try sharping ONLY the third note of the scale (counting from the bottom), Leave the rest of the scale unchanged. See how that affects the feel of the melody. If it's comfortable, go with it through the whole tune and pick chords that match. It won't quite be major but it might still sound 'happier' than what you've been doing, and it might eventually pull you into actual major.

Harmonic: First, get rid of the augmented second, either by sharping the sixth note of the scale or flatting the seventh one. See which of those feels more kin to your style. If you pick sharping the sixth tone, then you have shifted into Melodic minor, so skip to that paragraph below. If you pick flatting the seventh, you are now in Natural, so skip to that paragraph above.

Melodic: Try using the same scale going up as you are using going down (Melodic Minor scales are different whether the tune is ascending or descending.) See how that feels. if you like it, start sharping the third tone of the scale. Voila! You're now in the enharmonic major and have solved your problem. If you don't care for the effect, no harm done and you can try one of Laurence's suggestions.

Hope that helps.

  • 2
    It's also possible he's got stuck into a minor-ish mode, maybe Dorian. A good way to get un-stuck from your safe, stock chords and licks is to NOT play an instrument while composing. Particularly if it's guitar! Compose on paper.If you're not fluent with notation, get fluent! Don't think 'melody and chords', try writing two melodies that fit together. Get out of your comfort zone! Feb 11 '17 at 2:26
  • Melodic minor jazzwise tends to be the ascending notes only. But with jazz - anything goes!
    – Tim
    Feb 11 '17 at 9:11
  • Thanks @L3B , your answer is a good completion for Laurence's one and I'll try all these tricks (but I actually don't know if my melodies are in Natural, Harmonic or Melodic minor scales, and I think they're all different)
    – Cyxo
    Feb 11 '17 at 10:31
  • @paulolo, it sounds like you might benefit from some ear training to the point where it's easier for you to know what your natural tendencies are. Self knowledge is the key to a lot of areas in music.
    – L3B
    Feb 11 '17 at 17:52

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