How do I compose music for vocal melodies with a piano accompaniment?

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    I have been told by community elders that seeking book recommendations on this forum isn't allowed. :-( – Subir Nag Jun 9 '18 at 1:49

While you cannot get very far just reading, there are a few books that I have found useful. One problem is that books give no feedback (although there are a few good harmony self teaching books). However, some books can accelerate things by pointing out things you may not necessarily notice on your own.

A good thing to do on your own is to listen to music. You will want to concentrate on the type of music you would like to write, but listen to other styles, lots of them. Even if you do not wish to compose in a particular style, you may find something you can use. Besides, at your level (and mine, and almost everyone's level) one does not know what you will need in the future.

Start by learning songs of the type you like. Either get sheet music or just pick them off the radio or YouTube or the like. Learn to play them so you get an idea how they are constructed. Write a few pieces in the style you like. Repeat.

I have a few (free online) books that I like for learning theory and composition. These (in order to be free) are quite old-fashioned but the recommendations can be supplemented by you listening. Theory tells one what other people did and how they did it; not what you may want to write.

You can search for these on the net.

Percy Goetschius: Exercise in Melody Writing Very old-fashioned but the suggestions are still useful. A good tune hasn't changed much. The author describes how to write reasonably sounding melodies, how to use repetition, sequence, construct phrases, modulate, and use passing tones or neighbor tones. (I don't really recommend other books by Goetschius as they are a bit hard to read and the concepts have been updated.)

Frank Shepard: Harmony Simplilfied Pre-1900 harmony which is the main basis for the classics and ragtime, and with some additions, used by jazz, Broadway, Latin, and country, and with a bit more change (mostly due to instrumentation) various types of rock.

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