I’m a noob when it comes to making music but I have a little problem when creating melodies/chords. I made a nice loop in fl studio but I feel it’s to repetitive. I’ve tried adding more chords and melodies to that loop ( as in extending the chords/melody so it doesn’t have to much repetition) that I created but nothing sounds good. when I added extra chords/ melodies if feels like it has no sense of direction and does not sound good. In my mind I feel like it’s missing something but idk what or how to apply it. Do you guys have any tips on how to make your melodies/ chords less repetitive? Also Just to clarify the reason I’m asking is because I trying to have my 8 bar loop reapeat a few times and then switch it up ya know what I mean.

  • This question might be on hold as already answered here:music.stack exchange.com/questions/4904/how-do-i-make-piano-chords-sound-interesting-when-playing-along-with-popular-son – Albrecht Hügli Jan 25 '19 at 6:23
  • This feels a bit like asking "how to write a good song". ;) Can you give a specific example of what you tried and how you think it sucks? Do you play existing good pop songs a lot? By ear? Do you notice any patterns, what makes them good? Why not try to copy/clone a chord progression and/or melody from a hit song, and start making changes until you think you broke it and made it suck? Then take a step back, undo until it sounds good again, and change something else. :) – piiperi Reinstate Monica Jan 25 '19 at 7:38

I've recently been doing some collaborative songwriting and have spent a fair bit of time thinking about what makes a song boring/exciting. Here's a short list of what has applied to me (by no means a complete list):

  • Tone colour - use different instruments/sounds to play the same melody/chords. Add effects to your instruments
  • Texture - layer multiple instruments, or a single instrument, or fade them in/out from each other
  • Rhythm of the chord changes - Perhaps you normally to write 1 chord per measure; try having one chord over 2 measures to add some space, or add some energy by changing chords every beat!
  • Speed of the melody - use a mix of shorter and longer notes for a melody
  • Use chord extensions - add your 9ths, 11ths, 13ths to your chords for that jazzy feel!
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    Thank you for the reply, I’m definitely going to try out the tips you have provided. As a matter of fact the loop I created has a jazzy feel so those chord extensions might help for what I’m looking for. As soon as try it out I’ll let you know. Once again thank you I appreciate the tips. – Unizonn music Jan 25 '19 at 5:28
  • +1 @Unizonnmusic Hey, if that solves the problem, you may wish to "accept" this answer by clicking the Checkmark next to its score! – user45266 Jan 25 '19 at 16:08

Here is a long term answer:

You may want to look into Joseph Shillinger or the Shillinger System of composition. Joe created a method of composition that used mathematics to compose and arrange. Many notable composers such as Gershwin, Goodman, Hollywood and Broadway composers employ his method. Oh, RIP Michel LeGrand. Another less cerebral method is Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies.

First though, study music theory. Then listen and sing everything including everything. If it is not in you, it can't come out and, it will all crosspollinate once it is within you.

Then embrace tension, irregularity and chaos. The brain can easily get bored but when there is tension, the brain wakes up. Sing the opening strains of "Maria" "Bali Ha'i" or "Girl From Ipanema." Notice how they dabble around sevens, flat fifths or seconds. Those are all tension notes and in turn make the brain crave resolution.

Joe also opined that a song has to have structure, climax and resolution. Take a look at "SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW:" enter image description here

You can see where it is going. Scrawl out the rest of the song for yourself or, hit the Berkeley School of Music site for the whole thing.

In addition, work on upper and lower neighbors around chord tones, then passing tones around chord tones. Melody often weaves around chords and upper and lower neighbors surrounding chords, especially before a resolving note, can add some tasty tension.

Speaking of LeGrand, take a look at his tune YOU MUST BELIEVE IN SPRING. There is a lifetime of lessons right there. It doesn't settle on the tonic until the very last note. Genius:enter image description here

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  • Great! :) How did you draw the diagram for "Somewhere over the rainbow"? – piiperi Reinstate Monica Jan 26 '19 at 19:00
  • Well to perfectly honest I don’t know how to read music I kinda learned to play by ear. I do know some type of music theory but not to the the extent that some of you might know like yourself. I will take in the information you provided as long as it helps me better my craft. – Unizonn music Jan 27 '19 at 19:14
  • I really appreciate your response, thank you. – Unizonn music Jan 27 '19 at 19:14

Arpeggiators are cool. I don't use fl but I imagine it has one. If not, you are screwed. Just kidding. Creative use of fx like delay, phasing, panning, etc. can make a solid but blah sounding progression more distinctive. Regrader and Crusher X are two plugins that are free and fun (to me anyway) to run tracks through and experiment with what comes out.

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  • So are you saying that a chord progression can be made better with a phaser or bit crusher effect? Care to give an example, before/after? – piiperi Reinstate Monica Jan 25 '19 at 10:45
  • Well, c'mon, better is subjective, but yeah, a SOLID progression can be made more DISTINCTIVE, by creative use of fx tools provided. You disagree with this? As far as examples, it seems reasonable that you ask. I might be able to, I don't know how, but yeah, it is becoming apparent I need to learn. Let me see, because I can provide examples. Lots of them. Hours and hours....You sure you really wanna go there? – user48490 Jan 25 '19 at 10:58
  • You can also make the singer dress up differently, and it might make something more distinctive, but not the chord progression. A phaser or bit crusher can (sometimes) make a sound more distinctive. Not the chord progression. A chord progression consists of notes, and your answer should say something about what to do to the notes. Not what to do to an audio recording of someone playing the notes. – piiperi Reinstate Monica Jan 25 '19 at 12:18
  • I don't come here to argue. When I type chord progression you seem to hear a vastly different sound in your head than I do in mine. If your methods satisfy you, why not just go for it, and leave others to theirs. – user48490 Jan 26 '19 at 22:57
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    The OP is asking, how to change the chords and the melody in the song. So we'll advice him to replace the boring old "C" chord symbol with "C major with a phaser effect". I wonder what you'd say if he asked how to write better lyrics. "How to make lyrics more interesting?" "Put a delay and a phaser on them." How about time signatures. 4/4 with a multiband compressor. – piiperi Reinstate Monica Jan 26 '19 at 23:15

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