I want to start this post off by mentioning that I have seen the 1/16/2017 post on a similar topic; That post related more to the lyrical/prosodic elements of the melody, and I am more interested in the composing of melodies.
I typically approach my songs (think pop music) with the vocal line interacting in some way with the other instruments. For that reason, certain factors, such as chord voicing or contrapuntal motion can heavily influence the outline of a melody.
This time around, however, it just so happens that the instrumentals are completed, and I am ambivalent about the melodies that are basically just filler at this point. So, I am looking to revise the melodies, leaving the completed tracks as they are--this is sort of the notion of top-lining, which is apparently a huge part of modern-day songwriting in pop music.
Toplining is an idiosyncratic process, at times requiring a methodical, compositional approach and at others an experimental, improvisational one. When working on a track, top-line songwriters frequently start by coming up with several core vocal melodies—"hooks"—and words or phrases that seem to match the tone of the track (or the producer's requested topic). Over time and through much trial and error, these ideas are refined into developed sections like verse and chorus.
I am most curious about the compositional approach (as opposed to the experimental/trial and error/improvisational approach) regarding this concept. What factors play a role in this process? What do you suspect are the melody-writers main reference points when sitting down with a completed instrumental? Perhaps one would consider the location of the bass? Or the ensuring the complete chord is well balanced? Using tendency tones when appropriate (accented vs. unaccented passing tones)? etc . . .
I have never considered myself simply a melody writer because of my harmony/chord-based/holistic approach to songwriting, but I am trying to put myself in the shoes of someone who successfully writes unforgettable melodies and JUST THAT. Where to begin??