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65

Instruments don't just produce one frequency at a time. When you play a single note on a melodic instruments (like piano, wind instruments, string instruments, etc.), you produce many different frequencies at a single time--a whole spectrum is produced. But this spectrum isn't random. It pretty closely follows the harmonic series, which can be thought of as ...


51

The drums CAN play melodies, but the number of pitches and notes you have available are limited by the number of drums you have (not counting creative applications of "bending" the drum head to produce higher pitches). Terry Bozzio is an example of a drummer who uses a massive drumset so that he can play more complex melodies on the drums. In a video of his ...


22

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 ...


22

No-one's mentioned pans - aka steel drums They certainly are used to play melodies. The main problem is that melodies usually contain long and short duration notes, and drums generally can only produce short, so rolls have to be performed to 'sustain' longer notes. For those who haven't had the pleasure, 40 gallon steel oil drums are cut in half, or less, ...


21

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. ...


19

You're right that the same melody can be played over a variety of different chord sequences, and that the choice of chords will have a marked effect on how the piece sounds. One of the modern jazz performers' favourite tricks is to take a well known melody and accompany it with unexpected (yet still musically pleasing) chords. Note that the key signature ...


17

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 songbirds....


17

There are at least two explanations for why this leap is acceptable: First is the idea of "gap fill," also sometimes called "registral return" or the "post-skip reversal." In short, when there is a large leap, we can soften it by subsequently moving by step in the opposite direction. This is a Gestalt principle of good melodic design that can often explain ...


14

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 ...


13

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 ...


13

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, ...


13

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 ...


13

In contrast to the question, the timpani are a drum set that can play melodies (although they are almost always given accompaniment parts only). Indeed, they are tuned to pitches (one pitch per drum) before a piece starts.


13

The pause is one that comes straight to mind - the rhythm stops, and everything hangs for some moments. Rubato has a similar effect, as do rallentando and accelerando. Crescendo and decrescendo can also be used to produce tension - especially in the way Beethoven used it. Never felt certain that it wasn't his frustration showing through... A key change is ...


12

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 ...


12

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 ...


12

The basic idea of the melodic minor scale is to be able to traverse the minor scale by step while having the option to take advantage of 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 ...


11

As a beginner, or as an extremely experienced player/writer, you're allowed to do just what the heck you like. There are 'rules' - more like guidelines, or things that are known to work/not work well. It's called theory. But - the bottom line must always be: does it sound good, to you or others? You cannot make each and every note in a tune match the ...


10

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 ...


10

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 ...


10

The melody is from a French song, Ah! vous dirai-je, maman The first known publishing of the melody dates from 1761, who knows how much further back it goes. Mozart wrote some variations based on it, which probably helped popularise it a lot greatly Nursery rhymes, sport chants, folk songs, political rally songs etc. ...


10

The simple/traditional approach is for the chords to match the scales you're improvising over. You wouldn't improvise with C Lydian in your right hand and simultaneously play a CMaj11 chord--the F in your left hand would clash with the F♯ in your right hand. Similarly, if you improvise over the V7 chord using the G altered scale, you wouldn't simultaneously ...


9

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 familiarity with the Western tradition of music. What's ...


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 ...


9

Some notes sound good together. This is an example of what we call consonance. Some notes do not sound good together. We call that dissonance. In simple terms, certain notes blend well together because of the way the sonic frequencies merge together and complement one another. Our brains will instinctively have a desire to gravitate towards complementary ...


9

If the entire figure repeated exactly, then it would be an ostinato, the term that endorph used. But the extract in the OP does not show such a repeat. What we have is a pedal (in the repeating lower notes) with a tune above. A pedal is sometimes called an interior pedal or internal pedal if it is not in the lowest or highest voice.


9

(This could be closed as opinion-based, but I also think there's only one answer...) Learn scale-degree functions. Each scale degree has its own particular function, and therefore its own particular sound; the tonic scale degree (scale-degree 1) has a particular sound to it, and the leading tone (scale-degree 7) has a completely different sound. The best ...


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