Groove is definitely a fundamental part of music that sticks inside your head. While taking a shower, however, you do not necessarily hum “groove”, you tend to hum a melody. It is what gets engraved in people’s heads.
If you are a songwriter, we know your struggles. Melodies are extremely difficult to make. You get this feeling of not being good enough because you cannot come up with a feel-good melody.
The result? You get super annoyed and plan to give up. Here is why we have come to your rescue. No matter which level of melody-making you are, we are there to tell you ways to improve.
One of the hardest methods of songwriting, making a melody, can be made easy with our help. In this article, we will share a step-by-step guide on how to make a melody. Without any further ado, let’s kickstart your melody-making.
What is a Melody?
Within a music piece, a melody is a series of notes sung or played. A simple melody usually consists of one musical phrase – just some short notes and nothing extra. More intricate musical ideas may produce far more detailed melodies, like some of those you come across in operatic arias, progressive rock pieces, and jazz.
A melody is made of 2 primary components: duration and pitch. In the theory of music, each note vibrates at its own definite frequency, which regulates its pitch – how low or high it sounds.
Duration refers to the length of time a note is being held. For example, a quarter note refers to a note lasting one-quarters time of a system written in 4/4 time. Sometimes, the duration can also refer to the duration of breaks in between notes.
3 Kinds of Melodies
Almost all ideas of melody come from either a scale or a progression of chord, with a notable exception.
- The chord-based melodies: A few songwriters begin their melody-making method by writing a sequence of chord changes. Later, they compose the melodies depending on chord tones – the notes which make up all the chords.
- The scale-based melodies: These melodies are made of notes within a certain mode or scale. For example, a C major melody can only employ the notes located in a C major scale (denoted by one key signature with no flat or sharp notes). Usually, the minor and major scales contain 7 notes (some minor scales can even contain more), however, you can make a fantastic melody utilizing fewer notes. For instance, pentatonic scales, one which has 5 notes, often emerge in pop music production.
- The monotone melodies: Technically, melodies become monotone rhythmic patterns as well. You will see a few vocal melodies of hip-hop to fit in this category like the dance beats in few EDM songs. Every drum beat can be counted to be a song’s melody, but this must not necessarily be the case. If there are no pitched sounds coated on top of it, you will see a rhythmic pattern that can perform as the melody for a song’s special section.
How to Make a Melody
If you are on the hunt for a better melody for one of your songs, there are many ways to do so. All these ways might confuse you. Following the necessary steps will keep you get going. So, let us start!
- Select an Instrument
If you are a player of multiple instruments, you will know that different melodies can be composed of different contexts.
Following this chord progression – G-Am-C – can create one effect, while playing this similar chord progression can give rise to an entirely different thing.
This is definitely the first to make a melody. Without this step, you will remain clueless about which melody you want to achieve and how you will gain it.
- Choose a Key
Next up, you must know what chords you will work on. In turn, this will determine the notes that you will be using.
Thus, you must decide and know what key you must play in.
It’s crucial to choose a key for some particular reasons. When selecting a key, consider your vocal range at first. Think about how hard the chords could be for you to play.
- Plan a Chord Progression
If you are someone who likes to stay organized, it would be easier if you plan out a chord progression. It makes it easier for you to make a melody.
Focusing on the chord progression only can also aid you to create some entertaining music. Remember to record yourself. You surely do not want to miss out on how you played the chords. Also, this helps you to remember the chords.
- Make the Chorus Melody
The most memorable, most valuable part of any song is the chorus. It’s the part that people usually love to hum. Including repetition, the chorus melody must contain the catchiest part.
Try to divert most of the creative energy into a chorus for this reason. You should also note that verses are important, but the chorus tends to be the main focus.
- Make the Verse Melody
Lastly, it is time for making the supporting parts – the verses. Due to your chorus melody having the most memorable (and probably the most singable) melody, you can explore more in the verses.
So you can freely move to more complex melodies when it comes to the verses.
That’s a wrap on how to make a melody.
Even though there are many musical components, starting from rhythmic lyrics and hits to chord progressions, melodies are the ones that serve as the calling card of a song.
It is only a small part, but the most important one while making great songs. Take lessons from your idols. Make the melodies that can resonate with you.
So fellow songwriters, use out steps and make melodies that you and other people would love to sing!