Writing Melodic Ideas

Chords, scales, harmony, melody, etc.
Ghost Snake
KVRist
150 posts since 16 Oct, 2009 from Italy

Post Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:37 am

So lately I've been reading / watching various tutorials on Melodic Composition.
However, I still find it hard to write melodies, well actually the problem lies in DEVELOPING a melodic motif, not in creating.

Even if I've been playing music for 20 years, I still consider myself a beginner on Melodies, because I started out as a Rock Guitar Player, and so I've always been playing Riff Based Music. However I've had Ear Training classes, both Melodic and Harmonic.

I've got no problem in loading up a Synth Pad and creating various chord progressions, with extensions, suspended chords, substitutions and so on... but with melody, it's like hitting a brick wall. Any suggestions for shaking things a little bit ?
I love Tangerine Dream, Jean Michel Jarre, Yanni (cheesy I know, but the music is well constructed :) )

Here's a backing track I made, as you can hear there is no melody. (sry if it's short, it was just a quick sketch I made )

https://soundcloud.com/andrea_mercurio/ ... ynth-stuff
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Ghost Snake
KVRist
150 posts since 16 Oct, 2009 from Italy

Re: Writing Melodic Ideas

Post Wed Jan 29, 2020 8:19 am

up
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schmerzschlag
KVRist
54 posts since 11 Oct, 2017

Re: Writing Melodic Ideas

Post Wed Jan 29, 2020 8:59 am

Ghost Snake wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:37 am
Even if I've been playing music for 20 years, I still consider myself a beginner on Melodies, because I started out as a Rock Guitar Player, and so I've always been playing Riff Based Music.
Oh, I can relate to this. :D I suggest having a look at Revolution-Harmony.com or their Hack Music Theory YouTube Channel. Lots of good stuff that helped me to break up things a little bit.

Ghost Snake
KVRist
150 posts since 16 Oct, 2009 from Italy

Re: Writing Melodic Ideas

Post Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:10 am

schmerzschlag wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 8:59 am

Oh, I can relate to this. :D I suggest having a look at <span class="skimlinks-unlinked">Revolution-Harmony.com</span> or their Hack Music Theory YouTube Channel. Lots of good stuff that helped me to break up things a little bit.
good to know, thanks for your input

edit : sry but I can't stand that guy, a bit too 'enthusiasm' for my style. I just can't help but think 'what kind of drug he's on " :D
Last edited by Ghost Snake on Wed Jan 29, 2020 10:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Forgotten
KVRAF
11472 posts since 15 Apr, 2019 from Nowhere

Re: Writing Melodic Ideas

Post Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:37 am

If you have written riffs, you have written melodies. Do the same thing but try to get away from playing all 8th notes or all 16th notes or whatever - try to figure out what sounds good by ear. You don’t really need to know any theory to be able to write melodies.

Ghost Snake
KVRist
150 posts since 16 Oct, 2009 from Italy

Re: Writing Melodic Ideas

Post Wed Jan 29, 2020 10:20 am

Forgotten wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:37 am
If you have written riffs, you have written melodies. Do the same thing but try to get away from playing all 8th notes or all 16th notes or whatever - try to figure out what sounds good by ear. You don’t really need to know any theory to be able to write melodies.
Interesting point of view Forgotten, thanks for your suggestion, I will try to put it into action.
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Gamma-UT
KVRAF
5543 posts since 8 Jun, 2009 from UK

Re: Writing Melodic Ideas

Post Wed Jan 29, 2020 10:34 am

You might be overthinking the melodies if you're coming from a background of riffs. With a lot of rock, the melody kinda happens between the riffs. Think of Louie, Louie. You've got the core riff that everyone knows but the melodic interest goes on in between to tell more of the story – and it's a lot simpler and slower than the riffy bit. A lot of it is going to be about "where do I need more tension? Where can I release or find home in this?" when it comes to putting melody against the chords.

Some of the analyses on Hooktheory might help, thinking off the top of my head.

Ghost Snake
KVRist
150 posts since 16 Oct, 2009 from Italy

Re: Writing Melodic Ideas

Post Wed Jan 29, 2020 11:06 am

Gamma-UT wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 10:34 am
You might be overthinking the melodies if you're coming from a background of riffs. With a lot of rock, the melody kinda happens between the riffs. Think of Louie, Louie. You've got the core riff that everyone knows but the melodic interest goes on in between to tell more of the story – and it's a lot simpler and slower than the riffy bit. A lot of it is going to be about "where do I need more tension? Where can I release or find home in this?" when it comes to putting melody against the chords.

Some of the analyses on Hooktheory might help, thinking off the top of my head.
Exactly, I overthink melodies unfortunately. I mean, I could sit down for HOURS improvising on a backing track,even with a synth, but I doubt that I would come up with a solid melody that way......

Louie, Louie... haha ..... if I had to write a new melody to that song, I'd probably go "ok, let's start from the fifth degree, then move up a minor third up to the minor seventh.... then I can play a major arpeggio..... "


Pretty sure they didn't "write" it that way :)

Oh, that Hooktheory book series look promising..
Last edited by Ghost Snake on Wed Jan 29, 2020 11:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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vurt
addled muppet weed
65334 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Re: Writing Melodic Ideas

Post Wed Jan 29, 2020 11:09 am

try that, rewrite melodies as an excercise.

or, nick em. at least borrow others, see why they work.

deastman
KVRAF
7403 posts since 7 Aug, 2003 from San Francisco Bay Area

Re: Writing Melodic Ideas

Post Wed Jan 29, 2020 11:38 am

Why do you have two different threads on the same topic?
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Ghost Snake
KVRist
150 posts since 16 Oct, 2009 from Italy

Re: Writing Melodic Ideas

Post Wed Jan 29, 2020 11:43 am

deastman wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 11:38 am
Why do you have two different threads on the same topic?
because noone was answering
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biodiode
KVRian
622 posts since 23 Sep, 2003 from UK

Re: Writing Melodic Ideas

Post Sun Feb 16, 2020 8:23 am

Depends on how far you want to take this. As someone from a classically trained background, I learnt a lot from studying Bach chorales that match harmony and melody together - https://imslp.org/wiki/Chorale_Harmonis ... Sebastian).

They are so good even Xfer Cthulhu uses them.

Another method I use is dice. Choose a scale, take 6 dice and give them a roll. Each number represents the degree of the scale and you make a melody/motif out of those notes.
Check out more of my work at https://www.adrianearnshaw.com where you will find tips, tricks on the blog and more of my compositions.

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AngelCityOutlaw
Banned
216 posts since 4 Dec, 2017

Re: Writing Melodic Ideas

Post Sun Feb 16, 2020 12:39 pm

Ghost Snake wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 11:43 am
because noone was answering
and most of the answers you seem to be getting are insufficient, anyway.

You need to learn about the structure and shape of melodies.

The rhythm of a melody is a vital foundation of it. Usually, the rhythm is fairly consistent throughout the phrase and usually introduces variation to the rhythm in the fourth bars. Think of the Indiana Jones fanfare, for example: The majority of the tune's rhythm is the same as the first 7 notes.

https://www.coursera.org/lecture/songwr ... idge-LmPGj
https://www.songwriting.net/blog/bid/20 ... the-melody

Most good melodies fit within an 8 or 16 bar phrase, such as sentence or periodic structure, which balances repeated sections and forward development in a logical order.

https://music.tutsplus.com/tutorials/ho ... udio-22412

The contour is also important. Generally, you only want to have one highest and one lowest point in the melody, and not repeat that pitch twice in the same phrase.

https://www.aboutmusictheory.com/melody-shape.html

You should also consider call & response and melodic fission. In a lot of ways, writing melody is much like a conversation.

https://www.utdallas.edu/research/mpac/ ... 1973-2.pdf

https://www.masterclass.com/articles/wh ... ponse-mean

A good place to start is coming up with a good rhythm for the tune, or a motif, and then develop that with regard to the above structural concerns.

Ghost Snake
KVRist
150 posts since 16 Oct, 2009 from Italy

Re: Writing Melodic Ideas

Post Sun Feb 16, 2020 2:07 pm

Thx, I will read those articles
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Ghost Snake
KVRist
150 posts since 16 Oct, 2009 from Italy

Re: Writing Melodic Ideas

Post Tue Feb 18, 2020 10:11 am

biodiode wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 8:23 am
Depends on how far you want to take this. As someone from a classically trained background, I learnt a lot from studying Bach chorales that match harmony and melody together - https://imslp.org/wiki/Chorale_Harmonis ... Sebastian).

I don't intend to become the reincarnation of J.S. Bach or to write SATB pieces, that would be too much for me, Counterpoint and all of that. What I'd like is to understand how many people 'write' inspired melody that get stuck in your head, while me, I can only fit chord tones that sound 'correct' but not that special. Maybe I ain't got no talent :) but it's really frustrating.

I will try anyway to analyze some Chorale, especially the melody contours .
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