Melody In Songs
(Elements of Creating Song Melodies)
For now, think of a "chord" as a group of sounds/notes (usually 3 or more) that sound "pleasant" or sound like they fit together when played at the same time. Only certain notes sound good together.
A melody can "harmonize" with absolutely ANY sound (either a musical sound or a real-world sound), as long as it's pleasing to the ears.
Your melody wraps around your rhythm like your skin wraps around your skeleton. And because there are two parts of a song's rhythm, there are usually two melodies in each song wrapped around those parts.
(see Beats & Rhythm Of A Song to learn the two parts of a song's rhythm).
There Are Two Melodies In Each Song
If the song has a singer the song most likely has two melodies:
- Your Main Melody (or Baseline or Chord Progression)
- Your Vocal Melody (also called Vocals)
Your main melody is the core note pattern you recognize when listening to any song, while your vocals are the notes the singer sings that harmonize with the main melody.
These two patterns usually fit/flow together within the same group of sounds. Your main melody follows the rhythm of the beat and your vocals follow your lyrical flow (again, see Beats & Rhythm Of A Song).
Meanwhile, most hip-hop songs usually have only one melody, the main melody, since rappers don't usually sing...but their lyrics still follow their lyrical flow.
3 Stages Of Creating Your Melody
There are generally three stages of creating a good melody:
- Choosing your target emotion - Which emotions do you want your listener to feel the
most in your song?
- Deciding prominence - Which part of your song should be paid attention
lyric or melody? Which should take the lead?
- Selecting a Chord Progression - Which group of chords will you use to create your melody?
When you have your core note pattern you can create your vocal melody from that. Now you don't need to play an instrument to create your melody, you just need something to synthesize sounds for you.
You can use an app you find or you can use music production software that can help.
But if you do play an instrument you definitely have an advantage here. Many melodies are also created during jam sessions where musicians just start playing whatever sounds good until something sticks.
Very Important Message Before You Start!
Don't take yourself too seriously when developing your song's melody. Remember, this is a creative process. If you're more focused on your melody sounding like one you heard you may block your creativity.
Also important; if you're focused on your melody being "so unique" that it's like nothing anyone has ever heard before, you'll also choke your creativity. All music is inspired by other music and only certain sounds work well together.
...But if you'd like to learn to model your sound after a favorite artist (or a hit song) then consider joining my songwriter training group and I'll show you how to blueprint your song using the Song Structure Vault.
Learn to write great songs like your favorite hits from the radio and train to become a great songwriter in four steps:
Download my free exercises (like my 6-step exercise manual) to prepare your
song lyric. Having your song lyric fully fleshed-out before piecing it
together with rhythm, melody, and structure is important.
- Learn important skills and tips about songwriting not taught in music
- Follow audio & video lessons to complete your
- And as a member get exclusive deals on all professional songwriting tools & courses offered on this website.
In a few weeks you'll have access to everything you need to write great songs. You've already taken the first step by searching for this info. And reading this far shows me you have a passion for songwriting.
So take the next step. There's no cost to join and no obligation to stay.
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Updated: February 18, 2020
Do you play an instrument? If so do you have a melody you've developed? Post in the comments below.
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