Step #1 of Writing Great Melodies – Figure Out the Scale
Many songwriters often wonder where they should begin when trying to write melodies. In this blog post, we’ll demystify the first step to creating great melodies – figuring out the scale.
This article is a summarised transcript of step one of our video “How to Write Great Melodies in 7 Simple Steps’’. Click here to watch the video for more details, explanations and examples.
How and Why Should We Figure Out the Scale?
Imagine composing a song as preparing a recipe. You begin by deciding on the essential ingredients. When melody writing, your ingredients are the notes of your scale. Common scales used for melodies include the major and minor scales. By determining the scale, we narrow down the number of ingredients we could possibly use in our recipe i.e. our song.
For instance, let’s take a look at the scale of the key of G Major:
G A B C D E F# G
By deciding on our key as G Major, we can narrow down the notes our melody uses to the notes in the scale.
Using the Scale to Compose Melodies
There are a few ways we could go about using the scale to start composing our melody. We could simply sing up and down the scale, randomly picking notes to combine with one another. However, an approach that tends to be more intuitive for beginner songwriters is to pick 3 or 4 chords from the key, and write a chord progression.
Click here to download a free PDF eBook containing all the diatonic chords written out in 6 different keys titled “Diatonic Chords in 6 Different Keys”:
By using chords and notes from the same key, any melodies that we create will naturally sound good over the chord progression we’ve chosen.
Conclusion: Step #1 of Writing Great Melodies – Figure Out the Scale
Starting the process of writing melodies doesn’t have to be daunting. Through deciding on our key and scale, we provide ourselves with a framework to create melodies on. In this manner, we won’t feel lost or overwhelmed when trying to begin the melody writing process.
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