Step #3 of Writing Great Melodies – Use Steps and Leaps

Step #3 of Writing Great Melodies – Use Steps and Leaps

A common trap that most songwriters fall into, is not making enough variations to keep a listener’s interest. In this blog post, we’ll explore the importance of combining steps and leaps to make melodies more interesting and emotionally resonant.

This article is a summarised transcript of step three of our video “How to Write Great Melodies in 7 Simple Steps’’. Click here to watch the video for more details, explanations and examples.

Understanding Steps and Leaps

A step melody is defined as a melody where all of the notes are next to each other in the scale. For example, let’s say that we’re in the key of G Major, and we use a melody with the notes G  A  B  next to each other. This melody is a step melody because all of the notes aren’t more than a 2nd away from each other.

On the other hand, a leap is defined as when you skip over at least one note to reach another note in the scale. As an example, a melody composed of G  B  D in the key of G Major is one that’s made out of leaps. This is because all of the notes are more than a 3rd away from each other in the scale.

To help you build your melody quickly, 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”:

Why and How to Combine Steps and Leaps in a Melody?

If we use only steps, then our melody will sound boring and uninteresting, despite being easy to sing. However, if we use only leaps then our melody will sound chaotic and incoherent. Finding a really good balance between steps and leaps is the key to creating great melodies.

One method that we can use is to determine what moment of our song that we’d like to stand out. Leaps are great at shining spotlights on moments in songs. The larger the leap, the more excitement and energy it invokes in your listener. In addition, the placement of your leaps is also an important factor to consider. For instance, placing a large leap at the beginning of a song provides a lot of drama and emotion – almost as if announcing the start of a story.

An Example of Combining Steps and Leaps

The classic tune “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” is an amazing example of using steps and leaps to great effect.

At the beginning of the song, there’s a full octave leap on the notes of the word “Somewhere”. Since this is an A A B A song, there isn’t a chorus. So, the large leap on the hook of the song allows it to stand out even further, and be more memorable to our listener.

Through this example, we can see that one of the biggest reasons to use leaps is that it helps create memories for our listeners. Leaps allow listeners to latch on to a song, and it helps provide them excitement.

Conclusion: Step #3 of Writing Great Melodies – Use Steps and Leaps

By combining steps and leaps effectively, you can craft melodies that are not only musically pleasing but also emotionally resonant. Finding the right balance between the two is the key to writing melodies that capture the attention of your audience.

This is only the third of seven steps to writing great melodies. Check out the full article for all 7 steps or watch the video here now.

Turn your inspiration into beautiful songs with step-by-step guidance through two professional songwriting methods. By the end of this course, not only will your tool belt be stocked; you’ll have a plan and a method for finishing your songs – all of them:

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