Step #7 of Writing Great Melodies – Write More Melodies
The process of composing melodies for your songs doesn’t stop just because you’ve managed to develop one long melodic phrase. If we consider the first long melodic section we created as a verse, then we would still need to come up with melodies for the pre-chorus, chorus and perhaps bridge. Here, we’ll discuss how we go about the process of writing more melodies.
This article is a summarised transcript of the last step 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 to Write More Melodies
The easiest way to get started is to identify the characteristics of the melody that you’ve already come up with. In particular, it’s important for us to be able to find out the contour of a melody. Contour is a very fancy way of describing the shape and general direction of a melody.
Asking yourself if the melody is mostly descending or ascending is a useful tool to help determine contour. This information will then help you to write more melodies.
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Methods to Write More Melodies
After you determine the contour of your melody, a simple way to derive more melodies from it is to reverse the contour. For example, let’s say that the original melody was in a descending then ascending pattern. You could then write more melodies for other song sections by reversing the pattern to be ascending then descending instead.
However, a good melody doesn’t just simply change the contour. Another important element is to not start on exactly the same note as we’ve been doing up till this point. You could also simplify your melodic idea, as some melodies can benefit from restraint. Good melody writing isn’t about complexity, but instead focuses on creating contrast between sections, and ideas.
Things to Keep in Mind
When you’re writing more melodies and adding more variations to them, there are a few things to keep in mind. Firstly, think about where the most important moment in the song is and place your song’s highest note there. High notes denote a sense of emotion – by placing it at your song’s most important moment, you add to the emotion of the moment.
Next, try to avoid landing on very stable notes when you’re trying to build tension. Stable notes help deliver the main message of the song with a punch. For example, some pre-choruses entirely avoid using stable notes. This allows them to build suspense, and adds a higher impact when the stable notes come back in the chorus.
Another important thing to remember is that during the process of developing your melody, the lyrics you write are unimportant. Any lyrics you use at this stage are for the purposes of being a placeholder. Once you’ve finished your song’s melody, then you can replace all of the words with proper lyrics.
Conclusion: Step #7 of Writing Great Melodies – Write More Melodies
The process of writing melodies doesn’t stop once you’ve come up with one motif. We have to go through a process of refinement and variation to create multiple melodic phrases. In this way, we’ll be able to create great songs that draw our listener’s attention and stick in their minds.
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