5 Useful Tips on How to Write Beautiful Song Melodies
Melodies make an integral part of music composition. They are one of the prime reasons why some songs etch in our hearts forever and ever. However, arranging the notes to make a meaningful tune is not a very easy job for many. It takes a subtle combination of trial and error methods, perseverance, and days and months of hard work to set up the right tune. There are certain thumb rules for making a melody work. “Hey Jude” composed by Paul McCartney is a perfect example of a beautiful melody with easy to remember lines. So what are the factors that make melodies like these work so well?
The most iconic melodies are the ones that
- Focus on the use of tonic note
- Have a deciding or a compelling juncture or moment
Tonic notes are the ones that indicate which tone the song is in. For instance, if the song is in a specific major note, then that is the tonic note. It often happens that a feeling of calmness or respite accompanies certain tonic notes as you hear in a song; however, it can be determined on the basis of their location. If a tonic note appears as a passing note between two anatomically connected notes, then its impact is often not felt. But if it is the one appearing at the edge, it represents a musical moment of great importance and can actually have a lasting impact.
For the compelling moments in a melody, they can be best felt if put at the end. If in a particular song, the melody goes high up, the moment appears in the somewhat along the last line of the verse which results in the dissolving of the melodic energy and thus, the melody descends in its original octave.
While working on your song, if it seems to you that the melody is somewhat incomplete or is not enticing, probably you need to consider these two questions:
- How to use notes?
- Is there any compelling moment in the melody?
Repetition is an essential feature that you need to keep in mind while structuring your melodies. Most of the iconic melodies: the ones that fetch our attention, the ones which are remarkable are nothing but an association of shorter melodies which are clubbed together to form one grand melody. The more the repetition, the easier it is to remember the song. To make things easier, here are 5 ideas that you might consider while writing your song melodies.
- Melodies should have proper step
The purpose of music composition is to reach out to the audience. With the tough competition in the music industry, creating music that will hold the listener’s attention becomes the vital aspect of music composition. Melodies that have abundant leaps, mostly jumping up or down over a period of long intervals, are not only hard to sing but are also quite hard to remember. So, the focus should be on developing steps when structuring the melodies to avoid abrupt leaps.
- Melodic Leaps for Energy
Although it is advisable that you avoid any abrupt melodic leap, however, a collection of properly planned and strategized melodic leaps can add a distinct punch to the song and inject energy into it. The basic idea is to rationalize and develop strategies that can add some fuel to the melodies, thereby, preventing them from sounding boring. For example, the opening line of the verse of the song “You make me feel brand new” by Stylistics is a great example to understand how melodic leaps can infuse energy into the songs.
- Invert Melodic Ideas
A rather subtle but very effective technique nonetheless, take a part of your song and flip it over so that it seems that the shape appears to be upside down making a connection from one side to another. Taylor Swift’s “You belong with me” uses the original opening line: “You’re on the phone with your girlfriend….” and then flips it over to suit the pre-chorus: “She wears short skirts, I wear T-shirts”
- Exploring your Vocal Range
Though singing or recording songs in the midrange is a safe bait, however, there is no harm in exploring your high or low ranges. Placing a song at your maximum high range, even if that makes high notes seem a bit stretched, can actually provide a rustic edge adding to the aesthetic of the song.
- Chorus Melodies pitched at higher range
It is advisable that your chorus melodies be pitched at a higher range than verse melodies. This helps in building energy as the song progresses from verse to chorus. It is not only advisable, but also a logical option to move your melody higher as the song proceeds.
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