Do you want to write the perfect melody? Any songwriter worth their salt is always aiming for the perfect tune.
However, with over 80 years’ worth of popular music to contend with, it can prove difficult. Yet, it is not impossible, and you could be the one to write the next great pop song.
Below, we have laid out a guide to how melody works. Read on and follow our steps on how to create a melody, so you can write your very own greatest hit.
Start with an Instrument
While it is possible to write a song using only your voice, it makes it harder to add other parts to it later down the line.
Even professional vocalists need an instrument to help pitch their voice. If you are in this situation, even rudimentary piano or guitar lessons are advised before you begin.
Learn a Major and Minor Scale
The first step is to learn a major and a minor scale using your instrument. These scales are the foundation upon which western harmony is created. Without them, music would just be a collection of random sounds. They will add much-needed pitch to your melody.
A major scale will sound happy and joyful, while a minor scale will sound somber and sad. It does not matter what key you are using, though the C Major and A Minor scales are often good starting points.
Steps, Leaps, and Repetition
Once you have a scale, you can start to construct your melody, and the main ingredient in a melody is the notes. This requires a few rules so that your notes do not just sound like a random selection.
Start by creating a passage of music that uses both steps and leaps. A step is a movement from one note to the next on a scale. For example, B to C would be a step, as would G to A.
Leaps are movements that ‘jump over’ other notes in the scale. For example, you may have a C note, that leaps over D and E to play an F as the next note. When combining them in your passage of music, steps and leaps can both move upwards or downwards.
Once you have some nice steps and leaps, add some repeating notes. You may play a note twice in quick succession or draw the same note out a few times over a longer duration.
Structure the Melody
Find a short passage of melody you really like and name it A. Find one you like a little less, that has some contrast, and name it B. Play A twice, followed by B once, then A again.
This will give you a basic melodic structure. You can adapt this by adding to it, taking away, and creating some ornamental flourishes.
Extend the Melody
Once you have this line, you have the basis for your song. Remember that songwriting is about contrast and repetition. Get this balance right. When you try the process again and extend your melody, keep this rule in mind.
Try a few and see which is your favorite. You never know, you may have written a number one best-selling hit!