Hello! I hope you are well and that you and all your loved ones are healthy, both physically and mentally. Today I am going to share with you some basic tools to create a powerful melody.
What is a melody?
In a nutshell, a melody is a sequence of notes, grouped as a single entity.
Listen to the score below. Can you guess what song it is?
Yes, it is Hey Jude by The Beatles.
Usually, you will recognize a song by the melody
The melody is determined by the pitch and the duration of the notes.
What would happen if you changed the duration of the notes or the position of the notes of the song? Well, the melody would change completely, and it wouldn't sound like Hey Jude anymore.
Two songs can have the same chord progression. What differentiates one song from another is the melody. Many songs are written using the C–G–Am–F progression.
Watch the video below to understand what I mean:
In short, the melody is what makes a song stand out.
How can I create an assertive melody to project the emotion I want my audience to feel?
I am currently working on the musical arrangement of a song for a friend's new album. The song is about two lovers who, after a long time apart, meet again.
I'm going to explain my process to create a melody for the chorus. The chorus is the exact part where the reunion takes place. First, I have to choose the key that best fits the intention of the melody. The emotions I want to project are joy, gratitude, and peace. Bearing this in mind, what is the scale that best fits? I would say G.
You can read our article How to project emotions through music: choosing the key, to learn how to choose the right key for projecting the desired emotion.
Speaking of the pitch itself, let's think of the melody as a sentence in a conversation.
Think about the way people talk when they are in a certain mood. When someone is happy, they usually talk faster and use a wide tonal spectrum. On the contrary, when someone is sad, they usually talk slowly and monotonously.
This works the same way for the melody:
- Low-pitch sounds evoke darkness, sadness, and tension.
- High-pitch sounds make us feel happy.
Knowing this, I'll go for the high-pitch sounds. BUT, be careful not to overdo it. You must learn to find the balance and to be accurate.
How do I learn this? Practice.
The last thing to set is the tempo. I decided to go for Andante (90bpm).
Check out our article How to project emotions through music: setting the tempo, to learn how to choose the right tempo for projecting the desired emotion.
This is the melody I created for my friend's song:
Integrating this into your creative process
Think of something that has moved you lately (a book, a movie, anything). Remember how you felt and channel it into a melody using the guidelines I shared with you today.
For the next post, we will talk about harmony and how to integrate it with the melody to project the emotions we want in a song.
See you next time!
If you liked this article, check out the other articles in this series: