Even though the beats and the lyrics are taking over the industry these days, especially in urban music, there’s still no denying the fact that the melody is the most important and impactful part of any song. Basically, a melody is a beautiful sequence of musical notes, nothing more, and nothing less. So, how do you get started? What do you need to be able to make music?
– First of all, get a DAW. It’s the program/software/audio editor where you’ll be doing all the recording. Furthermore, a DAW is great for creating a beat and mixing it all together.
– The instruments come next. Most of us can’t afford real ones, which is why VSTis and MIDIs are in huge demand right now. They allow people with no expensive guitars/keyboards/drums to write beautiful melodies and banging beats without even leaving their bedrooms.
– With that said, it’s important to point out that you won’t get far without at least some basic knowledge of theory. True, there are a lot of prodigies out there that write hits without even knowing where the “C” note is. However, in the long run, you’ll appreciate what musical education can do. It’s safe to say that without it, you’ll be blind.
What Is A Melody Made Of?
So, what is a melody made of? Is there a “scientific” way to determine whether it’s good or bad? Well, not quite. At the same time, there are 6 definitions that will allow us to break down any musical part and better understand it. Plus, this knowledge will help us write more impactful, meaningful, and sophisticated melodies.
– The Contour. It shows the pattern of any given melody line. The contour can be ascending, descending, horizontal – you name it. Honestly, it’s not that big of a deal and you’ll soon learn how to navigate through the available patterns without even paying attention to them.
– The Difficulty. Most of us can’t really play the piano, the guitar, or any other instrument like the world-famous pros can, which is exactly why we need to be objective about the parts we write. Loops are a great way to make sure everything is nice and smooth. The piano is considered to be one of the easiest instruments for composing – remember that.
– The Rhythm. No, we’re not talking about the drums/percussion. Every melody has its own rhythm, and it’s important to find the perfect one for your tune. A melody with a good rhythm usually has multiple 8th and 16th notes.
– The Line. Basically, this defines whether the melody is full of breaks, drops, and rhythm changes, or not. A conjunct line is pretty “boring”; a disjunct one, in turn, is full of unexpected changes that keep the melody interesting for the listeners. Make sure to constantly switch between the two to find your optimal balance.
– The Harmony. Generally, we speak about harmony when it comes to production, not writing the lead lines. Yet, harmonies can (and should) be used in melodies. And while there are millions of different combinations, the C-Major + G-Major combo is the most popular one. Start there and make your way to more complicated patterns.
– The Form. This is very similar to the arrangement. The form defines what the breaks sound like, where the drops occur, etc. People with an ear for EDM/other genres do this automatically, without using any books or tutorials to guide them. Over time, you’ll learn to do the same.
Alright, that’s pretty much it! Obviously, there’s a lot more to writing melodies, but now that you’ve mastered the basics, it will be a lot easier to take your music to the next level. Never stop experimenting and try to find your own, unique harmonies, rhythms, contours, and breaks/drops. Arpeggios, motif-based and chord-based melodies are at the very heart of electronic music. Use them to your advantage.