Melody Writing Tips and Techniques

The melody is probably the most important part of a song. It's the part that draws you in, sticks in your brain and helps you to remember the words.

You CAN write a great tune. All it takes is practice. These tips will help you get started.

Listen to the radio
As a songwriter, this is one of the most important things you can do. Pay close attention to all of the hit songs you hear.

Take notes. What makes them stand apart from the songs that don't become hits? Try this exercise.

Keep it simple
Usually the melody of a hit song isn't complicated. If you can carry a tune you can easily sing along with most of them. Be careful not to write in too broad of a range (very low notes to very high notes), as most people will have trouble singing them.

Create melodic hooks
The hook is what makes a song unforgettable. It is the strongest lyric sung with the strongest melody. The hook is usually placed in the chorus, and is most often the title. Check out these ideas on how to create a memorable melodic hook.

take your time creating a compelling melody

Create tension and release
When writing music for a song, remember that it has to build.

When going into a chorus you want it to lift, so go up in pitch rather than down. That creates tension.

At the end of the chorus resolve that tension by bringing it back to, or close to where you started.

Make it familiar
Study the genre you want to write in and stay faithful to it. Don't stray too far from what's expected. But do throw in some surprises to keep it interesting.

Speak the words
If you always write music first, try starting with the lyrics.

Speaking lyrics out loud and with emotion often suggests a natural starting point.

Try it and pay attention to which words go up in pitch and which words go down.

Write On a Different Instrument
Most people write on their primary instrument. If you're a guitar player try writing on the piano or synthesizer.

It's likely you will be inspired to write something you would not have written on your regular instrument.

Also try collaborating with another writer you feel comfortable with and can trust.

When two people work together they can push each other to new heights.

There are many ways to approach songwriting. Do you write the music or lyrics first? Mix it up, try to write something every day and you will find yourself getting better at it.


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