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Thread: writing melody

  1. #16
    Registered User Madaxeman's Avatar
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    Sometimes for me, the chord progression or riff puts constraints on what will work lyrically so it forces me to come up with more original lyrics and melody.
    On the Snakes & Arrows MVI by Rush, Geddy and Neil talk about the way they write. The musical structure is most often done first and if Neil has something that will fit, he gives a draft to Geddy who looks if he can actually sing the words the way they are written (considering syllables, breathing, etc..) and also has to find an emotional connection so he can deliver a good performance.
    Most often Geddy does not end up singing an original draft, but he will re-write it several times, or take pieces from other things Neil has.
    If no lyrics work out, it becomes one of their famous instrumentals.
    Just though it was interesting...

  2. #17
    Bedroom metalurgist LaughingSkull's Avatar
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    I find that following 'fancy' chord progressions (which are not following key, but rather evolve from the previous and prepare for the next), forces me to find melodies which otherwise would have never thought of. It also forces me to think much more when I play, so I learn a bit as well ...
    IMO, sessions like that does wonders for ears.

  3. #18
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    Sometimes I find it helpful to pop in one of my favorite CDs and jam off of it to get melodic ideas. It seems strange, but for some reason it works, and I end up coming up with stuff that sounds nothing like the CD or my usual stuff.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chordy_Ordy25 View Post
    Sometimes I find it helpful to pop in one of my favorite CDs and jam off of it to get melodic ideas. It seems strange, but for some reason it works, and I end up coming up with stuff that sounds nothing like the CD or my usual stuff.
    ya, i've done alot of this also. it also lets you hear what the artist is doing and you can try stuff similar to that also. sometimes following closely the music, and sometimes wandering off compeltely differnetly. it's cool with jazz tunes too because they tend to be free tempo wise, and will play with little and more velocity and stuff like that, so you can benifit from that also in your improv.

    it practises your ears, your creativity, your muscles, and also is like having a metronome, a dynamic one.

  5. #20
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    Another helpful exercise is simply to let your fingers freely/randomly feel their way around your instrument. If it sounds like garbledy-gook that doesn't matter. Keep playing around and you'll likely happen into something really interesting and good that you can work with. Usually doesn't take long, either, and it's kinda fun. I come up with many ideas like this.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chordy_Ordy25 View Post
    Another helpful exercise is simply to let your fingers freely/randomly feel their way around your instrument. If it sounds like garbledy-gook that doesn't matter. Keep playing around and you'll likely happen into something really interesting and good that you can work with. Usually doesn't take long, either, and it's kinda fun. I come up with many ideas like this.
    ya i do some of that also. sometimes it's best to do that. not think too much. sometimes i can just be watching tv and then pickup a guitar or something and then just without thinking about it play it and something cool comes out. sometimes i feel almost like my fingers have a mind of their own.

    like i'm not always really the one controlling the music. more like the music is controlling me and i'm just a member of the audience like everyone else.

    if you approach too much from a theory perspective, from a scales point of view, or chord progressions, or anything like that, your mind will focus on those things and kind of be a prisonner of those things, and you will be limited and get stuck in lots of ruts and stuff will always seem the same all the time.

    and ya garbledy-gook is sometimes how it starts but then you can quickly get inspiration from either the garbledy or the gook, and then something cool comes from it. and ya, it is fun. i think anything you wouldn't think you'd come up with is fun. it's like fresh. but you did come up with it. it's just you wouldn't expect that you would. it's not like something you trained. just freedom.

  7. #22
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    Another way to get ideas flowing Is to get yourself inspired. You can leave your music for the moment and do something that makes you feel good like taking a walk in a park, watching a favorite film, or whatever (wouldn't recommend overeating or heavy-drinking, lol). Or you could sit at your instrument, and relive awesome past memories/moments/adventures/vacations, or you could let yourself daydream a little. Imagine up a marvelous fantasy. Whatever you choose, try to engage as many senses as you can so that it feels real and try to play these ideas/emotions out on your instrument. You might even want to have a recorder running to play back later so you can get into it as much as possible and not have to worry about trying to remember stuff. You could get some really cool melodies, lyrics, and musical ideas this way, and it's super fun!
    Last edited by Chordy_Ordy25; 02-28-2010 at 04:37 AM.

  8. #23
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    i've never really done anything exactly like that. go off some place in order to get inspired. although that's not a bad idea. but sitting at an instrument and just playing i've done quite a bit of. and i've recorded probably i'd say roughly 50 soundclips of licks and riffs and stuff i wanted to remember on my portable mp3 player. idk, it's hard to say, I have 400 individual clips but some of that is repeats and a few other random things. but what sucks is after going through it all to find some cool ones. i am usually never in teh mood for that. i'd almost just rather startup reaper and invent something else new. but every once in a while i check some out, and remember why i saved them.

  9. #24
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    Another thing I like to do is play the keyboards at Target. For some reason I get so many instant ideas at these keyboards (probably b/c of less familiarity w/ them). I like to play the ones at Target b/c they are usually in a back corner to themselves where you can play at a moderate-low setting and no body will bother you (sometimes you'll see an occassional little kid but, whatever). If you go to a music store or somewhere like Best Buy, the sales reps will be all over you. Yeah Target keyboards are my guilty pleasure, I play them just about everytime I shop there. Next time I'm going to try to record what I play on my I-phone. Just not sure if it'll pick up since I play low?? Guess I could do a test on my own keyboard, lol.

  10. #25
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    Get yourself a keyboard, sooner or later everyone must have a keyboard.

    http://www.bing.com/videos/watch/vid...-1418521347239

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimc8p View Post
    Do many people have a load of backing tracks but currently without the great melodies you intend? I have way too many. I generally want the chords to dictate the melody and not vice versa. For me the melody does have centre stage, but is there primarily to highlight the harmonic content. I'm guessing a lot of people write like this...does anyone else find melody a bit of a stumbling block?

    Anyway, I thought it would be good to share some methods for writing melody. Here's a couple of trial and error methods I use to get melodic inspiration...

    guitar
    1. record the progression and loop it back
    2. record improv over the top a bunch of times
    3. cut out all of the decent phrases to create a load of scattered melodic fragments
    4. even out the chunks to the nearest division of the bar
    5. drag them to their appropriate places within one or two loops of the progression
    6. hopefully you should be left with some very nice longer phrases you can tweak and adapt

    keyboard

    A
    • record the progression and loop it back
    • transpose a track to put the key scale on the white keys
    • continue from point 2 above

    B
    • record the progression and loop it back
    • think of some vocal melody from any old corny pop song
    • record the phrasing only (midi)
    • alter the notes in your sequencer according to the progression
    • (generally speaking, I always seem get good and original sounding results by ripping off phrasing when improvising with any instrument.)

    sing

    • record the progression and loop it back
    • set up a vocal track with an automatic tuner plugin and set everything to 11 (if your singing voice is anything like mine)
    • Limit the notes as constricively as you want...it's sometimes very interesting to limit notes to just 3, 4 or 5.
    • continue from point 2 above
    • make sure you delete the original takes, ha

    Anyone used any of these methods before? Got any others?
    YA! listen to titles by the Ventures.Simple phrasing they did,but tasty.Have open ears for 50s music,should help with your melodical,phrasing ideas.

  12. #27
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    Lightbulb

    I completely agree with what fingerpikingood said especially the part where its all subjective to the songwriter on where the song starts... I was first a writer so I am sitting on a decade of poems and short lil-whatever-ya-call-ems, So I just dig around and find something I like create a chord progression or riff and so far throw it out and move on..

    Sometimes I really enjoy getting hung up on elaborate chord progressions though, I think its awesome!!!
    I really feel like the elaborate chord progressions are more for yourself (the musician) to enjoy than the listener, I mean if all you do is play triads your going to eventually get a little bored don't you agree?
    Last edited by Califool; 05-09-2010 at 06:35 AM.

  13. #28
    Registered User 28lorelei's Avatar
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    Hmm, I seem to have the opposite problem: melodies and don't know what to do with them. Also, are you using garageband? does anyone else here use sibelius or is it just me?

  14. #29
    Registered User Color of Music's Avatar
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    I'd also like to add: that since the obvious melody is known, pretend for a minute that you didn't know it. Could you tell it was MHALL through the harmonic progressions? I bet you could because if these chords were displayed, you see the melodic movement!

    (G) (F) (Eb) (F) (G) ...
    EbMaj9-AbMaj9-Gm7-C7b9

    (F) ... (G) (Bb) ...
    Fm9-Bb7b9-EbMaj7-C7#5b9/E-Fm9-Bb13b9

    (G) (F) (Eb) (F) (G) ...
    EbMaj9-D7b9-Bbm6/Db-C7b9

    (F) (G) (F) (Eb)
    BMaj7-Abm6/B-Bb9sus-Bb13b9-Bb7b9-Eb(add9)

    (F#) (G) (F) (Eb,F)(G) ...
    Bb7#5b9-EbMaj9-Eb7-Fm7-E7b9-Eb-EbMaj7-C9sus-C7b9 /

    (F) ... (G) (Bb) ...
    Fm7/B-Bb13b9-Bb7b9-Gm7-Gb9-Fm9-E9sus

    (G) (F) (Eb) (F) (G) ...
    EbMaj9-Edim7-Fm9-E9/Bb-EbMaj9 Gm7-Db9-C9sus-C7b9-

    (F) ... (G) (F) (Eb)
    F13sus-F9#5-Bb9sus-Bb13b9-Bb7b9-Abm9-Bb7susb9-Eb(add9)

    I have a file attached.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Color of Music; 07-19-2012 at 05:35 AM.

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