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Thread: building a melody?(scales)

  1. #1
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    Arrow building a melody?(scales)

    When building a melody within a scale, do you follow the scale accordingly? For example if your are doing a f major pentatonic do you follow the scale in order whether your going up or down the scale; not skipping notes?

  2. #2
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SKETCH View Post
    When building a melody within a scale, do you follow the scale accordingly? For example if your are doing a f major pentatonic do you follow the scale in order whether your going up or down the scale; not skipping notes?
    You can do anything you like.

    The best guide is what's easiest to sing (whether or not the melody is going to be a vocal one). When singing, it's more natural to go up and down in scale steps most of the time, with just the occasional jump of two or more scale steps.
    A pentatonic scale already has a mix of scale steps and gaps of two scale steps - because it omits two notes from the major scale. Eg, F major pent is F-G-A-C-D - skipping Bb and E.
    Pent scales are easy to sing just by going up and down from note to note, because even the larger gaps (A-C and D-F) are not too big; and there's enough variety of gaps to keep it interesting. Even so, it's good sometimes make a bigger jump, for dramatic effect.
    But in the main, what feels natural to sing is going to make for the best melody. If you do make a big jump, don't follow it with another big jump.
    And don't forget a melody can often repeat the same note a few times - it doesn't always have to move; and you can repeat the same simple phrase too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    You can do anything you like.

    The best guide is what's easiest to sing (whether or not the melody is going to be a vocal one). When singing, it's more natural to go up and down in scale steps most of the time, with just the occasional jump of two or more scale steps.
    A pentatonic scale already has a mix of scale steps and gaps of two scale steps - because it omits two notes from the major scale. Eg, F major pent is F-G-A-C-D - skipping Bb and E.
    Pent scales are easy to sing just by going up and down from note to note, because even the larger gaps (A-C and D-F) are not too big; and there's enough variety of gaps to keep it interesting. Even so, it's good sometimes make a bigger jump, for dramatic effect.
    But in the main, what feels natural to sing is going to make for the best melody. If you do make a big jump, don't follow it with another big jump.
    And don't forget a melody can often repeat the same note a few times - it doesn't always have to move; and you can repeat the same simple phrase too.
    Thanks a lot, I was having trouble coming up with little melodies on the guitar. You help a lot,thanks you again.

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    This book is a bit old-fashioned, but it's a good description of how many composers have written melodies. It's a free pdf download.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=HV4...schius&f=false

  5. #5
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ttw View Post
    This book is a bit old-fashioned, but it's a good description of how many composers have written melodies. It's a free pdf download.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=HV4...schius&f=false
    Yes - wade through the first 30 pages and you will have what you need to write melodies.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    You can do anything you like.

    The best guide is what's easiest to sing (whether or not the melody is going to be a vocal one). When singing, it's more natural to go up and down in scale steps most of the time, with just the occasional jump of two or more scale steps.
    A pentatonic scale already has a mix of scale steps and gaps of two scale steps - because it omits two notes from the major scale. Eg, F major pent is F-G-A-C-D - skipping Bb and E.
    Pent scales are easy to sing just by going up and down from note to note, because even the larger gaps (A-C and D-F) are not too big; and there's enough variety of gaps to keep it interesting. Even so, it's good sometimes make a bigger jump, for dramatic effect.
    But in the main, what feels natural to sing is going to make for the best melody. If you do make a big jump, don't follow it with another big jump.
    And don't forget a melody can often repeat the same note a few times - it doesn't always have to move; and you can repeat the same simple phrase too.
    Quote Originally Posted by SKETCH View Post
    Thanks a lot, I was having trouble coming up with little melodies on the guitar. You help a lot,thanks you again.
    It's surprising how many players have a problem going from a tune in their head to finding that tune on the fretboard.

    But it's actually pretty easy to do that. Try this - first think up a simple short melody, a lick or phrase, in your head. Hum that tune to yourself a few times. Then just go to your favourite scale pattern and look for the same sounding notes within that pattern of scale notes.

    If you don't immediately find the right notes in a 5-note pentatonic pattern, then try the full 7-note version of the same scale pattern (eg the Major Scale or the Natural Minor Scale).

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