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Thread: Music!! What Makes Good Melody/Song?

  1. #16
    Ibreathe Music Advisor EricV's Avatar
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    Yeah, it depends on melody, harmony ( the underlying chords can change the effect of a melody big time ) and the arrangement / sounds ( a simple melody can sound amazing if played by an orchestra ).

    Regardin guitar instrumentals, I have learned that the melody is just as important as it is in a vocal-tune. You might say "Dīuh !" now, but that was some revelation for me. Back at the GIT, when I wrote the first few instrumental tunes, I cared more about keeping it sophisticated, putting in all kinds of cool licks.
    The songs I am playing nowadays are based more on the melody. At first it felt like holding back, then I noticed how much cooler it is if there is a melody people can hum along too... and the cool licks can still pop up in between
    The newest songs I wrote are based on rather simple melodies, especially the chorusses ( "You Complete Me" has like a 3 or 4 note melody, so does "Through The Barricades" ). And if you pay attention to phrasing and tone, there is SO MUCH you can do with a simple melody.
    Thatīs why Joe Satriani still is a big influence, he often has great, memorable melodies.
    And if you work on your chops a lot, you occasionally lose focus and forget about simple, nice melodies...
    Eric

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by EricV
    Yeah, it depends on melody, harmony ( the underlying chords can change the effect of a melody big time ) and the arrangement / sounds ( a simple melody can sound amazing if played by an orchestra ).

    Regardin guitar instrumentals, I have learned that the melody is just as important as it is in a vocal-tune. You might say "Dīuh !" now, but that was some revelation for me. Back at the GIT, when I wrote the first few instrumental tunes, I cared more about keeping it sophisticated, putting in all kinds of cool licks.
    The songs I am playing nowadays are based more on the melody. At first it felt like holding back, then I noticed how much cooler it is if there is a melody people can hum along too... and the cool licks can still pop up in between
    The newest songs I wrote are based on rather simple melodies, especially the chorusses ( "You Complete Me" has like a 3 or 4 note melody, so does "Through The Barricades" ). And if you pay attention to phrasing and tone, there is SO MUCH you can do with a simple melody.
    Thatīs why Joe Satriani still is a big influence, he often has great, memorable melodies.
    And if you work on your chops a lot, you occasionally lose focus and forget about simple, nice melodies...
    Eric
    Absolutly !!!
    The last two weeks I have listened once a day to Joe Satriani's "Stange Beautiful Music". There are soooo cool melodies on the album. They aren't often difficult to play but what he does with this melodies is really amazing.
    It's really fun to play fast over a Metal-Jamtrack or what ever but when I jamed over a balade it sounded terrible. So I decided to work on my tone and melodies every day.
    The first time when I listened to Rusty Cooley I thought "Woooow ". But after a time it became boring. Rusty's music is really cool but i couldn't listen to him all the time.

    Okay, back to the question.
    Gosh, thats a really hard one.
    I think its important that a song has a good structure. It has to be like a good Film...you never know what happens next.

    That's all I can.

    Matthias
    Last edited by MatthiasB; 05-22-2004 at 09:27 AM.

  3. #18
    Registered User sweetious's Avatar
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    The thing that my composition teacher eric funk has always said to me about music being good and I quote it a lot because it makes sense to me and I always thought of music this way subconciously even before I started playing, in fact this is what got me into playing is this... A good piece of music is like a good book, there is a hero, an antihero, etc. and most important you start out with no conflict and then you bring that conflict in and tension come in to the story and then the conflict has to be worked out and there is a climax and finally resolution...
    there are other ways to think about it as well, like a haiku or a kind of meditation that is sort stationary and there may or may not be tension it just makes a statment of feeling etc. In fact there is a song on Jaco Pastorius' self titled album that is Bass and percussion and french horn and it reminds me more of a poem than a story and I love that song so much it is so ethereal... It always helps to look at music as a language and compare the two to each other.
    First, master your instrument. Then forget all that %^#$ and play! --- Charlie Parker

  4. #19
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    What really helps me understand melody(listening and writing) is the fact that music is basically emotion in the form of sound. What mood you are in at the time will lend a lot to the interpretation and level of enjoyment of the particular piece.

    Ask yourself one question; How many songs have you thought were truly wonderful, well written and truly very melodic upon the first listen? How many songs that you know have become seemingly more melodic through an increased familiarity with the piece? I think there is a lot to be said for this. Being familiar with a piece of music may invoke a fond memory related to the song and may increase it's appeal quite a bit. There are, ofcourse, the occasionally song that just grabs you as you are driving down the road or outside listening to with headphones that you know right away is well written and melodic, so I think there is a lot to be said for both scenarios.

    Mark in GR

  5. #20
    Sweetest of the bees sugarbee's Avatar
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    When I was in my senior year in Highschool I took a course in Canadian music which focused a lot on some 20th century composors. One of them was R Murray Schaefer. don't know if any of you have heard of him, but his compositions are extremely different. Most of what i have heard from him have been choral works. His singers almost never sing! They make vocalizations to be sure, but they are syllables, nonsensical ones. The choir is not always meant to sing in the same key or even on the same note. This sounds weird, both in explaination and when you hear it, but if you study it a bit more you learn the purpose behind it. For example, in one work, which is called Epitaph for Moonlight, he started out by asking elementary school students to come up with nonsense words that made them think of night and moonlight...Unfortunately I can't remember these syllables (highschool was a long time ago) then he used the syllables as the basics for his lyrics and they really did evoke images of night for me. And his scores are like drawings, the notation isn't necessarily conventional. You have to learn to read it. It's a different approach to music completely.But once I understood all of these things and then listened again, I found his works to be incredible expressions of emotion. After having the honour of meeting the composor and having a chance to learn a bit more from him a few years ago, I now respect him more than ever, he has in a way opened up a different world of music to me. I guess what I'm trying to say, (in a roundabout, rambling way) is that there are so many ways to write music, some of which don't even appear musical, but I think one of the most important things a good song does is not only express emotion well, but a really good song finds a slightly different way to do it. For mainstream music maybe this is changing the dynamics a bit or approaching something you play or sing a bit differently. I think some of the best songs come from writers who have their own unique style and learn how to use it well.
    Phew! That was a big one...apologies if any of you are asleep by now...
    oh, and check out Schaefer, he's cool.

  6. #21
    Registered User Morbid's Avatar
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    Isn't Schaefer the one who invented the soundscape or something? You know the idea of a landscape of sound that always surround us.

  7. #22
    Sweetest of the bees sugarbee's Avatar
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    I don't know if he invented it, but he has done some cool stuff. I wish I had heard more. It's something I used to know quite a bit about but I have forgotten a lot. I should go back to my notes! Anybody else out there have any knowledge on this kind of stuff?

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