Edm melodies

The Secret To Dark EDM Melodies

Hey Ninjas!

Today I'm going to teach you guys how to create dark melodies for EDM like Martin Garrix, Loopers , Rezz and various other artist.

Below is an example of a dark melody on the drop ;).

Martin Garrix & Loopers - Game Over

Creating this type of melodies isn't hard but there are a few rules we can follow to achieve a similar vibe to this that I will be explaining in this tutorial.

These 2 tips are super helpful at creating dark melodies and have helped me make them these past few years. Other things I've noted too is how common they are and how many variations you can use them in to get that dark vibe.

So if you are ready to create dark melodies lets get started with this quick tutorial.

Semitone Up For That Bad Ass Vibe

When we look at the F Minor Scale these are the notes we are allowed to play to remain in KEY

In order to achieve an instant bad ass vibe we need to break the rule of staying in scale and we need to go up a Semitone from the root note (The Note of F).

This change will create a dark/bad ass vibe. that will give your melody a sick edge.

You can add this change from F to F# anywhere in your melody to instantly give it that dark vibe that you hear in a lot of Rezz tracks as well.

This trip also works well in G-HOUSE or any genre where you want to have a full out bass drop and not have it sound corny.

I've made a video below showing you guys how to use this trick with a pluck.

The Fifth Note In The Scale

The fifth note in the scale of F Minor is the C note. If you study a lot of EDM music you will notice it's a note that is heavily used as it works really well in giving an epic vibe.

We can use this note to make dark melodies as well when we pair it up with the Semitone Up trick or just repeat it constantly.

We can also pair it up with the first tip i gave you about going up a semitone to create a similar melody like the Loopers Track Game Over.

Don't be afraid to use it in an arp as well ;).

There are countless tricks we can use to create dark melodies and a lot of it has to do with the chords as well. I will save that for another post however.

I hope that these 2 tips help you create dark melodies and I hope the video examples explain properly for you guys to use in upcoming tracks.

I'm sure there are dozens of other ways of achieving dark melodies but these are the only tips that have helped me. I have yet to find content online that teaches other methods.

Cheers

Zen World

#howtomakedarkedmmelodies#howtomakemelodies#DARK#EDM#SERUM#ABLETON#LIVE9#FLSTUDIO

Sours: https://www.evosounds.com/post/the-secret-to-dark-edm-melodies

Writing catchy melodies can be hugely frustrating, especially for beginners.

How can all these pro’s be writing such catchy, impactful and memorable melodies?

The biggest issue is most producers overthink the melody writing process.

And if you just keep a few basic principles in mind when writing melodies you will notice a huge difference in the quality of them.

Let’s start this off by analyzing a couple well known melodies.

Major Lazer & DJ Snake feat. MØ – Lean On

Major Lazer Lean On Melody

Firstly, this melody is incredibly simple. It touches on only 4 notes!

And each repetition is only 3 notes long.

What makes it interesting are a few things:

  1. The chords change after every 3 note phrase – therefore we hear a different harmony on each repetition.
  2. There’s a variation on note lengths – more on that later.
  3. A slight variation in rhythm happens on the 3rd repetition where the G gets cut short and then repeated before the final phrase.
  4. The sound used to play the melody is a unique vocal sample. It also has pitch bends from the A to the Bb.

Skrillex – Summit (feat. Ellie Goulding)

Skrillex Summit Melody

The whole song is built around this simple melody.

Here are a few things to note:

  1. It gets repeated over and over again, however the B section of the melody, or the response part response changes slightly every time. It uses different synths and sometimes vocal chops to keep it sounding fresh and unique.
  2. Through each repetition the chords are changing, so like we saw in Major Lazer’s Lean On, the harmony is always changing.
  3. The melody is built using the notes from the first chord in the progression (D#min), the only note that isn’t in the chord is C#.

Similarities in these melodies

  1. Both melodies are simple
  2. They get repeated
  3. The harmony changes over time
  4. Slight variations in the melodies keep them interesting…
  5. … Along with unique sounds (in this case vocal chops).
  6. Use of pitch bends
  7. Both use call and response

Ok, so with these qualities in mind lets discuss 9 tips for writing catchy, memorable melodies:

  1. Keep it simple
  2. Repetition and Variation
  3. Note Lengths
  4. Pitch Bends
  5. Call and Response
  6. Harmony
  7. Stay on the tonic
  8. Stay away from the tonic

Keep it simple

One of the traps beginner producers tend to get themselves into, is thinking that the more complex something is, the better it sounds.

Let me make this clear.

Complex DOES NOT EQUAL catchy.

One of the most common qualities all the catchiest, best sounding melodies share is that they can be easily remembered and hummed after hearing them only a few times.

And how do you get the listener to hear the melody a few times? You repeat it.

Repetition and Variation

Now I don’t think most beginners have a problem with repetition, its not a hard concept. You just copy and paste the melody over and over again , right?

Wrong.

The trick is to repeat something with out it feeling repetitive and boring.

We achieve this through the use of variation.

So what can we variate?

  • Notes
  • Note lengths – more on this below.
  • Harmony (changing chords beneath the melody)
  • Adding pitch bends every so often
  • Changing sounds – for example opening up a filter over time or mixing in another instrument playing the same melody.
  • Keep the same call but change the response.

Note Lengths

Its very common for beginners to write an entire melody using the exact same note lengths.
The issue with this is that it begins to feel very robotic.
I like to think of the notes in my melodies like words in a song.
Not all words are the same length and neither should all notes be.

Pitch Bends

In the previous section about note lengths I spoke about treating the notes in your melody like words in a song.

The same concept can be applied to pitch.

When people sing and even speak, it’s really common for a single word to bend up or down in pitch.

Think of someone walking into an empty house and yelling “Hellooooo!?”

The “He” usually starts off low and bends up in pitch in the “lloooo!?” part of the word.

The same concept can be applied to melodies. Especially with longer, sustained notes. 

Pitch bends can make melodies feel more natural and sound more interesting because we are used to hearing them in our everyday lives.

It can also be beneficial to enable portamento on your synth and bend some notes into each other instead of each note re-triggering.

For fun

I loaded up a more sustained patch into serum and added some pitch bends into the Skrillex – Summit melody to see how we could add a bit more of a natural feel to it.

The thin red line shows the pitch bend automation.

pitch bends skrillex

Call and Response

Think of call and response as having two different phrases played one after the other.

One phrase is making the “call”and the other phrase “responds” almost like an answer.

Let’s look at the Lean On melody again.

The first part goes A -> Bb -> G this is what I would consider the call. The response would be the second part (A -> Bb -> D).

call and response

The reason this works so well is because the call ends on a G which is higher than the response which ends on a D. Just like how a question usually ends on a high pitch and the answer will end on a lower pitch.

Now imagine they just repeated only the call over and over again. The melody would feel unnatural, incomplete and almost like it’s stuck, or unanswered.

Harmony

The Skrillex – Summit melody is a perfect way to show changes in harmony.
Look at the below image and listen to the audio clip.
summit chords

The melody doesn’t actually change until the fourth repetition.

However, because the chords playing beneath the melody are changing on each repetition. The listener feels like they are hearing something new each time.

Staying on the tonic

You will hear this a lot in genres like techno, progressive trance and psytrance.

The melody will play in a syncopated or somewhat interesting rhythm like triplets or dotted notes but it tends to stay on only a single pitch, that pitch being the tonic (first note of the scale), and will eventually lead into chord change or a little fill where the melody moves briefly to another note or set of notes.

This does two things:

  1. It creates an almost hypnotic feeling for the listener.
  2. Because it’s so hypnotizing, when you do finally move to another note the impact is huge.

Try it yourself

  1. Open a synth and load up a basic saw wave.
  2. Add a low pass filter to cut out some highs.
  3. Make a plucky envelope shape.
  4. Add reverb and delay.
  5. Make a dotted 8th note rhythm using only the tonic.
  6. At the end of every 4 bars move the last note down 2 semitones (the 7th note in the minor scale).
  7. Try adding another oscillator pitched 5 semitones down (perfect fifth) for a more interesting but still hypnotic feel.
  8. Bonus points for adding some filter movement at the end of each 4 bars.

Pay attention to the hypnotic feel of this and the impact of moving the note down briefly every 4 bars.

Staying away from the tonic

Because the tonic is the note the listener most craves, it can be a good idea to hold off on playing it.
Try starting a melody on a different note. Stay away from the tonic until the end of the melody. When you finally do resolve to the tonic there will be a strong feeling of tension and release.

Conclusion

While there’s never any clear recipe to follow to write a great melody. If you try to keep it simple, use interesting sounds and apply some form of variation to it you should already be well on your way to writing an enjoyable melody.

Thanks for reading and I hope you learnt something new!

Categories Music TheorySours: https://basicwavez.com/8-tips-for-writing-catchy-melodies-edm-production/
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The Ultimate Guide to Writing More Memorable Melodies

We all want to write great-sounding music that people remember, and that starts with melodies.

And while the groove is fundamental in electronic dance music, it isn’t something that sticks in your head.

You don’t hum “groove” while taking your morning shower or driving to work, you hum melody. Melody is what gets stuck in someone’s head.

But melodies are hard to write.

There’s always that feeling that it’s just not good enough. You may feel like all the ones you come up with sound like they’ve been written before. Maybe yours sound horrible and you’re not sure how to improve.

If so, this is the article for you.

This isn’t a theory article, but a basic understanding of music theory will make it easier to follow along.

I’ve also summarized this melody writing process in a free cheat sheet that you can download using the button below (it also comes with bonus MIDI files).

What is the Definition of Melody?

Melody comes from the Greek word melōidía and is defined by a series of notes that are perceived by the listener as a single entity or object.

When somebody listens to a melody, they don’t hear it as just a random combination of notes, they hear it as something. They can point out where it starts and ends, they can remove it from the song and remember it.

The typical listener couldn’t care less about the clap sample you’re using or the bass you spent 20 hours designing in Massive. They care about what they can take away from your music.

What does a melody consist of?

It helps to picture melody as horizontal notation, and harmony as vertical.

A melody is by definition monophonic (meaning one voice), but that doesn’t mean that chord progressions aren’t melodies. By the late 19th century, the top tone of a chord was considered to be part of a melody.

The simple I, IV, V progression in C Major shown below has its own melody.

The yellow highlighted notes constitute a melody while being part of the chords.

A melody consists of, or is characterized by a few elements:

  • Contour
  • Range
  • Intervals
  • Structure
  • Scale

The Contour of a Melody

A memorable melody follows a contour, a line that ascends, descends, arches or dips.

There’s no particular formula. You don’t have to have a contour that rises and then falls, and you don’t need to have a certain number of drops or leaps. It’s completely down to preference.

But you will notice how different contours elicit a different emotional reaction from the listener.

For example: a melody that ascends may sound more uplifting than one that descends.

Understanding Melodic Range

The range is the distance between the highest and lowest note of the melody.

Some melodies occupy a very large range (2 octaves and up) while others have a much smaller range (half an octave).

The range is important to consider when writing a good melody as a wide range will make a melody more difficult to hum, whistle, and remember – whereas a narrow range will have less variation in pitch and won’t sound as interesting.

Melody Range examples

Melodic Intervals

A melody uses more than one note, so there’ll always be at least one melodic interval.

Does the melody jump up to certain notes? Or does it move up to them incrementally?

It’s handy to know the different intervals and the musical quality they contain.

Melodic Structure

Melodies have structure too. You could have an A and B section to your melody, maybe even a C. Think call and response, up and down, etc.

Scales Sit at the Core of Each Melody

Most melodies are formed from scales. There are numerous types of scales:

  • Modal: variable patterns of Major/minor scale. Starting at different points
  • Major and minor: makes up the majority of Western music.
  • Chromatic: all twelve notes.
  • Pentatonic Scale: 5-note scale. Often used in blues and rock.

There are of course others, but I’ll exclude them for sake of popularity and use (especially in EDM).

The Difference Between Motif and Melody

A motif does contain melodic characteristics, but calling it a melody is a little far-fetched.

A melody is the main idea of the track.

A motif or phrase is a short musical idea – it might be a few notes placed in a certain order or rhythm, but it isn’t the main feature.

Another characteristic of motifs is that they’re generally repeated. Ideas that play frequently throughout the song and may vary slightly from section to section.

Want to master melody and chord progression writing? Check out Songwriting For Producers.

Three Common Types of Melodies in EDM

There are a ton of different melodic structures in music.

You can arpeggiate a chord and turn it into a melody, you can add notes on top of a pre-existing chord progression, you can use long notes, short notes. The list goes on.

In my opinion, there are three main melody structures in EDM:

Arpeggios (or Arpeggiated Melodies)

A melody where the notes of a chord are played one after the other.

A great example of a arpeggiated melody is Porter Robinson’s ‘Vandalism’. 

Chord-based Melodies

Melodies that are played with each chord.

If you want to listen to an example of a chord-based melody, check out deeper styles of electronic music like deep house, which are centered around chords. Folamour – Lost Between Friendly Fires is a great example. 

Motif-based Melodies

Melodies that repeat and vary an idea.

A melody that is motif-based tend to be the most common as they stand out the most. Here’s an example (Sebastian Weikum – It Moves On).

My 5-Step Approach to Creating Memorable Melodies

Now that you know a little theory, it’s time to launch into the practical side of things.

While a melody can be created by randomly plotting in notes, I find it better to use a structure.

Using a structure DOES NOT mean you won’t suffer from a lack of inspiration or ideas, or that you’re restricting yourself. It means that you’ll be able to create a musical idea more quickly and easily.

1. Choose a Scale

Starting with a scale limits the amount of notes you can use straight away, so you won’t waste time plotting each note by ear or hitting random keys on your keyboard.

I’ve chosen a C Major pentatonic scale which contains C, D, E, G, and A.

2. Create a Rhythm

After identifying the scale you want to create your melody in, you need to come up with the rhythm for your melody. You see, melody isn’t just a succession of notes. It’s a rhythmic succession of notes. Rhythm is extremely important in melody. Don’t neglect it.

Creating a simple rhythm which will be the foundation for the melody.

You might want to use a kick drum or a metronome when working on the rhythm for your melody. Here’s how mine sounds so far:

3. Draw a Contour

Now that the rhythm is nailed, it’s time to start sketching the outline of the melody. This is where you have to think! I like to draw one on paper, but you can just paint a mental image in your head if you want to save the trees.

A badly taken photo of my hand-drawn contour.

4. Choose/Create a Sound

Whether you want to write your melody before or after sound design is completely up to you.

I prefer to create or choose a sound first as I know having a good sound will influence my writing decisions (certain melodies will work great with a massive trance lead, but not as well with a cheap piano sound).

  • Xfer Records Serum
  • NI Massive

I created a simple pluck sound in NI’s Massive.

5. Create!

At this point it’s time for you to refer back to the contour line you drew (or thought of) and change around some notes until you find something that rings with you. Don’t feel like you have to follow your contour line exactly. If something sounds out of place, fix it.

Melody example

Adding Flair

The melody is nice, but it isn’t great. After creating something simple, you’ll want to make a few adjustments to add interest and flair. Try adding extra notes and varying note length.

Varied note length and added in extra notes

Here’s what it ended up as.

Very… country-like. It lacks depth and power due to only being a single voice. But that’s a basic example of how you can use this structure to create a melody.

Tips

Sometimes it just doesn’t work. Try the following to regain your inspiration and get the right sound:

  • Use silence
  • Switch the instrument
  • Move it up or down an octave
  • Delete every second note

If you’re creating a melody from a chord progression then…

  • Work with the rhythm of the chord progression (if there is one)
  • Have the strong notes of the melody contained within the chord. I.e, if the first chord is a C Major, make the first note of the melody a C, E, or G.
  • Pay extra attention to the note before a chord change

Things to avoid:

  • Winding on and on. A good melody resolves and repeats itself.
  • Too much variation in pitch and rhythm. Consistency is key, keep it simple.

Recommended:8 Strategies for Making Catchy & Memorable Music

Analyzing 5 Memorable Melodies

One of the best ways to learn is by studying other artist’s work. Let’s deconstruct 5 well-known melodies.

1. Faithless – Insomnia

I had to choose this one, I just did. Insomnia is one of my favorite dance tracks of all time and I’m sure many others would agree with me when I say it’s CATCHY.

Let’s take a listen…

The riff that comes in at 2:18 is simply awesome. It’s euphoric, uplifting, and most of all? It’s memorable.

The melody MIDI for Faithless - Insomnia

One thing that stands out about Insomnia is repetition.

There’s an A and B section. The A section (first 4 bars) features a downwards slope from the 1st beat. The B section instead travels upwards from the E to the F-sharp instead of dropping down to the D.

This provides some variation while keeping the overall melody memorable.

2. Paul Van Dyk – For an Angel

Yet another absolute classic. I’m sure you’ve all heard this one. (It’s in 240p so you know it’s old).

The melody MIDI for Paul Van Dyk - For an Angel

Below is the MIDI for the topline melody from this beautiful track.

Notice the difference in range and rhythm compared to Insomnia. This here is an example of how simple melodies can be.

Look at it! Does it look complex? No. It’s straightforward. The rhythm and variation make it memorable.

3. Fisherman and Hawkins – Apache

This melody has been stuck in my head for the past few months. It’s epic and memorable at the same time. You can hear it from 4:00.

Pretty awesome, right? Let’s have a look at it.

The melody MIDI for Fisherman & Hawkinds - Apache

Check out the contour on that. What I love about this melody is variation in rhythm, you’ve got this staggering arp-like A section, then a long note followed by the close of the melody in a different rhythm.

4. Basto – Again and Again

I’m sure you’re sick of trance by now, so here’s a different one. One of my favorite tunes from Basto. The main melody can be heard after 0:35.

Ahhh. Ye olde Dancepiano 2k7 (if you made music during Avicii’s golden days, you’ll know what I’m talking about).

Let’s take a look at the MIDI.

The melody MIDI for Basto - Again and Again

That top line seems complex but isn’t in theory.

Basto is simply going up and down the scale before making a large jump on the fourth beat of every odd numbered bar. Notice how the D# is very prominent and drives the melody forward.

5. Calvin Harris – I’m Not Alone

This is one of my all-time favorites. The main melody is based on chords, and gives off a trance feel but acts as a pop song and does it damn well.

As for the MIDI:

The melody MIDI for 'Calvin Harris - I'm Not Alone'

There you go!

6 Ways to Find Inspiration for Melodies

Knowing how to write a melody is one thing, but what should you do when you’ve got no ideas? There are three things I do to find inspiration for melodies:

1. Find Contour from Images and Scenery

Some people like having a visual counterpart to audio. I find looking at photos and scenery, even just walking outside can trigger ideas for a melody.

For example, you could extract a melody contour from an object in an image (like I’ve done here).

Drawing a melody contour from an image

2. External Noise

The human voice has pitch, birds chirp with a certain pitch. Take time to just listen and find the melodies that are being composed in everyday life. They’re more obvious than you think. Listen out for them in:

  • Conversation
  • Wildlife
  • Machines and vehicles

It sounds cheesy, but give it a go.

3. Finding Rhythm from External Noise

You can find rhythm from external sounds just as you can find pitch. This can be found in conversation, maybe it’s a construction site where something’s being hammered.

Everything has rhythm, you’ve just got to listen out for it. So you can find contour, pitch, and rhythm from simple things around you. That’s the basis for a melody.

There are endless ideas are at your fingertips! What are you waiting for?

Note: want some foley and noise samples to get inspiration from? Check out our free foley pack.

4. Hum It!

Look, we’re not all great singers. But when we hear music we like, we hum it.

So why not use your mouth to write your own melodies? This is a great way to come up with ones that are sure to be catchy – because if you can sing/hum it, so can everyone else!

Just record your voice and start transcribing it to MIDI. Even if you struggle with hearing pitch, it’s worth it.

5. Jam

Whether you play an instrument or not, simply getting lost in a jam and recording yourself can yield multiple melodic ideas that you’ll find useful.

Doing this on instruments you can’t really play can be fun sometimes, as you’re not bound by certain techniques. I personally love to play melodies on both piano and guitar.

Granted, if you can’t play, 99% of what you output will sound rubbish, but those 1% moments can be golden.

6. Use a Melody Generator

If you started reading this and thought ‘wait isn’t this cheating?’ – then just bear with me.

Melody Generators can be great creative tools to inspire your workflow. They can come up with basic ideas that you can use and transform into something completely new.

There are a few MIDI devices that can do this (Ableton Live has some Max For Live generator devices) but you can also use online tools that generate MIDI files, like this one.

It might feel like you need a degree to use it, but just have fun with it and see what happens.

Here’s a melody I got out of it:

Pretty average overall, but there are some great moments in there I could use and transform into something amazing.

A Final Word

You should now have a better idea of how to go about writing melodies and also finding inspiration for them.

Melody writing will always be a challenge, but it should be enjoyable. Take the knowledge that you have and put some practice in.

Remember, if you want this article in the form of a cheat sheet that you can quickly reference while producing, click the button below 👇

Sours: https://www.edmprod.com/ultimate-melody-guide/

The essential relationship between melody and chords

Simply put, the success of your music depends on your ability to write strong and memorable melodies. No amount of sound design or mixing can mask a poor melody. You can’t cut corners when writing melodies: you must put in the time or nobody will care about your song. The ability to write great melodies is a muscle: you must actively train it, continually growing your knowledge and skillset.

This guide will show you the core elements of a great melody. It’ll show you how to write a melody that relates to the rest of the song. Further, we’ll be looking at how to break down popular melodies, and ultimately discuss how to take what you’ve learned and apply it to your music.

Before we dive into writing melodies, I want to talk discuss the arguably most important part of a great melody, that is, it’s relationship to the chords.

Melodies live or die on their relationship to the chords.

In essence, a melody must relate to the chords in a harmonious and purposeful way.

Without this, your melody will fail and your song will fall short.

Think of it this way: I can take your favorite melody of all time and put a chord progression to it that makes your ears bleed. The melodies and chords of your song must relate.

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So we get that chords and melodies are related, but how exactly do they relate?

When dealing with writing a melody over chords, it’s essential that you understand the relationship between chord tones and non-chord tones.

Chord Tones vs. Non-Chord Tones

Simply put, a chord tone is a note that is in the chord, and a non-chord tone is a note that is not in the chord (but still in the scale).

Chord tones will sound comfortable and satisfying, while non-chord tones will add tension and excitement.

Another way to think about it is chord tones are stable while non-chord tones are unstable.

To write a good melody, you must have a balance of both: non-chord tones that add tension, and chord-tones that resolve that tension.

Disclaimer: Even if your song doesn’t have chords, chords are still being implied by the baseline (or another melodic element in your track). If your melody is the only melodic element of your song, then the chords are implied by the melody, and this section doesn’t directly relate to that.

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Let’s take a look at a basic example.

We’re in the key of C Major, which contains all white notes, namely C, D, E, F, G, A, and B.

Let’s start with a C Major chord (C-E-G).

In this case, C, E, and G are all chord tones. Conversely, D, F, A, and B, and non-chord tones.

Thus, either C, E, or G will sound comfortable over the C chord, while D, F, A, and B will add a bit of tension to the progression

How To Use Chord Tones

It is important to recognize the overall relationship between chords and melodies. Not only should you be aware of when the melody plays with the chords, but also the notes in between.

In general, notes that play on strong beats will have more emphasis, and notes that play on weak beats will have less emphasis.

Further, non-chord tones want to be quickly resolved, especially if they’re played on a strong beat.

For those of you unfamiliar with strong/weak beats, in a 4/4 time signature divided into quarter notes, the first beat is a strong beat, the second and fourth are weak, and the third beat is a medium beat.

To summarize, Notes played on strong beats will have more of an emphasis, while notes played on weak beats will have less of an emphasis. Both add to the overall shape and power of the melody.

Lastly, Non-chord tones look to be resolved to chord tones, especially when played on a strong beat.

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Let’s look an example of this, using Swedish House Mafia’s “Don’t You Worry Child”. Below is the midi for the chords and main chorus melody.

For clarity purposes, I’ve highlighted the melody. Now, let’s look at the melody and see what notes are chord tones.

I’ve highlighted every chord tone in the melody.

As you can see, the melody is almost entirely comprised of chord tones.

Every time a new chord is played, a chord tone is playing with it.

Remember, chord tones are stable: they help reinforce the chords.

Only one non-chord tone is played. It is played in an off beat and doesn’t add much tension to the progression. It adds a bit of early tension, which is immediately resolved by the next note.

Relatively speaking, this particular melody is very stable, being that it heavily follows the chords, both in rhythm and in melody. This is common for this “anthemic” style of music, which is highly emotive.

More often than not, melodies will commonly have more non-chord tones then this particular example.

Like a good movie, you’re melody has to have tension: it can’t be all smiles and sunshine, there must be some degree of conflict and resolution. You’ll need to create tension, and ultimately resolve that tension.

Knowing this, begin to pay attention to the your melody’s relationship to the chords, and utilize chord tones and non-chord tones to create dynamic and cohesive melodies.

A motif is a short musical idea. It’s composed of a few or several notes that relate to each other in a meaningful and purposeful way.

A collection of motifs played together creates a full music idea, or in other words, a full melodic phrase.

A typical melody is composed of several motifs, repeated and tweaked to create a complete musical idea.

Let’s discuss the core elements of a great melody. The main components of any melody are:

  • Motion
  • Space
  • Rhyhtm
  • Repetition

Let’s take a dive into each.

Motion:

The motion and contour of a melody is very important. When writing a melody, with each new note you’ll have to decide between stepwise motion and leapwise motion.

Stepwise motion is when a note moves to an adjacent note in the scale.

Leapwise motion is when a note moves more than one note away in the scale.

For example, let’s write a melody in the key of C Major. The example below is comprised entirely of stepwise motion, since we are always playing an adjacent note in the scale.

Conversely, let’s look at an example of leapwise motion. Below, our melody is composed entirely of leapwise motion, where we always jump at least one note in the scale to reach the next note.

Generally, a great melody uses primarily stepwise motion. Stepwise motion is easy follow and remember, and it is easier to sing. Conversely, leapwise motion adds tension and development, when carefully used.

This will ultimately vary on the style and genre you produce. Pop music will generally use heaps of stepwise motion, while other genres may use a balance of both stepwise and leapwise motion.

Likely, you’ll want to want to use more stepwise motion, with a balance of leapwise as well.

For example, let’s take another look at the melody in “Don’t You Worry Child”. You can see the melody below.

Below, I’ve highlighted every example of stepwise motion. As you can see, the melody is primarily composed of stepwise motion.

For the first bar and a half, the melody uses only stepwise motion. It isn’t until the end of bar 2 that leapwise motion is introduced. Below, I’ve highlighted when the melody uses leapwise motion.

As you can see, a good amount of leapwise motion is used. This creates a bit of tension, which is resolved once the chord progression repeats.

Remember that discussion of strong and weak beats earlier?

Notice how all of the leapwise motion (the tenser motion) is on medium or weak beats. This results in less tension than leapwise motion would have on strong beats.

The key here is balance: a great melody has a purposely balance of stepwise and leapwise motion.

Space:

The next element of a great melody is space. Again, finding the right spacing for a melody is about balance.

Too many notes will make the melody difficult to remember, and too few notes will make the melody boring and uninteresting.

The right amount of space is subjective, and will heavily depend on the style of music you are writing.

It’s common to feel the need to fill up the entire midi roll with notes; however, this can often be detrimental.

Similar to arranging music, you want a clear line for the listener to focus on, and you want that line to be easily understood.

When writing melodies, focus on the space between the notes. Be careful about not making it too busy.

Focus on what you want your melody to say, and say with as few notes as possible.

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For an example, let’s take a look at the chorus of Martin Garrix’s “In the Name of Love”.

Below is the midi for the main melody (vocal chop) during the chorus.

The melody is relatively busy, but has essential pauses on bar 2 and bar 4. Below, I’ve highlighted the break at bar 2.

As discussed earlier, melody notes have more of an emphasis when played on strong beats.

The listener is expecting a note at bar 2, given the active melody in the first bar. When the melody pauses at bar 2 this adds tension that wants to be immediately resolved (which it is).

The same goes for the break at bar 4.

Overall, this careful use of space contributes to the tension and development of the melody.

Rhythm:

As we’ve discussed earlier with chord tones, choosing which notes to play is essential. Nearly as important is when the note is played.

Like the notes themselves, the rhythm of the melody should be “simple” and easy to remember. 2-3 different rhythmic patterns in a melody is a safe bet, and will help make your melody easy to follow.

To start, let’s take another look at “Don’t You Worry Child”. How do the rhythm of the melody and chords relate?

The rhythm of the melody and chords are the exact same. This makes the melody easy to remember because it’s rhythmically the same as the chords.

This works great for this style of music, but more often than not you’ll want to create bit more tension with interesting rhythms.

It’s essential to look at how the rhythm of your melody relates to that of the chords.

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Let’s take another look at “In the Name of Love”. Below is the chorus melody.

There are two main rhythm patterns in this melody.

The first shape is present in bar 1 and bar 3. They’ve been highlighted below.

Bar 1 and bar 3 have the exact shame rhythmic pattern (and melodic pattern).

The second shape is present in bar 2 and bar 4. They’ve been highlighted below.

While bar 2 and bar 4 have a different melodic pattern, they share the same rhythmic pattern.

For simplicity sake, you don’t want to introduce a large amount of rhythmic patterns in a melody. The less rhythmic patterns there are, the easier the melody will be able to follow.

For example, although a new melodic phrase is introduced in bar 4 of “In the Name of Love”, it has the same rhythmic pattern as the motif in bar 2, making it feel familiar.

In general, familiarity is key to melodic development. In melody writing and throughout the songwriting process, you’ll want to make changes that develop and push the track forward, altogether making sense with what came before it. Familiarity breeds comfort, and will help keep the listener excited and engaged.

This leads us directly into the next section: repetition.

Repetition

The last component of a great melody is repetition.

It’s easy to want to continually introduce new ideas to a melody line, but repetition will help the overall melodic development feel natural and familiar. Repetition, when used correctly, can help to ease the listener, rather than continually bombarding them with new idea after new idea.

Repetition can reveal itself in a number of ways.


The main ways we’ll see repetition in a melody are:

  • Melodic repetition
  • Rhythm repetition
  • Shape/Contour repetition.

Melodic Repetition

Simply put, melodic repetition is when a melody repeats.

Looking back at the chorus melody from “In the Name of Love”, the 3rd bar repeats the 1st bar.

You’ll obviously want to be careful with this, as a repeated melody may get boring quickly.

However, don’t be afraid to repeat a melody multiple times, especially if the melody is strong.

If your melody is great, the listener will want to hear it again.

Rhythmic Repetition

Rhythmic repetition is when a melody plays different notes with the same rhythmic pattern. As discussed above, in the chorus of “In the Name of Love”, the 4th bar repeats the same rhythmic shape as the 2nd bar.

To reiterate, this breeds familiarity while helping develop and push the track forward..

Contour Repetition

Alongside rhythmic repetition, melodies can also repeat shapes or contours. Melodies can be looked at having a shape, where they naturally rise up, fall down, and make leaps up and down.

Contour repetition, i.e. repeating the same melodic shape, is another way to introduce repetition.

Take the example below, a 2 bar melody in the key of C Major. While the first and second bar differ, they have the same exact melodic shape and rhythm. The only difference is the starting note.

This makes the 2nd bar feel familiar, despite it playing a different melody line.

All in all, the memorability of your melody relies on repetition. Repetition makes your song easier to follow, helping to strengthen the overall message of your track.

As you’ve seen in the examples above, deconstructing the melodies of memorable tracks is a great way to learn how to write memorable tracks yourself.

Take it upon yourself to analyze and deconstruct melodies from your favorite tracks.

This will help find out the types of melodies you want to write. There is no right way to write a melody, and every great songwriter has their own way of writing a catchy and memorable melody.

Regardless, every melody you’ll look at will contain the elements discussed above. Take the time to break down your favorite melodies, deciphering why they work.

When analyzing melodies, look for:

  • Motion
    • Does the melody move around a lot?
    • How big of an interval range does the melody cover?
    • Does the melody use primarily stepwise motion, or both stepwise and leapwise motion?
  • Space
    • Does the melody use a lot of space?
    • Where does the space fall? On strong or weak beats?
    • How does the space of the melody relate to the rest of the song.
  • Rhythm
    • What is the rhythm of the melody? Are there multiple rhythms.
    • How does the rhythm of the melody relate to the rhythm of the rest of the song.
  • Repetition
    • Is the melody continually repeated?
    • Are rhythmic patterns repeated?
    • Are melodic shapes repeated?

Final Thoughts

Hopefully you’ve gained a better understanding of the main components of a melody. Melody writing is a constant struggle, but using the tools above you now have the knowledge to break down melodies and figure out why they work (or why they don’t work). If you actively focus on these components, I promise that in time you will become much more confident and competent writing melodies.

Sours: https://edmprod.teachable.com/courses/143799/lectures/2419453

Melodies edm

The Secret Of Memorable Melodies

A Basic Overview of Melody
Melody comes from the Greek word melōidía and is defined by a series of notes that are perceived by the listener as a single entity or object. When somebody listens to a melody, they don’t hear it as just a random combination of notes, they hear it as something. They can point out where it starts and ends, they can remove it from the song and remember it. The typical listener couldn’t care less about the clap sample you’re using or the bass you spent 20 hours designing in Massive. They care about what they can take away from your music.

What does a melody consist of?
It helps to picture melody as horizontal notation, and harmony as vertical. A melody is by definition monophonic (meaning one voice), but that doesn’t mean that chord progressions aren’t melodies. By the late 19th century, the top tone of a chord was considered to be part of a melody. The simple I, IV, V progression in C Major shown below has its own melody.

A melody consists of, or is characterized by a few elements:

Contour
A memorable melody follows a contour, a line that ascends, descends, arches or dips. There’s no particular formula. You don’t have to have a contour that rises and then falls, and you don’t need to have a certain number of drops or leaps. It’s completely down to preference. But you will notice how different contours elicit a different emotional reaction from the listener. For example: a melody that ascends may sound more uplifting than one that descends.

Range
The range is the distance between the highest and lowest note of the melody. Some melodies occupy a very large range (2 octaves and up) while others have a much smaller range (half an octave). Range is important to consider when writing melodies as a wide range will make a melody more difficult to hum, whistle, and remember – whereas a narrow range will have less variation in pitch and won’t sound as interesting.

Intervals
A melody uses more than one note, so there’ll always be at least one melodic interval. Does the melody jump up to certain notes? Or does it move up to them incrementally. It’s handy to know the different intervals and the musical quality they contain.

Structure
Melodies have structure too. You could have an A and B section to your melody, maybe even a C. Think call and response, up and down, etc.

Scale
Melodies are formed from scales. There are numerous types of scales:

Modal: variable patterns of Major/minor scale. Starting at different points.
Major and minor: makes up the majority of Western music.
Chromatic: all twelve notes.
Pentatonic Scale: 5-note scale. Often used in blues and rock.

There are of course others, but we’ll exclude them for sake of popularity and use (especially in EDM).

The difference between motif and melody
A motif does contain melodic characteristics, but calling it a melody is a little far-fetched. A melody is the main idea of the track. A motif or phrase is a short musical idea – it might be a few notes placed in a certain order or rhythm, but it isn’t the main feature. Another characteristic of motifs is that they’re generally repeated. Ideas that play frequently throughout the song and may vary slightly from section to section.

Three Common Types of Melodies in EDM
There are a ton of different melodic structures in music. You can arpeggiate a chord and turn it into a melody, you can add notes on top of a pre-existing chord progression, you can use long notes, short notes. The list goes on. There are three main melody structures in EDM:

Arpeggios: a melody where the notes of a chord are played one after the other.
Chord-based: melodies that are played with each chord.
Motif-based: Melodies that repeat and vary an idea.

5-Step Approach to Creating Memorable Melodies
Now that you know a little theory, it’s time to launch into the practical side of things. While melodies can be created by randomly plotting in notes, it is better to use a structure. Using a structure doen’t mean you won’t suffer from lack of inspiration or ideas, or that you’re restricting yourself. It means that you’ll be able create a musical idea more quickly and easily.

1. Choose a scale
Starting with a scale limits the amount of notes you can use straight away, so you won’t waste time plotting each note by ear or hitting random keys on your keyboard.

2. Create a Rhythm
After identifying the scale you want to create your melody in, you need to come up with the rhythm for your melody. You see, melody isn’t just a succession of notes. It’s a rhythmic succession of notes. Rhythm is extremely important in melody. Don’t neglect it.

You might want to use a kick drum or a metronome when working on the rhythm for your melody.

3. Draw a contour
Now that the rhythm is nailed, it’s time to start sketching the outline of the melody. This is where you have to think! You can draw one on paper or just paint a mental image in your head if you want to save the trees.

4. Choose/create a sound
Whether you want to write your melody before or after sound design is completely up to you. For examle you can create or choose a sound first as having a good sound will influence your writing decisions (certain melodies will work great with a massive trance lead, but not as well with a cheap piano sound).

5. Create!
At this point it’s time for you to refer back to the contour line you drew (or thought of) and change around some notes until you find something that rings with you. Don’t feel like you have to follow your contour line exactly. If something sounds out of place, fix it.

Adding Flair
The melody is nice, but it isn’t great. After creating something simple, you’ll want to make a few adjustments to add interest and flair. Try adding extra notes and varying note length.

Tips
Sometimes it just doesn’t work. Try the following to regain your inspiration and get the right sound:

Use silence
Switch the instrument
Move it up or down an octave
Delete every second note

If you’re creating a melody from a chord progression then…

Work with the rhythm of the chord progression (if there is one)
Have the strong notes of the melody contained within the chord. I.e, if the first chord is a C Major, make the first note of the melody a C, E, or G.
Pay extra attention to the note before a chord change

Things to avoid:

Winding on and on. A good melody resolves and repeats itself.
Too much variation in pitch and rhythm. Consistency is key, keep it simple.

Analyzing 5 Memorable Melodies
One of the best ways to learn is by studying other artist’s work. Let’s deconstruct 5 well-known melodies.

1. Faithless – Insomnia

Insomnia is one of the best dance tracks of all time and many others would say it’s catchy. The melody that comes in at 2:18 is simply awesome. It’s euphoric, uplifting, and most of all? It’s memorable. One thing that stands out about Insomnia is repetition. There’s an A and B section. The A section (first 4 bars) features a downwards slope from the 1st beat. The B section instead travels upwards from the E to the F-sharp instead of dropping down to the D. This provides some variation while keeping the overall melody memorable.

2. Paul Van Dyk – For an Angel

Yet another absolute classic. It’s sure you’ve all heard this one. (It’s in 240p so you know it’s old).

This here is an example of how simple melodies can be. Look at it! Does it look complex? No. It’s straightforward. The rhythm and variation make it memorable.

3. Fisherman and Hawkins – Apache

It’s epic and memorable at the same time. You can hear it from 4:00.

Check out the contour on that. What is special about this melody is variation in rhythm, you’ve got this staggering arp-like A section, then a long note followed by the close of the melody in a different rhythm.

4. Basto – Again and Again

The main melody can be heard after 0:35.

That top line seems complex but isn’t in theory. Basto is simply going up and down the scale before making a large jump on the fourth beat of every odd numbered bar. Notice how the D# is very prominent and drives the melody forward.

5. Calvin Harris – I’m Not Alone

The main melody is based in chords, and gives off a trance feel but acts as a pop song and does it damn well. As for the MIDI.

All these perfect examples suggest how artists find inspiration for such melodies. Knowing how to write a melody is one thing, but what should you do when you’ve got no ideas? Some people like having a visual counter-part to audio. Another way: take time to just listen and find the melodies that are being composed in every day life. You can find rhythm from external sounds just as you can find pitch. This can be found in conversation, maybe it’s a construction site where something’s being hammered.

You should now have a better idea of how to go about writing melodies and also finding inspiration for them. Melody writing will always be a challenge, but it should be enjoyable.

Source: www.edmprod.com

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