Melodies are what listeners sing along to, relate to, and remember. They are arguably the most important part of a song and they can make or break the success of your tracks.

That’s why I wanted to share with you 9 simple tips to create better melodies, that will help you hone your melody writing skills in no time!

 

 

1) CALL AND RESPONSE

 

Think of a melodic idea like a succession of questions and answers. A call and response consist of two distinct phrases.

First, a call phrase starts the melody, exactly like a question starts a conversation. Then, the response phrase follows with a different, more conclusive resolution.

Most famous melodies are built this way, and the best way you can understand this concept is by simply listening and analyzing how your favorite artists constructed their melodies.

 

 

2) GIVE IT MOTION

 

All melodies feature either a stepwise motion or a leap motion, and great melodies have both.

Stepwise motion consists in moving from one note to the next up or down in the scale. This makes it easier for the listener to follow the song because the notes rise and fall smoothly in small intervals.

Leap motion, on the other hand, happens when the melody rises and falls with large intervals between one note and the next (ie:  jumping from C to F).

Melodic leaps often grab the listeners’ interest, but be careful: using too many leaps makes it difficult to sing along to, so try to use both and you’ll achieve a killer melody!

 

 

3) MASTER SYNCOPATION

 

The most memorable melodies often switch between notes on the beat and syncopated notes. This rhythmic variation creates a sense of tension and release, that keeps the listener engaged and your streams number growing!

 

 

4) BALANCE REPETITION AND NOVELTY

 

Humans like patterns in music. We like them because they feel familiar and give us a sense of something we can latch onto. Plus, when you repeat something good enough times, the listener will unconsciously begin to love your song!

Melodies can also become extremely boring though, if you don’t introduce variation, so you need to strike a balance between these 2.

Tip: A super simple way of introducing change in a melody is to keep one thing and change others. You can, for example, keep the rhythm and change the pitch, or keep the same pitch and change the octave of a couple of notes.

 

 

5) LET IT BREATH

 

Avoid making your music sound like a run-on sentence or someone who talks without breathing.

I get it, sometimes adding notes can make a melody sound more interesting, but so can removing notes, and varying their length!

Experiment by taking out notes and making them longer or shorter. You may actually like it better that way.

 

 

6) USE THE 3NG FORMULA

 

The most iconic melodies are actually super simple! They are made with 3-4 notes and the real magic is given by the rhythm/groove.

3NG stands for 3 notes and groove, and yes, I just coined this formula! ????

Start by picking 3 notes that are in the key of your track. Once you have these, play a bunch of different rhythmic variations using these, until you’ve found a memorable melody. If that doesn’t work, you pick 3 different notes and try again.

I usually prefer to do this by playing on a physical instrument, but you can do it in the pano roll as well, by moving notes left or right on the timeline.

 

 

7) EXTEND THE MELODY

 

Instead of creating a short 4/8 bar loop, double it and make it longer. This gives you more room to add small variations and makes for a less repetitive melody, one that keeps the listener interested.

 

 

8) TRY DIFFERENT SOUNDS

 

Sometimes a sound can often inspire a whole melody. For example, finding a dope melody could be as simple as trying out a new VST or playing around with a new instrument or sample pack. 

 

 

9) WRITE A MELODY EVERYDAY

 

The more you work on your melody writing, the more it becomes second nature and you don’t have to think about it when you are producing. So although these techniques might seem clinical in comparison to the emotions you’re trying to convey with your music, this is exactly where the craft of songwriting meets your moments of inspiration. In other words, prepare and you’ll win.

 

I hope these tips sparked some ideas and that will help you become a better musician or producer.

If you like them, consider following me on Instagram, I’m Karkille 😀

Ciao!