I'm trying to write a melody for a verse with chords C Em. Anyone with examples of songs going from I to III that I can use as inspiration? I realized Eleanor Rigby follows these chords.

The rest of the song is down but all the melodies I'm writing for this part are kinda dull. Anyone that has any fun methods for coming up with melodies, other than just sitting down with a guitar and singing random stuff?

Thank you,
Try working round the arpeggios for C and E minor but incorporate other notes as well such as the 9th and 7th. Cool melodies are usually simple motifs, so try coming up with simple 4 or 5 note motifs. Also experiment with call and response type phrasing.

if you want to work off someone elses melody, try messing around with the rhythm and the octave of the notes
Take the melody you find dull and move everything up a 3rd and see what happens.

Maybe try a chord substitution, maybe use a Cadd9 or an Em7 and incorporate a D into the melody. That way you'd be stressing the add9 and 7th of both chords.

Find a song with that progression, take it's melody and changes things about it to make it completely different.

Just off the top of my head, hope this helps.
Quote by Nabsi
Anyone that has any fun methods for coming up with melodies, other than just sitting down with a guitar and singing random stuff?

Thank you,

Depends on the style of music. I like Jazz, so chord melody for me is a very interesting way of blending upper and lower voices (melody and bass respectively).

A lot of the time, the melody is very simple, but strong, in the sense that it uses chord tones.

But the way the bass moves can disguise the piece to make it sound a little more sophisticated.

Using various types of motion like contrapuntal, oblique motion (voices move in opposite directions etc), and chromatic approach notes in the bass and melody.


With bass and harmony.

I think the the thing to do is to not over think it. Keep it simple, and see what else you can add around it to complement it.

...but this is Jazz. Jazz is old fashioned, man. Don't know if it's your thing. You're prolly after punk or metal or something lol. Apologies for the ignorant assumption but... yeah.
Last edited by mdc at Jan 9, 2012,
C to Em is not generally a I -> iii progression. The tonality really points to it being a IV -> vi, where Em is the "home". Hence you'll want to use the Em (also known as G) scale for your melody. Of course, Em pentatonic is the easiest place to start.

As far as fun ways to come up with melodies, I'd start by implying some passing chords with the melody in between using notes from the G scale. For example, throw in a D, F#, and/or A note just before switching chords (where you would resolve most likely to an E or G, the notes common to both the C and Em, when the chord hits), implying a D (V chord) as the passing chord. The other fun one I would recommend trying is the strength of the III7, B7 for resolving to the iv, Em, tonic. You would do this by playing a D# (preceded by a B, F#, and/or A) just before hitting the Em as the chord changes.

If the melody is still sounding dull, you can go ahead and play with 7ths and 9ths as some have suggested to add some tension. Start with 7th, rather than resolving to the chord tones, hit a B as you change to the C chord and a D over the Em to make a Cmaj7 and Em7, which you could also call Em/C and G/Em respectively. For more tension use the 9ths. Hit the D over the C chord, and you're basically playing a G/C, play with the G chord tones (G,B,D) over the C chord, maybe resolve to the E and then hit a D# before landing on the E to resolve to Em. Or use the 9th over the Em, hit the F# as you land on the Em chord, perhaps by bending an E up 2 semitones and slowing bending back down to the E.

If you really want to make it interesting, you can starting exploring other modes. Following your circle of fifths, the logical choices over the C would be the F, followed by the Bb. I'd steer clear of the F, but you could play with the Bb for a bluesy feel. Over the Em, going the other way you could play with the C#, perhaps implying the A chord. Probably want to use a passing D or C (note) to get there.