#1
While i'm creating the vocal melodies for my band's songs, my instinct usually is to simply follow the rhythm guitar or the bass line, with little to no variation.

Also, once i come up with a vocal melody for a certain part of the song, i find it hard to think of another one... It's like i get "stuck" to sing that bit that way.
For example: even if i want to come up with a different vocal melody for Verse 2 than the one i created for Verse 1, it's really hard for me. I end up just using the same melody for both verses.

Ocasionally something really different pops up to mind, when it happens it's great. And those are probably among my favourite parts to sing... Because they feel exciting and innovative, instead of just singing the same thing as the rhythm instruments with my voice.


My question is: what can i do to "think outside the box" in this subject?
Do you have any suggestions of things can i do to come up with vocal lines that go beyond the simple following the songs' basic melody?

Thank you for your time and advice.
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#2
First off, this is common for newer vocalist/writers so never fear.

1. You can try tabbing out the guitars and getting an idea of the notes that would sound good with that particular chord. This requires a little bit of Music Theory but really isn't hard once you get into it.

2. Start breaking down what some of your favorite vocalists do. If you love what a singer is doing in a certain song, study it and see if you can take anything away from it.

These are just a couple of ideas, you'll probably find your own way. Just continue writing and working at it. It just keeps getting easier.

Edit: Also, try coming in on the off beat of the part or coming in on the beat prior if it works. This frees your mind from the constraints of the inherent rhythms and melodies of the part already there. Whenever I'm stuck I just alter my timing and it almost always gives me a new perspective, and usually a workable vocal melody!

For example, start try your melody on the first up stroke if the "1" is a down stroke.
Last edited by merriman44 at Feb 6, 2012,
#3
Thank you very much! Those ideas are definitely worth trying.
Squier "VMC" Stratocaster
PRS SE Singlecut
tc electronic polytune
CMAT MODS Signa Drive
Blakemore Effects Deus Ex Machina
DIY gaussmarkov Dr. Boogey
EHX Small Clone
Mooer ShimVerb
DIY Beavis Devolt
T-REX Fuel Tank Chameleon
Ampeg GVT52-112
#5
My advice for you would be to practice writing melodies FIRST.

eg, don't say "oh there's a guitar part, let me come up with a vocal line for it."

Rather, spend some time just writing melodies to get the hang of it.
#6
Quote by FenderMayer
My advice would be to listen to as much music as possible and just get really good at hearing melodies in your head.

It'd be hard to listen to more music than i already do.

Quote by FenderMayer
Also listen to chord progressions and try to "solo" on top of them, this will help with coming up with cool melodies.

This i already do, and it happens what i said in the OP (i get stuck to the first melody that sounds good in my head).

Quote by HotspurJr
My advice for you would be to practice writing melodies FIRST.

eg, don't say "oh there's a guitar part, let me come up with a vocal line for it."

Rather, spend some time just writing melodies to get the hang of it.

I already tried this composition process, but it doesn't work very well for me... I usually come up with the full instrumental, and only write the vocals and lyrics afterwards.
It's not easy for me starting with the voice alone...
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#7
I'm really glad I saw this post! Im a music student and composition and vocal performance are my areas of expertise! In addition to everything said before, I have a few suggestions:

1) Once you've established one vocal line (say for the first verse) and you want something similar but contrasting for the next verse, try moving it up one partial. "partials" is a term usually used with brass and wind players, but the concept can be applied to voice as well. It simply means to come in at a different register over the same chord progression. If, say, you are playing a song in C major and in V1 you start on a C, for the 2nd verse maybe come in on G or E. This will add a lot of contrast with the first vocal line but is still usable over the same progression.

2) Play with coming in a different beat or part of the measure. If you always come in on the downbeat of a measure, things can get really boring (and predictable) very quickly. So if you change up your rhythm to be different, like coming in on beat 2 instead of 1 or even coming in on in upbeat, you'll have a much greater variety in your vocal line.

3) Lyrics are not meant to simply and solely be words. Play around with the syllable stresses within the words to establish some new kind of stresses and rhythms for your melody line. Even if you dont like it, listening to rap music and the lyric line within rap music will give you a great example of this.

Whatever you do with your vocal line, make it interesting! Predictable is not a word you want to descrive your writing style!

Good luck!

_BigRiver
#8
Hey man, I am having exactly the same problem like you.
the vocal lines i come up with very flat. I do not know really what to do. The guitarist created a very nice instrumental, but when I put the vocal line over it, it sounded so flat. You might refer to the song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCE1FBRyw3Q

I am so depressed because I cannot come out with a decent vocal melody.

as you can tell from the video, the vocal line is boring and bad.

As people said above, I guess basic music theory knowledge is the key, beside looking at the score sheets of your favorite bands' vocals.