#1
Heck of a title?
I have an issue, I can make up rhythms and write lyrics but seem to not be able to combine the two..

Here is a link to a rhythm, https://soundcloud.com/user788849355/riffed-up
(excuse the name, just always give music stupid titles as I record them)
Seems I can play the thing 400 times and still end up with slips here and there even if the last 100 of the 400 were perfect, anyway.... If someone could hum something I can give it words :P

I should really collaborate with someone with that ability, to listen to music and hum a melody for me.

Have the same problem with solos and stuff. Can make a solo and put a rhythm behind it some times though.

Any advise?
#2
Hey Marc,
Digging that rhythm sections, it's great!
So what you need is just the 'music' for the vocals?
You can try looking at the chords you used and looking up the scale for that chord and pick notes out of that and play them till you find ones that fit. If you can't find anything, I'm willing to help you out, altough I'm not that great of a singer myself, I think writing the parts won't be a problem
Last edited by the_L_egend at Feb 5, 2015,
#3
I appreciate the reply, I have no problem with key is the melody to put the words in. I am very good at putting words to something hummed, or even just a title. But yeah, that would be cool if you could hum or even mumble.. lol whatever. I could put some rhythms together.

Here is another rhythm I've been fiddling with. I f you need a specific part lengthened or what ever, let me know. lyric wises I have hundreds.

https://soundcloud.com/user788849355/tryin-out
Last edited by zmarc101 at Feb 5, 2015,
#4
Hey Marc I think i've got something, it's basic but I think it'll do. I recorded a sample of my guitar basically playing what I think would be a nice vocal line. I'm just not sure about how I'll get it to you.
Any suggestions?
#5
Hi Marc! I used to have the same problem as you, but I did as much research as possible on songwriting, melodies and harmonies, and now I can confidently say that I no longer have that problem with creating melodies.

Remember that good melodies use repetition as a structural element, so try coming up with a short 1 or 2 bar idea, and then repeating it as you work through the progression. Use a guitar, keyboard or your voice and try the following exercises. Make sure to record or write down your ideas as it’s quite possible that you’ll come up with something that can be used in your next song.

EX. #1: CREATING SHORT MELODIC IDEAS
create a short melodic idea that repeats exactly the same way each time, as the chords underneath it change.

Play the following progression several times in whichever style suits you: C--Am--Dm--G.
For each chord, create a short 3 to 5 note melodic fragment. (It helps to concentrate on the notes of the pentatonic scale; i.e., avoid the notes F and B). Sing your fragment while playing the C chord, then move on to the next chord. You’ll notice that most fragments, when repeated like this, will work even if it includes notes that aren’t specifically in the chord you’re playing. That’s a benefit that comes from repetition.

EX. #2: STARTING WITH ONE NOTE
Changing chords while a melody note stays the same gives the impression of melodic movement.

Play the following progression several times: C--Bb--F--Bb.
Sing (with your voice, guitar or keyboard) the note E as the progression is played, improvising different rhythms but staying on the same melodic note E.
After you have a few rhythms down then play through the progression again, singing the E, but allowing your voice (or guitar/keyboard) to rise above, or fall below, that E, to more accurately fit the chord of the moment. Create your own chord progression, and choose a different starting note.

EX. #3: COPYING MELODIC DIRECTION FROM ANOTHER SONG
This involves taking a song you know well, and then copying its melodic direction (not its actual notes). When you’re done, your new melody should bear no particular resemblance to the original melody.

Choose one of your favourite songs.
Place a dot on a page representing the first note of that melody.
As the melody proceeds, draw an ‘up’ arrow if the next melody note is higher. Draw a ‘down’ arrow if the next melody note is lower. Continue this step for as long as you’d like.
Create a chord progression, or use this one: C--F--Am--G--Am--F--Bb--G.
Start your melody on any note that fits with the C chord. Now follow your up and down arrow pattern to create a melody that copies melodic direction from your favorote song.

MELODIC QUALITIES:
#1: You notice a definite contour. Good melodies give a sense of direction and purpose. There’s a shape, and it’s usually one you can hear. If you were to create a line drawing that moved the way your melody moves, you’d notice that it’s not just random up-and-down motion. Once it starts moving in a certain direction, it tends to keep generally moving in that direction, eventually changing and moving mainly in the other direction.

#2: You see that repetition of short melodic ideas plays a vital role in putting an entire melody together. Without repetition, melodies are very difficult for an audience to remember. Repetition of melodic fragments over a changing chord progression is a hallmark of good chorus construction.

#3: You can often point to a climactic moment in a good melody. Not all melodies rise to a climactic moment, but you’d be surprised how many do. And even if the melody doesn’t highlight that one spot that’s the pinnacle, you can still identify a moment when a melody, partnered with the chords and lyrics, that seems to be the point of the whole song. Which leads to…

#4: You notice a strong relationship between chords, melody and lyrics. Nothing happens in a vacuum in the world of songwriting. For a melody to be good, it needs to sound like the proper vehicle for the lyric, all supported by good chord choice.

#5: You notice a mainly stepwise construction. Good melodies will usually move to the note that’s on either side of it, with occasional leaping. Stepwise motion makes a melody easy to sing, and leaps add a bit of an emotional shot.

All melodies are not created equal. Some are verse melodies, others are chorus or bridge tunes. And how you write one will help to make a listener keep listening, or could turn them off completely. You need to structure your melodies. Structure is what helps us discern the beginning from the end.

COMPARE YOUR MELODIES:
1: Take a song that you've written, and compare the melodies of the verse and chorus. Try to determine the lowest and highest notes of the verse. Now determine the lowest and highest notes of the chorus. Compare the two. In general, a verse should be pitched lower than a chorus.

2. Is your verse melody the same, or almost the same, as your chorus melody? If so, the lyrics and instrumental accompaniment need to intensify for the chorus.

3. Melody notes that leap upward usually indicate an emotional intensification. Find the place in your verse and in your chorus that feature the biggest upward leap. The lyrics at that moment should reflect an intensifying of emotion.

MELODY STRUCTURE:
When structuring a melody always take into account of how it interacts with other compositional elements. Even though we can't be specific about what makes a good melody, we can make some generalizations:

VERSE:
A verse melody needs to feel somewhat inconclusive, so that the listener wants to keep listening. The kind of lyric you'll use in a verse will talk about things in a somewhat narrative way. So you tell the listener about what's happening, without being overly conclusive about what that all means emotionally.

In melodic terms:
A verse melody will work well if it doesn't dwell on the key note of the piece. If your song is in A-major, make your melody hit other notes from the A major chord (C# and E) and reserve frequent use of the tonic note (A) for the chorus. The general range of the notes of a verse should be lower than a chorus.

CHORUS:
A chorus melody needs to feel more conclusive, so that the listener understands what the emotional impact the verse has had on you. The kind of lyric you'll use in a chorus will tell the listener not just what you're feeling, but ultimately what it all might mean.

In melodic terms:
Stronger lyrics will make a stronger impact if you hit the key note (tonic note) more often in your chorus than in your verse. If your song is in A major, melodies and melodic fragments should keep coming back to the note A. The general energy of a chorus should be higher than the verse. So in general, the notes of the melody should be higher than the verse.

BRIDGE:
A bridge should represent a bit of an emotional outpouring, so the audience feels the true impact of the topic on you. The lyric may want to focus on certain emotional material, and it works well if certain words keep getting repeated.

In melodic terms:
The melody will want to be hitting notes as high or higher than the chorus.
Some bridges will keep the energy sustained so that the final chorus that comes after benefits from the added energy. Some bridges will allow the energy to dissipate, particularly if you plan to have another verse before the final chorus.

STRUCTURAL ELEMENTS:
Melodies generally need to be structured so that they don't sound like an aimless wandering of notes, and melodic patterns need to strongly consider lyric at any given time. Melodies generally work well if you keep the following structural elements in mind:

#1: The number of phrases should be a factor of two. A phrase is a spot in the music where the line rests momentarily, and most singers feel that it's the spot where they would breathe. Two-bar, four-bar, eight-bar, and sixteen bar phrases are the norm. (However, that being said, don't be afraid to experiment.)

#2: Repeated figures in a melody usually go hand in hand with an intensifying of lyric. For example, finding a four or five note idea ("motif") and using it somewhat repetitiously works well in a bridge.

#3: Complex lyrics do not necessarily need a complex melody. In fact, you can use a somewhat simplistic melody to allow the lyric to be easier for the listener to remember. And a simple melody will make a complex lyric seem less daunting.

#4: Using a repeated-note motif and a slower tempo can add a sense of profundity to an unremarkable lyric. This doesn't always work, but if your melody takes a certain note, and repeats it often over a line or two of text, it has the same effect of someone tapping their finger on a desk as they talk: it offers emphasis.

INTEGRATING LYRICS WITH MELODIES:
For integrating lyrics with melodies It's important to reiterate at this point - very rarely are songs good because of lyric or melody alone. It's the integration of melody, lyrics and chord progression, in a sensibly coherent form, that make a good song. Good melodies are ones that set the lyric up, and that offer the same basic attitude of the lyric. Here are some guidelines:

#1: LYRICS THAT EXHIBIT:
determination, dedication, forthrightness
#1: WORK WITH MELODIES THAT:
use many repeating notes;
start on a strong beat;
are pitched at the outer reaches of the singer's voice (high or low).

#2: LYRICS THAT EXHIBIT:
love, tenderness, compassion
#2: WORK WITH MELODIES THAT:
use a motivic leap (i.e., a particular interval that recurs);
are pitched centrally in a singer's range, with higher notes reserved for more emotional moments.

#3: LYRICS THAT EXHIBIT:
a narrative (story)
#3: WORK WITH MELODIES THAT:
use mainly stepwise motion, with leaps at more emotional moments.
are pitched centrally in a singer's range.