Page 1 of 2
#1
I'm writing both a song and a boss theme. I'm planning on either writing a vocal melody or asking if someone could give me one. The problem is that I neither know how to write singable, catchy melodies and I suck at writing lyrics. How do I write such a melody based on several inspirations that manages to be singable and catchy. If you think it's pointless or something, than could you write me a midi vocal melody (lyrical subject doesn't matter).

Also here's a brief mix-tape/zip of songs/compositions (3 by me and 2 are from my favorite games) I was planning on using for inspiration. Yes I know they're mostly unrelated but just go with it. Also "Bad ISA Stage" is an original composition I wrote this week and my first attempt at 8-bit/chiptune music.

http://www.mediafire.com/download/7orj5x73w13lp70/Isa+mix+tape.zip

Here's a Creature Feature song I was also inspired by and think is really cool

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KWvVO7Kp0k
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
Last edited by RonaldPoe at Jun 19, 2015,
#4
Thing is you need the toolbox to be able to work your ideas. If you need to ask how, then you clearly aren't ready.
#5
^You can't do it because you don't do it. Just do it.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#6
Ronald.

This is what you are going to do.

You will write a total of eight bars. The first four bars will be be harmonised as follows: C, C or Am, F or Dm, G. The next four bars will be harmonised as follows: C, Dm, G, C.

Example: C, Am, F, G, C, Dm, G, C. One chord per bar. The melody will consist of quarter notes and eighth notes. On beats can only be chord tones. Off beats can be non chord tones.

There will only be one bass. The bass will be one note per bar. The note will be the root of the chord.

You will have one melody line and one bass line.

Do this exercise. Post your results.

This is a pretty failsafe way of writing a melody.

So DO IT.
#7
Duaneclapdrix (cool retro user name), you're instructions sound fun and useful. I was thinking a Dm and Bf major rotation with some F major and Am notes thrown in would be cool. Also I have two questions about this. First would this be inspired enough for a boss theme and capture the feel I want/inspiration?

Second, are you hating on the bass (it sounds like it)? I love bass as much as regular guitar and am very good at it. In fact I'm going to be the bassist in the band I'm forming. People don't realize that bassist can be intelligent songwriters (the guys on TalkBass forums are proof of this) and pros are usually very talented. I'm planning on using one effective bassline rather than the usual bass discord. I've made a thread about making a good bassline for metal.

Also I don't sing because I suck at it (I dislike my own singing voice) and usually have trouble figuring out vocal melodies (I usually go to guitar lessons to figure those out).
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
Last edited by RonaldPoe at Jun 20, 2015,
#8
Quote by RonaldPoe
Second, are you hating on the bass (it sounds like it)? I love bass as much as regular guitar and am very good at it. In fact I'm going to be the bassist in the band I'm forming. People don't realize that bassist can be intelligent songwriters (the guys on TalkBass forums are proof of this) and pros are usually very talented. I'm planning on using one effective bassline rather than the usual bass discord. I've made a thread about making a good bassline for metal.

lol what? easy there, tiger

although your spirited defense of bass players as songwriters and human beings was stirring, all he's doing is giving you the absolute simplest way to go about completing this exercise so that you can focus on the melody
#9
Quote by RonaldPoe
I've made a thread about making a good bassline for metal.


And you'ven't gotten squat of value in said thread.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#10
I'm sorry for my defense (it was a little uncalled for) and I admit that thread was a miss (I only mentioned it to describe how much I care about/love the bass). Like I said I'm not planning on doing my usual bass discord on the boss theme I'm working on. I'd still like the first question ("would this be inspired enough for a boss theme and capture the feel I want/inspiration?") answered.
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
#11
it's an absolutely impossible question to answer without hearing the music, though. beyond the melody you choose, other things are going to have arguably even more impact: rhythm, orchestration, harmony, dynamics, etc. are all going to be massive determining factors

for this reason, you have to actually write the music before you get a sense of whether or not it fulfills your expectations. there's also the consideration that whatever criteria you're using for deciding whether it fits a boss theme are likely going to be different than the criteria used by others, making it even harder to answer this question
#12
I always assumed rhythm and melody are related. As for orchestration and harmony, I handle that myself. The melody I'm thinking of is inspired by the zip and video from my first post.

My standards for boss themes are RPGs like Final Fantasy, Persona/Shin Magami Tensei, Kingdom Hearts. It's also influenced by Blazblue and Metal Gear Solid/Rising. It's the type of imposing and awesome theme you think of when you hear the words, "Boss Battle".
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
#13
well everything is related in some way, but the rhythm certainly deserves consideration by itself. if you study a lot of the snes and similar boss themes, they are generally in an odd meter because it suits the idea of a battle well.

again, your second paragraph is all well and good but it means nothing until you've finished either the exercise mentioned above or the completed piece of music you're describing. take these for example:

whoops i forgot youtube gets embedded, so i spoiler tagged these to make it a normal length

all of these have things i think of when i hear "boss battle" (well i actually don't like ff8's that much, but i included it here anyway), but they are wildly different in many ways. for exampe, the chrono trigger theme isn't anything that i think is particularly imposing, but i think the music works well nonetheless. the ffmq one is a wildly different instrumentation that any of the others, because it fits the theme of the overall soundtrack.

take the themes you like and pick out the individual elements that you like, and work with those. build from there, come up with an example of what you're thinking of, and then we'll be able to answer your question(s) better.
#14
Here's a some examples of boss themes I really like. I'm not including final boss themes because they're supposed to be impressive and the theme I'm writing isn't for a final boss. Also listen to the zip to understand my inspirations for this.

"The 13th Dilemma" (KH2). This gets bonus points for playing during the fight with Saix (the character my them was intended for) and also Demyx (who can forget that sitar playing water-boy).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnd99unKxdQ

"The Deep End" (Kingdom Hearts 1). This plays during fights with giant Disney villains/bosses and sounds great.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQcajuO5kYA

"Stains of Time" (Metal Gear Rising). This doubles as a villain song and rocks hard.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULQgMntenO8

"Gluttony Fang" (Blazblue: Continuum Shift). Alright only the instrumental version plays in game but the vocal version is an excellent villain song for Hazama.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6mKuXRb-UA

"Battle with the Four Fiends" (FFIV). This is a classic boss theme and also known as "the Dreadful Fight" (I think).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B08Nhzrp41c

I think that's enough examples for now. Yoko Shimomura's one of my biggest influences though.
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
Last edited by RonaldPoe at Jun 20, 2015,
#15
You think way too hard about this stuff Ronald.

KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid.

What makes a melody singable? What makes a melody catchy?
Si
#16
I think THAT's even starting to get a little too complicated. Forget about the logic behind it, just make what you want to hear.

I'm not saying don't learn theory, but theory isn't what to do, it is how to more quickly find what you want. So, you could learn a bunch of stuff, but that will take a while. So, if you want to make something now, trial and error it is.

It's like if you are going to throw a ball at someone, the laws of physics apply, but you can't sit there, and measure everythign and calculate it all. Just throw it where you want it to be. If you make a mistake, try again.

There is no secret to songwriting. If there was, everyone would have that book, and we'd all be great songwriters.

You can always erase and modify in your DAW, just tinker with it. Try as best you can. It isn't easy. Some people are better cut out than others. But anyone can enjoy it, there's not much more to it than just doing it though.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Jun 20, 2015,
#17
you don't have to list your inspirations for this music. all i'm telling you to do at this point is to listen to them, extract whatever elements you like and associate with a boss theme, and use those elements in addition to your own ideas to create something. i compose regularly and i still spend more time listening to things i like than actually creating the garbage i come up with, because it's a great way to learn what you think "sounds like" something in particular. once you hear the "good things" in the music you like a certain amount, they'll naturally want to transfer over into your own writing.

then, once you have that rough version created, you can post that here and ask more specific questions that are much more straightforward to answer
Last edited by :-D at Jun 20, 2015,
#18
It may be inspired enough. I don't know.

I'm not hating on bass, I'm just keeping it simple.

What did you mean by dm and Bf rotation? If you meant Bb then that's not part of the exercise. Only thE chords and harmonization I specified.

It's basically about this. What I gave you is pretty foolproof. And clichéd. It's clichéd because it works. If you can't get a cliché to sound good then your not ready to move on to more complex things imo. It's about compositional fundimentals.
#20
Quote by fingrpikingood
I think THAT's even starting to get a little too complicated.
It's as complicated (or as simple) as you make it.
Si
#21
I think I can handle the exercise but it seems more suited for a stage/field theme. It'll sound too cliché and outgoing for a boss fight. I'll work on it when I get my computer with Musescore (I'll send a Midi when I'm done). I was thinking a nice melody based on a C Major triad for the first 4 bars. Fundamentals can be rather hard to master but easy to try.

I agree that it was unnecessary to post all those boss themes but they are pretty cool.
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
#23
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
You'ven't lmao


You'dn't've used that same word in that situation?
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#25
I think you meant to say "I'dn't've" though.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#27
Are you two done with the grammar crap? I finished the 8 bar exercise and kept it diatonic to C Major. I think it kinda has a Victorian feel to it (like you said it's going to be cliché but I did this best I could with the instructions).

Here's a link to the midi.
http://www.mediafire.com/download/81fsemkqszjniiq/H%2Ardc%2Ar%2A_cliche1.mid

Got any advice on how to improve this and/or make a battle theme out of it?
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
#28
Quote by RonaldPoe
Are you two done with the grammar crap? I finished the 8 bar exercise and kept it diatonic to C Major. I think it kinda has a Victorian feel to it (like you said it's going to be cliché but I did this best I could with the instructions).

Here's a link to the midi.
http://www.mediafire.com/download/81fsemkqszjniiq/H%2Ardc%2Ar%2A_cliche1.mid

Got any advice on how to improve this and/or make a battle theme out of it?


Have you identified the elements of what makes a Battle Theme seem "battle themey" to you?

Have you applied those to your composing?

Best,

Sean
#29
Quote by RonaldPoe
Are you two done with the grammar crap? I finished the 8 bar exercise and kept it diatonic to C Major. I think it kinda has a Victorian feel to it (like you said it's going to be cliché but I did this best I could with the instructions).

Here's a link to the midi.
http://www.mediafire.com/download/81fsemkqszjniiq/H%2Ardc%2Ar%2A_cliche1.mid

Got any advice on how to improve this and/or make a battle theme out of it?

Play it on bagpipes and add a snare drum.

Depends on what your definition of "battle theme" is.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#30
I'm thinking like a fight/encounter theme from an RPG. I decided to delay the boss theme again and write a battle theme. Got any suggestions for turning that melody into a battle theme (I've also got a couple nice countermelodies). Here's 3 examples of RPG battle themes.

The famous battle theme from FFIV. It's bassline was even featured in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2c0ri2SLXSk

"Scherzo Di Notte" (The Hollow Bastion battle music from Kingdom Hearts 1).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WrSsxwk0Yw

"Deep Drop" (Kingdom Hearts 3D).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcUdAMEBDtM
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
Last edited by RonaldPoe at Jun 21, 2015,
#31
Or, you know, you could just buckle down and write something. That'd probably be cool.

Or don't, whatever.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#32
I don't get why Ronald asks for advice when he clearly doesn't plan on following it or why people give him advice that he isn't going to follow. Dog chasing its tail.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#33
Theogonia777, again with the negativity. I ask out of genuine curiosity and because it should be more effective than hours of Google searches. I try to follow the advice but due to a mixture of low self-esteem and bad attention span, I screw up a lot.

I've cooked up a theme based on the exercise but I don't have it on me. I'm not too sure if it's even appropriate for a battle theme. Oh well ...
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
#34
Have you tried Ritalin yet? It might make it easier for you to focus. There is no formula for any of this stuff so you might as well stop asking, everyone approaches it differently. One game's battle theme may sound completely different to another. Also, writing game music isn't easy, having done it, if you want to do a good job it's hard. Sometimes it'll keep me awake all night because I've never done something before and have no freaking clue what I want, you just have to suck it up. That's it.
#35
Ritalin stopped working for me long ago. Anyway here's the finished track I wrote based on the request from Duaneclapdrix and it's only got one bassline. I think it's too sugary for a battle theme (I concluded that this may work as a 'Winnie the Pooh' battle theme) but tell me what you guys think. I worked really hard on it and it's grown on me.

The track is called "Diabetic" because it's so sugary.
https://soundcloud.com/dark-ronald-poe/diabetic
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
#36
i listened to it but i'm going to withhold comments and suggestions cause here's the next step: now that you have a piece of your own and the pieces you aspired to imitate, there are questions to answer. here are a few:

- is the piece worth pursuing right now? (that is, it's different than what you envisioned, but is that good or bad?)
- what sounds different than the themes you listened to?
- which, if any, of these different elements do you like?

anything along these lines would be fair game. this is just to get yourself into the compositional process a little bit -- there's a ton of give and take, revision, trial and error, and so forth. you know this sounds vastly different than what you started out working toward, so analyze it a bit.
#37
What's the random sounding thing in the background? Is that the bassline? If yes, try to make it more connected to the rest of the song. The bassline can't be just a random melody. It needs to fit the other parts.

It could have progressed more. Play with dynamics and instrumentation (and also rhythm - I noticed you changed the drum beat at one part, but it could have more variation) if that's the only melody the song's going to have to make it more interesting. It was a bit too repetitive.

It still sounded chaotic, even though there was just one bassline. Start with something more simple. Root notes on the bass, one note per bar. Or maybe come up with a rhythm (that fits the drum beat) but only play root notes. Start with that.


The song didn't have a clear ending either. If you can't come up with an ending, at least fade it out or something. One way to end this piece would be to play the melody with no background instruments.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#38
First, stop refusing to sing because you don't like your singing voice. There's a difference between not liking the tone of your voice for singing (too raspy, too breathy, etc.) and not liking it because you can't hit the notes.

For the former, it's sort of a non-issue because people with all types of crappy voices have been successful recording artists (Dylan?). For the latter, practice makes perfect. It is a simple use of your musical ear. Hopefully your getting to the point where a sour note stands out to you while playing, you notice a string on your guitar being out of tune, etc....well, when you sing a melodic line, that same thing should happen. You should hear "ugh, that's not the right note!" So you kind of modulate your voice to make the note higher or lower as needed. You will do this pretty much automatically as you sing, assuming your ear is decent, and that in turn will get you hitting the right notes easier / faster till you can sing okay, maybe for back up if nothing else.

This is kind of important because singing really helps get a lead vocal melody. For me, I've always laid down a chord progression for verse & chorus, something that moves me, and then I think about how it makes me feel, and then I write lyrics about that -- lyrics that fit the progression in terms of cadence and length and stuff. Now, what I found is that when I recite the lyrics over my progression, I naturally fall into a melody with them. I sometimes have sung the lyrics into a tuner to help me then figure out what the melody is that I came up with. I did this even when I sucked at singing (I'm still pretty bad, but improving). Early on, when I sang into a tuner, I'd never be on the note, but if I was singing between two notes, I'd play each in the melody and I'd "hear" which was the one I was trying to hit. The point is, you can suck at singing and still use your singing to create a melody. I never "tried" to come up with a melody at all. I bet if you write out lyrics and just speak them over your backing music over and over, as you get more comfortable doing this, and connecting with the words, they'll take on notes without any effort.

Ken
Bernie Sanders for President!
#39
Ken, it's actually a mixture of the two. I really don't like my own singing and dislike my own lyrics even more. Odd thing is that I used to write really creative Sci-fi Fantasy stories when I was younger (still do to an extent). The main problem is that they turn out so corny and tacky that I consider them failures (I have rather high musical standards). I refuse to dumb down and/or limit my creativity my music because of the peanut gallery. I don't want to lose my individuality and become just another dime-a-dozen musician.

I still need both tips on vocal melodies and writing game music. How would one write a vocal melody if they dislike both their singing voice and custom lyrics (I was planning on letting the vocalist write the lyrics)? Through a fakebook online, I noticed that some of the older Disney songs (yes I'm a Disney fan as well) have a disgustingly large amount of quarter and half notes. Oh well, the songs are still great and "Jungle Book" will always be a masterpiece from Walt.
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
Last edited by RonaldPoe at Jun 28, 2015,
#40
What is disgusting about quarter and half notes?

It doesn't matter what's on the page. The music is what matters.

Also, everybody starts out as a dime a dozen musician. You can't skip from no skill to creative visionary. It's dime a dozen because it works very well as music. Cliches were once original.

I'm still trying to just get to dime a dozen level
Page 1 of 2