#1
Ive read the sticky and it didn't help.

You've got your chord progression, you might even have a riff or two as well...but how do you sing something over it?

I mainly just play around in the scale but more often than not it doesn't help me..
#2
A tune should pop up in your head eventually. Melody's the aspect of songwriting you shouldn't approach scientifically, I reckon.
#3
when you say melody are you then reffering to lyrics or tunes?
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this is great. you've got the words!
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#4
Quote by TheKermal
when you say melody are you then reffering to lyrics or tunes?


Yea Im referring to what you sing over the song. Or if it doesn't have lyrics - a tune that you can hum back after you've packed all your gear away
#5
agreed with webbtje... there's no way we could tell you how to write a melody, because that would be our melody and not yours. Many people have methods of writing, but they are, for the most part, individualized. Go with what sounds good to you bro! and if you get stuck, take a break and do something and come back to it later. There's not a single musician out there that hasn't had writer's block!! Just remember to write what YOU like and not what you expect others would like...
#6
i just imagine a tune in my head (not lyrics)

and try tab it on guitar.
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#7
I am going to quote a passage from Arnold Schoenberg's book "Fundamentals of Musical Composition,"

"In the early stages a composer's invention seldom flows freely. The control of melodic, rhythmic and harmonic factors impedes the spontaneous conception of musical ideas. It is possible to stimulate the inventive faculties and acquire technical facility by making a great many sketches of phrases based on a predetermined harmony. At first such attempts may be stiff and awkward, but, with patience, the co-ordination of the various elements will rapidly become smoother, until real fluency and even expressiveness is attained."

This can be easily applied in your case by creating a great many different phrases (defined by Schoenberg as "a unit approximating to what one could sing in a single breath") over top that riff. Just start pumping them out. Composition, like anything, requires a great deal of practice to become great at.
#8
Well the melody you play is notes on a scale. These can be converted into chords, and that way you can end up with like four chords. They are easier to make a song over, than the melody, 'course you're often likely to sing tunes that fits with the notes, and that can end up with some serious crap .. (Is this making sense?)
Anyway, take your melody, make it into chords, write a song, record the chords with audacity, record the melody with audacity .. bam!

have i got the question all wrong? .
In that case i blame my bad language.. and now also my bad language-understanding-skills!
Quote by zadzior
Sir, Awesome stuff. You have my respect!
Quote by neon-black
aw i love your song! sell it n' it would deffo be a smash!
Quote by veggiederek
this is great. you've got the words!
Quote by kiaraiswicked
... Wauw... It really paints a picture and leaves the rest up to the imagination!
#9
Quote by Erc
I am going to quote a passage from Arnold Schoenberg's book "Fundamentals of Musical Composition,"

"In the early stages a composer's invention seldom flows freely. The control of melodic, rhythmic and harmonic factors impedes the spontaneous conception of musical ideas. It is possible to stimulate the inventive faculties and acquire technical facility by making a great many sketches of phrases based on a predetermined harmony. At first such attempts may be stiff and awkward, but, with patience, the co-ordination of the various elements will rapidly become smoother, until real fluency and even expressiveness is attained."

This can be easily applied in your case by creating a great many different phrases (defined by Schoenberg as "a unit approximating to what one could sing in a single breath") over top that riff. Just start pumping them out. Composition, like anything, requires a great deal of practice to become great at.


Thanks for all your advice. But all this largely seems a bit beyond me - as in before Picasso became his most creative he was able to draw and paint well first.

I think I need to know the basics and rules before I try to brake them and free myself of them....no?
#10
Quote by iruka2998
i just imagine a tune in my head (not lyrics)

and try tab it on guitar.



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#11
Keep playing the chord progression over and over. Then start improvising. Using any words try singing a melody. If it sounds bad then fix it. Write down what lyrics you have and remember the rhythm. Write everything down. This is what I do although I have not written much.
#12
A very simple way would be just to take a couple of notes from the relevant scale, keep the note choice simple and then take a simple lyric idea and see if you can sing or hum the lyric using those notes. try different timings of the notes to fit the words. It's a simple idea but it can get the creative juices flowing.
#13
play the chord progression and hum or sing overtop of it.
then match the notes to the melody in your head afterwards.
like someone else said up there, coming up with a vocal melody is the time when you throw your pride and theory out the window and just hum and sing until you find something you like/works.
#14
So basically you should never compose a solo unless you have your rhythm (chord progression) down.....................?
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#15
Quote by breakstuff
So basically you should never compose a solo unless you have your rhythm (chord progression) down.....................?

he's asking about coming up with a vocal pattern, not a solo.
#16
Quote by dough boy

I think I need to know the basics and rules before I try to brake them and free myself of them....no?

Melodic ideas including the basics and rules can be found here http://bopland.org However they are not instrument specific and some of them are really hard to sing. So you've got to "vocalize" them
#17
My enquiry was actually on both solos and vocal lines, my bad didn't clarify.
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#18
Quote by breakstuff
My enquiry was actually on both solos and vocal lines, my bad didn't clarify.
A solo is different because it will often be improvised and you will get batter with that as your practice and learn lots of licks and solos.
#19
^ +1

also initially beginners when they first start soloing will often start out with the mindset of
"a solo is just hitting a lot of notes really fast in the key of the song"

only after trying this and generally failing often will they start to analyze it and say
"ok what is it that makes this solo sound so good"
and the answer to that is "phrasing"

phrasing is what sets apart the n00bs from the b@d@sses.


personally for both vocals and lead guitar i do the same thing, i hear something in my head and transcribe it/play it/ pick it out. i started out humming whatever i heard in my head but got to the point where i can skip humming it and go straight from brain to guitar.
#20
Quote by z4twenny
^ +1

also initially beginners when they first start soloing will often start out with the mindset of
"a solo is just hitting a lot of notes really fast in the key of the song"

only after trying this and generally failing often will they start to analyze it and say
"ok what is it that makes this solo sound so good"
and the answer to that is "phrasing"

phrasing is what sets apart the n00bs from the b@d@sses.


personally for both vocals and lead guitar i do the same thing, i hear something in my head and transcribe it/play it/ pick it out. i started out humming whatever i heard in my head but got to the point where i can skip humming it and go straight from brain to guitar.


Ok, so what exactly is phrasing and how do you get better at it?
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#21
Ok, so what exactly is phrasing

Ok, I have a sentance;

I went to my computer and connected to ultimate-guitar.com

Now, I could phrase this in a good few different ways;

I, went to my computer, and connected to ultimate-guitar.com

Iwenttomycomputerandconnectedtoultimate-guitar.com

I WENT to MY comPUter AND conECted TO ulTImate-GUItar.com

It's the same thing, just said differently. No real change, some ways people personally find better than others.

and how do you get better at it?

You fiddle.

Yes, that's the best explanation I can muster.
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Last edited by J.A.M at Mar 28, 2008,
#22
^ something like that

phrasing is how you say what you say. theres a good article somewhere here on UG but i can't remember where it is. maybe one of the mods have a link or something.

players like BB King and satch have phrasing down to an art form if you want some examples. there may be some youtube examples too.
#23
Thanks for all your advice. But all this largely seems a bit beyond me - as in before Picasso became his most creative he was able to draw and paint well first.

I think I need to know the basics and rules before I try to brake them and free myself of them....no?


Nothing I posted approached the realm of rule breaking. In fact, "Fundamentals of Musical Composition" deals entirely with classical form. Despite Schoenberg being the world leader of modern atonality and serialism his teaching methods were strictly classical in nature.

But that aside, if you want rules that deal directly with the creative process...

The melodic line should consist primarily of step-wise motion, a leap that is not that of a third or a 5th must move stepwise in the opposite direction it had leaped. Consecutive non chord tone leaps shall not happen and leaps larger then the 5th should be avoided as they are more difficult for the voice to sing. Consecutive chord tone leaps are acceptable but should not be extended in vocal lines. When composing a melody the implied harmony must be accounted for at the same time assuming that the harmony is homotonic in nature. Music should not be constructed in the form of separate wooden blocks but as an entire complete vision.

If you continue to have trouble I suggest that you start exposing yourself to a lot more music (and learning it). Composition, especially good composition, is an extremely advanced topic and the mastery of the art is not easily come by. (even mere expressive proficiency requires a large degree of work)
#24
Thirds, thirds, thirds!

Just for the hell of it I uploaded an MP3 to my profile called
"Example of Playing in 3rds - G Major".

It's nothing more than me semi-randomly walking the neck in G Major without much
more thinking than playing through the scale in 3rds and incorporating a little
phrasing for as I felt the melody.

Not a great solo by any stretch, but even just the simple idea of 3rds suggests
a harmony in the melody where no harmony even exists. That makes the lines
sound almost immediately interesting.

This example is not really much of a step up from straight scale practice, but I
think you'll agree, just by incorporating 3rds, it sound more like melody and less
like practicing a scale.
#25
Quote by edg


This example is not really much of a step up from straight scale practice, but I
think you'll agree, just by incorporating 3rds, it sound more like melody and less
like practicing a scale.


I wouldnt say it makes it more melodic.
adding harmony to a scale doesnt make it more melodic, but it does harmonize it. Thats a great tip for making scale practice more interesting.... and for getting good at playing 3rds.


As for myself, I listen to, learn, and study alot of melodies. When it comes to writing I try to "find" a melody I like. I may hear it in my head and then try to find it on guitar, or I might just be messing around and find it. Other times Ill try to come up with it via notation, or be sequencing. Lots of options. The key is getting a grasp on what melody is in the 1st place.
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Last edited by GuitarMunky at Mar 28, 2008,
#26
Quote by GuitarMunky
I wouldnt say it makes it more melodic.


Well, I guess that makes you saying it.

I'd refer anyone else who's interested to Linear Harmony which is basically taking
each note of a chord and "linearizing" each note over time to produce melody.
Specifically Bert Ligand's great book "Connecting Chords With Linear Harmony".
It sounds like a book about chords, but it's really about melody using *linear*
harmony.
#27
Specifically Bert Ligand's great book "Connecting Chords With Linear Harmony".
It sounds like a book about chords, but it's really about melody using *linear*
harmony.


I second this. While I have never read the book, I've taken a number of private lessons from Bert (he teaches at the university here) and his methods and approaches to improvisation and music in general is extremely practical and enlightening.
#28
Quote by Erc
I second this. While I have never read the book, I've taken a number of private lessons from Bert (he teaches at the university here) and his methods and approaches to improvisation and music in general is extremely practical and enlightening.


Hey, that's cool! I also have both vols of his Jazz Theory Resources. Also
excellent material. I found it much better than Levine's "Jazz Theory". I think
he really takes a common sense approach to theory.
#30
I find that if you want to create a vocal melody, a melody that you sing, then not a bad way to go about it (or at least a way to go about it) is to think about - whenever, when you're sitting around, about to fall asleep, high, tired, at the peak of acid trip, whenever - think about things you feel strongly about.

Your girlfriend, the war, a war, any war, a breakup, the girl you want, a sense of belonging, a philosophy, an idea, a story you just thought up, etc. etc, think about it and lyrics will generally start to flow if you think about translating what you feel about subject X into poetic form.

Work on the lyrics.

As you do and even before you do when you've thought up the first line or two, you will find that a melody 'suggests' itself in your head, based around how you feel about the words. "So, so you think you can tell/Heaven from hell...?" evokes a sense of weary cynicism of niavety at the end of the first line, for example, and a sense of almost-bitter nostalgic sadness at the end of the second. No surprise that the tone of the voice singing the melody conforms to this. You will naturally, without really thinking \bout it, put syllables into pitch when you have this sort of emotional connection with your words, because you will natrually need to go higher/lower/faster/slower etc to convey the emotion that you're feeling.

Of course, this is just one way to do things. I'm not try to write a gospel here.

EDIT: I meant to say, it would be like thinking about how you read out the poetry you've just written - if one line is filled with bitter contempt for a certain section of society, you would read it out with venom, and you would naturally/subconciously modulate your voice to express those words in that way.

So you would speak with a certain cadence, a certain rhythm, and a certain inflection, to convey what you were feeling. No different with melody - your voice will vary in pitch and rhtyhm (thus creating a melody) depending on what pitch and rhythm you need to properly express how you feel.
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Last edited by Damascus at Mar 28, 2008,
#31
I don't. I couldn't write a decent melody to save my life, but I make up for it by writing needlessly complex harmony.
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#33
Quote by Erc
I am going to quote a passage from Arnold Schoenberg's book "Fundamentals of Musical Composition,"

"In the early stages a composer's invention seldom flows freely. The control of melodic, rhythmic and harmonic factors impedes the spontaneous conception of musical ideas. It is possible to stimulate the inventive faculties and acquire technical facility by making a great many sketches of phrases based on a predetermined harmony. At first such attempts may be stiff and awkward, but, with patience, the co-ordination of the various elements will rapidly become smoother, until real fluency and even expressiveness is attained."

This can be easily applied in your case by creating a great many different phrases (defined by Schoenberg as "a unit approximating to what one could sing in a single breath") over top that riff. Just start pumping them out. Composition, like anything, requires a great deal of practice to become great at.
Thank god, someone else who knows that book!
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#34
I just think of the feel or mood that I want to go for, and I start coming up with melodies. Some are generic, others are inspired. My goal is to create music just as I experience it.

It's a fun and practical way to approach the compositional process.
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