Good melodies are the building blocks of great-sounding music that sticks in people’s heads. You don’t hum the groove, you hum the melody. We will show you a few quick tips for crafting better melodies in the following tutorial.

As usual, we prepared a short sequence in our SoundBridge: DAW. It includes most of the major elements of a full mix. Let’s take a listen to it.

This is a screenshot of my mix before creating the main melody.
~Full Mix – Without Melody

A melody is in part defined by the following elements: contour, range, intervals, structure, and scale. This time, we will only cover a few of them, required to compose a melody in the particular music genre we are dealing with.

After creating a new MIDI channel and selecting the appropriate sound for our melody, let’s navigate to the MIDI editor window to begin composing the melody’s foundation.

This is a screenshot of melody MIDI channel and MIDFI editor where I have wrote basic rhythm for the melody.

Foundation of good melodies

In the image above, we have created a rhythmic foundation for our melody. It’s a simple sequence from which we will continue to develop the range and contour. Let’s have a listen to it.

~Melody – Rhythm
This is a screenshot of melody MIDI channel and MIDFI editor where I have on melody contour.

A memorable melody follows a line that ascends or descends. There is no specific formula. You don’t need to have an ascending and descending contour, nor a certain amount of drops or leaps. It’s just a matter of preference. However, you will discover that different shapes evoke a variety of emotional responses from the listener. Let’s listen to our melody now that we have modified the pitches to create a specific contour.

~Melody – Contour

After completing the rhythm and contour of the melody, we can move on to the last step, where we will address the melody’s structure and variations. Good melodies often have a structure that has two contrasting parts (A and B), and possibly a third resolving part (C). Consider this as a “call and response” type of scheme. It would look like the melody below, which includes additional flair using gliding notes and chords here and there.

This is a screenshot of melody MIDI channel and MIDI editor for construction of melodies.

Once we’re satisfied with every aspect of our melody, we may further process its sound using effects such as delay and reverb, and automation.

Let’s hear the final result solo and in context with the rest of the mix.

~Melody – Final (Solo)
~Full Mix – With Melody

If you liked this article on melody creation and processing, here are some more on the same subject: