Memorable and catchy melodies are the key to making a song that gets played over and over again. A call and response technique is one of the most effective ways to accomplish this. It may be extremely beneficial to your track by creating tension and keeping the music moving smoothly. In the next article, we will demonstrate how to use this simple yet incredibly powerful technique.

As usual, we prepared a short sequence in our SoundBridge: DAW. It includes most of the major elements of a full mix, without the main melody. Let’s take a listen to it.

This is a screenshot of my mix before applying the melody "call-response" technique.
~Full Mix – Without Main Melody

Our main melody was created on a new MIDI channel. This is how it looks in the MIDI editor window. Let’s listen to that.

This is a picture of main melody MIDI editor and its note sequence.
~Main Melody – Solo

Identifying the call and response, and making it more interesting

We can say the “call” and “response” parts of this sequence are fairly evident. The “call” would be the first part of the melody with shorter note lengths, and the “response” would be the second part with longer note lengths. To make our main melody more interesting, rather than playing it with the same sound, we can split it and play the “call” with one sound and the “response” with another.

To do so, we’ll use the cut tool. The “response” part will then be copied to a new MIDI channel and a different sound will be assigned to it.

This is a screenshot of 2 separate channels for the main melody. One called "Melody - Call" and the other "Melody - Response".

This is how our “call” and “response” parts sound together now.
~Main Melody – Call & Response

This is a simple yet highly powerful technique. Just by adding some subtle effects and modifying the tone, we might offer even more contrast between the call and response.

When writing melodies, don’t be afraid to switch octaves. There’s no rule that says you have to stay in one for the entire piece.

Finally, let’s listen to our melody in the context of the full mix.

~Full Mix – With Main Melody

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