How to write better melodies 2019 – Write A Magical Melody

Hi, and welcome to – How to write better
melodies. How do you start your tracks? Do you begin by writing the melody doing the chords, starting to arrange, dragging samples all over the place, doing drum
recording, doing shakers, doing vocal recordings, guitar recordings? Do you do
all these things in one go, or do you zoom out and think about what’s the core
of your track? Ultimately, the core of a song is of course the melody. So without further ado! Yeah! Rainbow! Let’s go! Ok, so how do we start writing in better melodies? One good way is to start very basic. Don’t do too many things at once so you can begin
by maybe just clapping or humming a rhythm. I usually do this by tapping my chest or
tapping my knees. And thus we can come up with a simple rhythm for our melody. I
have chosen a few chords here that I will start to write from and that is a D
major, the F-sharp minor 7th then we have the E add 9 and then we have the C#
minor 7th. So let’s begin with the rhythm over those chords. [Humming a rhythm – to generate an idea] So let’s apply a melody on top of that
rhythm. If I see a leaf… …Sailing down from highest tree The summer warmth has left… A cold that spreads, I’m holding you now What keeps us out with the night sky? How long can our ship sail these waters? Who knows what it takes? Defenceless I break. This melody is all that I keep… [add vibrato to taste…]=) Yeah! So what I did there is that I
already started to come up with a melody to that rhythm. And what you do is first
you come up with a motif. And motif is the smallest part of a theme. It’s the…it’s
just a phrase basically so Motif in this cases is… [plays Motif] And then I do some variations on it and explore it further. So, begin with a small motif and then
build on that motif to create your your whole theme. [Gentle piano theme playing] You begin with a basic / simple idea, and then you build up these melodies so that it’s more elaborate and that it’s more evolved. So there is four steps to create better melodies. Start with the rhythm, and in this example it was [claps rhythm on chest] Something like that.
And then in step two you use your voice to make a motif out of that rhythm that
you have been hammering. And three, you want to keep this simple because
simple melodies are of course easier to remember for people and it’s also more
singable. So, if you’re using your voice to write the melodies it’s a very good
start because then you know it’s going to be singable. Number four, we are going to expand and take that small motif and expand it and
build more upon it. So, that is the …the key factors when writing better melodies. And now let’s talk about the muscle memory. Sooner or later you might run
into the fact that you think that you write the same melodies and the same
chord progressions all over and that’s just because of the muscle memory issue. Because if you practice an instrument a lot your muscle nerves will react faster
and faster to that physical task. It doesn’t have to be actually playing an
instrument it can be any kind of task like running or whatever you’re doing.
But your muscle nerves will start to react faster and faster and that task will
actually become natural and you will do it unconsciously. And thus you will
probably play the same chords all over again. And play the same guitar
licks and the same piano licks. And that’s something to keep in mind because
it’s very good to have some variation in your writing process. Mick Gordon – the
composer of the game Doom once said in a talk. “Change the process, change the
outcome.” And I think that’s a very good saying and it fits this
muscle memory issue too. So what you can do is if you’re programming a lot of
melodies with the mouse or just entering notes in the piano roll you can change
to playing an instrument and that will change the outcome of your melodies
because you’re not accustomed to write on an instrument maybe. Or vice versa, you can…if you’re writing on piano or guitar please change and maybe do some note
editing and in the piano rule to write your melodies. Or you can use Maschine mk3 or the Maschine Jam. Because if you are writing on pads like this, the setup
and the notes will be placed very differently compared to a keyboard
because then you are forced to think differently and you will probably come
up with unique melodies that you wouldn’t have come up with otherwise. So
that’s a very good advice to really change your way of writing. Yeah, so
that’s basically it for this video about: How to write better melodies. 1.Tap your
rhythm. 2. Add some notes to that rhythm. 3. Make a small motif. 4. Expand that motif and
make it more into a full theme. Yeah, so if you want to learn more about music production and sound design, and writing melodies. You can go to my website which
is – if you want consultation you can contact me via the web form at the web page. Ok, so what’s your favorite way of coming up with exotic melodies? Do you use scales? Do you use chords? Please let me know in the comments. Please subscribe, presss the bell-icon for notifications. And I see you in the next video! Thanks for watching and have a really nice day. Bye bye!

  1. What is your favourite method for composing exotic melodies?
    Do you start with a scale? Do you start with a chord progression as foundation for the melody?

    In this video we talk about how to write better melodies. I walk you through my process of composing melodies and how I get started to come up with new melodic ideas. Importantly, you will learn my 4 best magical tips to come up with new melodies.

    Want to learn some simple melody writing rules?
    What is muscle memory? How does it effect our melodies? You get plenty of tips to help you with inspiration for workflows to get creative.

    I talk about some gear, like the Maschine mk3, that can help you think out of the box when it comes to writing melodies.

    Get that creative juice flowing and join in on this melodic ride.

    Please let me know in the comments your favourite way of creating melodies.

    I hope you like this video, let me know if the information was helpful.

    If you want further depth in music production, sound design and melodic writing please visit my website: and sign up to the Morningdew Media Weekly for tons of tips on creative audio production.

    Thanks for watching,

  2. Thanks for joining in on this YouTube premiere! Singing your melodies from the start really drives you to write melodies that are singable and "work". It's easy to forget that muscle memory does effect the notes and chords we write if we improvise on instruments. So if you want to evolve your writing be sure to experiment with switching method. Change the process, change the outcome! -Mick Gordon (Doom Composer).

  3. That was a lovely melody and I was pleasantly surprised by your singing. Nice voice colour. Loved the drone video. Norrland?

  4. Cool video, I also feel that singing is a great way because it allows you to try out many different things very quickly. What I also like to do is start with a 'complex' melody in my head if thats's what I'm hearing, and then simply remove notes or simplify it some other way. In any case, I think the core is finding a flow that let's you try things quickly without feeling weird. Great singing by the way I'm going to sample that clip and play it on my wedding if I ever get married.

  5. Very important topic opened and what an oh so beautiful winter views in the background of your song in Swedish! Very inspiring! Especially as we have similar sunny weather right now 🙂 Very much comes to my current mood. Thank you very much, Mattias!

    Completely agree with you treating melody to be the center of the track. Several times I tried to create the track in itself in a hope to create the melody on the way, but the result was just empty. A lot of technique and no idea. So I try to follow the way of getting inspiration, catching the melody worth to make something more with it and then all other parts. I also like working at remixes and reworks. When certain melody touches me deeply, inspires me, it's also so fluent and interesting to add your own ideas to it. There's certainly a "Not invented here" problem (i.e. "the worst unrecoverable thing of this track is that it's written NOT by me" =)), but we should try to resist that 🙂

    Usually I work on melodies using some piano-like multisample, so then I record it from the keyboard, awfully off the tempo and grid and then "manually quantize" ™ it for half of an hour 😀 And yes, you're right about muscle memory and sort of habits in creation. I think the fastest muscle to memorize things is our brain =) Sometimes it becomes completely fixed on some sequence or progression. I found two measures to cure it and get new fresh insights in creation: using arpeggiator (NI Maschine is very useful for it!), maybe in some random mode, and listen to a lot of music. With the music it's, I think, like learning foreign language, the more you perceive, the more you can create yourself. Of course, usually it's so much based on what you've listened somewhere, but still new things with new ideas.

    If you please, I also wanted to share a couple of thoughts on the melody internals. Usually at first I try to find beautiful yet, if possible, not so used harmony (or chord progression, we call it harmony here) and then the melody is sort of built on top of that. It's quite a difficult task, as usually the progression is either beautiful (with related chords) or original (with not so related). I remember just a few examples of some wonders, where completely unrelated chords become sound so beautiful for whatever reason, I don't know ) I think, because of melody. It really can make some common chord progression interesting and alive and link unrelated harmony together. So difficult to find, too, both in terms or rhythmic and note range parts. I also like simple melodies. Honestly, I'm always afraid thinking of some of my teacher from musical school would look at my harmony and melody and consider me as a foolish guy writing primitive melodies for kids =) I actually plan myself to learn more on the harmony, I have a couple of books on the harmony from academic point of view and a great book on the physics of sound with very interesting ideas I'd like to try in practice, but… later))

    I also thing there should be something like semantic balance in the track, just like we have dynamic balance of loudness across the spectrum and instruments. I mean, if we have complex and full arrangement (like in trance, for example), we naturally end up with quite simple and regular track structure, pretty simple yet touching melodies, regular and pretty similar harmony etc. On the opposite, in some compositions for solo instrument (like piano concert), the timbral and "FX" part is very limited, and the sense and ideas come to more complex melodies, unusual, dissonant chords with long sequences to the key, some beautiful inconsistencies in the structure like floating tempo, measure changes, different lengths of musical phrases etc. I believe, if we look closer, we always see, why certain part of the track in the particular genre is simple or complex. And hopefully not because the author is so lazy =) My personal dream is to try to fuse trance sound and more complex musical structures from classical music. I think, they are so near to each other, and there're several big trance tracks based on classical compositions, like "Adagio For Strings". And, according to my theory, escape a little bit of the "wall of sound" timbral scene, as it's now sometimes) Hope to experiment on that some day!

    Thanks for pointing out voice recording way on early stages! I use a voice recorder on my phone, when I "hear" some melody somewhere outside and need to write it down to not loose it forever, but never thought of voice recording when working at home. Will definitely use it, thanks, Mattias!

    Oh, we seem to have the same mini keyboard, M-Audio Keystation mini 32, I think it is. And yeah, I think, they didn't make keys smaller, as… they're just very kind guys, which care extremely of our comfort haha) But yes, like to use it in sound design as a palette of painter, to try sounds. I like to make a lot of notes hand writing on the paper, so it's not so comfortable, when there's no table space to put a sheet of paper and write something down, but with this keyboard almost the whole table is free for me 🙂 But yes, I also dislike to play something bigger, than bass sequence, use the full-size Axiom for it.

    Sorry me for so long comment on this video, Mattias, just wanted to say everything I have on this =) And thank you very much for this video and choosing such an interesting and important topics of music production! Have a nice and productive day!

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