Melody gen­er­a­tors

Three ways to come up with a melody from scratch

Computer Music - - Make Music Now / Music Theory Made Easy -

> Tech­nique 3. The rhythm-first method

Some­times, lay­ing out the rhythm with one note helps you get started, and from here, all that re­mains is the fi­nal 50% of the task. Ex­per­i­ment with dif­fer­ent notes in the al­ready-in­ter­est­ing rhythm you’ve laid down, and it’s hard to go wrong.

Our project is a great ex­am­ple of build­ing a melody with this method. As we’ve laid down the whole thing us­ing just C notes, with the rhythms al­ready pro­grammed, all we need to do (as seen in the video) is move the notes up or down. There’s still plenty of re­fin­ing to do though, of course…

> Tech­nique 4. Record­ing then edit­ing

It’s not all about text­book the­ory. Set your mu­sic to loop, work out the scale you’re in (and there­fore the notes you need), and get down and dirty with your MIDI con­troller. Even if you’re not Mozart, there are very likely to be sal­vage­able snatches of in­spi­ra­tion in there. And with the magic of the mod­ern DAW, you can ex­per­i­ment with what you’ve recorded, then tweak to im­prove your re­sult. Hint: du­pli­cate melody clips be­fore chang­ing them to give your­self a vari­a­tion to use later on!

> Tech­nique 5. Ramp up the con­trast

If melodies are a fight between some­thing a lis­tener’s heard be­fore and some­thing they haven’t, then one great weapon for the ‘un­usual’ side of the equa­tion is con­trast. Mov­ing in smaller steps rather than big leaps is usu­ally stan­dard, but mak­ing large jumps between notes will help your melody stand out against the crowd.

On a sim­i­lar tip, treat your melodic phrases in the same way: if you’ve just gone up to higher notes, go down to lower ones next time round. If you’ve just played a phrase full of short, stac­cato notes, go for a lin­ger­ing sec­tion of longer, held notes to slow things right back down. In the search for some­thing in­ter­est­ing, con­trast is king.

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