What exactly is the melody of a song? Melodies are the most memorable and important part of any song. A melody is a sequence of single notes creating a musical idea often referred to as the tune. For instance, the song “Happy Birthday To You” is a memorable melody; it is the main idea of a song. The melody can also be amazing guitar riffs or a catchy chorus. Melodies are crucial in every form of music.

A really good melody will captivate and hold your listeners attention. It’s a tune you cannot seem to get out of your head. Melodies are used in verses, chorus, and the bridge; it can be vocal or instrumental.

To write your own melody, simply choose two (or three) basic chords, C and F. You can play them on your piano or guitar and repeat over and over. Sam Smith’s song “Stay With Me” has 3 basic chords Am, F, and C, which are played in that order over and over again throughout the whole song. As you loop the chords over and over, hum or sing sounds (no words) just work on a tune to be sung with your chords. The words will come, just give yourself the freedom to have fun and riff. Make sure you record yourself as you are doing this to capture what you are creating. The words and phrasing will happen.

If you don’t play an instrument, you can find beats on Youtube. A singer can work with the rhythmic beats already put together online to create melodies. Just type in music beats and you will find some different selections.

If you feel like the song is sounding a little flat (boring) and needs some flavor, try putting a little distance between two notes. For instance, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” has a large major 7th interval (distance between two notes) between the first two notes in the chorus (Some – where).

You want to create and sing a melody that is memorable and easy to learn, like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” A memorable melody will be shaped with notes ascending and descending, with arches and dips. There is no particular formula. Melody writing will always be a challenge, but it should be enjoyable. So start writing your memorable melody today!

Attached is a video of Koko Higa singing an original song “Only When I Breathe” written by Robin Munson.


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