The melody of a song is what you may call the “tune” of the song or solo.
It is in other words what would act as the spotlight of the part which is usually what people if they get hooked on to would hum, sing or play making it the most memorable aspect of a song.
How to Write a Melody
Each artist has his own style whether it’s singing the tune of the song or shredding a guitar solo so how you write your melody line almost entirely in your hands (literally if you’re an instrumentalist) and mind (influence and imitation which I spoke about earlier) so there isn’t much I can guide you with over here but here are some things you might want to keep in mind while writing.
—Focus on the harmony
If you have a chord progression before the melody, then make sure your melody line revolves around the chord at the right places. Many guitarists often while soloing just use patterns and techniques that are fast and catchy.
It wouldn’t sound horrible but it would sound better if it revolved more around the chord.
Adding one of the tones of the chord in the melody line, resolving to the next chord by adding a few notes and all that would make the melody line more likeable.
—Learning new scales
Apart from the regular major and minor scales, there are so many other scales you can explore and add to your melody line.
For example, The pentatonic scale, the blues scale, the modes, the whole tone scale, etc. There is quite a big misconception that these scales are used only in blues and jazz but they are not (although they are seen more evidently in these genres).
They are in fact found in literally every genre of music and sometimes they are present even if the artist did not intentionally add it in. Learning these scales and finding songs that use them and learning them too will give you an idea of how to apply them in your composing.
Having a library of techniques is extremely vital regardless of the instrument you use.
Techniques can be stuff like tapping, sweep picking, legato picking, etc for guitarists, various kinds of pedalling for pianists, etc.
Repetition of technique may get boring both for the listener and even you, the person playing it. Using different techniques helps juice things up.
Similar to what I mentioned earlier, finding techniques and learning them, then finding songs that use that technique and learning them will help you know where and how to incorporate the technique you’ve learnt into your song.
—Adding dynamics and phrasing
Dynamics play a significant role in creating the right kind of vibe for the song. Learning how to use dynamics will definitely improve your sound.
Dynamics has to do with loudness and softness and changing it in even small ways may alter the timbre of the song. Phrasing is grouping up a sequence of notes and making it sound like one phrase like in a speaking language where it starts in the beginning of the sentence and ends with the full stop.
You can start phrases a little loud then slowly fade out as the phrase ends like ending a sentence. Not too abrupt and not too slow.
This would be easier for vocalists as they would most probably be singing words so phrasing would be easier.
Thanks for making it to the end 😉
Like I said in the beginning, harmonies and melodies compliment each other.
A harmony cannot exist without a melody and without a harmony, a melody line would sound bland. Writing harmonies and melody lines are extremely fun when done right.
But also remember that you probably cannot come up with interesting or complicated stuff all the time.
Simplicity sometimes is what you may need sometimes too.
Have fun playing!