One of the biggest roadblocks music producers and musicians face is coming up with melodies and chord progressions that are catchy, or good enough to work with. We’ve all experienced that moment where we get frustrated with a song because it isn’t working out the way it is or we can’t figure out a good catchy melody for it.
We’ve gathered different tips from other producers on how they overcome this musical block and come up with catchy melodies
- You could also try writing a basic bass progression and build your melody around that. You could always change the bassline later.
- Visited a friend last night and had a bit of a go through some sounds on Omnishere…
I found it very inspiring to use sounds I don’t normally use or haven’t used in ages and a new idea came with almost everything I tried.
- Honestly, I sit down and take an hour or two or just messing around. I listening to some of my favorite tracks and try to replay them by ear. Once I get the jist of them, I alter it. I change the notes around and I change overall how its played. It gives me a good idea to start with, then I come up with something completely different. Seems to be a good method to me but it is a little bit time consuming.
- Just get an arpeggiator.
- You should move into generative composition. It holds all the answers.
- In my experience the best melodies I’ve written have just ‘popped out of my head’, whether I was intentionally trying to write it or not. I have to be at the DAW for this cause if I’m somewhere else (like the shower) then I’ll loose it before I get a change to get it down.
- Minor keys/scales are very popular in dance music and I have gotten some really dark/dramatic but also sad/beautiful results from my experiments. Try to not only work on your melodic lines vertically (note) but also horizontally (time) as the right length of rest between notes can really build suspense and drama
- Going into my DAW with no ideas, and just placing down notes until it sounds good. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t, it’s all luck.
- Firstly, I don’t think the issue here is to come up with a catchy melody. The whole idea of a catchy tune is to be irritating(just kidding). It should be simple and short. I’d say to first tap a rhythm with your finger or beatbox it or whatever you like. Then chose a key and pick notes from that key and play it on your rhythm.
- Try to recreate a few of your favorite song melodies by ear on your keyboard and sequence them. Master the melody by playing over and over again on the keyboard. Now break the notes up a bit. Incorporate a few of the broken up notes into one of your compositions. Change a few of the notes and/or add a few notes that melodically fits with your track. If you like it, know that you will need to eventually change more notes since it is a copy of someone elses melody.
- Run drums or synth through some effect that adds weird harmonics, sounds or melodic elements. Bounce it and then use Ableton’s convert to melody, harmony, drums functions and see what comes out.
- My favorite way to randomly generate a melody is to use the arp, chord and scale MIDI effects in live (arranged according to taste). Then all I have to do is keyboard punch and something cool will happen.
- Start with a chord progression. If you can’t come up with a catchy chord progression, pick the chord progression from a song that you like. This can’t be considered stealing, since there are only a handful of “mainstream” chord progressions that are reused over and over again. The following tool is also great for finding chord progressions that sound good (by analyzing the chord progressions of existing popular songs)
- I find that having a solid melody is half the battle, but having great chords/basslines underneath it is what makes a good melody truly great. One of the things I like about the remixes that guys like Zedd and Madeon do is that they usually reharmonize the melody and make it even stronger than the original track.
- The key to be catchy is either do melodies that are easy for your brain to remember and that have a “climax” to it like avicii stuff, mary had a little lamb, Martin garrix’s animals, or Aphex twin singing in Milkman xP, happy sounding progressions are the best in this case.
- For me the key is just being able to harmonize a melodic single voice with another single melodic voice. To do that I’m pretty much relying upon my improvisational skills.
- With MIDI, you don’t necessarily have to play it properly, on time, with the right progression, etc. You can molest the notes. You can move, delete, add, stretch, effects, etc. But for me, PLAYING ANYTHING is the start. BUT, you can do the same with audio recordings of jams. If you really like guitar, you can record it via wav and then start chopping stuff up. Just a bit different.
- When I can’t think of anything I’ll pick a song I like, tap the basic melody into a sequencer and change some of the note or chord progressions until its not recognizable. This gives me a block to start building an original composition on. By the time I’m done its my own thing with no trace of the piece that inspired it.