Lesson on How To Create Melodies For Your Song Writing based on Your Chords
Melodies are easy to create once you have created a good chord progression. First you need to learn all of your chords in Major and Minor Keys. Here is a list below in the key of C Major. Then a list of all of the secondary dominant chords that are possible. Just those two things will give you lots of possibilities, but outside of that you can then "borrow" chords from the parallel minor. That will give you almost anything that has ever been done in pop and rock music.
Here's lesson below with a list below of all of the Major Chords, Parallel Minor Chords, and secondary dominants (every chord can be approached by it's dominant chord).
I ii iii IV V vi vii dim
C Dm Em F G am B dim
A7 B7 C7 D7 E7 (Secondary dominants) for interest
Cm Ddim Eb Fm Gm Ab Bb (Parallel Minor Chords)
Here's some common chord progressions that use some of the "borrowed" chords.
I IV bVII I
Vm IV I
I IIImaj IV IVm I Creep by Radio Head
Using Parallel Minor Chords
Eb C Eb C Eb C Bb Ab F Ab F
Bb - C (bVII - I)
Ab - C (bVI - I)
C - Db - Eb - Fm
C - Gm - F - C
C - Ab - F - C
Cm - Ab - Eb - Bb- Cm
Here's a complete list of all the chords available from all of the scales above.
C, Cm, Dm, Ddim, Eb, Em, E, F, Fm, G, Gm, Ab, Am, Bb, Bdim (all of them)
You can also take chords from any of parallel MODES.
No matter your level of proficiency, you can create great melodies along with your chord progression using any of the two approaches outlined below.
It is a good idea experiment with different chord inversions while playing your chord progression. You can try each of the inversions one at a time as you move on with your progression. You may seek the guidance and supervision of an experienced keyboardist or guitarist on this.
The melodies will be obvious as you make connections with the chords. Bear in mind that you may not actually hear the whole of the melody at once, but you should be able to filter out the skeleton of the melody from what you hear. As you continue to practice, you’ll be improving on the melodies and more parts of it will be coming out. With time, you’ll be able to produce an interesting melody.
At this point, you should not bother about whether you are getting the notes right. Rather, follow your ears. Listen to the melody and continue to make corrections as you deem necessary. Let the process flow naturally and organically. Getting the notes correct will come naturally. The more you practice with the chord progression, the more the notes will fall in the right place. If you don’t like this approach or it is difficult for you to follow, you can adopt the next one, discussed right below.
The approach involves attaching a particular rhythm to your chord progression. Lay it down on a recorder. You can then play it repeatedly. Listen as you play it. If you play the melodies so many times, you’ll be able to listen to them without recording.
After playing the chord progression, close your eyes and try to hear the melody. Try to arrange the musical set pieces mentally. At this point, you should be able to come up with several melodies. You may also record the melodies as you align them with your chord progression. The more you memorize the progression, the easier it will be for you to hear organic melodies naturally. You’ll no longer need to fiddle with your musical instrument to come up with a nice melody.
Instead of focusing on your musical instrument, unleash your creativity. Listen to your head and dig out the melodies in them. Letting your voice run at the same pace with your ears is one of the best ways to come up with nice music.
Of course, there are several other ways to create melodies and music, but the two approaches above are easy to adopt and they are effective as well. Most importantly, regardless of what approach you choose, always let your imagination work. Don’t focus on only instruments. The musical instruments are distractions. They’ll sever the synchronization between your ears and voice. So, it is better to use your voice, record it, and transcribe it. When you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to create nice melodies more effortlessly.
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