Have You Tried Your Melody in the Opposite Mode?

by Gary Ewer, from “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” website:

Like most songwriters, you’re probably looking for ways to look at melody construction. One aspect of melody-writing that we don’t think that much about is what it sounds like in the opposite mode. Here’s what I mean by that.

Let’s say that your melody is in the key of G major. This means that the note G is the tonic note, and the chord G, being the tonic chord, is acting as a “home” chord. The melody you’ve written will use the notes of the G major scale: G A B C D E F#

If you’re bored with your melody but don’t know why, and if you’re looking for a way to make your melody distinctive, you’ll find it really interesting to consider performing your melody in the minor key: Gm

The easiest way to do this is to change the note B to Bb, since that note is the 3rd of the scale, and is generally responsible for making a key feel major or minor. You’ll also want to change E to Eb. To make this simple, take the chords that exist in the key of G major and change them to the ones you’d find in G minor, and adjust the melody to match.

The chords of G major are: G Am Bm C D Em F#dim
The chords of G minor are: Gm Adim Bb Cm D Eb F

The first four bars of the following melody are in G major. Then, it changes to G minor. Notice the difference in mood this creates. (Sorry for the cheesy MIDI file! But it demonstrates the concept):

[See “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” website for sound file.]

Changing your song from major to minor (or vice versa) is a great way to create a completely new feel for your song, and is very useful if the melody you’ve written just doesn’t do it for you.

Click here to learn how to solve your songwriting problems.Gary Ewer’s suite of 5 songwriting e-books are now available at a “bundle discount” price.
Posted in Chord Progressions, songwriting and tagged , , , , , , .

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