Since every melody is different, you’d think that there’s basically no way to know if your new melody is going to click or bomb. Not true! There are ways to make pretty sure that your melody has the best chance possible for success. Run it past this checklist:
I know my melody is good because:
it is mainly comprised of stepwise motion, with occasional leaps; (i.e., it’s singable.)
The melody of my chorus is at least as high, or higher, than the melody of my verse; (i.e., the energy has shape.)
As the melody of the verse approaches the chorus, the melodic line generally rises in pitch; (i.e., the melodic line matches the energy plan of the song in an intuitive way.)
The chorus uses more of the tonic (key) note; (i.e., the chorus is more “conclusive” than the verse.)
The song’s melody has a climactic point that serves as a focus for the energy of the song, and it occurs somewhere in the chorus; (i.e., the song has an exciting moment.)
The melody of the bridge differs from the verse and chorus; (i.e., the bridge (if it has one) allows the singer a bit of musical relief to keep all elements of the song fresh.)
There is a seamless connection between the verse melody and the chorus melody; (i.e., the chorus continues logically and intuitively from the verse.)
The various melodies portray a mood that partner easily with the mood of the lyric; (i.e., the lyric and melody support each other.)
There are other things to keep in mind when assessing your melody. It needs to be supported by a good set of harmonies underneath. So sometimes we think that our melody has a problem when it might actually be the chord progression.
The good thing about a checklist is that it reminds us that the difference between a melody that works and a melody that flops might only be one or two small things. Before tossing a melody out, run it through the checklist and see if maybe the problem is solvable.
It takes more than a good melody to get a song to really work. Let Gary Ewer’s songwriters’ e-books show you how great songs work, and how to become a better songwriter right now. And along with the songwriting advice, you‘ll find tons of chord progressions you can use right now.
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