6 Tips for Writing a Song Melody That Grabs Audience Attention

Read these 6 tips for helping your song melody come to life.

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Piano keyboard, microphone and musicWhat makes melody writing difficult? Most songwriters can come up with pieces and snippets of melodic ideas that sound great, but what do you do to make a song melody captivating, where a listener is engaged from beginning to end?

There are lots of things to watch for, but here are six that may target the problems y0u’re having:

  1. Consider repetition to be an important part of a good melody. Repeating short melodic ideas, whether that repetition is exact or approximate, is an important contributor to making a melody memorable. So find a short, catchy melodic idea, and then see what happens when you repeat it over and over, with different chords underneath. You’ll find that many hit songs use this technique.
  2. Keep your melody contained. A melody that spans more than an octave-and-a-half are generally too difficult for average folk to hum or sing. That means fewer people singing your songs, and more people having trouble remembering it.
  3. Start melodies low, and then move them higher. This corresponds with a basic musical energy principle, that songs gain energy as they progress. Save your highest notes for the chorus, and if you use a bridge, put your highest notes near the end of that section.
  4. Keep the rhythm of your chorus melody simple. Particularly the part of your melody that contains the title, allow rhythms to elongate. So verse rhythms can be short, syncopated, and otherwise rhythmically busy, a chorus should simplify to extract as much emotional energy from the lyric as possible.
  5. Put emotionally-heightened words in high spots of a song melody. In “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, think of how powerful the word “somewhere” becomes just by virtue of the fact that its second syllable leaps up a full octave. It grabs the audience’s heart in an incredibly emotional lunge.
  6. Melodies are only “right” if you like them. A melody can show all the qualities of the world’s best, but still fail to make an impact. There’s an extra, undefinable quality of “likability” that’s hard to compute. Sometimes, a good melody is elusive. If you’ve written one, and it’s not sparkling for you, put it aside and look for something else.

______________Gary Ewer

Written by Gary Ewer. Follow on Twitter“The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” eBook Bundle packages look at songwriting from every angle, and have been used by thousands of songwriters. How to use chords, write melodies, and craft winning lyrics.  Read more..

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  1. Thanks for the advice. But please I need more as I am pationate for music and love to be a musician, so please I think I would be needing your help.

  2. Pingback: Interesting Links For Musicians and Songwritiers – July 15, 2015 | Creative Music | Inspiring Musical Creativity

  3. All the above are great principles of songwriting , the hardest part for
    learning writers is taking out that line you have fallen in love with,
    because it’s not helping the verse or chorus to gell in a way that makes
    the song mmemorable.

    Great lines only stand out when they are wedded to Great music

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