How To Write A Melody For Beginners?

October 8, 2022 by No Comments

A great melody is a trait shared by all successful songs. A strong melody can easily make or break a song, so one of the best skills any musician can have is the ability to compose memorable melodies over chord progressions. But if you’ve never written a song before, it can be difficult to learn the craft of melody writing.

To help you quickly create your own melody, we’ll break down the melody writing process step by step. We’ll also discuss what makes a good melody and how to get past writer’s block so you can write without difficulty. Let’s dive into it!

What Is A Melody?

In its most basic form, a melody is a series of notes intended to stick in the listener’s mind. A melody is something you intuitively understand. One great example of a melody everyone knows is “Happy Birthday”. Here is what that melody looks like on MIDI.

These notes have a specific structure, moving in a mostly stepwise motion to get to the focal point of the high “C” or the climax “happy” that everyone tends to sing a bit off-key at birthday parties.

However, this is only one melody. There are a lot of wonderful melodic writing techniques, and melodic ideas can range from many skips to only steps, long notes to short notes, or anything in between. In the context of the song as a whole, good melodies are simple to recall.


What Elements Make Up A Melody?

Duration and pitch make up the two main parts of a melody. In music theory, every note vibrates at its own distinct frequency, which determines its pitch—how “high” or “low” it sounds. Duration is the length of time a note is held. A quarter note, for instance, is a note that is one-fourth the length of a measure in 4/4 time. The length of the breaks between notes is another aspect of duration.

3 Types Of Melodies

With one notable exception, most melodic ideas originate from either a chord progression or a scale.

  1. Chord-based melodies: Some lyricists begin by creating a series of chord changes before beginning to write the melody. They then create melodies using the notes that make up each chord, or chord tones.
  2. Monotone melodies: Technically speaking, rhythmic patterns with no variation can also be melodies. This category includes some hip-hop vocal riffs as well as some EDM dance beats. This doesn’t imply that every drum beat functions as a song’s melody, but rather that a rhythmic pattern can act as the melody for a specific section of a song if no pitched sounds are added on top of it.
  3. Scale-based melodies: A specific scale or mode’s notes make up scale-based melodies. For instance, a melody in the key of C major might only use the notes that make up the scale’s major third (this is indicated by the absence of sharp or flat notes in the key signature). Although major and minor scales typically have seven notes (some minor scales have more), you can still create a beautiful melody with fewer notes. Pop music production frequently uses pentatonic scales, which have only five notes.

What Makes A Great Melody?

Great melodies can take many different forms, but when honing your melody-writing skills, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind. Here are some common factors between great melodies:

1. Strive To Create A Memorable Melody

Simple melodies can sometimes be the best because they are the easiest for everyone to remember. Better melodies are extremely memorable and purposefully repeat phrases to increase the catchiness. A good melody is one you can carry around.

2. Great Melodies Have An Arc Of Some Sort.

Like songs, most melodies have a distinct beginning, climax, and ending. A melodic phrase that moves through a scale of notes while being lyrical or melodic constitutes a melody. Excellent melodies have a distinct form and focal point that aid in delivering their message.

3. A Scale Is Effective For Strong Melodies.

You’ll typically want your preferred melody to be in the scale you’re using. The strongest three or four notes in a particular scale are frequently highlighted in great melodies.

Why Are Melodies Weak?

Knowing what to do and what not to do is equally important in the field of music education. A melody may be weak due to the following factors.

A Weak Melody Don’t Center Around A Scale.

You shouldn’t just pick notes at random when creating a melody. While deviating from your usual scale for poetic effect or during a chord change may make sense, most of the time, keeping your melody within the key makes it much easier for a melodic phrase to gel with the rest of a song.

A Weak Melody Has No Structure.

By smoothly transitioning from the lowest note to the highest note, powerful melodies are able to gain momentum and carry energy. A succinct musical idea with shape and contrast that carries the composition’s central theme is the foundation of a powerful melody.

How To Write A Melody?

1. Find Your Scale

Finding a scale to start with will help you to create a melody that will stick. If you haven’t decided on the sound of the instrumental backing, you could base this on a chord progression or start with a scale.

A melody composed using a major scale will typically sound happier than melodies created using a minor scale. Work with something basic like the key of C major if you don’t know where to begin. All of the natural notes, or C D E F G A B, make up the c major scale. Use the c major pentatonic scale, which is represented by the notes C D E G A, to make it even simpler.

2. Expand A Top Of Chord Progression

It might make sense to create a major or minor chord progression after choosing the notes you want to use so that you have a foundation from which to riff. You can look up common chord progressions online or even use a backing track from YouTube if you don’t know how to build chords.

3. Start With The Beat And The Lyrics.

Sometimes it’s simpler to work out the rhythm and lyrics before you start playing your melody. See what sticks by attempting to speak various phrases over your looped chords. You might discover that one type of phrasing functions better than another.

4. Improvise

The process of learning to compose a melody involves a lot of intuitive work. Start singing or playing the notes in your pentatonic scale or another scale over the created backing track using your voice memos or recording device. You can begin to include those elements as well if you’ve developed a set rhythm or lyrics.

5. Focus On The Melody For The Verse

Since the chorus melody is under so much pressure, it can be simpler to work on the melody in the verse of a song first. Consider starting by creating the melody for the verse. Once you know the context of the verse, you might discover that writing a new melody for the chorus comes naturally to you.

6. Create A Range Of Possibilities

You can create a melody in a variety of ways. Spend some time thinking of various melodic options. Try out different high-note climaxes, slightly alter the rhythm or even different lyrics.

7. Let The Melodies Sit

Allow your melody options to sit before settling on one. You can tell which songs stuck in your head and which didn’t when you return.

8. Edit As Needed

Take your time to make any necessary edits. Many melodies in music aren’t perfect when they’re first written. Work on your melody until it sounds polished, professional, and catchy. After all, great melodies can make or break music.

9. Rinse And Repeat

It takes practice to develop into an amazing melody writer. It will get simpler the more you write melodies. Spend some time honing this skill and trying out various melody writing processes to see what works best for you.

Tips For Excellent Melody Writing

It can be difficult to write melodies, but with a few pointers, you’ll be able to quickly find the ideal chorus melody for your music. Here are a few tricks that musicians employ to write powerful melodies for great songs.

1. Use A Melody Maker.

There are many MIDI and melody generator tools available that are definitely worth looking into. While you shouldn’t rely entirely on these resources, you can use them as a source of inspiration, taking just a few notes or coming up with a different melody for your song. These generators can produce amazing inspiration if you’re really stuck.

2. Spend Some Time Getting Inspired.

Finding inspiration can occasionally be the key to overcoming writer’s block or rewriting a song with a bad melody. When you listen to your favorite music, pay close attention to the melody’s structure. Observe how a great song combines melody and rhythm, and how it frequently employs motif writing to make a melody more memorable.

3. Locate The Chords Or Other Components.

Not every melody will come to you in the same way, so keep that in mind. You might start with chord tones on some songs. On others, the lyrics themselves or even the chorus melody may come first. Give yourself permission to try out various techniques in search of the perfect melody for a given track. When you want to write better music, sometimes inverting your process will help.

4. Learn From Listening.

Writing melodies is a skill that must be developed over time, just like anything else. Replaying your own songs can help you learn. Which songs have the strongest melodies? Take lessons from your own music and some of your favorite songs, and apply them to the songwriting process you use to create your own music.

5. Work On The Melodies You Have.

Not everything good is simple. In order to come up with a better melodic idea, you may occasionally need to refine your initial idea. Try experimenting with editing your melody one note at a time or adding new lyrics if you’re not entirely happy with it. Believe that sometimes tweaking is just what you need to make your melodic phrase come together flawlessly.


Great songs can be made with less than just your melody. But it’s the most crucial component. Use contrast and repetition of melodies. Study your role models. Create music that speaks to you. To begin creating songs that you and others will enjoy singing, follow these steps.