How To Write A Good Melody

How To Write A Good Melody Composer, Rick DeJonge
  • Use the “Litmus Test” to help determine whether or not you have written a good melody. After playing your theme for someone else they should have it committed to memory after one listening and be able to hum it back to you.
  • Most all great melodies are singable and are connected through a line that comfortably follows a contour and shape that is organic to the untrained voice. If you are not a singer, force yourself to imagine someone else singing it. Even though the melody will be played by an instrument, it should always be singable.
  • The maximum range of a melody should be an octave and a fifth. Make note that a good melody will have enough span to keep things interesting, but also will not span too far from its highest and lowest note so that people can easily sing along.
  • Make sure it is clear and concise. Don’t meander. Listening to a song with an unfocused melody is like being a passenger in a taxi lost in a strange city with streets that twist and turn and you end up lost.
  • Force yourself to think simply. Don’t make the mistake of overwriting just for the sake of being clever.

This article is part of the 2012 / Colorado Music Educators Association Student Melody Commission Project. SEE HERE >>