Monthly Archives: February 2017

how to write vocal melodies

7 Tricks to Writing Beautiful Vocal Melodies

Some music, like classical, is perfect without words.

But for most other genres, a good vocal melody is key. Though sometimes it’s not as easy as it sounds coming up with one.

We’ll show you tricks and tips that’ll teach you how to write vocal melodies.

The basics of how to write vocal melodies

Just like anything else, there’s no one, tried-and-true way to write vocal melodies.

That’s probably a good thing because then we’d end up with all songs sounding the same way.

But, there are some basics concepts, along with a few common approaches that can help.

Brainstorm first, don’t edit (yet)

This is a trick writers use, too.

You need to get things down as they occur to you. Are they perfect? Not likely.

Are they all even useful? Maybe not. But, if you want to give yourself a severe case of writer’s block, write and edit at the same time.

Pretty soon your creativity is at a standstill, and so is your writing.

In the first phase of figuring out how to write vocal melodies, just write. Then you can go back and figure out what’s good, and what’s gotta go.

It’s better to find a gem or two and toss out three more, than have nothing to work with. And don’t just get rid of the other stuff.

Just because they don’t work in this song doesn’t mean they won’t work in your next one.

Pro tip: make sure you’ve always got a pen and paper handy, or a good voice recorder on your phone. You never know when inspiration can strike.

Make sure you’re ready to record it.

Skip the predictable

Turn on music services like Pandora, Google Music or SoundCloud.

There is a massive amount of music available to listeners right now. Who wants to hear a song that sounds mostly like the previous ten?

Skip the predictable riffs and rhythms. Try putting the accent on the weak beat, or use a hook.

Syncopation can be your friend, too. Sometimes when you’re trying to write a song, something gets stuck in your head.

But if it’s starting to sound predictable or vaguely familiar, maybe it’s time for a break.

Don’t get trapped chasing that same chunk of melody around on your keyboard or guitar. Take a walk, grab some coffee, take a shower.

Shake up your creativity so you don’t get stuck in a musical rut.

Write it, and then write it again

Chances are good that the very first melody to pop into your head isn’t perfect.

There’s not a single note and rhythm can’t be improved?

Even if you truly think that, try this trick. If it’s perfect, it’ll stay that way.

We’ll use the phrase “My song will be a hit” as an example.

Trying changing the emphasis, the notes, the rhythms as you move through the progression.

My song will be a HIT

My song will be A hit

My song will BE a hit

My song WILL be a hit

My SONG will be a hit

MY song will be a hit

You can try repetitive sounds or melodic hooks, too.

“My my my song will be a hit” or even start with an “oh oh oh”.

Think about a song like Beyonce’s “Single Ladies”. She uses both techniques very successfully.

(And did you notice how that song just got stuck in your head?)

Again, this process is still part brainstorming, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

Distinct, fresh and memorable

The song you’re writing is your song, no one else’s.

While yes, you’d like to be the next Bruno or Gaga, sounding like them isn’t the way. The best songs are written from a place of emotion within the songwriter.

You can’t duplicate that or fake it, and that’s what makes these songs memorable. That emotional narrative will give your melodies a distinct, memorable sound.

Mix it up

Let’s say you’re trying to write a country song.

So you’ve been listening to all sorts of different country songs. From bluegrass to honky tonk to classic country, you’ve listened to everything.

Now try switching genres to get a new perspective. And, you might even try genres that you don’t normally ever listen to.

Switch from country to rap, or hip hop. And over to rock.

Give your creativity something new to grab onto, it could do the trick.

How to write vocal melodies: try one section at a time

It may seem daunting to think about writing the entire vocal melody in one session.

Instead, think about the melody in sections. Maybe you’ll come up with a catchy rhythm that just writes itself.

Pretty soon, the first verse has built itself around that rhythm.

And if you don’t already have lyrics, leave those for last. Remember writer’s block?

Something similar happens when you try to mash words onto a particular section. And then the only sound you’ll hear is the sound of your teeth grinding in frustration.

No one said that a song has to be written from beginning to end, in a linear way, either.

It’s your song, write it the way you need to.

Contrast and variety

Keep your listeners interested by offering their ears variety.

Is the chorus built from short, choppy, hard driving rhythms? Change up the verses with something slower and more delicate.

Then, build a bridge that brings the two together in a smooth way. Most people don’t wear monochrome clothes (we said, most), so don’t give them mono-melody songs.

But be careful, there can be too much of a good thing. Your song shouldn’t have a bunch of different melodies fighting for the listener’s attention.

Most successful songs have two melodic concepts, so keep that in mind.

Whether you’re just getting your music career started, or you’re experienced in how to write vocal melodies, we want to hear from you.

Are these tips helpful? Any we missed?

Let us know in the comments below!

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

songwriting tips

The Best Songwriting Tips to Overcome Writer’s Block

Are you losing your train of thought every time you go to write a new song or finish up some old lyrics?

Whether you’re working on being a professional songwriter, or just looking for a few fun lyrics for yourself, writer’s block gets the best of us.

And if you’re not stuck now, it’s bound to happen at some point along your songwriting path.

Songwriting tips can only help so much if you aren’t able to get past a block.

If you’re currently burdened by a block, or just prepping for possible future frustrations, check out these songwriting tips that specifically help target and tackle writer’s block.

9 Songwriting Tips To Help You Beat Writer’s Block

1. Look For Inspiration In Unusual Places

Something as simple as your regular routine can cause writer’s block.

The first of our songwriting tips is to find inspiration in new places. So how do you do this?

Since writing in the same place every day or looking to the same source of inspiration every time is likely to get you stuck in a rut, remove yourself from this regularity.

If you’re used to writing lyrics inside, take things outside. Bring your guitar to the beach.

If the weather is keeping you indoors, you can even try writing music in a different room of your house.

In these new locations, you’re more likely to find inspiration to push you through your block.

2. Think About The Why, How, When, Where, And Who.

Ask yourself questions about the subject on which you are writing.

For instance, if your song is about a mysterious old woman, ask yourself the following questions:

Where does she go?

When will she get to where she is going?

Where did she come from?

How did she get there?

What is she doing?

Who are her friends? Does he have any?

What are her interests?

What are her dreams?

Who is she?

What is her history?

The point is, ask yourself as many questions as possible. This will help you come up with more new ideas.

3. Remix Things Up.

If you can’t get an original tune up and running, make a remix.

If you’re unable to pull an acapella file into your DAW and write around it, try removing it. It’s easy to remove the vocal later and turn your remix into an original.

4. Push Perfection Out Of Your Mind.

Are you worried about the perfection of a piece? Forget about it!

Always striving for perfection can, in fact, be a source of writer’s block.

While this may be one of the easiest song writing tips you’ll come across, it can also be the hardest as forgetting about perfection can be easier said than done.

But by constantly taking yourself out of the creative mindset to worry about excellence and critique your work, you’re simply setting yourself up to feel hit by a block.

Instead, when you’re writing, try to nurture your creativity. Do this instead of focusing on your ability to be perfect, and let the music or lyrics come as they are.

Don’t forget, once you’ve gotten everything down on paper, you can always go back and tweak things.

5. Get Your Stuff Straight.

What’s the secret key to creativity? Organization.

Believe it or not, clutter is the antithesis of creativity. Since it doesn’t allow you to think clearly and effectively, clutter keeps you from seeing all of the best possible options.

If you’ve ever wondered where your writer’s block comes from, a common cause can be your inability to effectively connect the dots between all of your writing efforts. This especially holds true if you are one to start a song, put it down, and pick it back up later to be finished.

So, get yourself organized and you’ll likely be more ready to write. To do this, outline your thoughts, record all of your ideas (either on paper or digitally), and keep your writing space clean and clear!

6. Spice Up Your Song Structure.

Don’t be afraid of being controversial. Instead, when it comes to your song structure, embrace it!

If you’re stuck on writing an intro-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus, try something new.

For example, how about shooting for something like this: chorus-verse-chorus-solo-chorus or two long verses with a hidden chorus and a solo.

In order to break out of your block, break out of your usual song pattern/structure as well!

7. Tap Into Yourself.

On the more obvious side of songwriting tips comes this: tap into your own experiences and feelings.

While this tip might not be such a big secret, don’t underestimate or overlook it.

Tap into who you are when writing songs in order to create honest music.

After all, honest music is how you’ll connect with more people, so isn’t it worth a shot?

Think of yourself as a listener: it’s easy to detect phony lyrics and ingenuine melodies.

Ask yourself: What am I feeling right now?

If you don’t have anything to pull from this answer, think back to a past experience that provoked a strong emotional response and draw from that memory.

Hold on to the emotion and use it as a driving force to create the story of your song!

8. Listen To Your Go-To Music To Get You In The Zone.

We all have those few tracks that remind us of why we got into making music in the first place.

Go back to your roots, and listen to music that inspired you to start doing what you love, or what presently inspires you to continue doing it.

If this doesn’t get the lyrics out of your mind and onto the paper, it will, in the least, help you get your head back into the right space and have those creative juices flowing freely once more.

9. Listen To Music Your NON-Go-To Music (To Also Get You In The Zone!).

If you need some new songwriting ideas, listen to a different type of music.

For instance, if you’re trying to figure out how to write a country song, listen to rock.

Go out of your way to seek out a few new songs. Look for those that you never thought you would listen to.

But just finding these tunes isn’t enough. Now, sit through the entire song(s).

While listening, pay attention and keep your mind open to ideas and techniques that you can take and fuse into the genre that you’re currently trying to create.

Over the years, what have you learned helps you to best beat the block and get into your creative headspace most successfully?

From professional songwriters, to those just dabbling in the art of songwriting, we want to hear about your best songwriting tips.

Let us know in the comments below!