Songwriting Tips: Un-original Melodies Can Be A Good Thing
The moment that people create a melody which they feel is great, many think it already sounds like another song. This is common, and I suffered from this many times. What you've got to understand is that ALL SONGS are RECYCLED MELODIES.
Every song has a 'portion' of the tune which will be the same as another. So don't worry if you feel your song sounds like another.
What's important to know here is that if your melody is a familiar one, then that's a GOOD THING. I'm not talking about a 'rip off' here, I'm talking about a part(s) of your melody that sounds like another song(s).
Why is it a good thing? Because it means PEOPLE can RELATE TO THE MELODY even more. They will want to listen to your song because of the familiarity.
Remember, most people aren't songwriters. So chances are, most people won't even realize where it may or may not have been inspired from. And what if they do? Well... ultimately, as a whole, it will be your own words, your own tune and eventually with your own music. So it will be YOUR SONG. So don't fret.
Here, I'll share some methods that will jump start the process of creating a melody:
- Pick a song that you like and know *quite* well, and when you are NOT listening to it, hum the tune of the song. DON'T' SING THE WORDS, just hum the melody. This way, you will think 'melodically'. Eventually, you should force yourself to sing certain variations of the melody (ie. completely mess around with the tune). When this happens, you'll end with your own melody.
- If you play an instrument (it doesn't matter which or what level you are at) try and figure out the melody of another song on the instrument. If you figure it out easily, then mess around and CHANGE certain parts of it. Then SING (hum, la, etc) this CHANGED MELODY out aloud. If you can't figure it out, then forget about it! CREATE A MELODY YOU FEEL IS CORRECT! Again, don't prejudge while doing this. Just go where your fingers take you and just 'la' the tune simultaneously. Loop this melody once you feel you have something good.
- Grab a song that you DON'T KNOW AT ALL. Listen to the song once, and then listen to it again. The second time around, sing along to it. More than likely, you won't remember the tune. This is normal! What do you do now? Yup. You guessed it. MAKE UP YOUR OWN MELODY to this obscure song. NOTE: This one may work better if you bought a CD of backing tracks that have no guide vocals on the songs. This way, you HAVE TO make up your own melody to a track that's already playing. Just make sure you DON'T KNOW the songs....at all.
You have no idea how powerful this is. I've written fresh songs on one's I had no clue about! And believe me, they are original songs - they don't sound like a copy of anything at all. This is because of what I said earlier - ultimately it will be your own lyrics, your own message and your own music which then translates into your own song.
*Keeping The Melody Simple*
Lastly, there is absolutely no point in making a melody that's 'musically clever'. You're not trying to impress musicians here. What you want is to create a melody that's SIMPLE yet INTERESTING.
So how do you do this? Well, melodies often re-occur several times in a song. In fact, the verses and choruses alone will often have the tune repeating itself. It's the basic structure of nearly all songs under the sun. The verses will repeat and so will the choruses.
SO....IF THE MELODY SOUNDS WORTHY ENOUGH TO BE REPEATED, THEN YOU'RE ON TO SOMETHING.