Writing Great Melodies

CMG_PIANODo I have to be a musician to write great songs? Is it possible to become a successful Christian songwriter without learning to play piano or guitar? Is it possible for me to learn the secrets to writing great melodies, even though I’m primarily a lyricist? What if I am a musician, but struggle with writing great melodies?

If you find yourself asking any of these questions, read on.

While we’re all gifted and skilled in unique ways and at differing levels, it IS possible to grow in your knowledge, understanding, and execution of writing great melodies for your own lyrics or when working with others. Here are three key things you can start with today to learn how to get started writing great melodies.

#1) Start with the basics. Melodies are simply patterns of notes put together to form a singable “line.” We only have 12 notes in the musical scale, so that’s what we work with. In The Craft of Christian Songwriting, writer/arranger Robert Sterling points out, “Twelve notes. Twelve simple notes. That’s all we have in our musical toolbox. Every melody ever written in Western civilization, from Bach to the Beastie Boys, has been composed with those same twelve notes.” So the place to start your journey in writing great melodies is to learn the twelve notes in the scale by humming them or getting someone to show you on a keyboard how to play them.  (more…)

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