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The Three Biggest Mistakes Musicians & Songwriters Make When Writing Melodies

Do you know the 3 biggest mistakes musicians and songwriters make with writing melodies that kill their results?


If you want to create a catchy hook and avoid the melody writing mistakes that stop most people dead in their tracks, read this immediately because the mistakes and what to do instead are inside this article.


Mistake #1: Being too quick to just steal a melody from another song


Do you want to get slapped by your mother? Or how about a lawsuit? I shouldn’t have to tell you that you shouldn’t steal, but…

DON’T FUCKING STEAL


Given that there are so many more things at play in music than just the notes, it can be said that lots of music sounds similar, and melodies may be shared. But don’t kid yourself that you can just take whatever you want whenever you want.


You do not want to be on the receiving end of a lawsuit, or even just an accusation that you are a hack that rips off from other people. Some might say that as a hater to throw shade, but you never want to be in a situation where they are actually telling the truth.


It is genuinely not difficult to apply music theory knowledge to this situation where you like something and you transform it into something else while still retaining the aspects that make it a good melody.


Analyze the relationships of the melody notes and the chords underneath them. Look at which melody notes are being emphasized. Try to emulate certain rhythmic patterns within a melody.


Trust me when I say a little bit of homework now can save you a ton of headaches later.


Mistake #2: failing to rewrite or revise melodies


When an idea comes along, and it works, it is a great feeling. And you should be pleased with yourself because this is an accomplishment. But don’t assume that the melody is what it is and it can’t be changed.


How many times will this melody be played throughout the entire song?


5 times? 10? 30?


You eat the same piece of bread thirty days in a row, it's going to get stale. and music is the same way.


Obviously when you find that hook that slaps, the first instinct is to put it in as much as possible. But the ear gets tired and can lose interest, even if what it is hearing was enjoyable at first.


Make a genuine effort to revise and add embellishment to your melodies to breathe new life into them. Each time they are heard, a slight variation ensures that it will have a much longer shelf life.


Each little detail adds up to a lot of differences that keep a song from feeling repetitive and boring, and you want your audience to need your songs on repeat, don’t you?


Mistake #3: not taking any chances with your melodies


People find where they are most comfortable and stay there. It is an easy mistake to make. But go back and look at the last handful of melodies you have written.


Are they all minor?


Do they always follow the same chord progression?


How often do you use that little trick where your melodies repeat from the 5th to the 3rd (known as the insufferable “millennial whoop” overused in modern pop music for the last decade)?


Writing your own music probably started as a pursuit of building something all your own. You knew you had something in you that needed to be shared with others.


How are you going to stand out if you sound the same as everyone around you?


If everyone is speaking in unison, saying the same thing, can you easily pick out any single person, and say they are doing it better than anyone else?


The good news is that even the slightest or subtlest difference is often enough to gain attention. And when that happens, the attention is genuine. People will like you for the music, not for the similarity to other music.


The goal is to build an audience of YOUR fans, not people who will drop you once the fad has run its course.



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