How to make a song
Song composing tips
Each song consists of a backing and a melody. The backing provides the basis for the harmony and rythm. The basis of the harmony is captured by a scale, resulting in certain chords, and their relevant notes for the melody. Roughly stated: the current chord determines what melody-notes sound harmonic and what notes are dissonants.
When making a song it is good practice to have chords as a basis for the background and a melody harmonically playing on top of the chords. Each song is build up by a sequence of chords, called a chord progression. This progression is repeated multiple times (e.g. for a verse).
If the melody is build up only by notes from the current chord, then it sounds extremly harmonic, but tends to be boring. When playing notes belonging to the current scale it sounds harmonic and more modern, providing you more options to keep the listener interested. When tension is needed to e.g. Build up a climax or express anger then notes out of the scale can be used, be carefull with this as too much disonants will distract the listener.
Some rules of thumb
Scale: most commonly used are C, F, ... Up to 3 #/b. For dancable, uptempo, energyzing, ... Use the mamor scales. For sentimental, slow, ... Use the minor scales.
Chords: 1,4,5 are the primary chords. / 2 and 6 can be seen as replacements for chord 4 / chord 3 can be seen as replacement for chord 5 / 7 is a exceptionally used chord, leave this for later.
Progression samples: sample of common pop progression for C -scale: 1,6,4,5. Check our make music blog for interesting suggestions on chord progressions.
How to tell your story? It really starts out with a story. Think out a story line of what you would like to tell. Make the words rhythmically fitting. Now start to play the words on the keyboard, add intonation. Even for purely instrumental songs is this a good way to make the melody lively and keep it interesting.
What now still is missing is the structure of the song. A song is like a story, it has a beginning, main part and an ending. The beginning sets the scene, introduces you to the instruments, chords and main theme. The main part contains the details of the story in several verses and a refrain to regularly recap the message, to keep the tune recognizable. At the ending comes the conclusion, where it all leads to. This can either be a climax or a conclusion, e.g. that it is over.
For different parts of the song one can have different chord progressions. The progression for the refrain needs to be short and catchy, repeated two or three times (e.g. 4 measures progression repeated 3 times). The progression for the verse can be longer and less repeating. (e.g. 16 measures progression repeated twice) this enables you to tell your story.
Melody Music Maker
Melody Music Maker is an app created to help you with two of the most difficult tasks: finding the correct chords and transposing the melody to the correct notes. In short: Melody Music Maker holds the theory needed to compose songs. Each composition is build up by chords (the background) and a melody (the lead voice). The unique feature of the Melody Music Maker is the fact that the chords and melody notes are linked with each other. This results in a user interface where always the correct notes are provided to the user.
The app provides suggestions for next steps in the chord progression. The chords in red are a good starting point for your chord progression, as this is the basis chord for your song. It is good practice to start and end with the red colored chords. If you play a chord, then chords for the next step in your progression are suggested by colors. Chords in grey are also possible and will sound surprising to the listener, unexpected. This can be used to grab attention.
The suggestions in this app come from known chord progressions that sound natural to our ears. These progressions are commonly used by songwriters all over the world.
Once you play a chord on Melody Music Maker, then the melody area will get the same color as the current chord and the correct notes, fitting to this chord, will be shown.