Melodic Shaping

One of the things you should keep an eye on when writing music is the form of your melody. Very often, inexperienced composers fall into repeating short-breathed almost identical 2-bar phrases. While it is perfectly fine to do that once in a while and in the appropriate situation, it will prevent a melody to bring across a long melodic arc, even though the repeating “chunks” might form a 8- or even 16 bar melody. Essentially most longer melodies are sub-dividable. For instance very often you might find that 8 bar melodies can be subdivided into two groups of four bars or even four groups of two bars. However successful melodies also manage to vary their elements enough to stay interesting. If you keep repeating the same rhythmic 2 bar model four times and just change a few pitches, you will actually end up with an eight bar melody, however it will feel quite unmusical and uninteresting. So if you’ve come up with an interesting head motif for your melody, keep an eye on whether you incorporate enough variation and different elements to keep it interesting. By the way, that doesn’t mean to not repeat at all. In fact, repetition is one of the strongest elements in music. Just make sure to find a good middleground between “Yeah, cool, that motif again!” and “Oh no, that motif AGAIN!”


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