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How to compose the best melody?

There is no perfect formula to be used to automatically make a song catchy. However, we may look at songs in the style that suits you and analyze them with the hopes of learning what elements we find. Let's look at the "happy birthday" song:

Key of C: Time signature ? Letter in () will designate the note in the scale. G^ will designate a octave higher than the previous note G. Also, the 2nd letter will designate the notes length w = whole note h = half note q = quarter note and e = eighth note *h = dotted half note

Therefore (G-e) will designate a G note an eighth note long.

(G-e) (G-e) (A-q) (G-q) (C-q) (B-*h)

Hap-py birth-day to you

(G-e) (G-e) (A-q) (G-q) (D-q) (C-*h)

Hap-py birth-day to you

(G-e) (G-e) (G^-q) (E-q) (C-q) (B-q) (A-h)

Hap-py birth-day dear some-one

(F-e) (F-e) (E-q) (C-q) (D-q) (C-*h)

Hap-py birth-day to you

What can we learn from one of the most memorable of all melodies?

The 1st 2 lines of this 4 line melody are very similar and "set up" the tune. The third line takes it on it's journey. It has a skip from a G note to an octave higher G note on the word "birth" and then provides some tension on the last note of that line with the A note.

The tension is resolved with the last line and the melody resolves very nicely on the "tonic" note of the scale which is the C. The tonic is the 1st note in the scale and the "home" if you will of any scale, the 1st note of a scale.

This melody spans 1 octave. The lowest note is a G and the highest note is a G twice as high, or one octave above the low G. Make note that a good melody will have enough of a span to keep things interesting, but also will not span to far from it's highest and lowest note so that people can easily sing along as well.

Many people have trouble singing the song the "Star spangled banner because it's span is so large. The song spans an octave and a half. In the key of C, it would start on a low C, pass by it's octave C and go on to the G note. When singing that song many people have to choose the key very carefully so that they can hit the low note C as well as the high note G.

The problem is that many people don't have much more if even a octave and a half range for their voice to begin with. If you're song spans one and a half octaves or more you may find people have a hard time singing it which may not be a wise thing. If your song spans only a half of an octave, it may not have enough range to make the melody interesting.

This song is in the key of C, but the melody starts on the 5th tone of that scale which is G.

We see that the song resolves nicely to the 1st tone of the scale C. That is why it sounds like it ends on "home base."

When you study melodies of songs you like, write out the number of the scales so that you can learn and analyze them as well. If you are looking to resolve the sound you'll know where to go, if you're looking for certain notes that provide tension you can consider those notes and tie them into chord progressions along with the melody and so on.

Your ideal melody is the one that people listen to quickly, are drawn into and find the irresistible urge to hum, sing and whistle for hours after hearing it.

The melody is interesting, and something they can duplicate themselves as it's "sing able" because it's range does not span to greatly.

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