In order to change the behavior of your guitar melodies you need to step outside the busy nature of ripping up and down scales.
Take the time to breathe and enjoy what each scale tone can do over the chords in the background. If melody matters to you, introduce a greater need to create space, to create melodic room and to promote serenity in your compositions.
In the creation of melody lines, we can quickly get caught up in going too fast. It's easier to finish one thing and then without thinking about having room or open space, we go on to the next.
Often times, when we are doing things that seem important to the composing of a melodic part, we rush through our phrases. This is why it is so important to slow down and compose in smaller chunks. Placing too much time within one sitting upon writing a large body of work can sometimes cause melodic phrases to lose their importance within the piece.
By taking more time to choose how a phrase operates in a song we can make better decisions about how a part will function. How is the melody flowing? Does the melody work to delay time, what it it's effect on rhythm and does it replace something in the song as it progresses? these are elements we need to study in our music for the really important things to occur: the things you love most about song-writing to occur.
BEGIN WITH CHORDS:
Since we harmonize lines around chords, they are an excellent place to begin. Start from the chord movements of a small group of chord changes. How do they make you feel? Can you sing a melody around those chords? Do they inspire you?
Chord progression Example:
Play the chord progression above. How does it make you feel? Do you think of phrases that connect slowly, quickly or moderately?
Sing a melody over the chords. Grab your guitar and play what you were singing.
Test scales and Arpeggios:
- "E Major"
- "E Major Pentatonic"
- "E Major" Arpeggios
Melodies need room to flow. Guitar players will too often play too many notes and licks without allowing for space to form. Instead of racing up and down scales or falling into playing licks, work out a flowing part that offers the melody room to breathe.
CHANGE THE TIME:
Manipulate the feel of the melodies you create. Be careful that you are not always playing the same rhythms over and over. Test other rhythms and other feels. Make sure you incorporate several note duration's.
Having a musical part shift from one statement into another promotes a lot of strong connections musically. When a theme is established you can build on that as the song evolves.
Force yourself to maintain a strong melodic theme in your song, and as the song shifts to new sections, carry the theme along. A great example of this is Pat Metheny's 1978 self-titled album. The theme from his piece Phase Dance [Pat Metheny Group (1978)] permeates across the entire album.
EXPERIMENT WITH FLOW:
Having the same flow might work in some cases, (hip-hop /dance), but as your music becomes more sophisticated the flow of the music will need to be addressed more seriously. Having melodic parts move through sections that promote different feels and react to space differently will enhance your music in many different ways.
By concerning yourself with themes, time, and the benefits of space in your music, you'll start producing music that flows in very different ways. And, the best part is that your music will always generate better connections to your audience.
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