How to Write Original Vocal Melodies

Writing a new song is an involved process that requires experimenting with musical ideas.

Songwriters must be able to write original and creative melodies that appeal to their target audience. These melodies must be not only musically pleasing but written in a way that the vocalist can easily perform them. When it comes time to write a new vocal melody, there are some easy remedies for songwriter's block that will help almost any composer get out of a rut.

Developing Ideas

Play around on the piano to try and come up with some ideas for your song. Sometimes, playing the piano will give you inspiration for a new melody. Listen to and read the scores of music you like. You can't copy this music or even rewrite it to make it your own, but it will help give you a sense for how other composers create melodies.

Walk around your neighborhood or go for a hike. This sort of exercise has worked for numerous composers and songwriters, including Beethoven! Moving around and viewing the changing scenery often helps writers come up with creative ideas.

Improvise on an instrument that you specialize in. Try to avoid thinking about whether the music that is coming out is good or bad. Just experience the sounds coming from the instrument. Melodies have been known to surface from random playing.

Start with a rhythm. Sometimes the rhythm is all you need to jump-start an original melody. Rhythms are also usually easier to create and more primal in nature. Once you have the rhythm, experiment by assigning different pitches to the music.

Writing the Melody

Avoid writing large skips and leaps. These are harder to sing than stepwise music. If you are writing for an advanced performer, this should still be avoided when possible. Restrain the range to an octave or less. Most vocal music stays within the range of an octave because it makes it easier to sing.

Writing chromatic lines should be reserved for advanced singers. Generally, stick to major and minor scales to make it easier. Avoid writing extended lines that don't allow time for the vocalist to breathe properly. Sing the finished melody. The melody doesn't have to be sung in the correct range. Listen for how easy the melody is to sing, if it can be sung with only a few breaths and how well it fits the voice.

Modify the melody as necessary, and repeat steps as often as needed to get a suitable melody. Study privately with a composer to help you learn technique. Music composition can be taught online or in person. The aid of a professional composer can help you overcome any barriers you might face.


Don't write too high in the vocalist's range. Aim for the middle of the range. Decide on the voice type you will be writing for and check the range before writing. Give the vocalist time to rest while the rest of the ensemble plays. The voice shouldn't sing non-stop. Warnings Don't write complex music with a lot of skips and leaps or chromaticism for children.


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