Harmony and melody
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Old 06-30-2015, 07:14 PM   #1
masan671
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Harmony and melody

Hey guys, a question here. Do you prefer to write a melody and come up with a harmony based on the melody or do you write a harmony and pick out the notes to create a melody based on the harmony? Is there any pros and cons to either techniques? thanks guys

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Old 06-30-2015, 07:48 PM   #2
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Re: Harmony and melody

I tend to think of things rather harmonically when I start working on something new, and add more melodic stuff in later on if I feel like I need some kind of melody in my track. I play bass though, so I'm used to thinking more about the groove than the melody. I'd say both have their various pros and cons, so it might be a good idea to try both and see what gets the best results for you.
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Old 06-30-2015, 07:52 PM   #3
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Re: Harmony and melody

both work fine.

sometimes you just want the chords first for inspiration or otherwise and you can play around that (good instruments to write on; piano, organs, strings, padish instruments can also work, make techno stabs and play around with that, or reggae skanks) there lots of ways to carry chord structure, lay down framework with this instrument and play around it.

others maybe you just have a one line melody going that you like (most instruments work well to write one liners on even vocals, bass)

Bass can play chords also ofc, play notes, make individual layers of each note, mix them to taste
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Old 06-30-2015, 07:56 PM   #4
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Re: Harmony and melody

I find this type of question odd to be honest. Growing up with music my opinion is the two are more intertwined than standing alone. You could argue that playing chords is "starting out with harmony" but then I would argue that the root note of the chord is what your ears are going to hear and that would be a basic melody line. To me harmony is a more conscious decision once you get more specific with melody. The process is a ping ponging back and forth as you compose. But in general I believe harmony, even if you start with chords, is subordinate to melody.
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Old 06-30-2015, 10:31 PM   #5
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Re: Harmony and melody

Improvising. In my head or with my mouth. Or playing a guitar, or playing a MIDI controller. Making melodies and harmonies over chords...or playing chords to fit the melody and harmony.
Whatever works. Both/all ways work for me.

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Old 06-30-2015, 10:31 PM   #6
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Re: Harmony and melody

Neither. I avoid both.
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Old 06-30-2015, 11:43 PM   #7
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Re: Harmony and melody

I started by playing drums in an alternative rock band. Mainly to fight boredom and express my feelings. I was 16 yrs old and i was bored a lot. Synths were later on, but what always inspired me was the expression of feelings. Making music is a kind of expression AND communication. You communicate your moods or on of your songs moods to the audience.
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Old 06-30-2015, 11:59 PM   #8
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Re: Harmony and melody

good way to do it is write bass line and melody at once, flesh out chords later.
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Old 05-07-2016, 07:01 AM   #9
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Re: Harmony and melody

Mostly get melodies from hearing things over harmony. It's all about harmony imo. It can take the same melody to so many different places.
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Old 05-13-2016, 10:48 AM   #10
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Re: Harmony and melody

I mostly base my melody on the harmony if I make a remix , but if I make an original trak I mostly start with the melody, because then I have more freedom to write complex and more special harmonies, when I make a remix I need to stick to the harmony,scale and melody of the song that I remix. But also when I remix, I like to play with the harmony as well to get a different harmoy from the original song....
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Old 05-14-2016, 09:11 AM   #11
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Re: Harmony and melody

You can do either, or neither. If you make your melody without giving harmony a single thought, it is embedded with any number of potential harmonies. There are underlying physical and psychological reasons for that. But you don't need to know the technicalities to make a good harmony to an existing melody.

And the reverse is true. A string of harmonies, for similar reasons, have any number of implied melodies.

You can make tunes without giving any thought to melody or harmony. Starting with rhythm, texture and timbre is a great way to make electronic music. This too, for similar reasons, will have a bunch of implied harmonies and melodies, which you can either leave abstract or consciously emphasise.

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Old 09-03-2016, 02:11 PM   #12
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Re: Harmony and melody

Yes I also think harmonically in general (in a sort of modal harmony, Debussy is one of my favorite composer) with block chords that kinda blend harmony and melody together. At least the musicians (like Bill Evans) and composer who proceded that way are amongst my favorite musician and maybe their influence can sometime be perceveid in my electronic music.
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Old 11-06-2016, 06:37 PM   #13
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Re: Harmony and melody

Quote:
Originally Posted by masan671 View Post
Hey guys, a question here. Do you prefer to write a melody and come up with a harmony based on the melody or do you write a harmony and pick out the notes to create a melody based on the harmony? Is there any pros and cons to either techniques? thanks guys
It's hard to come up with an original melody out of the blue. Usually you'll start looping a chord sequence and playing melodies on top of it; at some point something will come out that is original enough, but it can take days or weeks to get it finalized.
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Old 01-02-2017, 11:44 PM   #14
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Re: Harmony and melody

I'm more in line with Muse-ic in thought; that both influence each other and you often bounce back and forth.
On the other hand, if I have a tune pop into my head, it's likely a phrase of a melody and then I go plop that melody down, then find the backing for it, and then I circle back to the melody to see if any adjustments in the melody would benefit the movement of the backing so that the backing isn't just plotting along without dynamics.

One of the faults to watch out for in starting with a melody and then circling everything around that melody is a harmony and backing that is bland because it's only computationally present to support the melody like scaffolding. So if you do start with the melody, make sure to double-check the harmony and backing afterwards without the melody on to ensure that you don't end up with a bland background/accompaniment.

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