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Old 01-15-2019, 05:06 PM
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Doug Young Doug Young is offline
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Originally Posted by washy21 View Post
Iím desperate to write a nice melody as well.

I donít tend to think in terms of scales but rather I think of chord tones because my brain just comprehends this way of thinking. Obviously you will most likely use scale tones but for some reason using scales makes my attempts sound like scales.

Personally, and I know itís off topic, but I have been experimenting with using secondary dominants but Iím not sure how this would work within a DADGAD framework.
Certainly you can use Secondary Dominants - or any chord - in DADGAD, but as you say, nothing really to do with melody.

Thinking in terms of chordal notes is certainly a fine way to approach things. But I think in general, any mechanical approach has limits when writing a melody. Starting from some geometric pattern on the guitar, whether that's a scale or arpeggios might work as a starting point, but might also just sound like you're playing scales or arpeggios. Composing is a complex topic - or it can be simple - put down the guitar and sing or whistle a few notes and you'll have at least the start of a melody, there's really no "wrong" melodies. Most of us are sufficiently steeped in pop music that you will probably naturally create a reasonable melody, and the key notes will naturally gravitate toward chordal tones with other notes of the scale as passing tones.

(Note that, if to be perfectly technical *all* notes of the scale are "chord tones" of one kind or another, if you go up the chain of chord tones, 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, that's all 7 notes of the scale, just in a different order. But I imagine you mean the basic triad tones).

In any case, there are lots of books as well as online resources on composing, melodic development, and so on that you can draw on. I just searched on "how to write a melody" and got lots of interesting hits - I haven't checked them out, so I can't recommend any specific one, but the info's out there!
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Old 01-19-2019, 09:51 AM
Dino Silone Dino Silone is offline
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Originally Posted by jim1960 View Post
I just gave a listen to the first two songs that came up for you on Soundcloud and you stayed within whatever key you were playing.

You can make that determination fairly easily by finding the most common chords within the key. Those will usually be the I, IV, V and VIm. If you want the full gamut, for any key it's I-IIm-IIIm-IV-V-VIm-VIIdim. The notes in the chords will be notes in the key.

For example, if you're playing in the key of C major, the notes in the scale are CDEFGABC (no flats or sharps). Now look at the notes in each chord:
Dm - DFA
Em - EGB
Am - ACE
Bdim - BDF
(note: the V with often be a 7th chord)

It's pretty much the same for minor scales except we reorder it. The relative minor of C is Am, so we begin there:
Am - ACE
Bdim - BDF
Dm - DFA
Em - EGB

Notice the chords are all the same, it's just that we start on the VIm of the major scale. That becomes Im of the minor scale. Thus Im-IIdim-III-IVm-Vm-VI-VII.

I suspect that you're actually staying within a key without realizing it. In your "hunt and peck" method, you hear good notes and sour notes. The sour notes are likely outside of the key.

I've kept this very basic but you'd really benefit from learning the Circle of Fifths. There are tons of videos on it.
Here’s where I’m a little confused by this:

First, a story: I was in the local GC a few weeks ago, and there was a “jazz snob” in the acoustic room, pontificating about all things guitar. He said, “Most people don’t understand that the blues is diatonic...”. I’ve been listening to and playing the blues since the 1960s, and I have to disagree that it’s strictly diatonic.

In the list of chords above, the following are ignored, all of which introduce notes that are not in the major scale, whose “introduced notes” are used as melodic components, and that represent more than chromatic passing tones:

Root dominant 7th. (Introduces flatted 7)
II-maj. (Introduces flatted 5)
III-maj. (Introduces flatted 6)
IV-dominant 7th (Introduced flatted 3)
VI-maj (Introduces flatted root)

That adds up to all 12 tones.

These aren’t anamolous chords to use in traditional folk/pop music at all, and they keep popping up all the time. Take the “Alice’s Restaurant” changes (which show up all over the place, with some variation, e.g. “What’s That Smell Like Fish, Mama?”), or the “Woman Be Wise” changes, which are also very common in early blues and jazz. And then there are the “circle of 5ths” changes, like “Rag Mama Rag”, or “Hey Joe”.

So maybe I’m not getting this diatonic thing...
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Old 01-19-2019, 11:53 AM
Standicz Standicz is offline
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For me rule nuber one is inspiration.

By that I mean I listen to a lot of various music all the time and I pick the approaches I like. Of course I mostly listen to music I do like, but genres vary greatly, even nationalities. I also sometimes listen to things I don't like that much and I try to find out why exactly is that so I can avoid it.

When making a song, I often utilize something I liked somewhere, either knowingly or subconsciously. The music of the whole romaticism era was based on that idea.. People like Dvorak or Smetana, even Mozart and countless others utilized folk tunes for their composition.

You can do very fine with the simplest 12 bar blues or 3 chord (and the truth ) country for all your musical life, if that's your thing, many good performers did.

It is like vocabulary, I don't make words up, even phrases, but the song should be original and from the heart as a whole, not note by note. I heard very famous artists say the same thing many times..

Giorgio Vasari in his Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects advises to pick a master and basically copy him until you are advanced enough to come up with your own style.

Tommy Emmanuel very often talks of "stealing" his licks from Chet Atkins and how he hopes other people will steal things from him and then somebody steals it from them.

and here are some famous film directors, Jim Jarmush and Godard

“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery - celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from - it’s where you take them to."
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Last edited by Standicz; 01-19-2019 at 04:19 PM.
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