Writing vocal melodies can be a challenging but rewarding task for any musician. Not only do they add depth and emotion to a song, but they also give the lyrics a unique personality and identity. If you’re looking to improve your skills in this area, we have some epic exercises for you to try out.
Here are five essential exercises for mastering vocal melodies:
1. One word
Take just one word and make a melody for it. This is a common technique in popular music, and a great way to bring out a notable word in your song. You can start by using your own name, or any other word that inspires you. As you work on this exercise, pay attention to how the melody enhances the meaning of the word, and how it changes the overall mood of the song.
2. The shape of the melody
Take a phrase and write a vocal melody that moves up. Then, write a melody that moves down. This exercise is all about the overall shape of the melody, rather than each individual note. As you work on these melodies, think about how the pitch direction changes the meaning and emotional impact of the words. You might find that a melody that moves up feels more uplifting and hopeful, while a melody that moves down feels more melancholy and introspective. You can then experiment with more complex and varied melody shapes for your lyrics.
3. Two Notes and a Chord progression
Take a phrase and use only two notes for the melody, while modifying the underlying chord progression. This exercise is a great opportunity to explore the relationship between chords and emotions, and how they can change the meaning of lyrics. By using only two notes, you’ll be forced to focus on the chord progression and how it impacts the overall mood of the song.
4. Multisyllabic words
Come up with a phrase that has many multisyllabic words, and experiment with rhymes to emphasize the stressed syllables. This exercise is a fun way to play with language and see how different rhymes can change the meaning and emotional impact of a phrase.
5. Stress the emotional words
Take a phrase and explore different ways to emphasize the most important, typically the most emotional, words in that phrase. This can be done through a shift in pitch, rhyme, or chords. Pay attention to how these changes affect the meaning and emotional impact of the words.
Vocal melodies are amazing because they combine the power of language and music. By experimenting with these exercises and honing your skills, you’ll be able to create melodies that truly bring your lyrics to life and give your songs a unique personality and emotional depth.