How to Approach Writting Melody by Ear

Most all music programs teach reading skills that involve an instrument. This produces a student that can read, but rarely can create music without the music notation that directs the actions of the performance.

Music readers are very intelligent and can learn to play with great skill, but take the music away and they are creatively challenged to play beyond what the have memorized. I played in college technically differcult pieces for recitals. The recitals were mandatory to pass many of the courses in music.

Music is a universal language that developed long before the skills of notation came about. Now we have more written music than ever dreamed possible. Music penned by honored musical geniuses.

The Sounds in my head go round and Round

If you have listened to music in the last 3 or 4 hundred years, you are of western culture, as most Americans and Europeans are, You have developed a “Western Ear” for tonality.
You can determine what sounds good as opposed to something sounding wrong. Music is not about good or bad, but what you prefer to hear.

Eastern music may not be your choice of music, but it’s a cultural thing. Like “The Beatles” you can grow to like it and accept the sounds of India and play those sounds too. It’s all up to what you value; that is OK with me.

The mix of notes, scales, chords, and tabor are vast. The ability to simplify western music down to a single reference pitch is essential tool to grasping all the different pitches that are related to that particular ‘Reference Pitch’. I am not saying all notes are one pitch, but all notes relate to a universal note called “Key”.

What is a “Key” and is it “Universal”?

The Idea that “Key” is one, is true until it changes to a different one, but this is not the case in most music we listen to.

Therefore, when a key changes, which is possible, then the new key becomes the new ‘universal truth’. We automatically support the change as the new ‘Key Center’.
Right now, this is subconscious that this new key has changed at all. The new key is just accepted as the new center of our piece.

What “Key Center” is.

In Western Music there are 12 pitches. Each pitch is spaced a semitone apart from the next pitch. I don’t have perfect pitch, so I hum a note that is not to high or to low. That note is my center reference pitch. It is ‘My Key Note’. I practice away from the piano or guitar, so that I won’t be distracted by having to know the actual pitch or frequency of the pitch.

As musicians go, only very few of them have perfect pitch. Having this can be a hindrance or crutch to developing ‘Relative Pitch’, which can be developed be gently practicing what you do know from being exposed constantly to ‘Western Music Culture’.

Should I be Concerned About Perfect Pitch?

It would be great to hear a random pitch and say, “Oh, that’s an ‘E-flat’ and be correct, but that’s a gift that very few are born with. You can not develope this sensibility to sound as must as you can become servant.

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Conclusion

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