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Add a Melody: First Steps

Next: Chord Patterns: Phrases and Repetition
How to Write Music Contents

by Conrad Albrecht

Start adding a melody to your chords in ChordSong with these simple steps. We assume you already have a short chord progression (like the one from Create a Chord Progression: First Steps):

(If you don't see a melody staff like this below your chords in ChordSong's main window, here's how to show it).

Prepare To Create Notes

First set up ChordSong's melody elements:

1. Click the Start Note tool in ChordSong's Tools window to place the mouse in "note mode".


(If the Tools window is not showing, use ChordSong's Tools > Tool Box menu command to show it.)

2. Enlarge the staff (using the Zoom button on ChordSong's toolbar) for easier note placement with your mouse.

Chord Tones Sound Good

Notice that some of the pitch bars in the ChordSong melody staff are tinted green (white-green or gray-green). These green pitches are chord tones (notes in the chord). For example, in the staff pictured above, the chord for the first measure is G; the pitches in a G chord are G, B, and D; so all of the G, B, and D pitches in the first measure are tinted green.

Chord tones almost always sound good. Most of the notes in most songs are chord tones, especially the longer and stronger notes. So if you're a beginning melody writer, picking the green-tinted pitches is an easy way to find notes which sound good.

Play the Staff to Hear Notes

You can "play the staff" with your mouse to just hear notes before you add them to your song. To do this, just right-click (with your right mouse button) anywhere in the melody staff. Clicking higher on the staff plays higher notes; clicking lower plays lower notes.

When you play the note, the chord above the staff plays along with it, so you can hear how they sound together.

Remember that very often the green-tinted pitches sound best with the chords.

Create a Few Notes

Now left-click in the staff to create notes. For example, you could click on beat 2 to create this note:

Then click on beat 2½ to create another note:

Then click on beat 3 to create a third note:

Notice that I made these three notes repeated notes; all three notes are on the same pitch. Of course, you can use different pitches for different notes, but popular melodies use repeated notes more often than you might think.

Listen to Your Melody

Place ChordSong's song position cursor at the beginning of your song (the Ctrl+Home keys will do this). Then click ChordSong's Play button to hear what you've done.

What Next?

Here are some things you can do next:

Next: Chord Patterns: Phrases and Repetition
How to Write Music Contents

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