Learning To Write Better Melodies (Also Chiptunes)

Read this article and attempted to apply it. The track ended up being a chiptunes kind of thing, though that wasn’t a conscious choice. Critique appreciated.

EDIT: new version

Haven’t read the article yet, but I like the tune. You could add more feel to the melodies by not rigorously quantizing the notes on the beat, but insert some slight delays, making it more human. That and play with the dynamics, the loudness of individual notes through varying the velocity over time, emphasizing sections / build ups.

I’m a melodic n00b myself and have yet to successfully compose a good progression, but a few tools have helped me build songs quicker regarding melody, namely:

Randomize notes
( http://tools.renoise.com/tools/randomize-notes ): mainly shuffling existing notes in a theme over a few patterns creating variations.


[b]Progressor /b: auto-generating chord structures to the shuffled melody lines.

I actually really like it! I think that perhaps the percussion is too prominent for a melodic piece, it’s like you’re trying to hide your melody.
Another thing is that the vibrato is constant. Instead of having it as a part of the instrument try having it as a part of the composition using the 0Fxy commands so that it seems more organic, you can also use the 02xx and 01xx at the end of notes with very small parameters to accent the following note. Musicians do this all the time with physical instruments and it sounds great on chipish instruments. And like Jonas said try and work more with the dynamics.

But none of these things are nearly as important as the actual composing and I heartedly agree with the article that the melody part is far too often overlooked in modern electronic music. I won’t recommend using tools while you’re learning however (do any of us really ever stop learning?). It’s much better to experiment so you know what you did when something worked so you can repeat that later. The best way I know to figure out the melody is actually just to jam, harmonics and rythm can be figured out with planning and theory but melodics are more felt, at least to me. But I think you’re doing fine concerning the melody maybe figure out a second motif so the melody ranges over more than a single octave and you’re good to go. ^-^

I tend to be very melody heavy and it’s actually been an issue for me. I’ve always found it hard to write because I have trouble repeating parts and keep writing constant melody after melody. It becomes a bit tiring and balance is key. I like the article you posted because it’s exactly how I try to do things. About six or so months ago I transitioned to chiptunes specifically to work on my song writing skills. I’ve worked at using pattern effects like the vibrato 0FXX and pitch bends 01XX and 02XX. I keep the song simple with 1 drum track, 1 bass, and 2 melody so I can focus on what’s important. Arpeggios commands still give me a lot of trouble but I’d like to get them under control. I’ve accomplished most of what I wanted with chiptunes so I’ve started to move on though will probably still create more chiptunes.

I think your effort is good. It has a well defined melody. It sounds a little random but sometimes that’s a good thing (not too predictable), it’s also not a memorable tune but that’s also not necessarily a bad thing (it depends on the mood you want to set). Melody isn’t necessarily about vibrato, pitch bends, arpeggios and such but it adds an organic feeling. The notes chosen are definitely the most important part while the small details convey more emotion.

My best chiptune is incomplete (95% done) so here’s my previous one.


Thanks for all the feedback. Finally got back around to this track and applied some of it. I put a wee bit of humanization on the drums, and used the vibrato as an accent instead of just going constantly. Also made the mix a little cleaner. New link in the first post.