Composition How To Music

Tip for Writing Melodies

In this blog post I will write about an idea that can help you with writing musical melodies. I believe there are really no “good” or “bad” melodies. Art is subjective. What might be a bad melody to you may be brilliant to someone else. That being said, here are some ideas you can use to make your melodies more interesting.

Steps and Leaps

Take the first 5 notes of the C major scale. C D E F G. Play them as a melody. This would be considered a “step-wise” melody. Using step-wise melodies within a song can sound nice because the notes are all close together so the melody sounds very smooth. If you use step-wise motion too much though, the melody can start to sound almost like you are practicing a scale. It can start to sound a bit boring.

What you should do is use a combination of steps and leaps in your melodies. In melody writing, a “leap” is when you do not use the note next to the note that you are currently on. For example, moving from the note C to the note E is considered a leap. Similar to step-wise only melodic activity, melodies using only leaps are not always pleasant for the ear either. Try improvising a quick melody now using only leaps and you will soon hear how your ear wants you to incorporate a step-wise melodic move again.

The melody for “Twinkle Twinkle” is a good example of a combination of steps and leaps within a melody. The melody starts with a leap, C to G, followed by step-wise melodic motion. Try playing this melody now. Think about the varied use of steps and leaps within it and you will hear what I am talking about.


When writing a melody, try using a combination of steps and leaps in your writing. You may already do this naturally in your melodic writing but it is good to think about from a theoretical perspective. Remember, if you use all step-wise motion in a melody, it can start to sound scalar and restricted. Try incorporating leaps into your melodies but balance them with step-wise activity.

Thank you for reading this quick tip on melodic writing today and I will write more blog posts on melodic considerations in the future.

Have a great day.

©2020 Richard Gillespie

Composition Time Management Writing

Giving Your Creativity a Time Limit

In this blog post I would like to tell you about an interesting idea regarding music composition that was once told to me by a college professor I used to study with. This idea can also apply to writing and other creative pursuits as well. The idea is about giving yourself a time limit when you create a new composition. For example, you might tell yourself that you have to write a song in one hour. By giving yourself a time limit, you force yourself to create in a more focused way.

Do not strive for perfection

Artists, writers, musicians, and other creative individuals can often become perfectionists at times. We want to be creative and produce new works but there is often that critic inside of us who wants things to be completely perfect. The act of creating no longer becomes a source of joy because we become too concerned with being “perfect” in what we create. Faced with trying to produce an amazing work of art we may feel that the task is too much and just put it off for another day. This can make an individual fail to create anything at all.

Practice your craft daily

Composing music or writing should be practiced daily, just like practicing an instrument or exercising. If we do not practice composing new material, we can not improve as composers. The first compositions we write will most likely not be that great. We need to keep practicing the craft of composition in order to create new and interesting works. The advantage of having a time limit on composition is that it forces you to create something new today. By creating something new each day you are gaining practice in composition.

Time Management

We live in a busy world. We have work, family, sleep, shopping, and many other things we need to take care of on a daily basis. It becomes difficult to accomplish new artistic productions if we are not disciplined in setting aside specific amounts of time in order to accomplish a task within those time periods. This works in academic settings when instructors require students to turn in essays at specific dates. It can be stressful on students sometimes to meet deadlines, but these due dates do create time pressure which pushes students to finish works in a timely manner. Without time pressure of some kind we may not finish projects that we start at all.


There is a tangible benefit to setting aside specific amounts of time and making sure you accomplish specific creative tasks within those time periods. Similar to a student taking a timed test, it gets your adrenaline going slightly as you create. The approach forces you do get right down to business and create something. It reduces procrastination and eliminates writers blog since you have a quick window within which you have to create something. Give this method a try for yourself sometime and see if it works for you. I’d love to hear about your results in the comment section.

Thank you for reading my blog today and have a great day.

©2020 – Richard Gillespie