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Any advice for making catchy tunes?

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Envy
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Response to Any advice for making catchy tunes? Feb. 29th, 2008 @ 01:23 PM Reply

sorry, about that MJ, I didnt read your post fully. Thanks for attempting to answer the question, its just annoying how these threads where someone wants a simple answer ends up turning into peoples personal opinion arguments.


At 3/27/11 10:22 PM, sugarsimon wrote:
the brilliant songs who create a production for music
Wat

NickPerrin
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Response to Any advice for making catchy tunes? Feb. 29th, 2008 @ 01:26 PM Reply

At 2/29/08 11:05 AM, Envy wrote: He didnt ask for a lesson in composing using music theory vs your ear, or which one is better and who used what.

All this "bickering" is to ensure the guy doesn't think "Oh no, I'll never make catchy tunes without theory."

But I would say it's worth studying.

A lot of popular "catchy" music relies on interesting chord progressions more than anything else. A melody that is rhythmically interesting and usually simple, and emphasizes the chord changes.

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Response to Any advice for making catchy tunes? Feb. 29th, 2008 @ 01:46 PM Reply

At 2/29/08 01:00 PM, MJTTOMB wrote: Give me an example of something that makes theoretical sense, but sounds terrible, please. I'd love to hear it.

when harmonizing for example...you would tend to harmonize in thirds or sixths while avoiding others because they sound bad & dissonant. they are both theoretically correct

just stop bro, you're acting like you're the only one here who knows anything about theory...knowing instruments will help you be a better writer, their pitch range, their capabilities, strengths, uses etc...not knowing a million scales or every rule in the musical book

it doesn't take any musical knowledge to hear what sounds good, people have been doing it since before musical theory was invented & they will continue to


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MJTTOMB
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Response to Any advice for making catchy tunes? Feb. 29th, 2008 @ 03:29 PM Reply

At 2/29/08 01:46 PM, xXDathDalerXx wrote:
At 2/29/08 01:00 PM, MJTTOMB wrote: Give me an example of something that makes theoretical sense, but sounds terrible, please. I'd love to hear it.
when harmonizing for example...you would tend to harmonize in thirds or sixths while avoiding others because they sound bad & dissonant. they are both theoretically correct

All intervals will sound good if used well. Theory helps with how you use them. Try playing a B and a C together on a keyboard, an octave apart. sounds like crap, no? Add an E and a G between them, and voila, it sounds very cool indeed.

just stop bro, you're acting like you're the only one here who knows anything about theory...knowing instruments will help you be a better writer, their pitch range, their capabilities, strengths, uses etc...not knowing a million scales or every rule in the musical book

Knowing the scales helps you to work on transposition. without scales, you can't work well with chord values and the like, and scales help with everything else, pretty much. And no one knows every rule in the musical book. The "musical book" is being written daily. Theory just helps you grasp music more fully. You have to know the rules to break them.

it doesn't take any musical knowledge to hear what sounds good, people have been doing it since before musical theory was invented & they will continue to

Even before theory, musicians still needed a rudimentary knowledge of music.

Anyways, I'm not saying I'm the only one who know it, it's just that I find it very helpful, and in the interest of making this person asking the best possible musician they can be, I feel it's necessary that they would understand some theory.


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Response to Any advice for making catchy tunes? Mar. 1st, 2008 @ 08:09 AM Reply

I agree that a knowledge of music theory is helpful for writing music, even for just a catchy tune. I don't know much theory myself, but I'm always up for learning because I know it'll help in the long run.

For example, if you find a good starting for your tune, and it happens to be in the key of c for example, then it's nice to know that that ending the tune with the keys c g or e can help make it sound more concluded if you so wish, and ending in d or f can help make it sound like something's gonna follow.

Plus, if you want a happy catchy tune, using a major key might help it sound more cheerful, while a minor key might help it sound more melodramatic or whatever.

Another example is playing two keys in a major key that are next to each other might be good for adding a quirky touch to the tune (sorry, like I said, I'm not too proficient at mtheory, so the name escapes my mind, but it is definitely something I picked up from studying music).

Also, studying music opens up sounds that you might have never thought of had you not taken the time to learn about music, for example when I was younger I never realized grace notes existed until I learned a piano piece that had them, which also led me to add trills to my musical arsenal.

Principles like these can be used for any form of music, and to get the impression that a formal study of music is only good in composing harmonious symphonies or classical music is ridiculous (not directed at anyone's post in particular, just saying).

As for it being limiting, it's certainly not, because, as the old saying goes "rules were made to be broken", so once you know what rules there are, it's easier to go and break them whenever you want to see what happens. It's very empowering. I think it's funny that someone implied that using accidentals was an example of "breaking" music theory "rules", when in actuality it's just using the musical principle of accidentals, and if you know what accidentals are by studying music, it will probably be easier for you to use them.

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Response to Any advice for making catchy tunes? Mar. 1st, 2008 @ 08:52 AM Reply

I will agree that theory can be useful, but there is sort of another type of theory used to make catchy melodies. Like, you need to know what 2-note progressions sound good. For example, minor seconds. In melodys, they rule, but in classical chords, they are dissonant and bad-sounding. So its all about just figuring out what works.

Also, when you make a catchy melody, you might not even realize it, as many melodies that stick in the head were created to be the main point of the song, and the whole song centers around one hook.

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Response to Any advice for making catchy tunes? Mar. 1st, 2008 @ 12:55 PM Reply

If you can hum the melody, chances are that people are going to remember it and if it isn't catchy at the get-go, then eventually it will become catchy as time progresses.

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Response to Any advice for making catchy tunes? Mar. 1st, 2008 @ 03:07 PM Reply

Basically what Zenon said. ^^^^^^^^^^^

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Response to Any advice for making catchy tunes? Mar. 1st, 2008 @ 07:24 PM Reply

I've said this once before but it bear repeating:

Music theory isn't some genetic formula for creating music, it's a means to turn emotions, feelings, and thoughts into music. There is no formula for writing music, but knowing the theory will teach you how to get the type of sound you want. Without this knowledge your really just shooting holes in the dark trying get something that sounds good.

No you don't need to know theroy to create music, but the difference between someone who knows theory and doesn't is that some one who knows the theroy can get exactly the type of sound they are looking for, where as some one who doesn't works on the concept that if I try a bunch thing eventualy I'll get something that sounds good. Thats the way alot of artist here on NG make their music. I agree with c4v the most, you either learn theory or write by trial and error.


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Response to Any advice for making catchy tunes? Mar. 2nd, 2008 @ 10:25 AM Reply

At 3/1/08 07:24 PM, InsaneSmilie wrote: I agree with c4v the most, you either learn theory or write by trial and error.

wrong!! all music is trial an error...even Johann Sebastian Bach re-wrote/revised many of his pieces because they didn't sound right after he heard them actually being played. i'm sure all composers go through this process, all the theory in the world couldn't save you from it


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Response to Any advice for making catchy tunes? Mar. 2nd, 2008 @ 10:33 PM Reply

Yeah, music theory really isn't an exact science at all. Let me pull out the tried but true quote by Walter Piston from the introduction to his [i]Harmony[/i]: "theory must follow practice... theory is not a set o f directions for composing music... It tells not how music will be written i nthe future, but how music has been written in the past."

Theory has to come from somewhere - it's not like physical laws which have existence since time immemorium; rather, it's basically just a record of what kinds of musical guidelines have been observed as generally enjoyable by those in the past - they who have essentially have used their ears and minds to compose what sounded good to them. I'd view theory as a shortcut (to save you from needing to reinvent say the Neapolitan chord) and occasional reference (in that it reaffirms to you of what sounds good), and generally as a useful tool. But there's also the danger of taking it too literally into it and neglecting to innovate and experiment outside it's current definitions.

Anyways, my advice to the OP for catchy tunes is to simply listen to a lot of type of different musics, hum and play them, get a feel for it's contours and characteristics, and basically try emulating them in your own music. Don't worry about sounding too derivative since so little tonal music today is really original sounding. I think after a while of doing it like this, you should be able to further your intuition on what kind of a melody would be catchy (to you), and before you know, it might simply become second nature.


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Response to Any advice for making catchy tunes? Mar. 3rd, 2008 @ 01:29 AM Reply

At 3/2/08 10:25 AM, xXDathDalerXx wrote:
At 3/1/08 07:24 PM, InsaneSmilie wrote: I agree with c4v the most, you either learn theory or write by trial and error.
wrong!! all music is trial an error...even Johann Sebastian Bach re-wrote/revised many of his pieces because they didn't sound right after he heard them actually being played. i'm sure all composers go through this process, all the theory in the world couldn't save you from it

You don't seem to understand, music theory isn't some genetic formula for creating music, it's a means to turn emotions, feelings, and thoughts into music. The idea is that by have a good knowledge of the theory, you know how to get what sound you intended, it doesn't mean that you won't like it after you write it or change your mind or decide it doesn't capture the feeling properly. Yes the editing process is unavoidable, but that's a different topic completely.

DathDaler please drop the arrogant attitude your pissing alot of people off, and I question you 'expertiese' on this subject.

To put out one last point on the theory topic, when is the last time you heard a song that was off key and still sounded good? In fact I would say it's a limiter with alot of artists here on NG, that write a melody with a synth or instrument and than can't add another piece on top, because they don't know what key their in or even understand the concept of key.


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Response to Any advice for making catchy tunes? Mar. 3rd, 2008 @ 04:15 AM Reply

At 3/3/08 01:29 AM, InsaneSmilie wrote: DathDaler please drop the arrogant attitude your pissing alot of people off

i'm the least arrogant person here...i already stated that the most robust understanding of theory is enough to get anyone by, & even then that doesn't mean they have to know, or that it will actually benefit their writing...there are plenty of world renowned composers out there who work in media that don't know a lick of theory, or only go as far as the major scale

& the only person here who seems pissed is you...not to mention arrogant as well
n that's the last you'll hear from me, ciao!!


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Response to Any advice for making catchy tunes? Mar. 3rd, 2008 @ 09:45 AM Reply

Uh... Anyone who is composing and scoring in the film industry knows theory. Dont confuse working composers with musicians that get hired to write and license tracks for a film. Any national commercial you hear was written, mocked up, transposed into a score and recorded live. I dare someone to move to hollywood and bullshit your way into a flim deal without theory.

Face it folks, if you ever want to make anything besides 4 chord progressions and arp'd melodys, you need a basic understanding of theory. If you have to listen to your chords while you build them, you dont know theory. If you can load your piano roll and write a 4 chord progression on the first try without listening, you understand and have a basic of theory and why its important.

I dont know why everyone has to be elite one way or another, as if someone would listen to what you say on the forums and then go listen to your music. It really doesnt matter, but anyone who's really serious needs a relativly strong sense of theory.

Anyways, back to the topic- catchy stuff.
It always occured to me that obviously, the catchy stuff is easy to remember, the reason its catchy is because you hear it once and know how the rest of its going to go. Its predictable. Pachabells cannon, great example, the chords are mathematically spaced moving down the scale, but its a long melody line. I think its all about the progression, like what was said earlier. Move down, move up, move in halfs, just dont do anything crazy. The simpler the better. For you theory people, use triplets like its your job. Write your chorus lines with whole note triplets and let your percussion drive it along. Then when the melody is stuck in peoples heads, roll it back into 4/4 time.

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Response to Any advice for making catchy tunes? Mar. 3rd, 2008 @ 09:49 AM Reply

At 3/3/08 09:45 AM, jrayteam6 wrote: Uh... Anyone who is composing and scoring in the film industry knows theory. Dont confuse working composers with musicians that get hired to write and license tracks for a film. Any national commercial you hear was written, mocked up, transposed into a score and recorded live. I dare someone to move to hollywood and bullshit your way into a flim deal without theory.

Thomas Bangalter (aka Daft Punk) scored the music for a film. Not sure if he knows theory, but I bet he does.

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Response to Any advice for making catchy tunes? Mar. 3rd, 2008 @ 11:29 AM Reply

At 3/3/08 09:45 AM, jrayteam6 wrote: Uh... Anyone who is composing and scoring in the film industry knows theory.

You know, people like Vangelis comes into mind that simply do not fit this mold.


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Response to Any advice for making catchy tunes? Mar. 3rd, 2008 @ 02:00 PM Reply

At 3/3/08 11:29 AM, shizeet wrote:
At 3/3/08 09:45 AM, jrayteam6 wrote: Uh... Anyone who is composing and scoring in the film industry knows theory.
You know, people like Vangelis comes into mind that simply do not fit this mold.

Vangelis didn't know theory? I doubt that very much.