Do you want to discover how to make a dark melody? Then you’re at the right place. In this lesson we’re going to explore a couple of simple tricks to make a dark melody in no time.
Pick a musical scale
Now, when you start making a dark melody, it’s a very good idea to pick a musical scale first. The musical scale will decide for you which notes you can and cannot use. A scale will also dictate how a melody “feels”.
Use the minor scale and draw the lower notes
The minor scale is perfect for dark melodies. In the video I’ve chosen the G minor scale and started with drawing the lower notes of the melody. As a trick: make sure these lower notes play a G minor story.
You can often hear the story-line better when you increase the BPM. It should loop and sound logical. Try to connect your feeling to it to learn if your loop makes sense. You can hear the high-speed lower layer telling a short story-line.
So, make sure the lower layer plays a minor loop.
Draw the higher notes of your melody
Next, add the higher notes of the melody. These are still long notes, basically playing a chord progression. The higher notes should typically also play a G minor loop (or the scale you’ve chosen). Each higher note is part of a chord with each lower note.
The next thing you can do is make a rhythm and variations with your upper melody. Try to keep it simple at first, like I am showing you in the video.
Make half note jumps!
But what’s VERY important for making dark melodies are the jumps between the notes. Just look carefully and you can see a logical trend in the video.
Within each chord (block of 4 beats here), the melody always makes 1/2 note jumps. The minor scale always has 3 different spots where the notes are 1/2 note apart from one other. When you use a lot of these half note jumps, your melody will sound dark very quickly.
Add variations to your melody
The next thing we want to do for this upper melody is to add a little bit of variation, steering or dynamics to make it sound a little bit more interesting. Simply try to use your ears to make it sound more interesting. Play the melody in your mind and try to fill in the gaps.
There were only a few tweaks in the video, really not much. All the rest were just these tricks we used.
Let the lower notes play the same rhythm
Now, when you’re done with the upper melody, it’s time to let the lower layer play the same rhythm. This helps to get a whole sound.
You could leave the lower layer as it is, but let’s go to advanced mode! You could make the lower layer more interesting as well. Giving it extra steering creates more epic dark chords at certain moments. The lower layer should still play a G minor story, only a little bit more advanced.
Once you’re done with the lower layer (if you weren’t already), just copy it, and paste it 1 octave higher. This helps to give a melody more body and more fullness.
Draw the middle notes of your melody
The next thing you can do is adding a middle layer. The middle layer can also play the same rhythm as the other layers. The middle layer consists of the notes we haven’t used yet within each chord. To learn more about chords, visit my How to Make Chords lesson.
The middle layer can add an extra dimension and fullness to your melody. This layer also often has these dark notes at 1/2 jump places.
A middle layer is not a necessity, but a sweet bonus. And so is this next added layer. It just adds more beef to the melody.
Add the lower layer in between the upper and middle layer
The extra layer added in the video has the exact same notes as the lower layer. They’re only arranged in a way to fill in the area just below the upper melody. This puts a full chord (stack of 3 notes) at the top. This can sound more brutal, especially when played with a detuned lead.
Again, adding this layer is optional, but a really simple trick to beef it up logically.
Apply these simple melody making tricks
This is really how you can go about making dark melodies. Just go layer by layer and make sure each layer is good before going to the next. Simply make a minor loop within your scale for the lower and upper layer. And also look for these dark 1/2 note jumps. These are very easy tricks to apply.
Did you know I have The Ultimate Melody Guide available on Amazon? You can find out all the simple tricks I use to always get these professional melodies. Get your copy by clicking the link.
In this lesson, the following FL Studio plugins were used:
- FL keys
- Lennar Digital Sylenth1
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Music producer & creator of Screech House